If there was one game I played to death as much as Tetris in the 90s it was Super Mario Land. Here's a few reasons why.
Fo for many Tetris was the killer app of the 90s. Battery draining frustration of a game that kept you coming back for more. But there was one game that stood out for better reasons.
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For starters the soundtrack was totally epic. You have to remember this is over 25 years old now and games (especially handheld) were pretty basic. Let alone the graphics (which we will come onto) the sound was repetitive and also non eventful for handheld play. Super Mario Land changed all that for me. Not only was the opening track fun, upbeat and exciting it changed from levels to match the content of the play. It felt so immersive with this kind of sound experience.
Then there were the characters and graphics. Nintendo had truly cut it's teeth with the NES by now and it's work was done to set up such a classy game as Super Mario World. Mario is beautifully drawn in monochrome pixels as are the bad guys. The boss scenes with their mini cut scenes make it a joy to play too.
This was a key launch title for Nintendo and as much as Tetris sold the Game Boy with it packaged up. Super Mario World got gamers hooked and coming back for more. Super Mario 2: 6 Golden Coins is another classic in the range on the Game Boy too. But for me this first title has a golden age feel to it. It's like Mario found his way onto the monochrome world of handheld play. It's a little bit like watching Star Wars this game for me. I know I've seen it hundreds of times but I also find new things going through it and I will never tire of it. Such great memories as a teen - I had of the time playing this. The perfect chilllout game.