Super Mario World is a side-scrolling platform video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). An instalment in the Super Mario</i> series, it was first released in Japan on 21 November 1990, in North America on 13 August 1991 and in Europe on 11 April 1992. The story follows Mario's quest to save Princess Toadstool and Dinosaur Land from series antagonist Bowser and his children, the Koopalings. Gameplay is similar to previous entries in the series, with players controlling Mario or his brother Luigi through a series of levels to stop Bowser. The game also introduces Yoshi, a dinosaur who can eat enemies with his tongue.
The game was developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development, led by director Takashi Tezuka, as well as producer and series creator Shigeru Miyamoto. It is the first entry in the Super Mario series developed for the SNES, and was designed to make the most of the console's advanced features. The development team was given more freedom in creating the game compared to previous Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) instalments. The character Yoshi had been conceptualised during the development of the NES games but was not used due to hardware limitations.
Super Mario World was a critical and commercial success, hailed as one of the greatest video games of all time. It sold over 20 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling game on the SNES. It has been re-released multiple times, first as part of the 1994 compilation release Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World on the SNES, and on the Game Boy Advance as Super Mario Advance 2 in 2002. It was later re-released as a Virtual Console title for the Wii, Wii U and New Nintendo 3DS consoles. The popularity of the game also inspired a short-lived animated television series and a direct sequel, Yoshi's Island, which was released in 1995.
Super Mario World is a two-dimensional, side-scrolling platform game in which the player controls the on-screen protagonist Mario. The game shares similar gameplay mechanics with previous titles in the seriesâ"Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3â"but introduces several new elements. In addition to the running and jumping moves found in past games, the player can float with the aid of special items and execute new types of jumps such as the spin jump. The game has a total of 96 levels.
The player navigates through the game via two game screens: an overworld map and a sidescrolling playfield. The overworld map displays an overhead representation of the current world and has several paths leading from the world's entrance to a castle. Paths connect to action panels, fortresses, ghost houses and other map icons, and allow players to take different routes to reach the world's goal. Moving the on-screen character to an action panel or fortress will allow access to that level's playfield. The majority of the game takes place in these linear levels, populated with obstacles and enemies, with the player traversing the stage by running, jumping, and dodging or defeating enemies. The player is given a certain amount of lives, which are lost when Mario is attacked by an enemy, falls into a pit or lava, or runs out of time. If all lives are lost at any point in the game, the "Game Over" screen will appear, in which the player can continue from the last level played by selecting "Continue". Each world features a final stage with a boss to defeat; each of the seven worlds features fortresses controlled by one of the Koopalings, and the player also battles Bowser in his castle in the seventh and final world. Super Mario World includes a multiplayer option which allows two players to play the game by alternating turns at navigating the overworld map and accessing stage levels; the first player controls Mario, while the second controls his brother Luigi.
In addition to special power-ups from previous games like the "Super Mushroom" and "Fire Flower", new power-ups are introduced which provides the player with new gameplay options. The new power-up in the game is the Cape Feather, which gives Mario a cape and allows him the ability to fly, glide in the air, and use the cape as a sail. The game also introduces the ability to "store" an extra power-up in a box located at the top centre of the screen. For example, if the player obtains a Fire Flower or a Cape Feather, then a Super Mushroom will appear in the box. If the player gets hit by an enemy, the stored item in the box will drop automatically drop down. Alternatively, the player may manually release the stored item at any time.
The game introduces Yoshi, a dinosaur companion whom Mario can ride and who is able to eat most enemies. If Yoshi attempts to eat a Koopa or its shell, he will hold it in his mouth for a period of time before swallowing it; Yoshi can also spit out the shell and fire it at enemies. When holding any Koopa shell in its mouth, Yoshi gains the ability that corresponds to its own colour: a blue shell enables Yoshi to fly, a yellow shell causes Yoshi to emit dust clouds that kills nearby enemies, and a red shell allows Yoshi to produce three fireballs. Flashing Koopa shells produce all three abilities, while green shells produce none. The default Yoshi is green, but the game also contains hidden blue, yellow, and red Yoshis; the player can obtain each coloured Yoshi by finding its egg in hidden areas and feeding enemies to it until it matures.
