The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

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Most Overrated Games #3

Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 (N64, 1996)

Blah blah blah changed the face of gaming. Yeah, it sure did. Specifically, it changed it to a face that was all about open-world scavenger hunting dotted with stupid racing minigames. Thanks a lot, Mario 64!

Okay, let’s be fair for a minute. When Mario 64 came out, it was legitimately revolutionary. So all the praise it gets for that is, I guess, warranted. But all the praise it gets for being one of the best games ever made is, in a word, not. In two words: fucking not. And in four: fucking not, ’nuff said. I’m using 362 words, though, so I suppose I can’t just leave it at "’nuff said." Here’s the deal. Mario 64 had some good moments — specifically, the Bowser levels, when the game was about running and jumping and stomping on turtles and mushrooms. But, in between those levels, it had an awful lot of running around in huge open arenas trying to find stars. Is that what anybody bought Mario 64 to do? Run around hunting for hidden objects? Did you think you were buying Waldo 64 instead?

No. Nobody wanted that. What we wanted was something that was more about, you know, jumping than it was about trying to navigate the ice slide and staying ahead of the fat penguin. But Mario 64 just taunted us, providing us with glimpses of the gameplay we actually wanted, and then hiding it behind doors that said we needed to go play scavenger hunt 15 more times before we could go to the next fun part. When we weren’t playing scavenger hunt, we were doing even less fun things like awful flying courses and awful race courses and awful lava surfing courses and absolutely not, for any reason, jumping on any damn mushroom men.

The worst part, of course, is that ten years of 3D platformers did nothing but copy Mario 64. How lame was that? It took ten damn years before somebody finally put out a 3D platformer that was actually about platforming (which, ironically, was also a Mario game). Every Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon, Jak and Daxter, or what-have-you was just trying to be Mario 64. The bad part is that, mainly, they succeeded.


March 31st, 2010 Posted by | Most Overrated Games Ever | one comment

1 Comment »

  1. Augh, the ice slide. I hated that. I probably still would if I ever played it again. I didn’t mind the “running around the world” part so much, but that slide was aggravating.

    Comment by Nyperold | 22 April 2010

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