This is a continuing series. As I am rapidly “growing up” I find less and less time to play video games, so I’m celebrating my top ten favorites over a lifetime of playing and the impacts that games have had on me. See number 9
NUMBER 8: Yoshi’s Island (Super Nintendo)
What history of video games is complete without a Mario title? While I enjoyed the All Star collection and World as a kid, the game that really stood out to me was Yoshi’s Island. The abnormal design and color palettes make it look like a kid’s coloring book come to life. It’s a highly unique game in the Mario universe and I can’t help but like it.
Playable mechanics are a must in video games. Yoshi’s Island had a fair bit going on, but the concepts remained the same. Make eggs out of enemies, throw those eggs at targets, ground pound, hover, and don’t let Mario get knocked off your back. The levels changed to challenge you in new ways, but the core mechanics never altered from their simplicity. It was simple, but didn’t hold your hand. And how many games accidentally teach you geometry (ricochet for the win).
One of the most standout features is a truly epic final boss. Baby Bowser grows so bit that it adds a third dimension to the game, the boss marching towards you on the horizon. The cutesy, bouncy music suddenly switches to an electric guitar shred fest the likes of which you’d find in Final Fantasy. (Click here to hear yourself). Bowser throws debris and fireballs at you while trying to crush you underfoot. And during this, the game throws a whole new mechanic at you: depth. You used to throw eggs left and right, but now you have to think about distance and the curvature of the toss (seriously, geometry). That’s a prime final boss: new, yet familiar mechanics, great music, and upping the ante.
This was the game that made me a completionist. It was the first game where I was able and encouraged to get 100%. There weren’t a thousand off-screen secrets, you just had to collect this and that. Again, simple but not necessarily easy. And it rewarded you with new challenge levels and secret bonus rooms. After this, I began trying to get 100% in all my games and I still do to an extent.
So Yoshi’s Island is an exciting little game that’s simple but not too simple, a lot of fun to play, contains plenty of secrets, and ends on a high notes. It kills me that this game has not been rereleased on the Wii like so many other old Mario games. I hope they change that soon because my Super Nintendo won’t last forever, and this was one of the best games on that system.
Except for when Baby Mario cried. Banshees cover their ears when he cries.
QUESTION: What was YOUR favorite Mario game? Galaxy? RPG? Party? Tennis? Something else?