Possibly the first videogame I ever played, Super Mario 64 was a concept Nintendo had to create a whole new console to see realized on the screen. While I am looking at it through nostalgia-tinted eyes, Super Mario 64 puts function over form. Nintendo astutely realized Mario’s first foray into the third dimension should be a playful romp, not a narrative adventure or visually impressive spectacle. The cartoony aesthetic and joyful exclamations from our persistent plumber still make me smile 20 years after the first time I jumped around in front of Peach’s castle and I think they always will.

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