It is hard to believe that it has been thirty long years since Mario had his first official debut in Super Mario Brothers back on the Nintendo Entertainment System (of course not including Donkey Kong). For these thirty years Nintendo has leaned quite heavily on their main mascot, taking him on many big adventures, Mario has been chasing that dreaded Bowser all to rescue his princess. His adventures have taken him through many great adventures from the world of painting, to other dimensions, even to the far reaches of space and there are so many great games in this long series. But which games are Mario’s best? Everybody will have a different opinion but in recognition of Mario thirtieth anniversary it is good to look through his history and pick the five games I think are the best.
5. Super Mario 3D World
A common trend between Nintendo and Mario is that they commonly redefine old ideas from the franchise and take them down paths. A common trend found in the recent 2D Mario games is that people play together with up to four people able to play at once. This is a feature that Nintendo never added into their 3D games, that was until 3D World. Super Mario 3D World took the great level design and wide environments of the 3D games and gave us the ability to play a spirited competition with friends, it is easy to say everything is better with friends. 3D World was expansive and at the time of release was a breath of fresh air that allowed us to play an even more Mario experience because we could experience 3D Mario with friends.
4. Super Mario 64
Back on the Nintendo 64 Nintendo released Super Mario 64 a game that was very different from everything previously done with the franchise. Nintendo jumped from the standard 2D games of the era with ease bringing the game that set the standard for 3D platformers and the transition from 2D to 3D for future games. Super Mario 64 set us free in Peach’s castle and opened the doors for us to explore many varying worlds and collect all the stars available in the world. Super Mario 64 introduced many us to some of our favorite gaming memories such as storming Bomb-omb Battlefield and satisfyingly crushing King Bomb-omb. Then there is the fun battles with Bowser which actually took some skill to beat, there are many great moments in this game and Super Mario 64 is a real highlight of the franchise and for good reason.
3. Super Mario World
Long before I really got into games and even fully understood what on earth Mario was I played this wonderful game. Among the wonderful Super Nintendo lineup I had access to this one game stood out, at the time it may have been the bright color which attracted me or the adorable dinosaur I got to take Mario around on. In the modern era I understand why I was so attracted to this game, a big one is still Yoshi the adorable dinosaur was the highlight of the experience, the star of the show if you will. But a big thing was the incredible level design, it was bright, it was full of life and the levels were always fun to play, in an era where we hated water levels it wasn’t just Donkey Kong that changed the feeling of such levels, every visit to a water level was fun and full of wonder particularly when you played a fun game of find the secrets and there were many. In general there was much to love and even to this day twenty three years later this game is still great to play, Mario’s journey in Dinosaur land is one to remember and is hard to beat when you think of all that Mario has offered in his life. Then there is that final boss battle with Bowser, this battle was incredible and a nice conclusion to one of the game’s best levels, throwing Mecha-Koopas up in the air to bop Bowser on the head and seeing his face is such joy.
2. Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario 64 really set Mario up for great things when it defined exactly how 3D Mario would generally operate. Instead of focusing on linear pathways these games offered better worlds which featured more creativity then other games, and Mario Galaxy took what was great about 64 and expanded it into new territory. Instead of being bound to and re-treading similar territory in the Mushroom Kingdom Nintendo opened an expansive space filled with many varying galaxies and interesting gameplay concepts. Nintendo changed up the game with the addition of gravity playing a huge part in the general gameplay, and even building into one of Mario’s most memorable adventures with the huge variance in gameplay options that spawned from this massive intergalactic adventure. Nintendo evolved the gameplay in many ways and even made some of the best boss battles the series has ever offered which were only capable in this game. I will forever hold such high regard for this game and will admire just how stunning this game was in design and fun.
1. Super Mario Maker
Nintendo redefined Mario with its real tribute to its beloved franchise with Super Mario Maker, this game that unintentionally celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the franchise offers one of the best Mario experiences available. Super Mario Maker takes one of the franchises biggest problems and removes it by placing the power of Mario in the player’s hands. The fact we could build levels that fit our own needs such as fun and difficulty particularly in the 2D territory Super Mario Maker offers the best Mario experience and is a real joy to play particularly when you think of all the possibilities out there to create and all the journeys that Mario can on.