Favourite Mario World

  • Mario is a somewhat unique franchise in gaming in that it's been around so long and has always been so child-friendly that every generation since 1985 has grown up with him in different ways. I provide this precursor because I feel like Mario is nostalgic for everybody but in different ways and from different iterations. And, since we tend to value things that make us nostalgic very highly, I'm curious to find out not just what Mario worlds we all love but why.

    The 2D games tend to have a collection of levels within a world while the 3D games tend to have each level be a large (ish) world on their own. With that established, what are your favourite Mario Worlds (in before "Super Mario World")?

  • Your phrasing is a little confusing to me; are we talking like the world the levels take place in, as in 'Mario 3's world with Giant World and Sky world, etc as a collective bunch' , or were you thinking more specifically like our favorite areas from those games as in 'Giant World from Mario 3 is the best world'?

    Were you also hoping for things specifically from the games before Super Mario World, and just focus on the 2D games, or were the 3D games and post-SNES 2D games also up for consideration?

  • Super Mario Bros. 3: Giant Land - This is where you always wanted to get to. Interest waned shortly after. Giant goombas, giant koopas and the adorable giant hammer bros.

    Super Mario 64: Castle Gardens - Bit of a cheat here as it's not a full level but I'm counting it; explanation to follow. I don't particularly like the Beatles but I've always said I respect how big of a movement they were. I just felt like they were something you had to have been there for to fully get and appreciate. This is how I also feel about Super Mario 64 and the first time you took control of Mario in the Castle Gardens. You were taking Mario's very first steps in 3D and it's hard to name a more significant moment in gaming than that.

    Super Mario Odyssey: Cascade Kingdom - It's weird to me that a game from 2017 can already bring back nostalgia but seeing this level for the first made me so giddy. No more platforming on sphere or ridiculous waggle. I finally had my kind of 3D Mario back. And I could be a dinosaur. I can't say if I prefer this, Wooded Kingdom or Metro Kingdom but Cascade will always be the first image I have when somebody mentions this amazing (though bloated) game.

    Upon review, it's actually surprising to me that I don't have anything from Super Mario World as that's generally tied with 64 for my favourite Mario game. Time to rethink life again. I also may revisit this after playing 3D All-Stars.

  • idk if this is what you had in mind, but my favorite setting in Mario games remains the Train Mystery in Thousand Year Door.

  • @bard91 keep meaning to break that game out and finally give it a shot. Thanks!

  • Mario 3 has some really awesome areas. The last level, World 8, has some of my favorite zones though which was when you had to battle your way past all the Koopa tanks. It was always a really difficult level to get past without the P-Wing, but I loved how intimidating it is, and the sort of world-building that Bowser had this whole army. As a kid we always just called the area Hell.

    Super Mario World's Forest of Illusion is a standout for me, even though I love all the sections in that game. I got stuck on the area for a long time when I was younger because you could only progress with secret paths. But I think it's a really awesome set of levels that break up the pace of the previous places, and really make you feel lost when you don't know how to beat the levels.

    Mario Land 2 on GameBoy gets so overlooked. It has such cool zones, and they're all themed in interesting ways. Space Zone in particular was always so cool to me because you get to jump around in space as Mario in a space suit. The gravity is all wonky and floaty, but it was a really awesome place in the game that added to the feeling like you were exploring all sorts of different locations on an adventure.

    Mario 64's Bob-omb Battlefield is immediately just an incredible area to me. I haven't actually played the full game, but I would jump into this level at friends' houses, and it always felt so full of ideas and possibilities. There are so many places to explore and things to do, and it's just a big impressive showoff of a level that begs you to run around and see what you can find.

    Off the top of my head, in recent memory, Mario Odyssey's Bowser's Kingdom was definitely my favorite from that game, although that game has so many memorable levels. Not only is it just an incredible level from a standpoint of infiltrating the fortress in this awesome Feudal Japanese castle, it also has the Pokio, which I would play an entire game of all on its own because its so fun to play as.

  • Isle Delfino.

  • Let me start with an unconventional answer. Grew up with the original SMB (plus Duck Hunt), and I've always been fond of World 3, the Dark Night World. In a weird way, it is probably where my love for nightscapes overall started, but the pleasing aesthetic surprisingly isn't all it has going for it. Let's take a quick deep dive that I'm sure will be neither.

    Here is a shot from 3-1. Immediately the World stands out from the rest with a stark contrast, like someone suddenly enabled Dark Mode on the Mushroom Kingdom. Beyond that though, there's those cute little white decorations. Are they streetlights, like I've always seen them since I was a kid? Maybe they're just white mushrooms / bushes / trees? Maybe some kind of combination of both? No matter what it is supposed to be, it is a slick look. I especially appreciate this cute little ornamental bridge section shown below.

    Oh, it was supposed to be snow, well if you believe bizzaro ALLternate Universes that is. It isn't slippery like a later level in SMB that clearly was meant to use the aesthetic as snow though, so I'll stick with my own dreamier headcanon, tyvm.

    0_1600229056269_All Stars 3-1.jpg

    So moving onto 3-2 and combining that with the 3-1 level we played before it, besides just being Night World, the gameplay theme of this world seems to be long stretches void of the usual volume of instant death pits with waves of enemies to platform over, kick Koopa Shells into for a 1-up chain if you're skilled enough, or plow through with a Star Powerup. What's great about all this is that there's not many obstacles to naturally break up the flow, so you can speed right through like Sonic and really bing bing wahoo all over the place recklessly. Strangely, World 2 seems much harder than World 3 imo.


    However when you get to 3-3 you do have to pump the brakes a little. You still have a nice nightscape, but it is a much more avoid the death pits focused level. Not the first level of this kind, but it does have these platforms attached to pulley systems, where you have to weigh one down to raise the other to use as a platform to continue. They're pretty fun mechanically, and thankfully the level itself is still pretty open to where if you're a madman you can zip through pretty quick, only really having to momentarily stop to weigh the platforms.


    Unfortunately, I don't have much to say for 3-4. Just ends up being an extremely straight forward castle, again making me wonder if Worlds 2 and 3 got swapped during development. Shame they couldn't invert the lighting here or dim everything somehow to fit the theme of the rest of the world, since it just looks like the other castle levels pretty much. I do enjoy this one set of inverted firebars following two other sets traveling the other direction, because I feel like you often get a cinematic near hit jump like shown below if you're rushing through. Just don't jump right into the lava.


    So that's basically it. Nothing super complicated, being an early world, but that's part of what makes it fun to play. I imagine most people just warp pipe past this whole world every time they play, because ignoring large portions of a game's content to win faster is somehow preferred, but maybe next time if you're feeling like taking the scenic route, well you can skip over World 2, because World 2 kind of sucks, but don't skip all the way to World 4 and instead soak in some of the night vibes World 3 has to offer!

  • @mbun I'd love to sit next to you on a couch and just chat about each world in Mario World as they come by.

  • @happygaming Aint no sitting together in these Covid times, but maybe eventually I can work to a Mario World post for my favorite section of that. There's lots of others I'd much rather go into before anything from World though. Always been more in the 3 camp overall, and some of those worlds I both could and already elsewhere on this forum have gushed over in small part.

    We'll see how long this topic stays active. No promises.

  • @happygaming Forest of Illusion music is just the best. I also still get lost every time I play SMW.