Super Mario 64

The transition from 2D game design to 3D wasn’t easy on many
developers. From Lemmings and Street Fighter to Sonic and so many
others, awkward transitions to the third dimension were a mainstay
of Nineties gaming. But if you were a Nintendo fan, you probably
didn’t notice that. When everyone else was struggling to fi nd their
feet, Nintendo strode confi dently into a new generation to show other
developers how it was done. Super Mario 64 wasn’t just a good game
or even a great game, it was a masterpiece of 3D platform game design
that went unsurpassed for a whole generation.
Instead of trying to directly port the largely linear stages that worked
in 2D Mario, Nintendo designed the game around open 3D spaces with
no fi xed end point. Each stage offers a variety of objectives to ensure
that players explore every nook and cranny, from battles and coin hunts
to races and puzzles. The game is packed with memorable moments,
from little touches like jumping into rippling paintings to big set-pieces
like swimming with the manta ray. There are no rose-tinted glasses here
– Super Mario 64 is the essence of its genre, distilled into a single game.

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