Top Five Mario Games

In honor of the recent release of Super Mario Odyssey (which I CANNOT WAIT to play!), I decided to count down my top 5 favorite Mario games. And by Mario games, I’m referring to main series games – not spinoffs like Mario Kart or Smash Bros. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

5) New Super Mario Bros.


This addition to the series was released in 2006 for the Nintendo DS, and it’s also my favorite portable Mario game. Of course, Mario Odyssey may dethrone it here soon, but I will always adore this game’s graphics, gameplay, and music. After a long string of stellar 3D titles, Nintendo finally decided to go back to 2D for the series’ first edition on the DS. While the game is in 2D, the graphics have an interesting 3D look to them – one that would remain for all subsequent 2D Mario titles. In addition to great graphics, the game boasts the terrific traditional 2D Mario gameplay and really catchy tunes. The music has a certain “doo-wop” vibe to it that really adds to the game’s charm. Anyone with a DS needs to pick this game up – if they haven’t already.

Just listen to this music!

4) Super Mario Galaxy


This game was released for the Wii in 2007, and the graphics, 10 years later, still look as fresh as ever. The music is also some of the best in the series, featuring a fully orchestrated soundtrack. Honestly, some of these tunes are simply breathtaking. The gameplay is top-notch too, featuring 3D platforming segments and occasional 2D segments. This game also introduced characters like Rosalina and the Lumas, who would become some of the most recognizable characters in the series.

Folks, listen to this music!

3) Super Mario 64


I remember when I was young, I was used to the 2D Mario titles. While I knew I had played this game when I was really young, most of those memories had escaped me by the time our family bought a Wii. Thanks to the Wii’s Virtual Console, anyone could buy Nintendo classics at an affordable price. Since we had enjoyed the other Mario games we’d played, my brothers and I decided to buy Mario 64. Initially, the outdated graphics and bizarre 3D perspectives turned us off. After playing, however, we quickly found out that this game features some of the most fun level designs, boss battles, and other gameplay facets. To name only a few: returning a lost penguin to his mother, racing a Koopa to the top of a mountain, freeing a Chain Chomp into the wild, and grabbing a star from the talons of a vulture in flight. This game’s variety is something to be admired, even in today’s video game landscape. This is known as one of the most important games ever, and playing it makes it obvious as to why this is the case.

Come on, just listen to this music!

2) Super Mario World


Nostalgic connections notwithstanding, this game is bound to be on any Mario fan’s favorites list. The memorable worlds, bright colors, charming graphics and enemy designs, memorable bosses, bountiful secrets, the list goes on. Literally everything about this game is perfect, and that’s really all that needs to be said about it. Also, the addition of Yoshi makes it one of the best on that fact alone.

I mean, just listen to this music


1) Super Mario Sunshine


This is one of the most polarizing games in the franchise, and I honestly have no idea why. I adore everything about this game: the creative 3D level designs, the dazzling graphics, vibrant colors, relaxed “vacationy” vibe, and most of all the difficulty. This game has a perfect difficulty curve – early levels are just tricky enough to suck gamers in, while later levels really put your mastery of the game’s controls to the test. And while Mario 64’s controls could be a little unforgiving at times, Sunshine makes you feel like a champion when you finally get that tricky jump or platforming challenge down. Oh, and there’s also the introduction of classic Mario characters like the Piantas, Nokis, Toadsworth, and Bowser Jr. The addition of FLUDD is also a nice touch. That’s one thing that a lot of people don’t like about this game: the addition of a new gameplay gadget. While some believe his addition to be tacked-on, I think it provides a great new control scheme for players to get used to. And hey, it seems even Nintendo knew this would happen, because they added really tricky 3D platforming stages in which FLUDD gets taken away from you. The gameplay, graphics, charm, and varying gameplay elements are why Sunshine is my personal favorite Mario game.

Oh, and just listen to this music!

Thanks so much for reading. Disagree? Leave a comment below! Also, be sure to check out our other content here on Mid-American Culture.




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