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The classic Super Mario Bros. is 30 years old today. So I figured it'd be a pretty neat idea to count down my personal favorite Mario games. I haven't played every title, and have missed out on some recent ones due to my lack of a Wii U and limited time with a Wii, but when's the next time this list will make sense to do? Keep in mind, one per sub-series, for example; Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart, Mario Party, Paper Mario, etc. are their own series and will only have one entry, if any. Also, only games where Mario is the star, so even though I adore Yoshi's Island, it's not on the list and I don't have to decide between that and World. Also, no Mario Party. I like the series, but I never had a real opportunity to enjoy its multiplayer aspect.
10. Dr. Mario - I have always loved me some puzzle games. However, aside from a couple notable exceptions like Tetris Plus or Pokemon Puzzle League, which is great even if you care nothing for Pokemon, few have ever stuck out in my head. Dr. Mario is definitely one that doesn't stick out too much to me. I haven't put more than a couple hours into it, and it would likely not be on this list if I'd played Super Mario RPG or New Super Mario Bros U. That being said, it's still a good and fun game. I have no nostalgia for it like many do, but it's fun and unique enough to be a worthwhile departure from whatever your favorite puzzle game may be. Also, yes, that music is amazing.
9. Super Mario Sunshine - Sunshine, at least from what I've seen, is definitely among the most overrated in the series. It's beautiful, the music is sublime, it controls really well, and it mechanically separates itself from the rest of the series. However, it can also become brutally tedious and repetitive, Many levels require the exact same sequence of goals, especially the ones where you have to clean up every inch of the area, some of the platforming requires brutally perfect timing, and things like knocking out flying piranha plants or using those flipper dudes to get to higher ledges are just horrible. I did like a lot of the mini platforming segments, the environment as a whole, even if I got bored of it after a while, and the water races were great fun. It's a perfect example of something special bogged down b and excessive amount of poor choices.
8. Super Mario Baseball - Arcade baseball is the most boring type of arcade sports to me. Games like NFL Blitz and the NBA and NFL Street games are amazing, but the Slugfest and Bigs games get boring pretty quickly, at least to me. Amazingly enough, Mario Baseball, aside from also being the first game I thoroughly enjoy on this list, actually keeps my attention the most of any arcade-style baseball game. Obviously, I like Mario and the gang, but there's definitely more than that to it. I'm a sports fan too, it's not like having Sammy Sosa or Derek Jeter in a game doesn't appeal to me. The depth is what does it for me. There's what's the biggest roster I can think of in a Mario sports game, and they all have different attributes. You can customize the team for certain strategies and playstyles, and having certain fielding or pitcher/catcher combinations, or facing off against certain characters as a batter or pitcher can increase or decrease your stats for a set time. On top of all that is the Mario charm and humor, widely varied fields with their own special circumstances, awesome but not overpowered special moves, and really solid and fast gameplay. It's among the best baseball games ever made, which may not mean much to you, but as a fan of the sport, that's saying something.
7. Mario Power Tennis - Power Tennis definitely isn't as deep as Baseball is, and arguably isn't as faithful either. Honestly, I've always really liked tennis video games, at least good ones. It's not among my favorite sports, but Tennis is just so much fun in video games. Fast-paced, but with enough timing and placement to keep you thinking. The personality and music of Mario games and characters brings it to a new level of fun. Power players, speed players and balanced players definitely add enough depth that all the characters feel worth having, and the controls are precise and easy to learn. The power-ups are more devastating in this game, but it fits its frantic nature moreso than it would a baseball game. Overall, this is among the simpler Mario sports games, but it's just so damn fun.
6. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga - Superstar Saga is just oozing with personality. This is one of the few Mario RPG's I've played, so sorry about that, but it'sa damn good one. The music is a nice mix of new tunes and remixes of Mario classics. The combat is simple on the surface, but slowly provides enough depth to remain interesting while never being over-bearing. What I said about personality however, is what really sells me on this game, and ill make me play the rest of the Mario & Luigi games soon. This game is absolutely hilarious. The dialog is witty and funny, the characters all feel distinct and even the newly introduced main baddie is a riot. Even if the rest of the game wasn't fun, I'd still play through it just to see the next interaction or absurd plot development.
