As much as I try to stray from admitting it, I've got to say-my Wii U has become less of a video game console as of late, and has instead been relegated to a dust magnet sat next to my other consoles. In a sense, it's quite depressing to open up my 'gaming cabinet' and see the poor system having gathered so much dust, then looking directly to it's left and seeing a spotless SEGA Saturn. It perhaps says something when I'm treating a system released in 1995 better than a brand new, £300+ system with the 'latest technology.'
Though that's not to say I dislike the Wii U-there's a reason I got it, after all. It's a lovely system, and it's certainly an improved situation since Day 1. Recently, the Rayman Legends Challenge App was released, and so I decided it was time to dust off the GamePad and actually play the system I, and many others, blew the aforementioned £300+ on.
Whilst going to actually download the app, I realised the Wii U Virtual Console had finally been set up as well. At first, I was relatively unimpressed. The launch line-up didn't seem to stellar, and for NES games particularly, the prices seemed rather off. Thankfully, one game was on offer, and that game just so happened to be Super Mario World.
My first experience with Super Mario World was with the Game Boy Advance port Super Mario Advance 2
, which was, to say the least, a lovingly crafted port. It wasn't a poor emulation of the original, and though certain aspects had to be reduced for understandable reasons (the aspect ratio and the sound come to mind), the game still had the tight controls, crisp graphics, and overall fantastic experience that the original had. Hell, Super Mario Advance 2 is hands down my favourite Game Boy Advance game, and I played it to the point I reached the maximum amount of lives obtainable and to the point the scoreboard wouldn't increase any further. And I enjoyed every second of it.
I slaved over this version of the game for a good 5 or 6 years. I got it when I was about 7 or so, and yet only got all 96 exits when I was about 10. Suffice to say, over the entire course of the game, I felt my skill level as a gamer progress, and the satisfaction I got from finally completing the Special World all those years later was one of utter triumph. It was the sort of thing I'd jump around the house about with excitement-and as such, for the incredible experience the game provided, it went without saying it was an unforgettable game for me.
The Wii Virtual Console provided my first experience with the SNES original. Whilst I enjoyed playing through the game once again, it didn't hold the same feeling as Super Mario Advance 2.
I never gained the motivation to get all 96 exits again, despite it really not being too great a task, and it lacked the wonder of the GBA version, and the imagination it inspired, in my eyes. Maybe it was just because I'd played the game before, maybe it was because I wasn't playing it on a handheld, maybe it was some other poor reason. In addition, once I defeated Bowser I never went back to it, because I didn't realise the final castle isn't counted as one of the 96 exits, and so the game just stops. I honestly thought the game was frozen, and I didn't wish to reset in case I lost any progress. I was a daft kid, suffice to say.
The next time me and Super Mario World's paths crossed was in a Let's Play. Given how much I loved Advance 2
, it seemed fair I should go through the game to try and get my Youtube channel off to a nice start. Thing is, this was in the rather early days of my Youtube channel-I was a novice to Let's Plays, so after editing I never bothered checking the rendering, meaning lovely black screens populated the videos. In addition, a nightmarish banner to the left populated each video, looking like something a 5 year old threw up on MS Paint. In addition, once again the playthrough didn't feel as fun as the GBA version-notably, I knew now I could potentially have an audience, and I feel I shifted my play style to try and 'fit' that. The game still wasn't a bad game, hell no-and I had a good deal of fun. But it still didn't quite provide the wonderful experience I'd been fortunate to have all those years ago.
This all brings me to my most recent playthrough of this game, on the Wii U. Out of all of the versions of the game I've played, this one was perhaps the one I've enjoyed the most. It felt like the wonderful handheld experience that Advance 2
provided, thanks to the GamePad, but in addition it felt like the version that got the most things right. The wonderful HD presentation makes the sprites look crisper than I ever expected, and the sound has also received a boost, though with this level of hardware compared to the Game Boy Advance, and hell, the Wii, that's a given. Also, now I knew the specific differences between the versions, notably not
to worry when the ending screen appeared to freeze, gave me the motivation to do what I intended to on the Wii-get those exits.
What took me about 5 years or so on the Game Boy Advance took me a rather nice 3 days to recreate on Wii U. For me, the Wii U version IS the definitive way to play this game now, and suffice to say I'm already halfway through my second 100% run of this beauty.
Super Mario World and I may not go back as far as the gamers who originally slapped the game into their NES in 1992 and sat down for some 16-Bit Mario action, but to say it's memorable to me is an understatement.
It is true that at heart, I'm a SEGA guy through and through. SEGA makes up the vast majority of my childhood, and I wouldn't swap that for the world. But it goes without saying, that Super Mario World is easily my favourite game from the SNES, and perhaps even my favourite game of all time-at the least, it's certainly in the top 3.
So hey. Thanks Nintendo. Super Mario World inspired me as a kid. It helped move along my creativity, and presented a vast world full of secrets that felt so intriguing and mysterious to a 7 year old sat playing a small handheld system.
And perhaps most of all, it was damn fun. And it is to this day.
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