Why I Love… Yoshi!

Wow, I can’t believe it is September already! This year is flying by (and that’s a good thing, cuz it really sucks). Fall begins in a couple weeks, and I can’t wait! I love the summer but I’m ready for it to get a bit cooler out.

Anyway, this month’s Why I Love… post features one of my favorite game characters- he is second only to Kirby! I’m talking, of course, about Yoshi!!

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Cute little Yoshi!

It’s a little difficult to remember the first game I played that had Yoshi in it. Most people would say they first encountered him in Super Mario World, but I actually didn’t have that game growing up! I would say that I first saw him in Super Mario Kart, and I thought he was absolutely adorable. (I didn’t actually prefer to use him, though, as I thought his controls were a bit slippery.)

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I spent so many hours playing the first Super Mario Kart!

When I got my Super Scope 6, one of the games I got was Yoshi’s Safari! Man, was that game fun. Riding on Yoshi’s back, shooting baddies on the screen… it was unlike anything I’d ever played before! I felt bad when I shot the back of his head by accident, though. 😦 Something that always makes me smile when I think about this game is the fact that my mom LOVED this game- and she never liked to play video games with me! My uncle played it quite often as well. It wasn’t unusual to find them in my room playing Yoshi’s Safari well into the night!

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Screenshot from Yoshi’s Safari.

The game that really started my love for Yoshi was none other than Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. Yoshi’s Island put you in charge of Baby Mario, and you had to keep him on your back as you traversed through dangerous worlds in order to stop Kamek and reunite him with Baby Luigi. It was so much fun to take control of Yoshi and uncover the secrets in every level. This game also had some of the best music! To this day, it’s still one of my favorites.

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Screenshot from Yoshi’s Island.

Not only are Yoshi’s games fun and adorable, but he himself is just so cute, I can’t help but smile when I see him!

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Yoshi with his tongue out!

Yoshi is one of those characters that is just so versatile as well. He has been in many different types of games, from platformers to kart racing to puzzle games. His games are mostly easily accessible as well, though don’t be fooled by the cuteness- some of those levels in Yoshi’s Island get really tough!

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Yarn Yoshi and Yarn Poochy… one of the cutest combos ever!

In short, I love Yoshi because he is adorable and his games are fun. These are pretty simple reasons, but sometimes the simple things in life are the best! 😉

Why I Love… Video Games!

I’ve done several of these Why I Love… posts now, and they have been a lot of fun to write! However, looking back, I realized that my very first post should have explained why I love video games! After all, that is what my blog is all about! 🙂

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Well, there are many reasons why I love video games. First things first: they are FUN. I have so many great memories of playing through so many great games, and the fun factor keeps me coming back to play again and again.

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Sure, every game can get annoying at times. I even get aggravated when I’m playing something as relaxing as Animal Crossing if I can’t catch a fish or a villager swindles me out of a bunch of my money! Nevertheless, games are meant to be fun, and they do a great job of providing entertainment.

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Fuck the blue shell in Mario Kart!

That brings me to my second point: video games are great forms of entertainment! I don’t need to watch cinematic sequences or have ultra- realistic graphics to be entertained, either (although those are nice in their own right). I am just as happy playing an SNES game as I am playing a PS4 game!

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Viva Pinata for the Xbox 360 ❤

Third, video games are so versatile. There is something for everyone out there! Whether you like shooters, platformers, racers, puzzlers, sports, etc., there is a video game out there for you to play. I had a friend in high school who knew nothing about video games and didn’t WANT to know anything about video games… until I introduced her to Animal Crossing on the GameCube. She loved it so much, she bought her own GameCube and copy of Animal Crossing and as far as I know, that was the only game she ever liked.

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Fishing in Animal Crossing!

With all of that being said, my main reason for loving video games is because they are such a great escape! Let’s face it: life really sucks ass sometimes. But when you turn on a game and get sucked in, suddenly life isn’t as bad. When I am having a bad day or don’t feel well, playing a video game is a great way to distract me and put my focus elsewhere for a little while.

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So there you have it: my personal reasons why I love video games! Everyone is different, so I suspect everyone has different reasons why they play. Whatever your reasons are, just enjoy playing and have fun! 😉

Why I Love… Donkey Kong Country!

