Monday, August 5, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 36 - Super Mario 64

This Eric Vs. 365 thing has mostly been about playing games we love or showing folks under- appreciated titles they may have missed. Today, however, we're taking a stand on a game we don't love - Super Mario 64. It's fine. It's okay. When it was released it absolutely was totally revolutionary. We just don't like it much. It's cool if you like it, but we'd rather play literally anything else. Read on for more.

I didn't really like Super Mario 64 very much right from the start even back in 1996. It just didn't feel fun to me. I can't explain it. I honestly don't like 3D Mario games much in general, though, and I can't explain why I don't like Mario Galaxy any more clearly than why I don't like Mario 64. I'm one of those weirdos who loves Super Mario Sunshine, just for reference. I don't know if Mario 3D World Counts or not - they seem to sort of be their own sub-genre - but Mario 3D World on Wii U is my favorite 3D Mario by far. 

One thing about Mario 64 that has always stuck out to me, though, is that the levels get increasingly gimmicky as the game progresses. The pure joy of the platforming gives way to levels awkwardly designed around some new mechanic that only gets used in one level and then never again. Bob-Omb Battlefield and Thwomp's Fortress are the first two levels in Mario 64 and still stand as the best because they let you just goof off and have fun with Mario in this new 3D environment without bogging you down with BS. Another issue with the latter levels in Mario 64 is that the camera starts actively working against you a lot of the time. The game wants you to make precise movements and do super precise platforming but you can't because the camera is never, ever, in the right position.

I know, I know. Other people can play Mario 64 just fine and have no complaints about the stuff I don't like. That's fine. I would never ever say Mario 64 is a bad game. I just don't enjoy it. The good thing is that there are tens of thousands of other games to play so I'm not really missing out on anything by not slobbering all over Mario 64's knob.