Super Mario World was a 1990 platformer game by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. My mom never let me get a Super Nintendo, but I did get a chance to try this game out. Some new neighbors had moved in one of my childhood neighborhoods. My mom had gotten to talking to the wife at some point. Somehow it came up that her husband liked to play video games and had a Super Nintendo. My mom wouldn’t let me get a Super Nintendo of my own, but she was fine with me playing it for a little while at their house. One summer day, my sister and I visited their cold, air-conditioned house and got to play Super Mario World for a few hours. I had a lot of fun with the game, but the fun was dampened by the fact that I knew I wouldn’t be able to put serious time into it. Now, over twenty years later, I obtained a copy of my own from the Wii U’s eShop.
Whenever I think about a game in a series, I can’t help but compare it to the other games in the series. Super Mario World came out just a few years after Super Mario Bros. 3. Each game had so far completely surpassed the previous game. Super Mario Bros. 2 was better in every way than Super Mario Bros. 1. Likewise, Super Mario Bros 3. was a complete upgrade over Super Mario Bros. 2. This couldn’t last forever though. At some point the creativity of the platformer would be mostly explored. That happened with Super Mario World. Because it was on the new Super Nintendo it had superior graphics and sound compared to the older games, but the gameplay wasn’t all that new.
The big new addition was the Yoshi dinosaur. Mario could use Yoshi as a mount. Yoshi could jump higher, defeat more enemies when jumping on them, and grab things with his chameleon-like tongue. Yoshi really kept the game fresh, but he wasn’t available in every level. That made the game feel kind of two-faced to me. When I got to play as Yoshi, the game was just as fresh as Super Mario Bros. 3. When I had to play with just Mario, the levels felt pretty much the same as the levels in Super Mario Bros. 3.
In some sense the levels in Super Mario World were slightly worse because they were not organized into clear themes like in the third game. I loved how Mario 3 had the ice world, the pipe world, the desert world, and more. Super Mario World had worlds, but a lot of the levels looked the same with very similar gameplay. I guess Super Mario World was more realistic. Instead of each world being a completely separate island, all the words in Super Mario World occupied part of one larger island. Super Mario World felt less “gamey” as a result. In other words, Super Mario World was more immersive. It was easier for the player to forget the real world around them and be absorbed by the game.
These are pretty minor complaints, but I wished Nintendo had maintained all that Super Mario Bros. 3 did well while adding the Yoshi character. Instead, Super Mario World felt more like a sidegrade. It was a very good game, easily as good as Super Mario Bros. 3, but I had already played that older game extensively. This was a situation where whichever one I played first would be my favorite because they were both equally good. Unfortunately, I played Mario 3 first, so my experience with Super Mario World was lessened. I was pretty happy with this game though because I got it for a low price, but I still wish it had impressed me more. Maybe it was a good thing that my mom never let me get a Super Nintendo. I am happy that I got a chance to try this classic game though. I am always grateful for these experiences.