With the release of New Super Mario Bros Wii for the…uh…Wii, I decided to list my favorite Mario games. Now, this list only covers the traditional platforming Mario games. No Mario Kart (sorry, Eddy), no RPG and no Tennis. I looked at all 13 (including Game Boy games) and this is the list I came up with. It was much harder than I thought, mainly due to much consternation over innovation, originality and replay value. I have already steeled myself for a fan boy beating.
6. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island-SNES
Yes, this actually counts as a Mario game. In this departure you control Yoshi who must escort Baby Mario (most annoying baby ever) from level to level. The visuals and power ups made this one of the best games on the SNES and inspired a Nintendo 64 sequel.
Sadly, we have not heard anything about the series for a few years, but the Wii’s motion controls would be a fantastic opportunity for Nintendo to relaunch this game.
5. Super Mario Galaxy-Wii
After a less than fantastic effort with Super Mario Sunshine, Nintendo returned to Mario’s 3-D visuals with Galaxy. And it was an unmitigated success.
The levels were inspired, the visuals colorful and the power ups, while few, were fun enough to win the hearts of many gamers. Continuing the style of play first originated by Super Mario 64, Galaxy was a return to form for Mario and I am anxiously awaiting for it’s announced sequel.
4. Super Mario 64-N64
The game that set the standard for 3-D games for years to come. The pure joy of seeing Mario in the 3rd dimension (Mario has some junk in his trunk!) and the inventive game design single-handedly kept the Nintendo 64 alive for many months. With Peach’s castle serving as a hub and paintings acting as portals into the worlds, Nintendo laid forth a template that would serve them to this very day.
3. Super Mario Bros-NES
The one that started it all. I can already hear that bouncy music and so can you.
This game is still so much fun to play, whether you use the Warp Zones and beat in 15 minutes like I usually do, or whether you choose to make it hard on yourself and play through level by level, this classic brings joy to the masses. Introducing many staples of the franchise, like super tight controls, fun enemies and lots of secrets, just picturing this game makes me want to play it.
2. Super Mario Bros 3-NES
Airships. Koopalings. The Tanooki Suit. Super Mario Bros 3, first seen in The Wizard, brought us so many great things. The first two items I mentioned are enough to place it at least this high on the list. Bringing in the Fortresses and the overworld map was just icing on the cake. With some seriously awesome worlds like Land of the Giants and some seriously frustrating ones like Pipe World, this game was so full of variety. My only complaint was the levels, while numerous, were way too short and the boss battles were all pretty much the same.
1. Super Mario World-SNES
Ah, the perfect Mario game. Nintendo took all the previous games best elements and hunkered down in the lab. When they emerged, they held the first game for the SNES and the greatest Mario game this gamer has ever laid hands on. Introducing Yoshi was a stroke of genius, allowing Mario to even more options when it came to vanquishing his foes. The cape, which allowed Mario to fly and even dive bomb enemies, was THE power up to have if you wanted to find all the secrets.
And speaking of secrets…how about some stages having multiple exits? Add that to the improved overworld map found in SMB3 which now allows you to replay levels and discover even more secrets and you come up with 96 total levels. Oh and that includes the Ghost Houses, a spooky series of levels that always were a challenge the first time through. Plus, the Koopalings make a return and unlike the previous game, they all have different battles this time. And don’t forget the Star Road hidden area, not to mention after beating all of it, the enemies would change appearance and wear masks! Nintendo still has yet to top this amazing game, all these years later.
So there you have it. My Top Six Mario games. Anyone disagree? Care to make a case for something else to be numero uno? Flame on!