The Top 7… bitchin' fireworks displays

Every Fourth of July, Americans proudly celebrate the casting-off of British oppression by doing what we do best: staring at explosions. And with Independence Day just around the corner and an entire country gearing up to gaze skyward (or at your front lawns, if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with no fireworks laws) in slack-jawed wonder, it seems as good a time as any to look back at some of the more spectacular and memorable times that videogames have used big, colorful firebursts to kickass effect.

7. Super Mario Bros.

The fireworks that accompanied end-of-level victories in the SMB series over the years have never been all that spectacular, but they were certainly memorable. What child of the ‘80s didn’t get a thrill when the sky lit up after a particularly stellar finish? Never mind that the explosions were actually tied to the last digit on the level timer – it always felt like a reward for extraordinary awesomeness, even if you weren’t sure you’d done anything all that awesome. And even if the “fireworks” were just little round explosions that sounded like a dog barking underwater.

Above: The coolest thing ever, circa 1985 

While still round, the fireworks got a little snazzier when Super Mario All-Stars came to the SNES a few years later…

And returned once again, more explosively, when New Super Mario Bros. revived the franchise on DS:

And while they’re not quite the same, it wouldn’t be right to completely leave out the fireworks display at the end of Super Mario World, which was pretty much the height of videogame romance, circa 1991:

Above: It was also arguably the height of the romance between Mario and Peach, who since then seem to have settled into either a cartoonishly chaste friendship or a bizarre love triangle with an occasionally gigantic turtle-dragon with anger issues


Top 7

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  • KA800M - July 23, 2009 2:49 a.m.

    I know it's an MMO but what about the FFXI fireworks. Not only the even with the goldfish scooping but also the alchemy ones you can make.
  • gatornation1254 - July 8, 2009 10:23 p.m.

    Is it bad I've never played FFVII.
  • Vanguard3321 - July 4, 2009 12:56 a.m.

    Ahhh Chrono Trigger, definitly one of my favorite games, even though I can't beat Lavos. :[
  • TheWebSwinger - July 3, 2009 8:39 p.m.

    Mikel, your screenshots are too actual. Scale it back, buddy. Also, +10 cool points for remembering/referencing Lisa Frank.
  • saintpatrick - July 2, 2009 7:35 p.m.

    what about any of the civilization games and "we love the king" day?!
  • idunno - July 2, 2009 12:05 a.m.

    Woo Boom Boom Rocket! Way batter than any Guitar Hero or DDR.
  • Super bob 36 - July 1, 2009 2:16 p.m.

    Alright! Pyros of the world unite! Great article, guys.
  • Phazon117 - June 30, 2009 8:57 p.m.

    Ooh, I knew Boom Boom Rocket had to be on here!
  • AmazingKG3 - June 30, 2009 7:48 p.m.

    could you count geometry wars? thats not really fireworks as it is exploding shapes. good article
  • secretsearcher - June 30, 2009 5:23 p.m.

    Great article. Because everyone knows that fireworks are the only true way to celebrate Independence Day.
  • deathrebellion - June 30, 2009 4:28 p.m.

    gr8 one Mario bros wuz one of d 1st games dat popped into my head. i'm feeling really left out cuz i never played FF7 :((
  • Darthwaluigi - June 30, 2009 2:50 p.m.

    Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars! You actually control how many and what types of fireworks play at the end of this epic RPG by buying them from a Monty Mole in Moleville! I saw this article and I immediatly thought it would be on there... :[
  • iluvmyDS - June 30, 2009 2:39 p.m.

    You guys sure love that Chrono Trigger. As do I. Great Top 7 Wikiparaz.
  • ChrisAntistaSmellsLikePizza - June 30, 2009 7:15 a.m.

    cool, I wansn't expecting this as the top 7, but it was still awesome.
  • lovinmyps3 - June 30, 2009 6:23 a.m.

    @108796a "Learn to spell" haha.
  • 108796a - June 30, 2009 5:01 a.m.

    godammit y r u guys talkin about fireworks!? talk about something cool like a bloody head being decapacitated and torched with a chainsaw and a fucking grenade. now THAT would be awesome!
  • offthechart43 - June 30, 2009 4:57 a.m.

    I won't lie, I am extremely disappointed not to see Dolphin Olympics 2 on here. It is easily the number 1 game of all time and receives little to no recognition. Can i get a Hoo-Ra from everyone who agrees?
  • Harmon20 - June 30, 2009 3:51 a.m.

    this reminds me of the time when I went to the national jamboree in Boy Scouts. As we were driving into Virginia, we saw a store called "Horney's Fireworks". And on that store was a banner that said, "welcome Boy Scouts!". Yeah, they knew we were the biggest pyros...
  • SlightlyBetterName - June 30, 2009 3:15 a.m.

    You did the best you could with a kinda crappy top 7 Mikel and for that, I applaud you.
  • davidthebowie - June 30, 2009 2:23 a.m.

    A great original list. I would love to see someone make an Appalachian Region fireworks simulation game. You could control a redneck in his quest to purchase and light off various fireworks. It would be great.