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Super Mario 64. And to take it one step further, I'd argue this is the most revolutionary title in the entire industry's history.

- This game would play pivotal role in the creation of the N64 controller...which may not seem like much until you realize just how revolutionary this controller was. For instance, if you were to pull up an image of an SNES/Sega Saturn/PS1 controller and put it side-by-side with that of the N64, there are two features which would stick out immediately: (i) Analogue stick, (ii) C-buttons. (Though the latter may not seem as big, the former certainly was groundbreaking for its time.)

- This title laid the foundation for how game devs should *correctly* approach creating 3D experiences. Referencing my previous point, analogue controls provided the alternative to tank control, and the C-buttons/"R"-button gave players an important layer of control over the camera ("R" button can be used for recalibrating the camera behind your character, whereas the C-buttons may provide the player with different perspectives). And looking beyond just the controller, there were many design choices such as equipped the character with a shadows (as a means to assist with depth perception) which would debut with the launch of Mario 64.

- This title single-handedly gave birth to what is generally considered the "Golden Age of 3D Platforms and Collect-a-thons". Examples of this can be seen with Banjo Kazooie, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Conker, (later) Rachel & Clank, etc etc.

- Mario would be see the introduction of a wide variety of new movement options: (i) Ground pound, (ii) dive, (iii) triple jump, (iv) wall jump, (v) long jump, (vi) side jump, (viii) etc etc. No other 3D nor 2D title has ever re-constructed the movement of Mario in such a wide-reaching manner.

- It would be with this title in which Mario would break free from linear progression for the first time, embracing a more “sandbox” sort of style. (Though far less notable than the prior points, it is certainly still worth mentioning.)

…And I could certainly keep on going, though I think my argument should be understood by now. Though SM64 may not be my favorite game of all time (as much as I do love it, there certainly exist far better experiences), it was a monumental feat for its time.

Last edited by firebush03 - on 28 May 2024