I know you might think that it's a bit cliché that I'm making a top 10 list of Mario games, or even talking about Mario at all. I hear some of you saying towards your computer monitor, "There aren't that many Mario games out there, you can't do a Top Ten about them!" Even still, I hear some of you screaming "Mario is a series! It's cheap if you make a list with all the games coming from the same series!" I prithee, listen to my rebuttal.

Simply put, there are over 100 Mario games in existence (which, in case you are unable to grasp the concept of 100 games each centralising around one particular character, is a lot of games), and I felt that I should put them into my own list of what I feel are the most memorable or the most influential games I've played. 'Course, this is my opinion; you believe what you want.

I have a rule or two about the games selected:

First, the game must be a Mario series game. Although they debuted as Mario characters, series’ games such as the Yoshi or DK series do not count.
Second, although this should be a given, the games on this list should feature a primary Mario character as a main character; this could include Luigi’s Mansion or Super Princess Peach. Games which feature nothing more than a cameo are not considered.

The actual title of this list is “The Top 10 Most Memorable, Influential, or Just Darn Good Mario Game”; I just don’t have enough text space to make it so. “Stand-out” seems to do a good job in summarising it all.

Dr. Mario appears to be more or less a Tetris clone, but upon closer inspection, the games play much more differently. Instead of steadily building up a massive tower only to tear it all down, the basic concept of the game is, you play as Mario after mysteriously obtaining a form of doctor's degree, who must systematically throws a bunch of Dr. Mario-brand pills which he dubs "Megavitamins", into a medicine bottle full of viruses. Aligning your coloured Megavitamins in the right way, you must work to eradicate all the viruses which appear in your container. The satisfaction you get when you combo some pills to destroy a "Chill" virus, only to simultaneously destroy the final "Weird" virus and complete the level is so heartwarming, and the adrenaline rush goes off the charts one you finally reach Level 20, clawing your way from level 1.

It doesn't take a genius to see that this game plays unlike any of the other games in the series. I mean c'mon, Mario does adventuring, not puzzles! The format of the game doesn't fit in with the rest of the series at all; it looks as though Nintendo just took a puzzle game they made and pasted Mario's face on the box and in the game to make it sell more. Of course, this was not a wrong move at all. Dr. Mario has earned himself some fame in this world.

His game has earned him many "sequels" on a few consoles, including being simultaneously released on the GameBoy and ported to its grandson GBA (as part of the Classic NES Series), and remade onto other consoles such as N64 and the very recent DSi with much updated graphics and a couple of new features, and it's even present in Brain Age 2/More Brain Training as a secret minigame with the sole purpose of "relaxing your brain" after a long, hard day of brain training (this version is conspicuously called "Virus Buster". In keeping with its goal to relax, the two songs "Fever" and "Chill" are featured as light, calming versions).

Even Mario's doctor form has, like Metal Mario, become a character in his own right and represents his series as the statistically superior clone of Mario in Super Smash Bros. Melee (although he was deemed to be far too similar to play as to Mario, and was cut from the sequel). It seemed to be a slightly modified puzzle game using a popular well known character, but such a move has made the Dr. Mario formula one of the most recognisable in the puzzle gaming world. This earns a spot on my list because it's the first game to ever feature Mario having a side job after his establishment in plumbing.

Fun Fact: Dr. Mario’s appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee describes him as being stronger, yet slower than the plumber due to a lack of exercise. Rather unprofessional! You'd think as a doctor he'd know better!

It’s difficult not to see why this game is not on the list. The world has waited 15 good years for two of the greatest mascots in the world to appear in a game together. 15 years is a long time, especially in terms of videogames. That's almost a half of the time the industry has been around and, at the time of its release, longer than some of us have been alive.

Allow me to begin with a little history lesson. Sega was already part of the home game console market for a marginal amount of time before Nintendo made their big debut. The SG-1000 was a 2nd gen console that didn't make it to American shores, so Sega didn't make its name until after it released the Master System to compete with the NES and other 3rd gen competetors; while it was quite successful in Europe and Australia, there was no way it was able to combat the NES' success in America and Japan.