For this month’s Why I Love… post, I thought I’d give a nod to one of my favorite video game series of all time… Donkey Kong Country! This series has captivated me ever since I began playing it in 1994! And yes, the first game in the series is actually just called Donkey Kong Country, but this post is about the series as a whole. 😉

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I first played the original Donkey Kong Country over at my friend Jason’s house. (Hey, I mentioned him in my SNES post too! 😉 ) Jason lived in my neighborhood and had a whole room of his house dedicated to gaming! I only had a Game Boy back then, but Jason had home consoles to play, so we often went to his house to play games! One day he showed me a new game he was playing: Donkey Kong Country. He was trying to get past a level called Orang-utan Gang. The moment I saw him playing it, I was hooked!

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Those Mankys were a pain in the ass!

The world within this game just seemed so vibrant and alive! I was a kid, so I didn’t understand what it meant to produce those fancy graphics, but I knew it was something special.

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Even the underwater levels were gorgeous!

As you know from my previous Why I Love… post dedicated to the SNES, I soon got my own copy of Donkey Kong Country and played it SO MUCH. I memorized the levels, where the enemies were, etc. I probably played through that game more times than any other game. I do recall getting extremely pissed off at one level: Elevator Antics. It was pretty difficult to time the jumps, and that’s probably the first time I ever threw my controller because of a game. (Bad idea, by the way. Don’t do that!)

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This level use to PISS ME OFF!

The next game in the series, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, captivated me just as much, if not more, than the original. I fell in love with the gloomy atmosphere right away! This game seemed considerably more difficult than its predecessor and had many more secrets to uncover, too! It took me quite a while to complete this game, and to this day I don’t think I’ve gotten all the DKC coins!

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Ghostly Grove was a really cool level!

I also loved the next game, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble. For me, this is probably my least favorite game in the series, but don’t take that as meaning that I dislike the game. I absolutely love this game, but the atmosphere and levels just didn’t quite grab me as much as the first two. I do remember the level Ripsaw Rage really making me nervous, because you are being chased up a tree by a giant saw the entire time!

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Stupid giant saw!

Since the original Donkey Kong Country games were all released in succession, I guess I was hoping they would keep coming out with them every year! Of course, that wasn’t the case. The next true Donkey Kong Country game wouldn’t come out for another 14 years, when Donkey Kong Country Returns was released for the Wii in 2010. The first time I played it, I remember thinking that it was worth the wait!

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DKC Returns is an awesome game, although this level was terrifying…

Four years later, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was released for the Wii U, and that is another fantastic entry to the series. This is the game I’ve played the least out of all the DKC games, and I’m not really sure why! I guess it’s just a matter of circumstance.

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This game is gorgeous!

Besides the gameplay itself being amazing, I also really love the characters in the Donkey Kong Country series! My favorite Kong is probably Dixie. I love using her ponytail to fly across gaps and kill Kremlings!

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Speaking of Kremlings, I was obsessed with K. Rool when I was a kid. Do not ask me why! I think I just thought he was a hilarious villain. I also appreciated the fact that he was something different in every game: a king in the first game, a pirate in the second game, and a mad scientist in the third game! K. Rool and his Kremlings are sorely missed by me in the newer DKC games…

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K. Rool was the most difficult to beat in DKC 2, for me at least!

My expression of love for Donkey Kong Country wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the AMAZING music! The music just sets the tone for every level perfectly. I’ve always loved the music that plays during the roller coaster levels in DKC2 the most, but there are honestly so many great tunes in all these games, so it’s hard to pick a favorite!

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Not a huge fan of roller coasters in real life, but they are awesome in this game!

The Donkey Kong Country series is, for me, the series that I obsessed about most during my childhood. As I’ve typed this post, I realize I have barely even scratched the surface of memories I have when it comes to Donkey Kong Country. I don’t think any other series has quite grabbed me like this one has, and I still love re-visiting the games to this day!

Why I Love… The Super Nintendo!

