When I was a child, the first video game system I owned was a Nintendo 64. Among the games I played was Super Mario 64. I played it all the time and when I wasn’t playing it, I was lying on the floor watching my younger brother play it.
Mario 64 is one of my favorite games and it started an intense love for Nintendo that remains to this day.
My favorite part was the freedom the game gave you. Jumping into levels to find the stars in any order you wanted, that’s what made it so special. It was one of the first games I played all the way through, of course, with help from my Dad.
Over the years, I experienced many more adventures with Mario. I started playing Super Mario Sunshine after I found a Gamecube at a garage sale with my Dad. Essentially, it was Mario 64 again, but this time you had a water jetpack and explored an island town plagued by paint creatures. The updated graphics, new location, and ability to fly high up in the air with your jetpack made this game a blast to play.
In 2006, Nintendo released the Wii and I woke up early in the morning with my Dad and my brother to wait in line on release day to pick up our console. The next year, “Super Mario Galaxy,” was released and of course we had to get it. Flying through space and jumping to different planets felt amazing and brought back the same euphoric sensation I got from Mario Sunshine and Mario 64 before that.
A few years ago, before I left for college, I got the nostalgic craving to return to Peach’s castle for another battle with Bowser in Mario 64 again. After setting up our old N64, I looked everywhere and couldn’t find our copy of the game. It was gone and the only copies left were sold for small fortunes on eBay. It was so disheartening. I thought I would never be able to experience those memories again.
When I’d finally given up the shred of hope that my craving for Mario 64 would ever be quenched, about a month ago, something incredible happened. To celebrate Mario’s 35th anniversary, Nintendo released a 3-D Mario bundle for the Switch. Super Mario 3-D All-Stars includes, in my opinion, potentially three of the best Mario games of all time: Mario 64, Mario Sunshine and Mario Galaxy.
Playing through the bundle today was like paying a visit to my childhood. While the games were only ported over with slightly improved graphics, it didn’t matter to me. In my mind, I was back in my childhood bedroom watching Mario run and jump around on his adventures once again and peace was restored in the world.
Re-experiencing these games again for the first time in around a decade was exactly the comforting gaming experience I and every Nintendo fan needs to improve their existence in 2020. The nostalgia pack is something to help us escape, even if only for a moment, back to the days when it was just you and Mario trying to collect all 120 stars together.