I actually knew some of these, but not the Japan theme in World 3. No wonder that bridge was there! Damn!
There is a 22 year old I know who told me, “Malstrom, I love Super Mario Brothers 3. I stayed up all night playing it with my friend.” But he was born AFTER the game was released. A game becomes transcendent when it can be so enjoyed by those born outside its time. That is what becomes literature and classics… works that are enjoyed beyond their era of time. Super Mario Brothers 3 just transcends the NES library and every other library for that matter. It is literally the perfect game. Any addition to it would only mar it like ‘save points’ or ‘multiple exits’ and such.
What other NES games in the library might be transcendent? Nothing on the same level as Mario 3 for sure. The first Super Mario Brothers game, the two Zelda games, and a huge spotlight on Contra. Perhaps Mega Man 2?
I’m trying to think of another console game that so outdoes its game library like Mario 3 does to the NES library in other consoles. I can’t think of any.