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Release year: 1996 | Players: 1 player | Developed by Nintendo EAD

Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)

Super Mario 64 (AKA スーパーマリオ64 Sūpā Mario Rokujūyon) is a 3D platform adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo in 1996 for the Nintendo 64 home game console. It is the best-selling game on the Nintendo 64, with more than 11 million copies sold.

Mario by himself is already one of the video game industry’s recognized titles. Super Mario 64 pushed the franchise even further by solidifying it as one of the most innovative and revolutionary video games in the entire history.

The year is 1996 and Mario had jumped from being a 2D side scrolling platformer into a 3D platform game. For the first time in history, Mario finally had access to all three axes. The three dimensional world allowed Nintendo to propel Mario to new degrees of freedom. It is this freedom of movement and Mario’s ability to interact with the world around him that makes the game such a joy to play.

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It wouldn’t even be a stretch to say that the game has had a major influence on the industry given its open world free to play setting. Super Mario 64 for Nintendo 64 is not the first game that allowed players to explore a world at their own whim. However, Super Mario 64 did it so well that it more or less set the precedent of what an open world game should feel like.

Super Mario 64 Cover Box

Today’s modern games have better environments and settings both in terms of scope and rendering. That said, Super Mario 64 shows that while digital real estate is important, what’s most important is making the world feel big and immersive. Scale and immersion are the two things that the game did best.

Jumping, diving, and running around Princess Peach’s Castle was a truly amazing experience. What used to be a paper thin image on a flat screen was now an actual three dimensional object that players could explore. Along with its hidden passages and secrets, Super Mario 64 had a lot of content that continually rewarded and enticed players to explore.

Super Mario 64 animated GIF

Playing this game will give modern gamers an idea of just where some of the most modern conventions or tropes in video game design come from and have fun while doing it.

Super Mario 64 has been ported to Nintendo 64 (this version), Nintendo DS and Virtual Console.

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Super Mario 64
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Super Mario 64