For this month’s Why I Love… post, I decided to show some love to my favorite video game console of all time. I do love each and every console I own for different reasons, but one stands a little bit above the others. Maybe it’s just nostalgia talking, but I just can’t help but love The Super Nintendo Entertainment System! 🙂

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Just looking at it makes me smile!

I had an awesome group of neighborhood friends that I hung out with constantly when I was younger, and though it’s been many years since I’ve talked to any of them, I think of them all pretty fondly! Anyway, two of them (Stacey and Jason) both had Super Nintendos, and I loved playing it at their houses. The game I remember playing the most was Donkey Kong Country!

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So many good times with this game!

After awhile, I really wanted an SNES of my own. As I wrote in my April Why I Love… post, my first system was the Game Boy, which also holds a very special place in my heart. I played the hell out of it and never got bored with it. I still loved my Game Boy, but the idea of playing a console on my TV screen was so much fun, and I didn’t want to always have to go to my friend’s houses to play one!

Once again, my mom was awesome and bought me an SNES of my own! I was 8 years old at the time. One of my first games was Super Mario Kart, which I played SO MUCH! My neighborhood friends and I held a contest once to see who was the best Super Mario Kart player, and I won 😉

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This version of Rainbow Road still gives me a heart attack…

Of course, I was in love with Donkey Kong Country and its sequels! I played DKC so much I think I still have muscle memory of that game to this day. I know just where the enemies are going to pop up! With this game, I got my uncle Chris interested in video games. He played DKC and Kirby’s Dream Course, and he was hooked! When he got married to my aunt Kelly, they even asked for an SNES and those two games as a wedding present! 🙂

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Screenshot from Kirby’s Dream Course… so many fun, unique levels in this game!

It’s probably no coincidence that my favorite game of all time is on my favorite system of all time! I’m talking, of course, about Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. If you haven’t already, you can read why I love this game so much in this post.

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I will never get tired of this game!

When I was a kid, I thought the SNES was going to remain current forever. I didn’t really have a grasp on advancing technology, so when the Nintendo 64 was announced, I was PISSED! I remember reading the Nintendo Power magazine in the grocery store while I was shopping with my grandma. I was telling her how it was so unfair that the were releasing the Nintendo 64 because that meant they would stop making games for the SNES… and I would NEVER EVER want one because the Super Nintendo was all I needed! Silly little me… I soon realized that it was a good thing that a new console was coming out and that it was okay to have different ones! 🙂

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I was NOT happy about the N64!

I have so many other good memories of the SNES, I could go on forever about it. All the games I own for it hold a special place in my heart. Whether I was stomping on Kremlings in Donkey Kong Country, saving Baby Mario in Yoshi’s Island, or shooting down zombies and other ghouls in Zombies Ate My Neighbors, I had an infinite amount of fun with this system. To me, the SNES defined my childhood, and I can’t imagine life without it!

Why I Love… Animal Crossing!

This month, I thought I’d give some love to one of my favorite video game series, Animal Crossing! For those unfamiliar with the series, “Animal Crossing” is also the name of the first game released in North America… but for the purpose of this post, I’ll just focus on the series as a whole!

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🙂

For me, my love of Animal Crossing started when I was 16. I had been seeing previews of it for months in the Nintendo Power magazine. It seemed like such an interesting idea for a game: rather than have levels to beat and ultimately, an ending, this game continued on indefinitely. You played at your own pace, you completed goals at your own pace, and the best part of it all: you lived among many animal villagers!

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Some villagers participating in the Spring Sports Fair.

The day the first Animal Crossing came out, my mom and I had actually taken my dog to the vet. She cut her leg open on some chicken wire we had in the back yard (my poor baby!) and though it wasn’t a life threatening injury, she needed some surgery to get all patched up. To pass the time, we went to Target, and there I saw the game! I just had to have it that day.

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Box art for the GameCube version of Animal Crossing.

My first days of playing, I was amazed. The animals were so adorable, and there were so many things I wanted to do to perfect my little town. I had a mortgage I wanted to pay off so I could make my house bigger, I had fish and bugs I wanted to catch, I had errands to run for my little animal friends… and I loved every second of it! Every day was a new experience.

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Building a snowman is something I don’t get to do in real life!

