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.


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.


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.


  • chrisat928 - September 2, 2011 4:04 p.m.

    20 years ago? Christ I'm old.
  • DecoyOctorok - September 2, 2011 4:55 p.m.

    I was 7 when the SNES was released and my nostalgia meter is off the charts right now after looking at those images from the game manual. Except for the Dreamcast, no console has ever wowed me in the way that the SNES did. The graphics were just such a huge jump up from the NES. It's amazing how much the games industry has changed since those days.
  • DryvBy - September 2, 2011 4:13 p.m.

    Ugh, same here. I remember when this came out and when I beat it. Why can't my memory remember last night?
  • MaynardJ - September 2, 2011 4:29 p.m.

    Wait a sec... there was a vertical throw?? Back in the day I borrowed this from a friend without the manual. I beat Bowser by flying up with the cape. and tossing the downed enemy at him at the exact right time while coming down. It took me ages, and I could have saved a lot of trouble just knowing about this move. Also, I don't think I knew about punching through fences and how to properly fly using the cape either. I have to play this again SOON!
  • tomthespesh - September 2, 2011 4:45 p.m.

    Dammit this is the only Mario Game I haven't played in my 19 years on this planet. I had a NES but went straight to the N64, I feel a trip to the virtual console might be in order...
  • lilspooky - September 2, 2011 4:48 p.m.

    Super Mario World is still my Fav Mario game. 20 years! Damn it, im old!
  • MonocledYaoGuai - September 2, 2011 4:53 p.m.

    Mario World is still my favorite Mario game of all time. Awesome article!
  • gondarpwns - September 2, 2011 4:57 p.m.

    Man now ima go play my SMW rom
  • CitizenWolfie - September 2, 2011 5:08 p.m.

    This was my first ever console game and the first I ever finished 100%. Or *96'd at least. I cannot describe how much this game means to me.
  • CitizenWolfie - September 2, 2011 5:24 p.m.

    Oh by the way GR, you do realise you can complete SMW with only one castle and Bowser's castle finished? Thank you Star World!
  • juicenpancakes - September 2, 2011 5:38 p.m.

    Truly one of my top five all-time favorite games, I have to beat it at least twice a year. It's genuinely as great now as the day it came out.
  • D0CCON - September 2, 2011 5:54 p.m.

    I played a GBA port of this. I remember liking it a lot. I also remember hating Magikoopa, so I can't agree to everything on this list.
  • 510BrotherPanda - September 2, 2011 8:09 p.m.

    1. The word "Macikoopa" is misspelled in the Magikoopa entry. 2. The music in the Ghost Houses would sometimes slow to a crawl because of the Boos; Brett pointed out that the SNES sometimes couldn't handle the extra stuff, like in Star Fox. 3. Even after all these years, I have NEVER betrayed Yoshi; I always died with him.
  • 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!
  • Thequestion 121 - September 2, 2011 10:43 p.m.

    Just an utterly perfect game, it's still one of my favorite Mario games :)
  • Hauntor - September 2, 2011 11:19 p.m.

    The GBA version is like 2 feet from me. NOW I MUST PLAY IT.
  • 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).
  • 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.

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