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How Super Mario World Became The Best-Selling Game For The SNES

"Super Mario World" easily ranks as one of the best "Super Mario" games of all time. After the "Super Mario Bros." trilogy seemingly perfected 2D platforming on the NES, "Super Mario World" was released as a launch title for the SNES, shattering that ceiling. In terms of gameplay, graphics, and overall quality, suddenly so much more was possible in the Mushroom Kingdom. 

But many SNES games took things to the next level. So how did "Super Mario World" stand so far apart, to the point of becoming the best-selling SNES game? The 1990 installment in the "Super Mario" franchise sold a whopping 20.61 million copies, so clearly it struck a chord with gamers. Well, there are many things with which one can credit the success of "Super Mario World," but there is one particular aspect of the game that clearly led to its success: the fact that it perfected on a series that had already revolutionized gaming.

Super Mario World perfected a new type of game

Before the first "Super Mario Bros." came along, video gaming wasn't exactly a diverse space. Before the series, most video games had essentially the same goal. "[A]lmost every game was about working in a finite playing space and getting a high score," Game Developer's Brice Morrison wrote in 2011. "However, 'Super Mario Bros.' provided a completely new experience, pushing the player to enter realms not yet seen in the game." In other words, "Super Mario Bros." set out into uncharted territory — and then "Super Mario World" took it to a whole new level. It makes sense that sales would follow suit, especially given how "World" expanded the series and was bundled with the massively successful Super Nintendo console in North America.

One major way "Super Mario World" added to the formula was with Yoshi, Mario's dinosaur partner. As a rideable companion character with unique abilities–like eating enemies–Yoshi added a whole new dimension to the franchise. Yoshi was originally meant to debut on the NES, but due to the device's limitations, Nintendo was unable to implement him. Then, thanks to the SNES, "Super Mario World" finally introduced Mario's dinosaur pal. In addition, the visual quality of "Super Mario World" was a massive leap forward for the franchise. As noted by a GameSpot review, the graphics, animation, and aesthetic design were all top notch, particularly for the time. "Super Mario World" also included a series of hidden levels and secret paths, which added some non-linear explanation to the adventure. 

So, why was "Super Mario World" so successful? In short, "Super Mario Bros." essentially created a whole new genre of game, and with the technological advancements of the SNES, Nintendo perfected that formula. Attaching copies of the game to a bundle with the SNES was just the cherry on top.