Cue the release of the Sega Mega Drive (renamed Genesis in the Americas), Sega's answer to Nintendo's new SNES, and the dawn of the Console Wars of the 4th Generation. There were a couple of other consoles around (SNK's Neo Geo and Hudson's TurboGrafx-16), but the world's eyes were focused on Sega and Nintendo. Sonic the Hedgehog was created as Sega's answer to Mario, and even took the place of the company's mascot after his first game's success. It was largely thanks to Sonic that they became a respectable rival to Nintendo.

But many bad business decisions later, and Sega pulled out of the console market by the middle of the 6th gen, instead focusing on games. It seems that Sega acknowledged Nintendo to be the clear victor between them, and as a "No hard feelings" gesture, they began to release games on the GameCube, including their top Sonic games from the Dreamcast, GameCube's technical rival. This began friendly relations between the two companies, and later down the line, their two mascots, who've been at each other's figurative throats for years, finally bury the hachet and shake hands in this new game. And of course, the ultimate symbol of unity is participation in the world's largest friendly sporting event.

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, believe it or not, takes place during and at the all-too-real 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. There, 8 characters from both Sonic's Earth and the Mushroom Kingdom participate in 20 official Olympic events. Their abilities have been scaled down to be reasonable in real life; as such, Luigi isn't an inhumanly amazing jumper, and Shadow can't beat the 400m race in less than a second and a half. However, their abilities are still representative of the characters themselves. Knuckles and Bowser are still of the strongest characters, and Sonic will still likely come first in the 100m dash.

There are also events dubbed as "Dream Events" which take realism out of the equation, to some extent. They're still Olympic events, but something tells me that the real world's Olympic Committee are not going to be adding 10000m platform diving to the list of events anytime soon. The series has been successful enough to have both universes represent themselves in the following Winter and Summer Olympics at the respective locations of Vancouver, Canada and London, England.

Admittedly, an Olympic game may not have been the game people (including me) were expecting them to appear in; but looking on the bright side: it's Mario and Sonic. And it's the Olympics. The Olympics is the ultimate venue of international unity. If that isn't a stand up moment in both the plumber and the hedgehog's careers, I don't know what is. Hey, you never know. One day, the game featuring the two who, having being mortal enemies for more than a decade, join hands in friendly rivalry, may act as the basis of a future platformer.

Fun Fact: Sonic actually made a cameo in Donkey Kong Country 2 on SNES, during the era of Nintendo’s big rivalry with Sega. After Cranky’s “Video Game Heroes” contest, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place spots are taken by Mario, Yoshi, and Link respectively, before Diddy Kong takes his place there. Sonic’s shoes, however, can be seen next to a sign that says “NO HOPERS”.

Fun Fact: A Japanese anime series entitled Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de (lit. In the Center of the Blue World) is, at the time of writing, in production. A radical reimagining of the 4th Gen Console Wars, it tells of rival feudal systems, the Segua Kingdom and the Ninterudo Empire, competing to control the land of Consume! The Segua Kingdom looks to be defeated, until the appearance of the main protaginist, an athletic, blue-haired teenager that boasts superhuman speed! Ha!

Admittedly, there have been a countless amount of ports or remakes of the original Super Mario Bros. Examples of ports include appearing as a bonus ROM title in Animal Crossing for the GameCube (albeit via GameShark or other cheating devices), as a standalone ROM in the NES Classics Series, and as a downloadable NES game from the Wii's Virtual Console. It's also been remade at least a couple of times, such as in the SNES' Super Mario All-Stars (and its 25th anniversary re-release), and even a 25th ani NES remake, that replaces all ?s on ?-blocks with then number 25!

