Super Mario 64 DS

It was Christmas 2004, and me and my best friend Scott both got a Nintendo DS as gifts, along with Super Mario 64. For the next year, my friends and I had nothing else on our minds but exploring the varied and unique worlds of the game, racing against each other to collect the hidden power stars scattered throughout the game.

My friends and I would get to school an hour early just to play the game, and I would stay up late at night to continue combing all of Bowser’s Castle to uncover it’s many secrets, and ultimately rescuing the fair Princess Peach.

This poor mama penguin has been separated from her baby, and it is up to Mario to search the area for it.

As you wander the halls and rooms of Bowser’s large manor, you see paintings of incredible worlds. There is one where the inhabitants are super sized, another where they are miniature. Another is a gigantic mountain that spirals high above the clouds. And yet another is a mechanical world made up of various clocks. There are about 20 such paintings around the castle, and you eventually realize that you have to visit the worlds depicted in these paintings to rescue your princess.

Each world had seven power stars hidden in it, and it was up to you to explore every inch in every direction of each level to find them. You could play as four different characters, each with unique abilities, and you had to play as all of them to find all of the hidden power stars.

I remember my friends and I sharing all of the secrets we discovered. “Did you know that if you go into the clock world when the time says 6:00, then time is frozen?”

“But if you go in when it says 3:00, time is sped up.”

“Did you know that mirror actually reveals a hidden world?”

“No way!”

Now, maybe this game came along at the right time in my life. Maybe it is the period I have the fondest memories of in general, when I didn’t have as many responsibilities and the only things on my mind were bowling, video games, Saturday morning cartoons, and maybe homework (a little bit). Regardless, this game gave me many memories I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

I’ll never forget the night I wasn’t able to sleep, so I spent four hours messing with the water level in Wet, Dry World. I’ll never forget riding a magic carpet along a rainbow in Rainbow Ride, or finding out that I could jump across the entire level as Luigi. And I’ll never forget spending three hours with my sister playing one of the minigames together, stopping not because we lost but because our eyes were getting tired and so we quit. We probably still hold the record for the highest score in that game.

Super Mario 64 doesn’t have the greatest music. It doesn’t have impressive graphics. And it has nearly no story at all. So, my argument for why people should consider this game a work of art is purely an emotional one. But, despite all of this, I feel this game captured my imagination and curiosity like no other, and because of that should be regarded as art. The fact that the designers were able to create such fascinating, unique and clever worlds, just begging to be explored, is remarkable.

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