Counting Nintendo console releases in order, Super Mario World was only the sixth game in their Mario series. Just like the original Nintendo Entertainment System, which was released bundled with Super Mario Bros. classic, the Super Nintendo console was released just before Black Friday in 1990 bundled with Super Mario World. Which makes this the game’s 30th anniversary!
Nintendo, naturally, had bet big on the Mario franchise to be the mascot and face of their gaming empire. Sega, from the days of Sonic the Hedgehog to the ill-fated Sega Dreamcast, would give Nintendo some tough competition. There was a lot riding on Super Mario World; it had to build upon its foundation while improving the franchise with enough new features and content to keep it fresh. And while Nintendo has a quirky talent for quality games, it’s not like they haven’t had a stumble or two along the way.
The bet paid off big! Super Mario World was definitely the best-selling game of the SNES, and is still considered one of the greatest video games of all time. Let’s revisit some of fondest memories to see how Super Mario World reinvented the platform game.
Super Mario World introduced Yoshi
The cutest dinosaur sidekick in gaming history, Yoshi, got his start in Super Mario World. He quickly became a meme favorite, most notably for the way gamers would not hesitate to sacrifice him to a pit if it meant surviving a tricky jump. Not only was Yoshi an “extra life” because getting hit while riding him only dismounted Mario instead of dying, but Yoshi could eat shells and use special powers from those to breathe fireballs, fly, and do other cool stunts.
Here is a classic green poseable Yoshi with egg, just as cute as you remember him.
Super Mario World introduced the innovate ghost house level design. They operated with an unexpected logic, each one having secret exits with a different non-intuitive way to finish the level. Try to play the level like a normal linear platform level, and you’d get lost in the warping maze. The ghost houses introduced a whole wing of enemies in the form of ghosts, called “boos,” which managed to be cute and creepy at the same time.
But the most memorable of all would be the boss ghost, Big Boo, who you’d encounter at the end of some ghost house levels. He became another unofficial mascot of the game series. Here’s a Big Boo throw pillow to snuggle with while you play your Nintendo Switch.
Already bursting with new level designs, secrets, and hidden areas to explore, the Star Road system was like finding Super Mario World‘s version of The Matrix. Not only could you use it to access different colors of Yoshi which each had unique abilities, but the whole system served as a fast way to teleport around the map, and access to a series of bonus levels with names like “Tubular,” “Mondo,” and “Funky.”
We have to include one Mario figure, so this looks like a good place to bring up this cool Mario with his very own bonus star!
Once you make it to the first feather in Super Mario World, it becomes a completely different game. There’s even a level designed to teach you how to glide with him. Mastering Mario’s swoops, dives, and hang-gliding moves becomes an important strategic element. There aren’t any areas that requires the cape specifically, but it’s a nice option. There are so many levels that become easier once you can just fly right over them!
We found you your own lucky feather! Keep it with you to inspire you to soar to new heights and always look for an easier way to bypass life’s obstacles.
Previously in the Super Mario series, the Bowser fight felt a little anti-climatic. The castle was challenging enough, but every Bowser fight involved getting past him on the bridge and then dropping the bridge out from under him. In Super Mario World, the bosses are expanded to a whole dynasty of Koopas, with unique battle arenas ranging from tilting floating islands to pipes where the boss and two decoys would pop out. Then there were the mini-castles, fortresses, which ended in those weird rhinos on the spinning wheel platform. Just endless variety of levels!
Here’s one of the favorite Koopa bosses, Ludwig Von Koopa. With his eccentric hair, armbands, wand, and all. One of the few Mario characters to be named in homage to a classical musician.
That’s a short list of the ways Super Mario World helped establish Nintendo’s dominance on the home console market for at least the early 1990s. The SNES would go on to define the home console market, holding Sega back – to their frustration! – and not having a serious rival until Sony entered the arena. Even then, right up until the present day, it’s just not a Nintendo platform without a Mario title.
It was also the first game to directly credit Shigeru Miyamoto as the Mario Bros. franchise producer. He was also the Nintendo mind behind some of its other beloved franchises, including The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox,F-Zero, and so much more. Since he created the original Donkey Kong arcade game, that makes him the godfather of the whole series, despite the fact that Mario himself didn’t even have a name in the original.