Last week, my good friend Mark invited me over in an attempt to recapture an old feeling for what may have been the last time. Mark is probably the only friend I have who appreciates retro gaming, and he is moving away in just a matter of weeks. I have no doubt that we’ll see each other on rare occasion, but the opportunity for couch co-op will be exceedingly scarce.
I definitely had this notion of finality in the back of my mind as we were trying to decide what to play. The game would need to be a guaranteed good time, something worthy of this unspoken last hurrah. We we eventually settled on Super Mario World, which I’d never played to completion.
We had a blast.
We played our turns in succession, finding secrets and defeating Koopa Kids. It was really cool to take a break from the attempted hyper-realism of modern games to play a classic game that still holds up after almost 25 years. There was never a moment that we would have wished for 3D graphics or cinematic camera angles or explosions or novel-quality story—even though we certainly do enjoy those things. Super Mario World presents everything that we needed for an enjoyable afternoon, with iconic art direction and flawlessly implemented mechanics reigning supreme.
It took us a few hours, but we earned a fair-fought victory over Bowser. We cheered.
I think we do adult souls a favor when we take a little time to chase after something that makes us feel young. Even though I never had a SNES when I was a kid, Super Mario World evoked a child-like sense of wonder that is all-too-rare in my life. Though, I may find that my work week is hectic, the simple pleasure of a retro game is fresh on my mind. I think that is a wonderful thing.