Super Mario 64
The first few times I played this years ago, I abandoned it. I didn't think it was as good as 2D Mario outings, I wasn't very good at 3D platformers, and I never got very far. After having played Super Mario Galaxy and finding out many concepts originated in Super Mario 64, I thought it would be a good time to revist. This time around, I used an emulator for save states and a walkthrough. Coupling that with the absence of any waggling controls and it was a much more fun game for me!
I liked the generally shorter stages and quicker star tasks compared to Galaxy, which sometimes dragged a bit. Of course, the stars and tasks in 64 were often too hidden or convoluted. The single level name clues help, but it just seems like this game was designed for the strategy guide era. I would have never found many of them on my own or even thought about doing some of the things required. Playing with a walkthrough to understand the objectives made it much more fun for me. Galaxy did not have that problem and showed your objective up front in most stages, which I like.
There was barely any story at all to be found here, so not much to say there. The graphics weren't all that great, and neither was the music much to my dismay. There were a few catchy tracks, but I think overall, the music was sub-par. I was surprised by this as most Mario games have good tunes. I also agree with the rest of the world that the camera and camera controls were pretty terrible. The game also got repetitive having to play each level so many times. They tried to differ the tasks, but it still got repetitive. Several of these symptoms were somewhat typical of early era 3D platformer games though, so I wasn't surprised.
It was an interesting experience. This game was a few steps backwards and a few steps forward compared to Galaxy. I did end up collecting enough stars to beat the game, but once again left most of the optional ones that wouldn't be fun out. I still prefer the 2D game mechanics.