Reviewed By: Carole Stewart McDonnell

Computer Platform: Nintendo 64
Produced by: Nintendo
Price Range: $39-65
Learning curve time: 45 min.
Age level: 4+
ESRB Rating: Kids to Adults

Genre: Action/adventure
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 3 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5

Super Mario 64
If you're looking for a fairly non-violent game for your child's Nintendo, “Super Mario 64” might be a good choice. Sure, there is violence. But the violence is of the cartoony kind. And although “Super Mario 64” appeals to young children, it also appeals to older children because the level of play increases with the skill of the player. The game is complex but is easy for a young child to understand and it is agreeable enough for a parent. Easy to operate, sparkling with bright colors and kid-attractive characters, this is a perfect first Nintendo game for any child, especially the child who watches enviously as an older sibling plays a more complicated electronic game.

Screen Capture from 'Super Mario 64' When the game begins, Mario is standing in front of a castle in a sea of unworldly beautiful green grass. The richness of the game's color palette is a feast of color. Mario can roam the grounds, swim in the moat or enter the castle. His quest is to find the beautiful Princess Toadstool (Princess Peach) who is held captive. There are about 15 courses, each of which have coins and stars to be won. There are also pitfalls. Mario is apt to die from falling off buildings and other hazards. But start the game again and remember how Mario met his demise and avoid it. All along there are silly Mario tricks hidden in the program by the game's creators.

The wonderful almost-spiritual thing about Mario is that he is not the average tall blond hero one finds in so many video games. In a world where most Christian and worldly media—books, movies, electronic games—succumb to the lure of physical beauty, specifically the standard of physical beauty exemplified by the trim Anglo-Saxon American type, Mario is short and overweight; in short, normal-looking. He is not only accessible, but the child who plays this game will not be called upon to identify with the unattainable cultural standard of beauty we see everywhere in the American media. As Christians we are told that we should not judge another by mere human appearance. What matters is perseverance, inner strength and inner beauty. Those are the ideals that make the hero. And Mario fulfills that.

Positive—Super Mario 64 still remains the top RPG game for the N64 platform. Great sound FX accompanies the equally great 3D graphics. Sure, it's beginning to show it's age when compared to X-Box & GameCube offerings, but it's still offers great clean fun for any young gamer. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Bill Hendricks, age 45

Negative—While Super Mario 64 may be fun to play, it has elements that should be listed on the Christian review board. One course contains a haunted house (complete with flying objects and ghosts) and another course has you fighting a pair of hands with a giant eye in the center of each (an occultic symbol). My Ratings: [3/4]
   —Kevin Farley, age 30

This is a really cool game…If you like games that take you a while to beat (took me 3 months) but at the same time aren't so hard as to be impossible, then this is the game for you…:) By the way, when you beat the game, make sure and watch the ending sequences…they are really cute…:) My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Stef W., age 23

Comments from Young People…

Neutral—Mario 64 is an overall ok game. the only problem with this game is that it gets boring after about 2 hours of playing. there is'nt really any violence except for when little bomb guys blow up. this game is a ok addition to your stock of games. My Ratings: [4/4]
   —Chris, age 13

Positive—I am a Christian and this is still one of my favorite games of all time. There is not a single one thing wrong with this game. The VERY mild violence includes stomping little brown rocks called goombas and jumping on little turtles. The main boss is a dragon named bowser, all you do is grab him by the tail, and throw him off of a platform, but he always comes back up when you throw him off, when you defeat him, all he does is disappear.This is the greatest N64 game of all time, it's also a good influence on kids if you are trying to find a decent game nowadays for youngsters:) My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Joey, age 15

Positive—This is a great game, even now over five years after it's release. It's tough and challenging, but nothing too hard… My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Secret Agent Man, age 15

I STILL haven't beaten this game, I can't get any stars in the ghost house! It's so confusing. But I still love this game and Mario and can't wait for Nintendo's GameCube. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Charlie M., age 13

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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