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access_time November 9, 2012 at 11:02 AM in Features by Ramon Aranda

Super Mario Games that Rocked

We’re only a few days away from the launch of the Nintendo Wii U, which brings with it a brand new Mario game – New Super Mario Bros. U.  Having played the game at various press events, I’m certainly excited about it and it’s shaping up to be another excellent Mario title.

That being said, I’ve started thinking about past Mario games and mores specifically which happen to be some of my favorites; so I figured I’d bust out a list of 10 of the best Super Mario games that have made their way into my house.  Keep in mind this isn’t necessarily a best of all time or anything like that, but just the ones I’ve enjoyed the most.

So here are some of my favs in no particular order…

Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) – When I first saw SMG running on the Wii, I thought “wow”.  The game looked amazing and appeared to be pushing the limits of what the Wii could do graphically when taken the time.  Looks aside, though, I absolutely loved the premise of the game, and the mechanic of jumping from galaxy to galaxy, planet to planet.  Each planet had a unique presentation, some in smaller doses and this was one of the handful of Mario games in which I absolutely wanted to see every planet the game had to offer. Nevermind trying to get all the Stars, but I wanted to experience it all.  The little side story with the storybook, the soundtrack, the ode to past Mario games…it rocked, and rocked hard.

Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) – I can still remember going to my local mall when I was a kid to play at the gaming booth (there were no gaming stores in there in the early 90s) when I saw SMB3.  I played the game for about an hour and was completely hooked.  Who doesn’t love the bad-ass World 4 where everything is gigantic?  Or the awesome power-ups such as the Tanooki suit, the Hammer Bros. suit or the P-Wing?  Having an overworld was a new thing for a Mario game as well and suddenly the world Mario was in seemed so much bigger.  The game also had some pretty cool music, particularly in the flying ships, and having to beat down Bowser’s kids was immensely fun.  To me, Super Mario Bros. 3 was the NES at its best.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES) – This is one of those games that completely took me by surprise.  I’ll admit, I’m not exactly a big RPG fan, though there are a few RPG titles here and there that I do enjoy.  Case in point, SMRPG.  I first played this game as a rental, as I had no real intention of ever buying an RPG for my precious SNES.  From the start however, the story intrigued me and I decided to have an open mind and give it a shot.  As it turns out, I really dug the isometric presentation, in which you had a sort of diagonal, 2.5-dimensional game that combined the traditional overworld with platforming capabilities.  The game looked great too, sporting the Nintendo SA-1 chip that gave the game a more realistic look – by far making it one of the best looking Super Nintendo games of all-time.  The battle system worked great, the cast of characters were fun to use and converse with (even Mallow), and Bowser actually got to be your pal, letting you bring down his King Koopa force to a new wave of foes.  God, I want another one of these!

Super Mario 64 (N64) – This is the game that revolutionized 3D gaming.  Arriving for the Nintendo 64, this was the game that finally put Mario in a 3D environment, while adding analog controls and providing all sorts of gameplay possibilities.  SM64 was the kind of game that left you in awe when you first played it and boy was that the case with me when I tested it out at E3 on the year of its release.  Suddenly I had the kind of control over Mario that I had never even thought of, bringing objects, characters and the world to life like never before.  Did I mention this game was ginormous? While Ocarina of Time was the N64’s defining game, it was Mario 64 that launched a new era.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA) – Easily one of my favorite Gameboy Advance games, it was the first RPG game of that series and was not only fun to play as was Super Mario RPG, but had all sorts of funny dialogue between all the characters, even with the baddies such as Fawful (who was awesome) and Cackletta.  Getting away from the Mushroom Kingdom, we were whisked away into Beanbean Kingdom. Unlike Super Mario RPG or Paper Mario, players had to use both Mario and Luigi at the same time to solve puzzles and even unload tag-team maneuvers in battle.  In fact, the game involved a heavy dose of puzzle-solving while keeping the player laughing all the way through.  If you’ve never managed to check this one out, do so now.

Super Mario World (SNES) – What else can be said about this magnificent piece of work for the Super Nintendo.  It sold me on the console and I literally played it for about 8 hours the first night I got it…keeping in mind I was about 11 at the time.  The huge overworld was daunting, but the secret exits and alternate routes is what really drove me to play the game for countless hours.  This of course is when we first met Yoshi, who has become a massive mascot on his own, and the mechanic of using him opened up even more possibilities than we had seen with Super Mario Bros 3.  And while the Raccoon tail was cool in SMB3, I loved the cape in SMW.  Flying through the skies while also figuring out how to make the flight last was fun and the vast array of new enemies was fantastic.  And who can forget how cool Star Road was? The final boss fight with Bowser is also easily one of my favorite showdowns with the big guy, not to mention the cool soundtrack that was also provided in the game.

Other notables:

– Paper Mario (N64)
– Super Mario Bros. (NES)
– New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
– New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
– New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)

So what were some of your favorites and why?


  • Justin Weinblatt November 9, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Good job showing some love to the underrated Mario and Luigi franchise.

    • Ryan Bates November 10, 2012 at 8:19 PM

      I have to disagree… while the “Mario & Luigi” franchise is good… I kinda feel it’s the weak link in the Super Mario canon. While the humor is great, I feel that for the RPG experience, “Paper Mario” has the deeper characters and storylines. I was so engrossed by “Super Paper Mario” I STOPPED playing “Epic Mickey” just to get lost in “SPM.”

      Of course, if we could ever get “Super Mario RPG 2” going, I’d take back everything I just said.

  • Ryan Bates November 10, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    And also, Ramon, kicka** Racoon Tail > gold cape from the “Liberace” collection.

  • Hermii November 11, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    Nice list but I cant belive you didn´t include Super Mario Galaxy 2, a game that managed the impressive feat of improving vastly upon its brilliant predecessor.

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