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Top 5: Super Mario Games

Nov 25, 2013

Mario has been there since the beginning. His first appearance being in the classic arcade game, Donkey Kong, where he was referred to as "Jumpman". It wasn't until Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), that Mario came into his own and took the platforming genre to a whole new level. Setting the standard for every platform game since.

The one, the only, Mario.The one, the only, Mario.Courtesy of Nintendo

While playing the worlds most famous plumber's latest outing, Super Mario 3D World -- check out the review here -- I couldn't help but think back on how wonderful the Super Mario Bros. series has been over the years.

Super Mario 3D World has been such a joy to play that I was questioning if it was one of my favorites ever, and thus, this list was born. Did 3D World make the cut? Is your favorite on the list? Keep reading to find out. Note: this list only covers main-entry platformers.

#5) Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Nintendo was one of the only developers other than Retro Studio's, that could really make the Wii sing and the original Super Mario Galaxy was evidence of that. It looked so much better than every other Wii game at the time. Not only that but it played just as good as it looked. It you weren't a fan of motion controls and waggling the Wii-Mote than it was a bit tougher to love, but for most fans, it was love at first play.

Then Nintendo dropped it's sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2 on us and it improved on it's predecessor in almost every way. Making it arguably the best Wii game available. It's intergalactic spherical level designs taken to a whole new extreme. If you haven't played Super Mario Galaxy 2 yet, you're missing out.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)Courtesy of Nintendo

#4) Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

After a bizarre but fun adventure in Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario was back to his roots but with more style and tricks up his sleeve than we were used to. Comparing the visuals of Super Mario Bros. 3 and the original game it amazing to see that they are from the same console.

Super Mario Bros. 3 was also the classic entry that featured the Super Leaf power-up, which put Mario in a Raccoon Suit, allowing him to fly by whipping his tale (which makes no sense). There was also the quirky Tanooki Suit which allowed you to turn into a stone statue in order to hide from enemies.

Brilliant level design and some of the best power-ups the series has to offer. Super Mario Bros 3 ranks #4 in my top five Super Mario games.

Super Mario Bros.3 (NES)Super Mario Bros.3 (NES)Courtesy of Nintendo

#3) Super Mario World (SNES)

After so many great outings on the NES, Super Mario fans were eager to see what the chubby plumbers first adventure would look like on the new, more powerful Super Nintendo.

Nintendo did not disappoint, delivering a dense, vibrant world to explore that showcased the power the console had by offering "Mode-7" scaling effects, giving environments and action more depth while still ensuring the buttery smooth gameplay experience expected from the master of platforming.

Super Mario World on SNES was also the first game to really push the idea of alternate exits in certain levels to reveal hidden bonus areas. Not to mention the music is some of the best in the entire series. Fans of platforming-games, those looking to 100% a Mario with a little challenge, look no further than Super Mario World.

Super Mario World (SNES)Super Mario World (SNES)Courtesy of Nintendo

#2) Super Mario Bros. (NES)

The one that started it all. Super Mario Bros. burst on to the scene in 1985 and floored gamers with it's crisp visuals (at the time), catchy music and it's insanely addicting gameplay. "One more level" or "One more game" is repeated over and over again when playing this original classic.

Not much needs to be said about this game. It's the originator, the foundation of a genre so many of love and play and it absolutely holds up today. It's every bit of great as it was when first released.  Shigeru Miyamoto, I salute you for giving us Super Mario Bros.

"Thank you Mario, but our princess is in another castle"

Super Mario Bros. (NES)Super Mario Bros. (NES)Courtesy of Nintendo

#1) Super Mario 64 (N64/DS)

Super Mario 64 (SM64) is in many gamers eyes the pinnacle of the Super Mario series. It was a launch game for Nintendo's new N64 game console. A powerhouse featuring 64-bits of raw polygon computing power. Compare that with Super Nintendo's 16-bit innards and N64 looked like nothing we were expecting. It blew everyone's mind. Mario was 3D for the first time, controlled by the awkward looking but innovative N64 controller with it's new Analog stick for full 360 degree movement.

Super Mario 64 (N64)Super Mario 64 (N64)Courtesy of Nintendo

For the first time, you could could sneak, then walk, then jog and finally leap into a full sprint with sublte movement on the new analog sticks. It featured a huge castle to free-roam at will, inside and out and packed an amazing amount of levels that you could explore in any order you liked -- given you had enough stars to enter -- by jumping into magic paintings. Gamers hadn't seen hub worlds quite like Super Mario 64 had on consoles, it was a revelation not only in visual design but in control input as well.

Nintendo and Super Mario 64 ushered in analog gameplay in 3D adventures setting the bar so high that some would argue it never got topped. As the first game released on the Nintendo 64, it remains as not only one of the best N64 or Mario games, but one of the greatest video games ever made, period.

Super Mario 64 - Level 2


And there you have it. My top 5 Super Mario games. If you're looking to play some Mario classics, you could do a lot worse than try any of the above games. Super Mario was, is, and forever will be the king of platforming.

Have Your Say!

Did you favorite make the list? Let me know which Mario game you love the most in the comments below!