Super Mario 64 — 1Q2016 issue

Mario’s great­est evolution

Most of the gam­ing world would agree that Super Mario 64 is one of the great­est games of all time. I would agree also except for two things: First, the game gives me a tremen­dous headache after about 10 min­utes of play; and, sec­ond, I’m not like most peo­ple.
See, where I have a prob­lem with Mario 64 is where most peo­ple don’t have a prob­lem. Don’t get me wrong; I love the leap for­ward that presents itself as soon as you boot up the game for the first time. I was — and still am — in awe of the won­der­ment that is see­ing Mario in 3D after play­ing 2D Mario games for the major­ity of my gam­ing career. How­ever, I’m not in con­cert with the idea that it’s one of the great­est games of all time. Why? Just because it was the first to fully real­ize a for­merly 2D char­ac­ter in 3D splen­dor? Because it’s Mario and just because it’s Mario?
No, I can’t form my opin­ion or even include the game in the con­ver­sa­tion of great­est game of all time just because of any of those things. There has to be some valid rea­son­ing and while there are some great points for it, I’m not sold 100 per­cent.
Mario 64, graph­i­cally, is steps ahead of almost every­thing for the Nin­tendo 64. Note that I said almost.
Most games don’t hold a can­dle to Mario in fully real­ized 3D and, even with his polyg­o­nal block style as with most early N64 games, Mario still looks like a king. Peach’s Palace is inter­est­ingly laid out and the graph­i­cal qual­ity of the cas­tle still blows away the com­pe­ti­tion 20 years later. Watch­ing Mario run around, run and jump and be Mario but in a non-2D sprite is pure heaven for Mario lovers like myself.
But there’s that block­i­ness that I men­tioned before. It’s obvi­ous through­out and can be jar­ring from time to time. And for motion sick­ness suf­fer­ers like myself, the 3D is nigh unbear­able. It’s all I can do not to vomit after 20 min­utes, so my play­time is imme­di­ately lim­ited because of the visu­als. I should not be want­ing to vomit after play­ing a Mario game.
The sound­track makes up for the illness-inducing game­play. The sound­track is fan­tas­tic and it’s wor­thy of a main­line Mario game, eas­ily. From run­ning around in the plains of Bob-omb Bat­tle­field to tra­vers­ing numer­ous obsta­cles to take on the King of the Koopas, Mario 64 is a dream come true in terms of audio plea­sure.
And, this is, after all, the first com­mer­cial game where Mario actu­ally speaks. It’s a joy to hear him squeal and squawk for the first time as he explores the var­i­ous worlds.
With all of my neg­a­tive sen­ti­ments about the leap from 2D to 3D for Mario, I still appre­ci­ate the mas­ter­piece that is Mario 64. Ground­break­ing and simul­ta­ne­ously frus­trat­ing?
Yes. But it’s frus­tra­tion worth hav­ing even if it takes a tum­ble down my list of great­est games ever.