Despite so many different versions of Mario's first platforming adventure, I believe that Super Mario Bros. Deluxe is the definitive title. No joke, I find that to be even better than the orignal NES game by a freaking country mile. Why? In layman’s terms, it's like feeding a kid two tablespoons of medicinal Super Mario Bros., but with about a glass or two of added supplements. The original title is there in its entirety (with 3 save files, a blessing to any inexperienced gamer who could not complete the original game in one sitting), almost completely untouched. The only things that they added to it didn't change your experience at all; rather, it only made sure it couldn't be ruined at all. Pretty much every glitch in Super Mario Bros. was removed in the game, a feat that not even the SNES remake could accomplish, allowing for a much more seamless playthrough (fans of World -1 would have to look for their fix elsewhere, however).

What was so great about this game was that the main adventure mode wasn't the only source of entertainment on the cartridge. There is a Challenge Mode included where you can try to collect the 5 red coins and the hidden Yoshi Egg in each level, a task that only the most hardened of gamers could ever hope to complete. Also included were so many little gizmos you can toy with, including a nifty calendar. There's also a neat unlockable Boo racing mode to keep you entertained.

But what's easily one of the highlights of the game is that if the real Peach sees that "You are a Super Player!", you can even unlock the Japanese SMB 2, AKA SMB: The Lost Levels, appropriately subtitled, "FOR SUPER PLAYERS". It isn't a perfect carbon-copy; some gameplay elements were removed, such as Luigi's trademark poor-traction/high jumps, the presence of helping/hindering winds, and the secret, postgame World 9 and Worlds A-D. Besides those points, the game has been left exactly as it appeared in its original state, complete with its insanely unfair difficulty. The Lost Levels was originally unreleased in the West due to its extreme difficulty, and you'll see why: completing it is not for the faint-hearted.

It's as if Nintendo took a cartridge, put in enough data for a game, and multiply that about 4-fold. Really, I think the fact that it's completely faithful to the original title, nearly completely void of programming errors or oversights, and that it's essentially 2 games in 1 make this THE definitive SMB remake. And the cherry on the top of the cake is that it is completely portable, being released on a handheld console. I guess what I'm trying to say is that they've made many a good game in their gaming history, and that's enough for them and for us. But to take what is commonly regarded as the pinnacle of the gaming industry, and to give it enough additions to FAR surpass the quality of the original, is a feat that few dare to take, and even fewer succeed in doing.

Fun Fact: This game was released 14 years after the original was released. It is the 9th, out of 15, port, rerelease, or remake of the original game (excluding demos and the Game & Watch version).

Y'know, call me skeptical, but I have a horrible feeling in the pit of my gut that I'm going to get flamed by Mario Fanboys. "Only 7th? What the Hell's your problem?"

It doesn't take an absolute idiot to realise that this is regarded as one of the best platforming titles in existance, let alone 3D platformer, some claiming to be even better than the original Super Mario Bros. by a good amount. So how does the game pan out? Well, it begins with a letter. For reasons known only to herself, she has decided to bake a cake for Mario and has invited him to share it with her. Bowser hears of this request, so he kidnaps the Princess and steals the Power Stars and the magical ability within each for his own use. Hilarity ensues.

Me being the kind of guy who appreciates some of the lesser things in great detail, there was one peculiar thing that stood out for me. This game is actually one of the very first games in the series, if not the first, that expanded on the concept of Stars in the Marioverse. Before, Stars were exclusively used as rare items that granted invincibility. In this game, Stars are a great source of magical power that granted impressive amounts of physical and magical ability. Bowser used their power to raise his own, as well as create his own monstrous worlds to lure Mario to his demise. This premise, that started with this game, was used in other games that required them to be collected (namely the two Super Mario Galaxy's). It, then, can be theorised that it's the power of these Stars that grant Mario his invincibility when he picks up a Starman. (Stars were also shown in very high regard in the story of Paper Mario. This property of the Starman wasn't shown in this game, but the famous Starman Theme that plays when you pick one up appears when you wear a Wing or Vanish Cap, and my is that captivating. (A more intense, less captivating version plays when Mario wears the Metal Cap. It's still pretty cool.)

