After the release of Super Mario Bros., the fireball-shooting, Goomba-stomping, brick-breaking plumber instantly became the most famous character in all gaming.
Living in a world where technology keeps evolving with motion controls and VR, how has Nintendo's moustachioed mascot maintained his reputation after nearly 40 years?
It's not just because of the catchy music and cute Tanooki suits. Super Mario's secret weapon is the level design. Even though we have masterful games like Breath of the Wild and The Last of Us filled to the brim with creativity and innovation, the opening stage of Super Mario Bros. is still the most famous video game level of all time.
But after Nintendo created thousands of Mario courses over the years, a handful have garnered a legacy for being a bit rubbish. I'm not talking about frustrating stages like Super Mario World's Tubular or Super Mario 3D World's Champion's Road. These courses aren't poorly made; they're designed to test die-hard gamers.
When a stage is tricky because it requires precision and timing, that's fine. When a stage is hard because it has imprecise controls or unfair mechanics, that's bad level design. Let's have a look at the absolute worst Super Mario levels that Nintendo has ever made.
James Egan has written 80 books including
1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3
1000 Facts about Supervillains Vol. 1-3
1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3
1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3
1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3
Twitter - @jameswzegan85