Although the main objective is to navigate through seven worlds to reach the end of the game, the player can beat the game much faster by using secret Star Road routes. To access hidden worlds, the player will need to locate portals which are scattered throughout the game's levels. Portals are usually locked and require keys to open. Furthermore, the exploration of these secret stages can lead to other stages, such as Special World. Completion of Special World permanently alters some sprites and the overworld map's colour scheme.
After saving the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario Bros. 3, brothers Mario and Luigi decide to go on holiday to a place called Dinosaur Land, where there are many types of dinosaurs. However, while resting on the beach, Princess Toadstool disappears. When Mario and Luigi wake up, they try to find her and, after hours of searching, come across a giant egg in the forest. It suddenly hatches and out of it comes a young dinosaur named Yoshi, who then tells them that his dinosaur friends have also been imprisoned in eggs by evil Koopas. Mario and Luigi soon realise that it must be the evil King Bowser and his Koopalings.
Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi set out to save Princess Toadstool and Yoshi's dinosaur friends, searching Dinosaur Land for Bowser and his Koopalings. To aid him, Yoshi gives Mario a cape as they begin their journey. Mario and Luigi continue to follow Bowser, defeating the Koopalings in the process, and save all of Yoshi's dinosaur friends. They eventually make it to Bowser's castle, where they fight him in a final battle. They defeat Bowser and save the Princess, restoring peace to Dinosaur Land.
Development and release
The game was directed by Takashi Tezuka and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of both Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda, with Shigefumi Hino serving as the graphics designer. Development was handled by Nintendo EAD and consisted of ten people including three main programmers and one character designer, most of whom had worked on Super Mario Bros. In a retrospective interview, the core team stated that Miyamoto wielded the most authority during development.
Super Mario World was the first title in the series to be developed for the upcoming Super Nintendo Entertainment System (known as the Super Famicom in Japan). As such, the team anticipated some difficulty in working with new and more advanced hardware. Tezuka recalled that the software tools were not yet fully developed and thus the team had to "go along with starting something new". Miyamoto expressed optimism as he acknowledged that the team no longer had restrictions on certain mechanics such as scrolling and the number of colours which they could implement. As a hardware experiment, the team ported Super Mario 3 to the Super Famicom and discovered that it felt like the same game despite the improved colours and sprites. From that point on Miyamoto realised the team's ultimate goal would be to make the most out of the new hardware in order to create something "totally new".
Miyamoto said that he had wanted Mario to have a dinosaur companion ever since Super Mario Bros.; however, Nintendo engineers could not implement such a character into the game due to limitations of the Nintendo Entertainment System. The inspiration for Yoshi can be traced back even further; Miyamoto designed a green dragon for the 1984 game Devil World which shared many similarities with Yoshi. During the development of Super Mario Bros. 3, Miyamoto had a number of sketches around his desk, including an image of Mario riding a horse. As development of Super Mario World progressed, the team opted to set the game in a "dinosaur land", so Tezuka ordered designer Shigefumi Hino to draw a reptile-like creature based on Miyamoto's sketches. Hino originally produced a design that was deemed too reptilian which Tezuka thought "didn't really fit into the Mario world", so he encouraged the designer to create a "cuter" character. Tezuka speculated that Miyamoto's love of horse riding, as well as country and western themes, influenced Yoshi's creation.
