Of course it’s still really, really fun. Everyone knows this. The Mario movie comes out this week, go back and check out some of the source material!
I still have such extremely, extremely clear memories of this from playing it so much as a kid. Everything about it feels so distinctive, and like it was never quite captured in another Mario game before or since. Something about the world is still so mysterious after all these years.
Surprisingly versatile for what kind of game it is! You can play it however you want, do things in different orders (within reason), skip around the map once you find Star World, etc.
For this run, I did all of the first 3 worlds as normal, and all the secret level exits up to that point, and the Ghost houses and their secrets, then decided to encircle Star Road completely. From there, I just couldn’t help myself, I had to go fight Bowser. That is the ending screen pictured.
But it’s so much fun, I will probably go back and play a bunch more actual levels. The Special stages are a blast.