With Super Mario Maker set for release on September 11th for the Wii U, it seemed like a great time to go over the history of Mario games and highlight some of the best that Nintendo has had to offer over the years.
Nintendo has really branched out and tackled a number of different genres for the Mario titles and this list convenes to select the best games out of each category of unique and different Mario titles over the years, ranging from sports titles and party games, to platformers and RPGs. So without further ado, here are Nintendo's 5 best Mario games, ranked.
5. Super Mario RPGThe SNES outing of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was Nintendo's foray into the turn-based role-playing genre for the Super Mario franchise. The game worked for what Nintendo aimed to do with the series, from the seemingly mute protagonist to the turn-based combat mirrored after the likes of Square, Sunsoft and Enix (conveniently enough, the last two were eaten up by Square). Super Mario RPG featured some light eight-direction platforming, and some cool mini-games. While Super Mario RPG doesn't receive a whole lot of love but this was probably one of the most underrated yet well made Mario games out there.
4. Mario Party 3I can't believe they made 10 Mario Party games, it seems unfathomable. Nevertheless, the original games on the N64 – and to a lesser extent the GameCube – were extremely fun. It seems like the games on the list might show a lot of favoritism toward Nintendo's earlier systems but that's because you just can't beat the classics when it comes to quality games and timeless appeal. Mario Party 3 was one of those classic party games because it added on to what Nintendo and Hudson Soft had already accomplished with the first two games. They took the interactive board game concept and expanded it with all new features like the duel boards and some addictive new mini-games like the Log Jam, the Cheep Cheep Chase, and the River Raiders. The Dungeon Dash is still one of the classics from the previous entry in the series, but Mario Party 3 was kind of the pinnacle of the party game experience on the N64 as Nintendo prepped to enter the era of the GameCube.
3. Mario Tennis 64Take the intensity of Windjammers and combine it with the lovable characters and quality only Nintendo could infuse into their games, and you get Mario Tennis 64. While yes, there is a new Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash on the way, the addictiveness of this sports title dating back 15 whole years speaks volumes for how well designed this game was. The roster included 11 characters and was an advancement on that gosh-awful game that Nintendo first introduced with the Virtual Boy. A lot of the controls and gameplay actually stayed the same from the Virtual Boy to the N64, but developers Camelot cleaned up the graphics, added new characters, smoothed out the power-ups and made sure that playing doubles was one of the most exhilarating tennis experiences on a home console during that time. It's no surprise that this game would make the cut.
2. Super Mario Galaxy 2The highest rated game during the seventh generation of gaming. That's an impressive feat. Nintendo's Super Mario Galaxy 2 took everything that the first one did and then ramped it up some more. Graphically it was impressive looking for a Wii title and the unorthodox multiplayer mode give it a lot more depth and a sense of cooperative play unlike any other title on the market at the time. The crazy stage designs and multi-dimensional layouts made Super Mario Galaxy 2 a true tour de force, and it captured a lot of the same qualities that Super Mario 64 did. In fact, in the world of sequels you could say Super Mario Galaxy 2 was to Super Mario Galaxy what the Empire Strikes Back was to A New Hope.
1. Mario Kart 8Easily one of Nintendo's very best games made, ever. This game is almost infinitely replayable, has some of the best DLC packs ever made for a game and features a robust single-player and online multiplayer mode that will be sure to keep gamers coming back and playing it for years to come. Nintendo pretty much hit the mark with Mario Kart 8 by having a game that can bring people together locally to enjoy some split-screen action, or bring people together globally as they battle it out online and enjoy some fun, good-hearted competitive racing action. The ability to finally customize the karts, unlock new parts and even ride alongside the walls with the all new anti-grav feature makes Mario Kart 8 one of the most feature-complete racing games of all time and one of the best Mario games of all time. Plus, who could not love Luigi's death stare?