But obviously, this game is rather special for another, hopefully obvious reason. This was the first game that plunged Mario and his series into the 3rd dimension. Such a bold approach was unheard of at the time. The world was asking, "Who in their right mind would think that a platformer can work in 3D?" With the new N64 utilising new technologies to embrace 3D gaming, few thought it was a feasible idea. However, Super Mario 64 became renown as one of the best platforming games out there.

Fun Fact: Disregarding the far lesser known Super Scope game Yoshi's Safari, the opening of this game is the first time in western history that Princess Peach stopped referring to herself as Princess Toadstool. The name hasn't been dropped, though, and "Toadstool" has been accepted to be the princess' last name. Her bio in Mario Tennis even states that she's, "Officially known as Princess Peach Toadstool".

This game rocks.

Mario Kart 64 is the second iteration of the subseries, after Super Mario Kart was released on the SNES. Although this version is considered to be greatly outdated, many critics and longtime Kart racers still argue that this was the best of the bunch, and a true classic in its right.

There are quite a few reasons why this game has gartered much attention by fans. A minor fact to pay attention to would be the characters featured; the eight racers featured in this game (the Mario Bros., Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Wario, DK (Who actually replaced DK Jr.), and Bowser) consistently feature in every subsequent title to date, so it's sorta considered that MK64 was the point that a series was established.

The big jump from SNES to N64 meant that the game could be developed with not only more content, but also more freedom seeing as the console could do physically more. Obviously the stages were in full 3D, they looked much more vast and elaborate than one could possibly describe in words. It's this vastness and elaboration that's responsible for some of the more memorable tracks in the series; Toad's Turnpike, Bowser's Castle, and Wario Stadium instantly come to mind.

And let's not get started on the music, which is some of the most charming and memorable in the series. On occasion, I still find myself humming to the absolutely beautifully charming themes of Frappe Snowland and Rainbow Road. Now it may just be because I'm a so-called "old school" gamer in that I've been gaming since the "days of old", but it's difficult to find such memorable themes in modern games. It's these that really stick.

Obviously, every game after that has developed on this "basic" formula, and never necessarily for the worse. I was glad I could chose between so many Karts in the GC and DS versions. The bikes was a clever addition to the formula. But MK64 is so significant because it laid out the foundations that the subsequent games would come to follow.

Oh, and the Spiny Shell. In Double Dash!! and subsequent games, it's given wings so it soars to its target. In this game, it hugs the track and always targets the leader, tearing anything in its path to shreds. It was truly an object of frightening power, and unleashing it in this game was indescribably empowering.

Fun Fact: Koopa Troopa, who was a racer in the previous title, is "replaced" by Wario in this. The games manual provides a humourous explaination: being the douche he is, Wario actually stole Koopa's intended Kart to enter himself in the competition!

Fun Fact: You receive your award Cups at Peach’s castle. However, Royal Raceway has a dirt path in one of the mountains which leads to Princess Peach's castle courtyard, exactly how it appeared in Super Mario 64!

Super Smash Bros. originated in 1999 as a low-budget N64 game, seeming to revolve around Mario, as I said. It’d be a good guess in saying that the first Super Smash Bros. featured Mario as the Main Man, Star of the Show-type guy; Super Smash Bros. was therefore named after Super Mario Bros. Three of the represented series (Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong) all vaguely fall under the Mario series, too. There is even speculation that the game’s “creator” figure, Master Hand, may be a physical embodiment of Mario’s glove (the recent titles don't seem to follow this idea, especially in Brawl's Adventure Mode, and his and his "brother" Crazy Hand's appearance in GBA's Kirby and the Amazing Mirror seem to disprove it completely). But that doesn't matter: That series is responsible for three generations of awesome fighting games.

Then there was Melee, which was so hyped up that, even though released in the system's early life, went on to become the bestselling title for the GameCube. The character roster was huge (including Sheik, that's 26), and the introduction of almost 300 collectible trophies was a stroke of genius. And guess which Italian brothers arguably got the most intense graphical update?

