I was in my late teens when Super Mario 64 was first announced. As a kid who had grown up with the Mario series, it felt perfect to see Mario “grow up” right along with me. I was headed to the world of freedom and opportunity that college represented, and Mario was headed to world of of freedom and opportunity that polygons represented. Thought I knew we were both in for some changes, I assumed that at our cores, we would remain the same.
That’s why I was so disappointed the first played Super Mario 64. Sure, the game itself was great, but this wasn’t the Mario I grew up with; no turning small after you take a hit, no fire flower, no raccoon tail or flight cape, there wasn’t even a run button. Mario had changed, and in the process, he lost a lot of the traits that we had bonded over in the first place. While everyone else seemed to love the game, I couldn’t help but be put off by it, with the mindset that if I just waited long enough, Nintendo would get their heads on straight and create a “real” 3D Mario game, with all the gameplay mechanics that make the series unique in the world of gaming.
It looks like the wait is over. Super Mario for the 3DS is the 3D Mario game that I’ve wanted all this time. Seeing Mario throw on that tanooki suit in 3D instantly transformed me into the same kid that grew up with Mario all those years ago. Reunited, and it feels so good.