In this series of 30 daily articles celebrating the upcoming 30th Anniversary of Super Mario, various members of the Nintendo Life extended family will share their memories and thoughts on the iconic franchise. Next up is reviewer Jonathan Town.
Looking back now, I realise that growing up in Wakefield (West Yorkshire, England) was a blessing; there was a really great import scene, some fantastic arcades and me and my mates thought nothing of having the latest Japanese games. This was back in the days of huge delays between NTSC and PAL releases and when 60hz actually mattered. It made me the man I am today and fostered a love for fine Japanese cover art.
During this time I used to frequent a local 'Computer Club' once a week, which was bizarrely hosted inside a church. People would turn up from miles around, hauling consoles and huge CRT televisions into a tiny little hall. Computer Club also became the place to check out the latest imports, too; attendees would bring along such delights as Neo Geo and PC Engine consoles, plus there were plenty of sweets to eat.
Super Mario World was one of the games we used to play an awful lot; a few folk had the Japanese import version and many hours were spent figuring out the secret exit to Cheese Bridge or discussing how awesome the honky-tonk piano music sounded. After about six months of spending every Sunday afternoon resetting the save file and speed-running for 96 exits, word on the street was this guy Mick had acquired a brand new Mario game. Not only that, he would be bringing it along to Computer Club that very week!
Bear in mind that this was before the days of internet knowledge; most gaming related news travelled by mouth and it was easy to have the wool pulled over your eyes. It was pretty common to hear a kid claiming to have Sonic on his SNES because his Dad's brother worked in China with Mr. Nintendo. So we were excited, but also a little dubious. Besides, how could Nintendo ever top Super Mario World?
I can clearly remember the crushing disappointment of discovering the 'new' Mario game was, in fact, Super Mario Bros. 3 on NES. The PAL (and therefore 50hz) version. See, here in the UK, Mario 3 was released AFTER Super Mario World came out in Japan. There was immediate confusion caused by the newest Mario game being on an older console and with worse graphics – until we realised that we had been living in the future for half a year and the UK was only just beginning to catch-up.
So for me, I will always associate Mario 3 as the sequel to Mario World. To this day, it remains the only Mario game (in the main series) that I haven't completed; as a child, I dismissed it due to already owning Super Mario World (I know, I'm a fool, but I was young). One day I will make amends, but for now - Super Mario Bros. 3: I'm sorry, but you arrived a little too late.