Whereas Mario’s previous adventures had typically been confined to 2D scrolling environments, Super Mario 64 gave players unbridled freedom to explore 3D game worlds in full 360-degree analog control.
In this game, Mario is once again tasked with saving Princess Toadstool (who from this game onwards is known as Princess Peach) from the evil clutches of King Bowser. Players must guide Nintendo’s portly plumber through 15 themed open worlds, collecting up to 120 power stars by completing missions. The game places a heavy emphasis on exploration, expecting players to work out what to do while only giving vague hints and clues.
Super Mario 64 is the best-selling N64 game, with more than 11 million copies sold. Upon its original release in 1996, it was universally acclaimed for its revolutionary 3D gameplay, and is still widely considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time.