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This post is part of the 12 Days of Geekmas.  Check out the concept here, and let NerdyAlerty’s blog feed your eyeballs as well!

….oh man, what can be said about this subject that hasn’t been said already?

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“We’ve heard it all-a before!”

This is literally childhood.  I cut my teeth on gaming with the Atari 2600 and titles like Night Driver and Missile Command (complete with introductory cassette tape…thing!)  …but this?  This is were gaming really just exploded for me.

There was nothing like it in games to that point.  The Atari stuff was just an exercise in futility, making you play until the eventuality of the computer moving faster than you happened.  Here, we had a finite space.  A beginning and an end.  Levels that were wholly different from each other.  A broad swath of enemies to face and adjust around.  There was literally nothing like it.

There was no context, but then, there didn’t need to be any.  The game just made you start off with the running and the squishing. And it all felt absolutely drum-tight.  Mario had a finesse of control that just wasn’t there in other games before then.

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I’m looking at you, you slippery triangle bastard.

Each game just kept getting better and better and better.  It literally feels like the series is incapable of making an awful game.  Hell, even a completely terrible entry in the series is somehow charming in a weird way.  Mario, as a classic formula–as the grandpappy of platform gaming–is without equal.

Sure, Sonic was a strong contender for a bit, offering a wholly unique spin on the style of game…but it just began to crumble when it moved on to newer tech.  Mario didn’t just embrace new consoles, it displayed what consoles could do.  It was a tech demo that played more tightly and more completely than anything on a freeware website.  There’s a reason a Mario game on a new system is a given, because he paves the way.

I can even forgive the annoying bits of Super Mario Sunshine because, man, even though F.L.O.O.D. was a sometimes aggravating mechanic addition, it completely changed the way Mario levels in a 3D space operated.

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And Mario is the only one capable of looking pretty while being mediocre.

And now we have Super Mario Maker–another absolutely mind-blowing shift in the paradigm.  Managing to tie together people’s nostalgia for the series while simultaneously letting each other torture strangers and friends alike with utterly bonkers or completely unique levels.  It’s a formula for gaming magic that can only be ruined by the ineptitude of other people.

There really isn’t a lot more that can be said about the series.  It is everlasting.  Endearing.  Engaging.  It’s classic Nintendo.  Classic gaming.  And one of the few things that can still make me feel like a child.

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