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20 things we still love about Super Mario World 20 years later

Banzai Bill

Bullet Bills were the bane of Mario’s existence for years, what with their straight shots and angry faces, but players were in for a bigger surprise when they started up Super Mario World. They were quickly and violently introduced to Banzai Bill, the screen-filling nemesis that you were better off dodging than fighting. It was a memorable visual and great way to show off the new system’s power.

P-Balloons

The “P” in “P-Balloon” allegedly stands for power, though the power that Mario is bestowed is quite strange. Unlike the P-Wing of Mario 3, which basically let you skip a stage by flying to the end, the P-Balloon inflated Mario for a brief time, as he lazily drifted through the level. Perhaps it wasn’t the most useful thing Mario ever found, but we appreciate its uniqueness.

Baby Yoshis

Yoshi on his own is cute enough, but what about when one has just hatched out of the egg? With his sleepy, half-lidded expression, tiny potbelly and his insatiable appetite, we just want to hug that little Yoshi all day long. Sadly, they grow up so fast, usually within a minute of hatching after eating a few enemies.

Smashing Castles

After beating a boss, a thank you is nice, especially when it comes from inside an egg, but what was most fulfilling was the destruction. After dispatching with one of Bowser’s shitty kids, Mario then sent their fortress toppling down in a different way every time. These comical interludes added to the wonderfully cartoony vibe of World that Yoshi’s Island expanded upon brilliantly.

Switches

Though we enjoyed the P-Switches on their small scale in earlier Mario titles, as they revealed coins and secret exits for tantalizingly brief moments, World took them to another level. Throughout the game there were hidden, huge switches that made new, special colored blocks permanently appear throughout the game, and those blocks often lead to cleverly hidden…

Secret exits

Mario games are famous for their secrets, as seemingly every nook and cranny was hiding something special and World was no exception. Many stages had some unknown door or exit out that opened up some new path, several demanding you carry a key from one end of the stage. Thanks to the counter on the title screen, you always knew how many you’d cleared and how many of the 96 total remained.

Punching a fence

Though jumping on an enemy and crushing them to death is pretty violent when you think about it, we were stunned when we first saw Mario punch a Koopa in World. Sure, he was really hitting the turtle through a fence to knock off his enemy, but it was still an unexpected amount of violence from the plumber. The move is still in his arsenal, and by Mario 64 he was just punching his enemies outright.

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34 comments

  • GameManiac - September 5, 2011 10:02 p.m.

    @Japanaman LOL "PlayStation buttons" I remember borrowing my friends GBA and version of SMW. I had a blast playing through it. I hope this becomes an eventual downloadable game through the Nintendo eShop.
  • Japanaman - September 5, 2011 4:24 p.m.

    Ahh, Magikoopa. How you tried to kill Mario with PlayStation buttons. Didn't work.
  • Zeb364 - September 5, 2011 1:08 p.m.

    I love when GR lets their editors write an article like this where they can just gush over how much they love a specific game or franchise. Their sincere passion for it really shows. Great article Hank, this is why you're the King of Mario Town.
  • rxb - September 4, 2011 4:08 p.m.

    Sorry to be a cliche but Im another 'cant put into words how much I love this game' gamer. Some parts were bastard hard but it was always fun. Gnarly on special world is a level people wont forget anytime soon. Good pick Hank
  • super0sonic - September 4, 2011 1:45 a.m.

    SMW is the greatest game ever I think. I own it on SNES, GBA, and Wii. I have played it on every PC I have owned and even my Dreamcast. And if it shows up in the 3DS store I will buy it. That said If they release a Ver of SMW that is 3D like Excitebike was I WILL pay $100 on the spot for that.
  • CanadianBeaverHunter - September 3, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    Pretty close to platforming perfection.
  • FanofSaiyan - September 3, 2011 11:35 a.m.

    I remember playing SMW on my SNES. I'm sad that I never discovered all of the hidden exits and levels. I did however manage to beat Bowser with the help of the Star Road.
  • Sjoeki - September 3, 2011 11:25 a.m.

    Wasn't it mario 2 (for america and europe) where you could pick up and throw stuff?
  • dmaster225 - September 3, 2011 11:07 a.m.

    I'm kinda surprised they didn't mention the SPECIAL world that comes up when you beat the star world, those levels were the hardest in the game. If you could beat the SPECIAL world the world map would change color.
  • Zudeo - September 3, 2011 5:18 p.m.

    SPECIAL world was the best kept secret in Super Mario World. Also, you saw that all the Koopas turned to little mustached school "children". I never did find a way to change the colors back though...
  • tntbandicoot - September 3, 2011 8:55 a.m.

    Was and Still my best NES game!Still my best NES game!
  • Shadow Of Death - September 3, 2011 7:20 a.m.

    I played this game to death when I had my SNES. I did all the above in it. Super Mario World and Megaman X were my most played games at the time. I don't think the hours played was surpassed until I got Final Fantasy X, or maybe not even until I got Disgaea: Hour of Darkness!
  • shawksta - September 3, 2011 3:14 a.m.

    SWM was definitly a title no one will forget, it was awesome,challenging and most of all fun! While we are getting Yoshis island and SMB 3, I really hope SMW is one of the free gba games for 3DS ambadsadors.
  • jmcgrotty - September 3, 2011 2:46 a.m.

    *bangs his head out of frustration on the grapes he is eating* "As we’ve shouted from our lawn many times before, kids today don’t know how good they have it." NO! No No No No! Kids today don't have it good. the flood of autosaves and routine save points is a black mark on the industry, basically just dumbing down games for todays players (I mean, come on. Anymore, the general formula of playing a game is 1) play game. 2) save. 3) fight. 4a) If you die or use too many items, restore last save. 4b) if you win the fight, run back 2 screens and save again at that save point you just passed. Can't lose the positive results from even just 1 kill. God forbid that you have to kill 5 enemies in order to get back to where you died, rather than it being just the most recent save. They've sacrificed actual challenge in gameplay just to beg lesser players to play (Yep, the fun buzzword of the industry today, "Casual gamer," started long before the Revolution). Jucienpancakes, you said you still need to beat it twice a year or something. That isn't really saying much. Beating the game twice would just take up like 22 minutes of your life. (OK, that was grossly exaggerated).
  • Hauntor - September 2, 2011 11:19 p.m.

    The GBA version is like 2 feet from me. NOW I MUST PLAY IT.
  • Thequestion 121 - September 2, 2011 10:43 p.m.

    Just an utterly perfect game, it's still one of my favorite Mario games :)
  • Redeater - September 2, 2011 8:35 p.m.

    Hmm. Maybe I missed it but one of the things I loved about this game was the ability to take multiple exits on a level. Damn you Forest of Illusion! I spent a long time trying to star this game when I found out that damn ghost house has 2 of the same exits!

Showing 1-20 of 34 comments

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