A look back: Yoshi’s Story
This installment will be a bit different in that I’m unable to go back and play this game. Yoshi’s Story for the Nintendo 64 holds a place of distinction as the only game I’ve ever had that I brought myself to sell out of my collection. It’s not that I didn’t give the game a chance, I most certainly did. My disappointment simply left me with no attachment to the game.
By 1998 I was becoming deeply entrenched in my gaming hobby. I looked forward to my monthly Tips & Tricks magazine, and drooled over the previews and screenshots. My Nintendo promotional stuff continued to arrive in the mail. Lately all the buzz was about the new Yoshi’s Story. I soaked up every bit of information I could before the game was out. And come release day I was on my way to the store to pick up my copy.
To understand my disappointment with the game you should understand its heritage. Yoshi’s Story is a direct sequel to Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island which as implied in the title, is a direct sequel to Super Mario World itself. With roots so deep in the Mario series like that, you would expect to see all the fun and challenge you’d get from a traditional 2-D Mario game. While succeeding in being cute and artistic, it falls short of being a truly memorable experience. I should have known the instant I heard the annoying title screen music…
In all honesty I put a considerable amount of time into this game. I never beat the game, but progressed far enough to obtain, most (if not all) the different colored Yoshi’s. So many previews predicted a grand resurgence of 2-d platforming, now with the hardware muscle to make ANYTHING possible. It was actually being touted ad 2 1/2-D! I tried everything I could to force myself to like this game. It felt like an obligation to enjoy it because so much had been promised. But no matter what, it just wasn’t compelling. Nothing hooked you in and made you wonder what’s around the next corner. It was a well polished game lacking challenge and innovation. Much ado was made amongst nerds like myself about Mario creator Shiguru Miyamoto’s lack of involvement in the title.
One day I put the game on the shelf, and never picked it up again. Until a younger kid down the street came over. He was about 10 years old or so, and saw the game as he was sifting through my collection and asked if he could play it. I told him sure, and he sat down and genuinely was having a good time. He wanted to know if he could borrow it…and I said, “For $20 you can borrow it forever!” Like a good kid he ran home to ask his mom. A while later he came back with a $20 bill and that’s the last I ever saw of Yoshi’s Story.