Super Mario 64 , developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64, made its debut in Japan and North America in 1996, followed by its release in PAL regions in 1997. Breaking new ground, it became the first Super Mario game to embrace 3D gameplay, introducing players to a captivating blend of classic Mario elements within an expansive open world. The game's plot revolves around Mario's mission to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of his arch-nemesis, Bowser, who has hidden the Power Stars, the castle's protective source, in magical paintings scattered throughout various worlds.
The inception of Super Mario 64 can be traced back to the development of Star Fox in 1993, when Director Shigeru Miyamoto conceived the idea of a 3D Super Mario adventure. The ambitious project took nearly three years to complete, with a significant portion dedicated to designing the virtual camera system. The development team faced the challenge of creating 3D character models, a relatively unexplored domain at the time, and honed their skills in perfecting sprite movements. Yoji Inagaki recorded the game's sound effects, while the iconic score was composed by Koji Kondo.
Super Mario 64 was one of the most highly anticipated video games, generating immense excitement among both gaming enthusiasts and journalists. The game received widespread critical acclaim, with reviewers lauding its innovative approach, stunning visuals, well-crafted levels, and engaging gameplay. However, some critics did express concerns about its virtual camera system. Nonetheless, the game's popularity soared, becoming the best-selling Nintendo 64 title, with over twelve million copies sold as of 2015.
Throughout the years, Super Mario 64 has rightfully earned its place among the greatest video games of all time. Its influence on the gaming industry has been profound, particularly within the 3D platformer genre. The dynamic camera system and 360-degree analog control established a new standard for future games, much like the impact of the original Super Mario Bros on side-scrolling platformers. The game's success led to a remake for the Nintendo DS in 2004, along with subsequent ports to other Nintendo consoles.
Super Mario 64 has cultivated a dedicated fanbase, inspiring numerous fangames and mods. Moreover, it has become a staple in the speedrunning community, where players attempt to complete the game with various challenging restrictions. One such feat, popularized by pannenkoek2012, involves beating the game without pressing the A button, requiring an in-depth understanding of the game's mechanics and glitches.
Super Mario 64 revolutionized the gaming landscape, introducing players to a groundbreaking 3D platforming experience that continues to resonate with audiences worldwide. With its iconic characters, imaginative worlds, and innovative gameplay, it remains a timeless classic and a testament to Nintendo's enduring legacy in the gaming industry.