We've all played a Mario Game or 10 in our day, so what's an  eager gamer to do when they want to celebrate Mario day but they don't have a new Mario game to play? Play an old game with a twist of course! Below are ten ways to play Mario games other than the standard romp from start to finish.

10. Sunglasses% (Super Mario Sunshine)

Sunglasses are too cool to show up in reflections, don't you know.
Sunglasses are too cool to show up in reflections, don't you know.

Technically, this is a type of speedrun, but it's not to beat the game. In Super Mario Sunshine, there are vendors who will give Mario a pair of Sunglasses after collecting 30 of the game's Shine items. Thus, in a Sunglasses% run, you win the second you get those 30 Shines and talk to the vendor to get your cool shades. While this is a gimmick, it is an actual speed run category, so why not give it a try and post your runs over at speedrun.com?

9. No Switch Palaces (Super Mario World)

Some levels get a lot more difficult than others
Some levels get a lot more difficult than others

Providing useful platforms, much needed items, and in several case essentially death proofing a few levels, the Switch Palace blocks of Super Mario World are an invaluable resource. So try playing a game of Super Mario World without them. For an added challenge, try giving your dino pal a break and try playing without riding Yoshi.

8. Minimum Captures (Super Mario Odyssey)

No turning Mario in frogs, dinosaurs, chain chomps, not even dudes in suits.
No turning Mario in frogs, dinosaurs, chain chomps, not even dudes in suits.

Throwing Cappy at enemies and using their powers is a core gameplay loop of Super Mario Odyssey, so naturally, we're not going to do it. Instead we're going to do anything in our power to avoid capturing enemies while still collecting enough power moons. There are plenty of inventive strategies here, even a whole community dedicated to running Odyssey without captures. Don't worry, you can still use Cappy in plenty of other ways, hat aficionados.

7. No Powerups (Multiple games)

This also includes special items in Mario Party. Good luck!
This also includes special items in Mario Party. Good luck!

Throwing out fire from your hands, flying around, turning invincible, and even growing big are all great things in a Mario game - but don't they make things too easy? The rules here are that unless you absolutely need it to pass a level or solve a puzzle, you stay as small Mario for an entire run of whatever game you're playing.

On the flip side, you could pick a single power up and play for as long as you can keep it. Yes that includes the power crown for you Peachette enthusiasts out there.

6. Walkathon (Multiple Games)

Moonwalking not required.
Moonwalking not required.

Officially introduced as a a mechanic in Super Mario Maker, Walk-Only or Walkathon runs have been done in Mario games as early at the original Super Mario. The rule is simple. If there's a run button, you cannot use it. You can gain speed any other way, but that run button is a no go. You could also try running this category in Super Mario 64, Sunshine, Odyssey, etc, but the lack of a dedicated run button makes determining when you're running a bit harder. In any case, for as much as the Mario games emphasize jumping, you'd be surprised just how important running actually is.

5. 100%/All Items (Super Mario 3)

You'll be visiting a lot of Toad houses on an all items run.
You'll be visiting a lot of Toad houses on an all items run.

These are technically two different ways of running Super Mario 3, but they can be done together. 100% runs require you to complete every single level and on map encounter - like hammer brothers and piranha plants - without skipping any or using the warp whistle. All Items run requires you to complete the game having collected at least one of each usable item - Mushroom, Fire Flower, Leaf, Tanuki Suit, Frog Suit, Hammer Bros Suit, P-wing, Star, Cloud, Music Box, Anchor, Hammer and Warp Whistle - before beating the game. Some variants require you to still have one of each in Mario's inventory at the end of the game. Either way, both of these runs take a lot more effort and skill than your standard Mario 3 run.

4. Win by Doing Absolutely Nothing (Mario Party Series)

Just sit back, relax, and let RNG do all the work.
Just sit back, relax, and let RNG do all the work.

The series of videos about Luigi winning by doing nothing in the various Mario games is a hilarious meme, but it's also entirely possible to do on your own with a little luck. The rules here are simple, in a game against three CPU players, do nothing. If your chosen character wins, awesome! If not, try again.

3. 16/0 Star (Super Mario 64)

Yes, a human can do this. So why not try it yourself?
Yes, a human can do this. So why not try it yourself?

In Super Mario 64 the rules are simple - it takes 10 stars to reach the first bowser fight, 30 to reach the third, and 70 to reach the last one. Only it doesn't. While doing so does take more than a couple exploits, it's possible to beat the game after collecting only 16 stars and using the Rabbit Mips and Backwards Long Jumps to skip a few doors. Even more exploits can get you to the final bowser fight with zero collected coins, though we don't recommend that one unless you're really up for a challenge. Note that the Backwards Long Jump and as such these runs are not possible on newer releases of Super Mario 64, so you'll need an original or virtual console version of either the original Japanese or US release of the game to try these runs.

2. Genoless (Super Mario RPG)

Geno Who?
Geno Who?

The rules here are simple. Much like Super Smash Bros., you never allow Geno into the game proper. The moment you have enough people in your party to remove Geno from active duty in Super Mario RPG, he's gone, never to return. We know, it sounds heretical even to suggest, but it is possible. Why not give a try, even if it does hurt your heart a little.

1. Social Distancing (All Mario games)

Finding your own planet is a bitexcessive, but I like your moxie!
Finding your own planet is a bit excessive, but I like your moxie!

Similar to a pacifist run, but even further, you do your best to avoid interacting with any enemy or NPC that's not strictly necessary to complete the game, and stay as far away from them as you can whenever possible. It's the responsible thing to do.

 

How about you? Do you have any custom ways to play Mario we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below!