Many people remember Super Mario 64 as their first venture into the realm of 3D gaming. The freedom to walk, run, slide, jump, and fly around in elaborate virtual worlds whose construction allows for movement in all three dimensions was unprecedented when the game came out as a launch title for the N64 in late 1996. Downloading the game for the Virtual Console is unlikely to foster the same kind of excitement and awe, but fortunately there are so many other reasons why Super Mario 64 is an absolute must-have title.
The game is filled with memorable moments. Whether you're helping a baby penguin get reunited with his mother, racing Koopa Troopa to the summit of a mountain, flinging Bowser into huge bombs, butt-stomping giant Boos, or simply transforming into Metal Mario, you almost constantly get bombarded with interesting things to do. The mission-based structure, in which Princess Peach's castle acts as a hub from which levels are entered through pictures on the walls, is what allows for this huge amount of variety. The game’s impeccable controls coupled with beautiful art direction - that still holds up today - simply serves to further cement Super Mario 64's status as an undisputed classic.