My first contact with Super Mario 64 started though the Nintendo 64 commercials and its ad campaign, Change The System. I’ve covered the campaign before, so go check that out. Seeing Mario in full 3D almost floored me, and was one of the contributing factors in my wanting of the N64. I wanted really badly to play this new Mario game. I even drew some (really horrible) pictures based on what I saw in those commercials. Unfortunately I would never own an N64, instead I’d own a different one. But my cousins had an N64, and with it Super Mario 64.
I should probably preface this section with a mention that since I never really owned the original N64 version of Super Mario 64, some of my memories may stem from the DS version that I owned instead.
There are a lot of little things I remember from my time with the game as a kid. Since my cousins owned the game, they’d show me all the cool stuff you could do in the game, namely slugging the living shit out of a sleeping Piranha Plant. There was also surfing on a Koopa Shell, picking up the Bob-Omb king, butt-stomping the boss of Whomp Fortress, being scared shitless by that damned piano, climbing the endless staircase, and absolutely dreading Rainbow Cruise. There was also the fact that Mario actually had a voice this time. But there are a few big moments I remember in the game.
First thing I remember was the second battle with Bowser. The first one was relatively uneventful. You just run around Bowser, pick him up, rotate the joystick to spin Bowser (which my cousins showed me), and finally toss Bowser into a bomb. But the second battle brought in a new wrinkle into the battle. Bowser’s flames would linger on the battlefield, and now every time Bowser slammed the ground, the whole platform the battle took place on would tilt like a see-saw. The whole tilting blew my mind the most, accelerated by the fact that the tilting got worse when I missed the bomb when throwing Bowser and his coming back to the platform made the whole platform tilt in a dangerous 70-80 degree angle.
The second, and probably the most pivotal, was getting the Wing Cap for the first time. I always think back to idea of Man’s Desire to Fly, and how fun it was to fly in games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. But in those I was going just left and right. In Super Mario 64, you could fly practically everywhere. I was amazing to fly from a high point in a level (like Bob-Omb Battlefield) and see almost the whole stage below you. I probably asked my cousins which stages had Wing Caps in them just so I could fly.