Noa Kosanovic,N64 Clear Blue with Super Mario 64, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Super Mario 64 Retrospective

Image: Noa Kosanovic, N64 Clear Blue with Super Mario 64, via Wikimedia Commons

Super Mario 64: When Super Mario entered the third dimension. Super Mario 64 is one reason why the Nintendo 64 was a success.

1990: A small plumber with mustache and red hat became the symbol for Nintendo. Super Mario had already presented the 2D jump ‘n’ run to the masses. With the release of Nintendos first 3D console, he entered the third dimension.

1996: Nintendo releases its first 3D graphics optimized game console: The Nintendo 64. With him came Super Mario 64 and became a mega success for Nintendo with a total of almost 12 million cartridges sold. It is still a genre-defining game 25 years later and it stays timeless with its lively community. With Super Mario 64 Nintendo has made a completely new way of playing suitable for the masses. If we jumped and ran through a level in a maximum of eight directions beforehand, we got a finer control in Super Mario 64. This was possible by the analog stick. A technique that has rarely not been used since the times of the arcade gaming halls.

Pioneer of analog stick

Thanks to the analog stick, Mario was able to move in all possible directions as early as 1996 and explore colorful and imaginative 3D worlds in this way. They are full of secrets, puzzles and characters known from past Mario games. Whether we climbed a steep hill in Bob-Omb’s Bomenberg and avoided metal balls, chased fish and shells in the pirate bay panic or tested our jumping skills in rainbow frenzy: Mario 64 was a exciting challenge.

One of the biggest challenges: to get the completely new and very precise control of our character under control at the time and not to lose track of it. The team led by Mario inventor Shigeru Miyamoto did its best to make the camera angles on Mario as clear as possible. It was not always perfect, especially since no other jump ‘n’ run, not even the recently released 3D game Crash Bandicoot, offered so much freedom of movement.

In the beginning, most people struggled with it. It was simply unusual to let Mario run in 360 degrees and all directions and jump. This new freedom alone also created fascination among young and now older fans of the Mario games.

Mario 64 in 2023

Super Mario 64 set new standards for three-dimensional jump ‘n’ runs and adventure games with his then enormously innovative ideas. Some of them are still used today. Perhaps the greatest legacy: control with the analog stick, which is an integral part of consoles in 2023.