DEBATE DAY – Super Mario 64: The Best Mario Game

After a long break, following Andy’s humiliating defeat at my hands regarding the best sidekick in all of film, it’s finally back! Trope and Dagger’s famous Debate Day! Today, in honor of the passing of Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, we’re picking the very best Mario game ever made!  To read up on Andy’s silliness, go here: Super Mario Brothers 3: The Best Mario.  Now, let me tell you why my choice in adventure with the fat Italian plumber is the very best there is!

Oh man, you remember the Nintendo 64? If you had one growing up, you probably remember opening up that big box and plugging in those connectors to the TV, the controllers to the system, then shoving that cartridge into the top of the console. And if you were lucky, that first cartridge you jammed in there was Super Mario 64.

Remember this shitty cardboard box? It contained such treasures.
Remember this shitty cardboard box? It contained such treasures.

Everybody knew that this Mario game was going to be different from the others, but I don’t think that anybody really realized just how revolutionary this game was going to be. After all, there had been 3D games in the past, even platformers, though they had all been pretty shoddy.  Not this game, though.  This game defined 3D platforming, and really nothing has come along since that has shaken things up as much. Super Mario 64 changed EVERYTHING.

Where-a am I? Too much-a spaghetti last-a night.
Where-a am I? Too much-a whiskey last-a night.

Not only did it change everything, but it was so well designed and so expertly crafted from the beginning that the control scheme has barely been improved on in the years since. And the only games that have improved on the controls have been newer Mario platforming games! This game gave us awesome moves like the triple jump (A+A+A), the long jump (run+Z+A), the backflip (Z+A), fucking flight, and many more! The controls in this game are tight and fluid and no game except for newer Mario games have even come close to emulating the fantastic controls. Except the C-button camera controls, I will concede that. A second analogue stick is much better for camera operation. But even the C-button camera worked well enough for there not being a second analogue stick!

He's not happy with the C-buttons, either, but we make do.
He’s not happy with the C-buttons, either, but we make do.

Then we have the levels in the game. Holy cow are these levels great. I’m just going to rattle off a few here, and you try to tell me they don’t hit ya in that nostalgia bone:

Bob-omb Battlefield

Cool, Cool Mountain

Dire, Dire Docks

Tick Tock Clock

Lethal Lava Land

Jolly Roger Bay

Fucking Rainbow Ride, Motherfucker

This shit right here.
This shit right here.

Yeah, if you’ve played the game, you know how awesome and iconic these levels are. They are all superbly designed and present a multitude of challenges, each requiring different skills and are of varying difficulty. The beauty of these levels are that you can play some, get some stars, then move on to a different level if you’re having too much trouble with a particular challenge. Then you can come back and retry that challenge after you’ve continued in the game some and practiced more or unlocked power-ups! Even if you’re stuck at one particular part, you can almost always keep the game moving forward and come back to it! Additionally, there are always lots of secrets to discover outside the levels, so the completionist will be kept busy for hours and hours beyond finishing the game.

I got here by jumping through a wall! Damn tumor's acting up again.
I got here by jumping through a wall! This castle is a nightmarish hellscape!

And I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t mention the truly splendid music in this game. The score is absolutely fantastic, and perfectly blends old-school digital music with more modern orchestrations. It has a blend of gorgeous original scores and re-imaginings of classic Mario music. An example of classic re-imagining would be the Cave Dungeon track:

We all recognize the awesome music from the original Super Mario Brothers game, and here it is given an awesome underlying beat and accompaniment to turn it into an entirely new, really exciting piece!

And my favorite new track would have to be Dire, Dire Docks. Have a listen to this bad boy, let it take you back:

I really do think that this piece is simply beautiful. It’s tranquil yet mysterious and fits so perfectly with the level that is was composed for. I really can’t think of any music from any other Mario game that evokes this atmosphere. This is one of my favorite pieces of music from any video game ever, and definitely my favorite from any Mario game. And I absolutely consider the music in Super Mario 64 to be the best of any Mario game, far and away.

And lastly, most importantly, Super Mario 64 is a damn fun game. It is the most fun of any of the Mario games, easily. Hell, even the opening menu is ridiculously fun. Remember? How you could grab Mario’s face and pinch and pull and do all sorts of goofy shit? I mean, If someone asks if I want to play Mario, I am always hoping that they want to play Super Mario 64. Yes, even if there are multiple people around, I’m ready to wait my turn to play some Super Mario 64. It is the perfect blend of exciting worlds, old school charm, and joyous game play. It was Nintendo doing what Nintendo does best: making a game that is accessible and unreasonably fun to play. They made the perfect Mario game all the way back in 1996, and they’ve never bested themselves.


Super Mario 64 is the Best Mario Game Ever.

Hey thanks for reading why Super Mario 64 is the best Mario game ever made! Be sure to check out Andy’s argument, then let us know what you think! Do I get the Star or does he? Sound off in our poll below!

Join the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s