Reflecting on how he had created different melodies for Super Mario Bros 3., Koji Kondo decided to reuse the same themes for Super Mario World, albeit in a rearranged form. By doing this, Kondo assumed that players would be able to recognise the same melodies while exposing them to new variations of music as they progressed through the game. As Super Mario World was the first to be developed for the SNES, Kondo felt "overjoyed" at being able to compose music by using eight sounds at once. In order to express the technological novelty of the new console, Kondo used several different instruments, often implementing them all one after the other in the game's title song. As development progressed, however, Kondo grew concerned over how people would react to his unusual combinations of instruments as he noted that consumers had "gained acceptance" to the use of more traditional square waves and triangle waves. For the game's sound effects, Kondo decided to use a variety of musical instruments as opposed to square waves to emphasise on the fact that the game used traditional technology with a hybrid of new materials. It took Kondo around a year and a half to write the entirety of Super Mario World's music.
Super Mario World was released during the console warsâ"stemmed by the rivalry between Nintendo's SNES and Sega's two-year-old Mega Driveâ"which resulted in fierce competition between the two companies. Sega's mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, was seen by many as a faster and "cooler" alternative to Mario. Super Mario World was released as one of two launch titles for the SNES in Japan, along with F-Zero. After the game's release, Miyamoto publicly admitted that he felt that the game was incomplete and that development was rushed toward the end.
After the success of Super Mario World, the game was re-released in a special version of Super Mario All-Stars titled Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World, which was released as a pack-in game for the SNES in 1994. The game contains enhanced remakes of the first four Super Mario games released for the NES: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. It was released on the Wii's Virtual Console in Japan on 2 December 2006, in the United States on 5 February 2007, and in Europe on 9 February 2007. It was also released for the Wii U's in North America and Japan on 26 April 2013, and in Europe on 27 April 2013, along with the full launch of the Virtual Console for that console. Super Mario World was included on the SNES' re-release as the Super NES Classic Edition in September 2017.
Super Mario World was ported to the Game Boy Advance as Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 between 2001 and 2002. It features the same number of levels as the original, Game Link Cable support for four players and the ability to save. Further differences include the inclusion of Luigi as a playable character and a toned down difficulty. In the United States, Super Mario Advance 2 sold 2.5 million copies and earned $74 million in revenue by August 2006. During the period between January 2000 and August 2006, it became the second highest-selling portable game in that country. It received positive reviews from critics upon its release.
Super Mario World received critical acclaim and was a commercial success upon release. It is ranked as the seventeenth-highest rated game of all-time on review aggregator GameRankings, having an aggregate score of 94% based on nine reviews. Nintendo has sold 20.61 million copies of the game worldwide, making it the best-selling game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
The visuals and presentation were one of the most praised aspects of the game. After the game was released, Rob Swan from Computer and Video Games asserted that the graphics were an excellent example of what the then-new SNES was capable of, while in the same review, Paul Glancey similarly remarked that the visuals were stunning and was grateful that the game came free with the console. Four reviewers from Electronic Gaming Monthly echoed this by commenting that the game did not take much advantage of the SNES's capabilities compared to other titles available for the system. Retrospective reviewers agreed that the game's visuals were still of high quality. Karn Bianco from Cubed3 enjoyed the game's relaxed visual style and praised Nintendo for keeping everything "nice and simple" for designing a game perfect for children. IGN's Lucas Thomas heralded the game as a significant leap over the visuals of the 8-bit era, but in retrospect felt that it did not distinguish itself from being a graphically-upgraded continuation of its predecessor, Super Mario Bros. 3. In contrast, FrÃ©dÃ©ric Goyon of Jeuxvideo.com thought that the game brought out the full potential of the SNES (albeit less so than Donkey Kong Country), and Nadia Oxford from USGamer too felt that the game was a less rigid version of its predecessor. AllGame's Skyler Miller and Alex Navarro from GameSpot both praised the game's well-drawn characters, colourful visuals and pleasing animation. Morgan Sleeper of Nintendo Life said that Super Mario World was the "graphical holy grail" that retro-styled games aspire to, and insisted that its design holds up well today.
