The eternal children at Nintendo have a different interpretation of "cool" than the rest of the world. Super Mario World, like its grandpa Super Mario Bros., was a pack-in launch title that had to almost single-handedly sell the new system on release. To show off the power of the 16-bit Super Nintendo, SMW did not feature explosions or fast cars or cutscenes. It featured a pudgy mustachioed plumber hopping around colorful side-scrolling levels, mounting a pet dinosaur named Yoshi, and soaring through the skies with a brand new cape. Less than a year later, Sega introduced the world to Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis. Where Mario represented the old guard of childish silliness, Sonic quickly became the 'tude-sporting mascot for "cool" in the early 90's. His legacy may have turned to sand in the last ten years, but back in 1991, the speedy blue rodent was a force to be reckoned with. Generation X was growing into its adolescence, and for some, Mario just didn't cut it anymore. That's a shame, because Super Mario World is two-dimensional perfection, timeless in a way that a trendy Sonic never could be. Although it wasn't much removed fundamentally from the stellar Super Mario Bros. 3, World managed to do a lot in terms of proving to kids and their parents that the SNES was worth shelling out for. To this day it remains technically flawless, impressive, and cool.
There's really not a whole lot one can say about Super Mario World. It's classic Mario perfected. It's adorable. It's got a still-impressive audiovisual package. It's fun. Most of all, though, it's a portal to another world; not to City 17 or Hyrule or Rapture, but rather to childhood. It forms a beautiful bond with its player and reminds him that joy, true joy, never ages.