It's been great having old NES and SNES games available via Nintendo Switch Online, and the online multiplayer is a robust feature that my friends and I have been really enjoying. One friend of mine in particular and I ended up tackling the SNES classic Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, more specifically, a 100% completion run. I first played the game a whopping 10 AND A HALF YEARS AGO (!!!!!!). (Wow, I feel old.)
It's nice to have that blog entry and remind myself what my reactions to the game were at that time, and I'm happy to say that my enjoyment and admiration for the game have only increased. At that time, I'd said, "item collection does expand a platformer’s gameplay a lot, and the levels are definitely designed well enough that finding all the items isn’t mindless and dull, but finding 45 items in every level was a bit overkill for me." I should have pointed out that the hardest part isn't even just finding all those items in every level, but doing them all on a single run through the level and being careful not to take too much damage since one of the requirements is to have 30 stars at the end, and they decrease if you get hit.
My buddy and I alternated levels, and even though I usually like to complete things and search for secrets on my own, in this case it was fun to divide up the labor and be another set of eyes to offer suggestions of where to look for some of the trickier to find items. We only had to consult a FAQ once, although I have to admit we quickly decided to rely on save states. It took us quite an extended amount of calendar time to find the time to get together to work our way through the whole game, and I shudder to think how much longer it would have taken us to 100% it without save states. I also have to give him a big shout out for managing all the saving and reloading since we were using his save file.
There aren't a ton of games I've completed 100%, and that achievement seems to get more and more difficult as video games have gotten more technically advanced. For a regular playthrough, Super Mario World 2 is without a doubt a masterpiece, not just as a 2D platformer, but as a timeless video game experience period. For a 100% playthrough, I'm little bit more conflicted, though. The game has some pretty obnoxious moments (for example, Shy Guys who hold red coins who fly away only seconds after you spot them), and some of the requirements to reach 100%, such as having to beat every boss without getting hit once, seem more sadistic than fair. I can't say for sure that I would have stuck with it and gotten it done without having a buddy to share in the pain and take on half of the stages, but I'm glad that I've had the experience. At some point I'll have to do a solo 100% playthrough, maybe on the GBA version. I wasn't too surprised at how much I'd forgotten about the game (basically all of it) in the more than ten years that had elapsed since I'd first played it, so maybe I'll be ready to replay Super Mario World 2 again in another ten years from now! ;)