Critics commended the game's replay value and unique gameplay in comparison to older Super Mario titles. The four reviewers from Electronic Gaming Monthly cohesively praised the game's number of secrets and diversity among its levels, expressing appreciation that Nintendo did not recycle assets from Super Mario Bros. 3. Swan and Glancey enjoyed the addictive gameplay and the vast number of levels, Dan Whitehead from Eurogamer lauded the game's divergence from linear platforming and asserted that Super Mario World was an evolutionary leap for gaming in general, while Groyon appreciated the option of being able to finish the game the by using alternative routes. Bianco opined that the game was "one of the smoothest platformers in existence" while Thomas thought that its "masterful" and innovative level design enhanced the overall experience. Navarro similarly felt that the game featured among the best and most challenging levels the series has offered thus far, saying "nothing about the game feels out of place or superfluous". Miller considered the game's overall length to be its strongest aspect, while Oxford thought that Super Mario World's gameplay could be both straightforward and complex, owing to the myriad secrets the game contained. In retrospect, Sleeper believed that the game's biggest achievement was its level design, calling it an "unrivalled master class" with a constant sense of momentum.
The soundtrack and audio effects were also well received by critics. Swan believed that the game utilised the SNES' PSM chip to its fullest potential, while both he and Glancey agreed that the game's sound effects were "mindblowing". Thomas labelled the soundtrack as "another one of Koji Kondo's classics", but in hindsight remarked that it was not as memorable as his earlier work. Goyon praised the originality of the game's soundtrack and thought the technical contribution of the SNES allowed players to enjoy a "globally magnificent" composition. In addition, both Goyon and Jason Schreider from Kotaku felt that its rhythmic sound effects were important helped reinforce the game's atmosphere. Miller liked Super Mario World's upbeat music and particularly enjoyed the echoing sound effects heard when Mario was undergroundâ"a sentiment shared by other reviewers. Both Sleeper and Navarro asserted that the game featured the best music in the entire Super Mario series, with Sleeper praising Kondo's "timeless" soundtrack and memorable melodies.
The game received Game of the Year 1991 awards from Nintendo Power and Power Play. Many retrospective critics declared Super Mario World to be one of the greatest video games of all time. In 2009, a poll conducted by Empire voted it "the greatest game of all time". In its final ever issue, the Official Nintendo Magazine ranked Super Mario World as the third greatest Nintendo game of all time, behind The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario Galaxy. In 2012 Nintendo Power similarly named Super Mario World the fifth greatest game of all time, a step up from it being ranked as the eighth best game in their poll of 2006. The game has also appeared on several "best video games of all time" lists such as those from Electronic Gaming Monthly, Game Informer, Retro Gamer, and GameSpot. In 2007, Retro Gamer ranked it as the best platform game of all time, while USgamer listed it as the best Super Mario platformer ever in 2015.
As a pack-in title for the SNES, Super Mario World helped popularise the console and became the best-selling game of its generation.
Yoshi became one of the most important characters in the Mario franchise, re-appearing in later Super Mario games and in nearly all Mario sports and spin-off games. Yoshi appears as the main playable character in Super Mario World's 1995 sequel Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, which helped lead to multiple video games focused on the character. A Super Mario World clone, titled Super Mario's Wacky Worlds, was in development for the Philips CD-i device by NovaLogic from 1992 to 1993, but was cancelled due to the console's commercial failure. In a poll conducted in 2008, Yoshi was voted as the third-favourite video game character in Japan, with Cloud Strife and Mario placing second and first, respectively.
An animated series of the same name was produced by DIC Entertainment which ran on NBC from September to December 1991, consisting of only thirteen episodes. In recent years a number of Super Mario World ROM hacks have been made by fans, notably Kaizo Mario World, that has been used for many Let's Play videos. In a similar way, Super Mario World is one of the four games whose assets are available in Super Mario Maker, a custom level creator released for the Wii U in 2015.
- Official Nintendo Japan Super Mario World site