The first (North American) version of Animal Crossing came out in 2002, and there have been a few sequels since: Animal Crossing: Wild World, Animal Crossing: City Folk, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf, plus an updated version of New Leaf called Animal Crossing: New Leaf Welcome amiibo. There have been two spin-offs: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival. There have been three versions released exclusively in Japan: Doubutsu no Mori (which was released before the first N.A. version of Animal Crossing), Doubutsu no Mori + (also released before the first N.A. version) and Doubutsu no Mori e+. Doubutsu no Mori was also released on the Chinese iQue player, which was featured in a blog post I wrote a long time ago! In addition, Wild World was re-released onto the Wii U Virtual Console. Aside from the iQue player version, I own all of these games. Yes- Every. Single. One! Crazy, I know!

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Stitches, one of my favorite characters!

The world of Animal Crossing continues to draw me back in for many reasons. For one, I love the relaxing nature of the games. A few months after I got the first Animal Crossing, I became very ill. I was in the hospital for two weeks and when I got out, I was still pretty weak and sick and couldn’t even go to school. I had to be homeschooled for the last 3 months of my junior year of high school, and that wasn’t super fun. However, I relied on Animal Crossing as my daily escape. Visiting my villagers every day and going through my daily chores made me feel so much better mentally, despite being sick. It really made a difference in my well-being!

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You never know what the villagers are going to say!

Also, I love the fact that the games are real-time. If it’s 3 in the morning for you, it’s 3 in the morning in the game (unless you mess with the time!). Seasons pass just like in real life, which is amazing for me since where I live, there is practically no winter! There are holidays to celebrate, too, which is a lot of fun. Wild World has its own set of made up holidays, but all of the other games feature holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, and Easter!

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Celebrating Festivale, a weird and wonderful holiday!

The fact is, Animal Crossing has been a part of my life for almost 15 years now, and my love for the series has only grown over time! I still check in on all of my towns in my various games, though real life gets in the way and I don’t check them as often as I would like. I’m super excited for the mobile Animal Crossing game (which there is very little information about), and I can’t wait to see new console versions of the series as well, if they plan on releasing more. If not, I have plenty of established villages to keep me entertained! 🙂

Why I Love… The Game Boy!

Hey everyone! I feel like I am so far behind on my posts… I normally try to post this “Why I Love” feature on the 1st or 2nd of every month (clearly we are way past those dates), I still haven’t done my recap of my Four in February (in March) results, I haven’t done my First Impressions post for Harvest Moon: Animal Parade, and so on. With everything that has been going on lately, my motivation for producing a halfway decent blog post has pretty much gone out the window.

I’ve slowly been trying to get back to normal, but it’s been hard. I’m getting there though! I just want to thank all you guys for your support and kind comments. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: I am so happy to be part of this wonderful community. You guys mean a lot to me and I happy to have so many friends on here! By the way, I’m behind on reading pretty much everyone’s blogs, but don’t worry, I’ll catch up soon! 🙂

Anyway! Blogging is cathartic for me, so I figured it was time I get back to posting! Like I said, I’m a bit behind on the posts I wanted to make, but oh well. I set no time limits for myself, so I’ll get to them when I get to them! 😉

With all of that being said, this month’s Why I Love… post is all about the Nintendo Game Boy!

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The Game Boy logo.

Released in North America in 1989, this little gray box soon became synonymous with handheld gaming. And I wanted one!

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I love the Game Boy!

My mom said I was watching tv when I was about 6 and an ad came on for the Game Boy. She said I watched it, intrigued, then looked at her and said “I think I would like one of those.” 6-year-old me was apparently very polite! 😉

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This isn’t a screenshot of the tv ad, but whatever, you get the idea!

So, my awesome mom bought me a Game Boy that Christmas bundled with Tetris. She bought me one other game simply because the box art looked cute. That game was none other than Kirby’s Dream Land!

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I don’t remember if the box looked like this or not!

I was so surprised and delighted that I finally got my hands on a Game Boy! My friend down the street had one, as well as a couple kids in school, so I had played with one frequently. It was so fun to have my own, though! I remember COUNTLESS hours playing both Tetris and Kirby’s Dream Land.

