Why ‘Super Mario Sunshine’ is Good, Actually
The black sheep of the ‘Mario’ franchise shines through with its originality and storytelling, and that terrifies players.
Today, Nintendo finally dropped Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a veritable collection of three of the best games in the Mario franchise, if not all of video game-dom itself.
As someone that has nostalgia for all three of these games in different ways, I was excited to crack into the collection. I started with Super Mario 64, not just because it was the first, but also because it was a game I never fully experienced, having never owned a Nintendo 64. Loading it up, the game shows its age for sure—the graphics are outdated and the camera controls are kludgy — but this was a revelatory experience when it came out, showing people the potential of playing in three dimensions. I wanted to see it for myself without the constraint of being kicked off my friend’s N64.
The game starts off just as you remember: Peach orates a letter she wrote you — with oddly bad audio mixing I might add, Peach’s voice-over is barely audible through the music — asking you to come over for some cake. You arrive at the castle to discover that, hey!, Bowser has once again kidnapped the princess. He’s also used the power of the Power Stars to create numerous pocket dimensions, all reachable via magical paintings scattered throughout Peach’s castle.
It’s fascinating how much of the 3D Mario repertoire was solidified this early on: you got your triple jump, your ground pound, your wall kick, etcetera. And they all feel pretty good, letting you bound across the landscape relatively effortlessly.
So despite the growing vines of almost two decades, Super Mario 64 is still fun to play.
But then I got just two Power Stars and stopped.
Why? Well, I don’t know why. I just didn’t feel anything dragging me along, nothing to breathe life into the experience. It’s a mechanical marvel, a brilliant historical piece, and there are levels filled with that Nintendo wonder and charm…