Imagination flows in two throwbacks

By Josh Alfrey

Don’t forget to say happy birthday to one of the most famous Italian plumbers around — or at least to the man who speaks for him.

Mario voice actor Charles Martinet turned 58 Tuesday and has been voicing the plumber for 23 years. His voice has defined the character’s personality as a fun and bubbly hero for a generation.

For Martinet’s birthday, I decided to go to Mario’s roots and play innovative platformers on the Nintendo 64. “Super Mario 64” and “Banjo-Kazooie” set the bar for the 3-D generation of gaming.

“Super Mario 64”

“Super Mario 64” takes on the gameplay of a collect-a-thon, 3-D, platforming experience. “Super Mario 64” has familiar environments and characters seen in past Mario games like the well-known castle, Bowser and Peach. Taking the familiar characters and putting them in a new setting with new game mechanics was innovative came out in 1996.

“Super Mario 64” was the first time I saw Mario in 3-D when I was a kid. Playing with him in an open and colorful environment was mindblowing to me.

“Super Mario 64’s” mix of the familiar and the new made this throwback a very comfortable play.


Many gamers either loved “Banjo-Kazooie” or never played it. “Banjo-Kazooie” is another great example of a collect-a-thon 3-D platformer game done well. One of the main goals throughout this game is collecting feathers, jigsaw pieces and music notes from the map. The best part is this never feels like a chore. It’s great to see a mechanic I would typically ignore in modern games utilized in a way that makes me look forward to the hunt.

“Banjo-Kazooie” is such a creative game when it comes down to its lovable characters and gameplay. Many of these elements show when coming across giant shaman Mumbo Jumbo. After trading in Mumbo Tokens that players find around the maps, Mumbo Jumbo changes the player into animals which have unique abilities.

The strongest asset in “Banjo-Kazooie” is its imaginative art, which improved an already fun, diverse and challenging experience.