Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64, 1996)
If you were alive and playing games at the time, we don’t even need to explain why Mario 64 is on the list; you already know.
For those of you who weren’t, let me explain. Seeing Super Mario 64 for the first time was like when cavemen first discovered fire. It completely changed the way games were played and showed that 3D really was the future. The world, the graphics, the characters, and, most importantly, the controls were all fine tuned to perfection, making Mario 64 simple to get into while hiding incredible depth. Super Mario 64 is so brilliant that – I would argue – it hasn’t even aged a day. Go download it on the Virtual Console – it’s still as playable and fun today as it was in 1996.
Many titles are game changers but only one can still be called the best of its genre well over a decade after its original release. Here’s to you, Mario.