With the release of the Chris Pratt lead The Super Mario Bros. Movie, there’s no better time than now to look back through the multitude of Super Mario video games. Some were good, some were bad… and some were so good they influenced the direction of the video game industry. With games across four decades, every genre from RPG’s, racing, sports and more, there’s a lot of choice to pick from, so in no particular order, this is just five of the best Super Mario games.
Super Mario 64 (1996)
Super Mario 64 would have been a lot of people’s first introduction to a 3D platformer, and to many, their first introduction to the Mario universe. Considered one of the best games of the console alongside Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, Super Mario 64 introduced a lot of core gameplay elements to the platformer genre, and what it didn’t introduce, it perfected for the time. It says a lot that nearly three decades on people are still playing, discussing, and speedrunning the game.
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Super Mario All Stars (1993)
This may well be a slight cheat of an entry, as technically Super Mario All Stars wasn’t just one game, but a collection of four games. Super Mario Bros. (1985), Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (1986), Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988), and Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988) were all included in the compilation powerhouse, and considering the quality of these four games with no weak link between them, the collection holds up even today when comparing to modern side-scrolling platformers.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017)
Mario Kart was the first Super Mario video game to try its luck outside of standard platforming genre, and thankfully it was a resounding success. Without this, we may have missed out on such Super Mario games like Dr. Mario and Mario Tennis. Over multiple iterations Mario Kart has been refined and perfected until the latest installment on the Nintendo Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Featuring the classic tracks we’ve all grown to love as well as new-and-equally impressive tracks that’ll have you shouting at your television, there isn’t a better arcade racing game to play with your friends.
Super Mario Odyssey (2017)
Considered by many to be the spiritual successor to Super Mario 64, Super Mario Odyssey tried to do for the Nintendo Switch what Super Mario 64 did for the Nintendo64 with arguably more success. Shipping 23 million units since launch speaks for itself, but with the new ideas brought into the genre, the introduction of Cappy, the sentient hat that Mario can use as a weapon and to control objects and the return to the sandbox style gameplay of Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64, its hard to play Super Mario Odyssey and not immediately fall in love with every little facet of it.
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Super Mario Land (1989)
Developed and sold purely to help bolster sales of Nintendo’s latest handheld at the time, Super Mario Land was my first introduction into Mario and gaming as a whole, at the tender age of five back in the early nineties and arguably one of the driving forces behind my love for gaming to this day. Similar in style to its big brother Super Mario Bros. the game distinguishes itself in some significant ways, with the first appearance of ‘forced scrolling’ in the series, as well as the introduction of Princess Daisy. If you take away everything else, this still gave us the first opportunity to have a miniature, handheld version of Mario in our pockets for the first time.
With over two hundred video games involving Mario in one way or the other to varying success, whittling them down to just five was harder than expected. What is your favourite Super Mario game? What have I missed?
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