And what about Brawl? Well, admittedly, Mario's become less of the main man; it seems everyone in it is the star. Still, his Final Smash, Mario Finale was the first to be revealed, and seemed to be the staple of the Final Smash concept in fans. Though less “main”, Mario has become somewhat of a pseudo-star, as he is easily the most recognisable character in the game. He also happens to be the most all-around character, and the character with whom, for some reason, I seem to unlock everything superhard in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

The series itself has gartered a huge amount of positive reception from Nintendo fans and gamers alike. It's been constantly praised for it's unusual format as a fighting game, including controls (every character follows the exact same button inputs to use the same types of moves, but every property of every move, from damage to speed to drawbacks to niche quirks, are individual to every character, so none play exactly the same), main gameplay (a huge focus was placed on scoring ring-outs on the opponents; unlike most other fighters such as Street Fighter, damaging the opponent helped but was not essential (unless playing on the Stamina modes)), and premise (before this, large-scale crossovers were few and far between, and usually were exclusive to Japan. Some even today, like Namco x Capcom or the upcomming Project X Zone, remain regionally elusive). With tournaments held for both Melee and Brawl, as well as "official" tier lists that have been "carefully compiled", this series seems to remain the definitive competitive Nintendo series.

I know I'm, cheating, somewhat, by putting the entire series in one spot. But it's difficult to rule out any one of the games in the series. Each of them was seen as phenomenal in their own right, each having their top points and, at the time of their releases, each being regarded as one the best game for their system (with controversy, of course). This needs its spot as 5th.

Fun Fact: Super Smash Bros. was originally a low-budget N64 fighter entitled Dragon King: The Fighting Game. But the director suggested using Nintendo characters as opposed to generics. This golden decision led it to sell over a million copies in Japan. He then said "Hey! What if we release it overseas? I'm sure we'll get more money out of it." The rest is history.

You’d be flawed if you didn’t see this one coming on the list. But why is it so stand-out? Well, in most games featuring both brothers, Luigi was only an auxiliary character. That is to say, he wasn’t 100% concrete to the story, and games could be completed without once controlling (or even seeing) him. There are only a handful of games which feature Luigi as having some significance as opposed to an alternate selection (from Mario), and even fewer that put him in the same importance as Mario. M&L: Superstar Saga is the first to do just that, and well. VERY “stand-out”, if you ask me.

As an RPG (/platformer hybrid), it’s rather unorthodox as well, with its heavy use of the Action Command (button input to strengthen attacks or dodge enemy attacks) and platforming elements, not typical of most in the genre. Touching on the Action Command, they’re used rather heavily in the game’s “Bros. Attacks”, which have the Mario Bros. performing powerful combo techniques, such as helping Luigi dig under the opponent to deliver an electric uppercut, or hammering Mario as a human cannonball.

The Action Command used in this game is far more advanced than what has been seen in the Mario series' previous. In SMRPG, it was so limited that it wasn't even called Action Command, it was known simply as "Timed Hit". In Paper Mario, it stayed simple. "Press A in time" or "Tap Left repeatedly" was about as much as you needed to power up your moves or defend. Superstar Saga, though, all Bros. Attacks moves had individual sequences of pressing A and/or B, and had even more complicated Advanced variants that could be unlocked, all of which needed immaculate timing. It was so enlightening to be able to properly use those techniques. It all worked brilliantly, though, and fit perfectly well with the style of the series.

The game’s saving grace, methinks, is its fantastic humour. Granted, it’s not going to make you fall off your seat laughing, but the amount of wit and slapstick that it manages to fit in it will always leave you grinning or chuckling to yourself. For example, one of the main villains of the game has a rather unique vocal niche, in that his method of speaking is odd to be subtle. This villain is the originator of the sort-of-popular catchphrase, “I HAVE FURY!!

