It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since Shigeru Miyamoto revealed the Super Mario Brothers franchise. It’s true, Mario had appeared in games before, most notably as “Jumpman” in 1981′s Donkey Kong, however it was 1985′s Super Mario Brothers that rocketed the titular plumber into video game super-stardom. Since then, Mario has been featured in scores of games across over a dozen different platforms and has become not only iconic of the Nintendo brand, but arguably the most recognizable face of the hobby itself. In honor of this mascot of mascots, I thought it appropriate to review one of the classic games that made the Mario franchise what it is. So I dusted off the old SNES and took another look at a favorite of mine, Super Mario World.

Super Mario World was originally released as a pack-in title for the North American launch of the Super Nintendo console in August of 1991. I remember playing my copy heavily Plumber North York when I got my hands on the console a year later, but I probably haven’t so much as looked at it in 15 years. I turned the console on, and I was instantly reminded of how much this game impressed me at the time. Little flourishes like the bongo drums added to the soundtrack when you jump onto Yoshi show the care Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka took in the production and direction of Mario’s first steps into the 16-bit era. Sure, everything’s a bit dated now, but this game still has charm to spare.

There’s not much of a story to be had here, but that seems to be on par with most Mario titles. I mean, the franchise follows the exploits of two Italian plumbers from New York that find a portal to another world hidden in the sewers below the city. A world filled with people with mushrooms for heads, birds with turtle shells and diabolical sentient dinosaurs. Oh, and there’s a princess in peril who also happens to be the only normal looking person this side of the green pipe. Hollywood would laugh you out of town with a plotline like that, even if you had some triple-A talent like John Leguizamo playing one of the brothers. So yeah, the narrative is kind of thrown out the window here. Luckily Mario has always been about solid, fun gameplay, and Super Mario World delivers.