The top ten Mario video games: Part one

One student shares his favorite titles from the long-running franchise

Mario is one of the most recognizable icons in the video game industry. So, he’s been in a lot of games and in almost every genre of game you can possibly think of. He also made some early cameos in other games as well, but alas, didn’t star in them. So, I will do a top ten list, split into two parts.

1. Super Mario Bros. (1985)
It’s the original, so it has to top the list. Making Nintendo into a video game juggernaut in the mid-1980s, this game has the right blend of action, platform-jumping, and above all, classic gameplay. The genre of platform-jumping action games pretty much took off here, and is still around to this day. In fact, a new speed record of less than five minutes was set just last week.

2. Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988)
Two different versions of this sequel have been released. One came out a year after the original and featured the same kind of graphics and gameplay; only the difficulty was ramped up to a notorious level. Obviously, Nintendo of America didn’t release it fearing it would only alienate gamers. So, instead of releasing it, they modified an old game called Doki Doki Panic, in which the Mario
characters work together to defeat Wart in the Dream World. This unusual game sold well in North America.

3. Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)
Not only did this game get a huge promotion in the 1989 film The Wizard (starring Fred Savage), it introduced us to a masterpiece of a game that amped up the gameplay and added eight new worlds for gamers to conquer and finally defeat Bowser again. All of the familiar power-ups are back, with a few new ones as well.

4. Super Mario World (1991)
Super Mario World is another one of those instant classics. Launching with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991, Super Mario World ended up being the highest-selling title for the console. This time around, you have a massive world to explore and conquer and still you might not find all of the easter-eggs and whatnot as you traverse through several worlds in Dinosaur Land. This game, along with the previous entry in this list, was adapted into a television series that aired around the same time as these games were released. You can find copies to purchase online, though the shows are not as good as the games, sadly.

5. Super Mario All-Stars (1993)
This compilation of all the remade original versions of the 1985-1990 games is just a gem to own. All three games have been given a 16-bit facelift and a lot more detail has been integrated into the games to make them feel like a more immersive experience. Finally, the unreleased Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2—named The Lost Levels here—makes its debut in this compilation.

Return next week, where I will conclude this retrospective by talking about more Mario titles.

Photo: (CC BY-SA 2.0 by Sergey Galyonkin)

Wes Huntington

Wes Huntington is a senior mass media student. He is also the senior host of Radio a La Carte on KMSU-FM, which airs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every weekday. You can reach him by emailing him at wes.huntington@mnsu.edu.

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