Super Mario 64 introduced the camera as a friend and foe in video games
When the Nintendo 64 launched in the United States in September of 1996, players had just two games to choose from: a flight simulator called Pilotwings 64 and the latest entry in one of the most popular series in video game history. Super Mario 64 dragged its titular plumber into a fully realized three-dimensional world for the first time. In doing so, it helped introduce gamers to the agony and ecstasy of the adjustable camera—an element that would quickly become standard in games, but that was almost as brand new as the N64 itself in the autumn of ’96. As part of 1996 Week, four A.V. Club staffers got together to talk about Mario 64’s then novel, often frustrating camera system and how games built upon it in the years that followed.