Ok everyone…before we go any further, makes sure you take a read of all my other posts so you can get the top 99 games. You can find the lists here
Let’s chat a second before we get into #1. I wanted to take a second to just thank you all for taking this journey with me. These games that I put on my top 100 list are all very important to me. They have impacted my life in some way, shape, or form. Some are here for nostalgia, some are here because I was obsessed, but all are here because they’re what I consider the greatest. I consider something to be great if it: piques my interest indefinitely, somehow breaks the mold, or just delivers on every angle. In some cases these games revolutionized their genre. In others they CREATED their genre. Some games just represent happiness. So let’s start to delve into #1.
If you couldn’t figure it out through deductive reasoning, my top game is a classic. It’s a game that took its genre and made it so massive and big (for its time) that it changed the landscape forever. If you would have asked me what would have this slot a few years back I may not have been so quick to throw this game out there. However, from looking back at the games I’ve played the most, or had the fondest memories of, this game takes the cake. It’s the best game every, for all of my money and its called….
1. Super Mario World (1990/1991)
Do you remember being 5? I do. I actually remember the Christmas of 1991 quite well. That was the year I received my favorite video game system of all time, The SNES. I unwrapped it in a feverish haze, and along with it came a few games, but one stood out, Super Mario World. See for a 5 year old kid who was just nuts about Mario, this was the newest and coolest thing. Little did I know that I would be embarking upon a journey that would follow me for the rest of my life. Super Mario World changed EVERYTHING for me. It solidified me as a gamer and made me realize that I wanted video gaming to be a part of my life forever. It also continued my obsession with all things Mario. I can hear it’s opening and immediately be transformed back to a little kid. It also gave us Yoshi!
Sweet music, to my ear holes. Super Mario World isn’t just a nostalgia trip, though. Think back to the NES and Super Mario 3. I said earlier in my list that SMB3 was the pinnacle of 8-bit gaming. It was, and it changed everything. Super Mario World needed to build upon that. They did, hence the tag-word, “world”. SMW was absolutely enormous when compared to the rest of the series. It had multiple maps, that were somehow interconnected! The scope and scale of Mario World was gigantic in 1990. With other platformers we were used to playing 2-3 stages in a world, finishing it off, moving on. For Mario World the game didn’t end at Bowser. There was just so much more to do! Though that fight with Bowser is amazing.
Super Mario World was the first platformer that I can think of that used a memory system and allowed you to save your game. Unlike all previous games, in this series or others, you just finished the game and moved on. Nintendo wanted you to live in Super Mario World and get lost. I did, many of we 1990s kids did. Super Mario World works perfectly when it comes to all of the necessary aspects of game play. The controls are perfect, it has amazing music, it looks incredible, and is so varied that no two stages feel the same. While on a technical level Super Mario World is perfect, the true beauty of this game can be found in the minutiae.
Super Mario World is FILLED with secrets. Stages have secret exits, There is a healthy dosage of secret stages to play, and then there’s Star Road. Seriously, how did we figure out how to complete those stages when we were kids!? We had no Internet, we had limited access to strategy guides, we just had to figure it out. Does anyone remember trying to Chocolate Island 3? The stage where you had to fly UNDER to goal post to find a SECOND goal post?
Super Mario World is a testament to the fact that Nintendo had faith in the player. They trusted that even if we couldn’t find the path right away that we eventually would. You play through the entire game and a friend tells you about Star Road. Then you go to Star Road and complete it. Naturally at this point you think you’re done…Oh wait…There’s a SPECIAL zone!? SAY WHAT!? Then you spend 15 weeks trying to beat Tubular
Super Mario World doesn’t end at the end. It ends when you finish it 100%. Then after you finish the Special Zome, the entire game turns into a Halloween Themed Horror show.
What puts Super Mario World on top of my list is its endless attention to detail and crafty and timeless game design. Nintendo designed Mario World to withstand the test of time. It was created to be great in any generation. I’ve bought this game multiple times and play it every few months. To this day I’m astonished by how much a little game in 1990 could be so big. It’s a perfect game in any and every sense of the word. Super Mario World gave birth to a new generation of gamers. Any and every game developer who wants to make a great game should start with Mario World. It’s a special game, even if it’s 26 years old. I will play Super Mario World forever and I’d have it not other way. It is physical proof how video games found their way in the 1990s. Thanks for everything Super Mario World, you’re an old dog who’s still willing to teach US some new tricks.
Thank you everyone for reading. I hope you enjoyed my list. Be sure to check out Noah’s James Bond List and keep on gaming!