5. Super Mario Bros. - This is the only Super Mario Brothers game on this list, and I have a solid explanation. This is the only NES Mario I had growing up. Don't ask me why, I was maybe 3 or 4 when I started playing video games, didn't have much say in our purchases. we also had a SNES by then and I played that a lot more. However, I do have fond memories of playing this game, well, the first level or two, again, I could count how many years I'd been on the Earth on one hand. I still enjoy the game to this day, still even more than 2 and 3. 2 is good, but I don't like a lot of the Doki Doki mechanics, and something about 3's color palette always felt dull to me. So, this is a very personal taste pick, but I still prefer the original
4. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door - Thousand-Year Door is a classic RPG in my opinion. I only finally picked it up at a local Con a couple years ago,after finally getting a Gamecube again, and I missed the fuck out. While i was huge into games at the time, I was in that early teenager mindset of "everything kids like is dumb", so I hadn't played games like Mario Sunshine, Thousand Year Door, Windwaker, Animal Crossing, and the like until years later. In fact, I believe the Metroid Prime gamer were the only Gamecube exclusives I had. Point is, I was dumb and don't have nostalgia for this. However, it's still a fantastic game. The combat is deeper than Superstar Saga, though admittedly similar, there are more fleshed out characters and an actually interesting story. There's solid platforming integration, whereas I found it tedious in Superstar Saga, and the villain and plot are both surprisingly interesting. This game is also on the same level of absurd hilarity as Superstar Saga. This would be higher on many lists, but I just adore the top three so much.
3. Super Mario Galaxy - Mario Galaxy is possibly the best Mario game ever made. It took everything Mario 64 tried to be, and perfected it while expanding upon it immensely. Most of the worlds are extremely beautiful and creatively designed, the soundtrack is arguably the best in the series, the gameplay is spot-on, and the challenge is enough to grab your attention without frustrating you. It's among the only games, even among the only Mario games, that's actually fun to get every star on. All of this being said, the reason it's #3, is nostalgia. I don't have a whole lot for this game, having only played it a few years ago as a rental before getting a recent chance to delve into it. While the top 2 games are practically staples of my childhood that I still go back to consistently.
2. Mario Kart 64 - I'm aware that many people consider Double Dash or even Mario Kart 8 to be superior products. While they're different enough to stand out on their own, aside from Mario Kart 8 stealing mechanics from Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (which you need to play), I've never wanted to go back to those games like I do Mario Kart 64. Maybe it's nostalgia, but I legitimately have the most fun with this game. It still controls amazingly, it's among the few N64 games that still looks good, the music is classic, and every characters feels and plays like different entities. More recent games may have bigger rosters, superior graphics, and more mechanics, but this is the one that set the standard, and I still enjoy it the most.
1. Super Mario World - I'm sure everyone saw this coming at this point. What else could've been my number one? There's no way anyone can make this list without putting Super Mario World high up on it. The game, even in 2015, is beautiful, super creative, a musical masterpiece, and controls as smooth as an overused smoothness analogy related to baby backsides or a form of fabric. Mario World is a near perfect game and among the few in existence that I never have and likely will never get tired of. It balances challenge and fun amazingly and it's brimming with so much personality and energy than it's impossible to not have fun, even when it becomes challenging. This is also among the first games I ever played, and it's not my favorite game ever, but it's up there and I had no doubt it would be at the top of this list.
Hope you enjoyed the list, and I am aware that there are good games I left off. I'm working on a companion video if you don't feel like reading, but until then this is what you got. Also, no, I don't like Mario 64. It controls like ass and it's extremely repetitive. Have fun with your rage.