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It is always pretty sweet when you get a “tetris”!

When I was young, my bedtime was 9:00 p.m. on school nights. After I got that Game Boy, I would constantly beg my mom to let me stay up “just 5 more minutes” to play! On one occasion I remember I was about to beat Kirby’s Dream Land for the first time, and it was time for bed. Man, did I beg and beg to stay up! She finally agreed that I could stay up until 9:30. I don’t recall if I actually beat the game that night, but having an extra 30 minutes of gaming time was pretty sweet!

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I don’t care if this game takes only 15 minutes to beat, it is one of my all time favorites!

I also remember playing Game Boy with my friends all the time. Oftentimes one of us would be playing with 5 or 6 more kids crowded around, trying to see the screen. Since the screen was a little hard to see sometimes, I had a nifty little light/ magnifying device that attached to the Game Boy for easier gaming!

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The struggle was real back when screens weren’t backlit!

The Game Boy gave me SO many hours of enjoyment, and I still enjoy the games I have today. I have 35 original Game Boy games (click here to see what I have!).  My Game Boy still works, too! I also got the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance when they came out and have many games for those systems too! The original Game Boy will forever hold a special place in my heart, though, because it was the first gaming system I officially owned!

 

 

Why I Love… Super Mario RPG!

Since last month I featured my favorite video game character, this month I figured I would share my favorite video game of all time with you! So, without further ado, this is Why I Love… Super Mario RPG!

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Box art.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was released in 1996 for the SNES, or Super Nintendo. I was 10 years old at the time and was already madly in love with video games! Back in the day (haha, I know I sound old) there was no looking up videos to watch gameplay- you either saw screenshots for the game in a magazine or if you were lucky, a store you went to had a demo and you were able to check it out! That was the case for me. I went to Best Buy with my mom one day and there was a demo of a new RPG featuring Mario. Now, I had no clue what RPG even stood for at the time, but I checked it out anyway! As I played through the Forest Maze area on the big screen tv, I knew right then I HAD TO HAVE THAT GAME! Something about it just sucked me right in.

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Forest Maze, my intro. to this awesome game! 

I don’t remember if my mom bought it for me that day or if I had to wait until I got my report card to make sure I got good grades (Mom would typically buy me a video game for getting good grades, and trust me, that was excellent motivation!), but I was so excited to own this game!

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Title screen.

One of the top reasons I love this game is the epic soundtrack! I could listen to the music from Super Mario RPG all day long. Every song perfectly fits the level it is assigned to, and there is a wide range of tunes to fit every mood in the game. Some of my favorite music includes “Beware the Forest’s Mushrooms” from the Forest Maze and “Barrel Volcano” from… well, from the Barrel Volcano! If you want to listen to the soundtrack, search it up on YouTube… it’s awesome! 🙂

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The Barrel Volcano area looked bad ass and had awesome music too!

Another reason I love Super Mario RPG is the fact that it really gave a lot of the characters in the Mario universe dimension while introducing us to a whole new cast of characters. For instance, it was refreshing to see another side to Bowser as his castle was taken over, and it was great fun to have him team up with Mario! I also loved the totally bad ass Geno, the insane Booster, and the maniacal Smithy.

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Just some of the many colorful characters in this game!

Talking about the characters brings me to another huge reason I love this game… the storyline! It was so cool to see the Mushroom Kingdom and all the surrounding areas brought to life in the most unique ways. There certainly had never been a Mario story as expansive as this one before, and it blew me away.

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Turns out that Bowser is the least of Mario’s worries in this game!

Another big plus for me is the replay value of this game. I have played through this game so many times, yet I still enjoy the journey every time! I have maxed out all my character stats, found every hidden item, exploited every secret… and yet I still come back for more! Even though this game is now 21 years old, I still love it just as much as when it first came out and I was a wide-eyed kid playing a demo of it at Best Buy.

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This part of the game was so bizarre…

These are just a few simple reasons why Super Mario RPG is my favorite video game ever. I’m still hoping for a direct sequel or at least a remaster of it at some point, but in the meantime, I’ll still be playing it on the original SNES cartridge! (Oh, and on Virtual Console too!).