The game spawned two great sequels since then, cementing its status as a sub-series. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is the first game, save the various sports titles, to unite the adult and baby versions of both Mario Bros. (and also of the Princess and Bowser). Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story features the familiarly ludicrous plot of adventuring inside Bowser's conveniently platform-esque body, as well as Bowser as a main, playable character (and an AMAZING final boss battle), as well as a familiar antagonist. Both these games follow well in the magic of their first game.

Fun Fact: A running gag in the game (and the series, to some extent) is Luigi’s aforementioned lack of significant status. While Mario is world famous, very few characters are able to recognise his brother. Even Bowser himself refers to him at various points as “Mr. Green", "Green ‘Stache”, and even "Mr. Green Mario Brother Guy"!

Now this, if any, is a title deserving of its spot. This is the second Mario RPG out there, and is presented in a rather unorthodox fashion: it’s quite literally a storybook. Separated into chapters that are occasionally (text) narrated, the fairytale-esque story tells of Bowser invading the place in the stars that holds a powerful staff that grants the world’s wishes in order to get his selfish wishes granted, including unimaginable power, finally dominating his archnemesis. Only the 7 Star Spirits, who’ve been kidnapped by Bowser and his lackeys, can help Mario overcome this.

The original, Japanese title of the game is Mario Story. This is completely appropriate; the characters are all as thin as paper in a popup-book world. The story is split into a few chapters (and a prologue), whose ends are narrated (only via text, of course) as if they're being read to young kids. It is presented absolutely brilliantly. In traditional RPG format, there are stats, equipable techniques (that use “Flower Points”, an obviously Mario-esque variant of Power Points), and a party of teammates that help out. The party work like support characters; while enemies can damage them to incapacitate them, they're never truly defeated. Mario is the star of the show, and it's Mario whom you need to concentrate all your efforts to fight and defend with. The fights, like I said in Super Mario RPG, use Action Command rather extensively (more like in SMRPG than in M&L) in its attacks so the battles play like gold. In semi-platformer format, Mario is aided by his jumping ability and the various skills provided by said teammates.

But why I’m so happy to play this game is because the sequels it set up are just as freaking awesome. PM: The Thousand Year Door improves both the platforming and RPG elements in every way, even playing on the fact that Mario’s made of paper as an actual gameplay element, and even features Bowser playable in his own, SMB-styled set of levels (Mushrooms? Screw that! Bowser won't grow with such wussy food, he needs meat!). Super Paper Mario is one of the more subtly hilarious games I’ve played in my time, from the references to past media to the fact that everyone is aware that they’re in a game, and it features an unsuspected plot twist that puts the underdog Luigi in light. That’s why I have to bring special mention to the original title: it set itself up something great.

At the time of writing, the series has a third sequel upcoming on the 3DS: Paper Mario: Sticker Star.

Fun Fact: Paper Mario is the first game to feature the capital city of the Mushroom Kingdom and the location of Peach’s Castle, Toad Town.

C’mon! If you don’t know why this is on the list, your life is moot. Influential is being modest: had it not been for this game, we would not be playing Mario games as we know them, if at all. Donkey Kong was released in 1981, making it one of Nintendo’s earliest video gaming products (but by no means the first, being surpassed by the likes of Game & Watch in 1980). It involved the titular ape against the protagonist Jumpman, who’s trying to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend Pauline (AKA Lady in Japan) from the ape’s clutches. Very King Kong, I’m aware. Motives? Apparently, Jumpman’s pet gorilla wanted revenge for being mistreated. Wow, Mario; who knew you had a dark side?

The game is actually quite known for being the game that gave Mario his current appearance; it wasn’t at all by design, but by convenience. Remember that this was during the 8-bit era. There was no complete freedom in design because game systems back then were so technologically quaint. He was given overalls because it was difficult to animate his arms without making them disappear. He was given a big bushy moustache because there weren’t enough pixels to place a mouth. Finally, Mario wears a hat because his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, couldn’t draw hair properly.

Mario and DK’s rivalry went rather unnoticed after this game’s sequel (in which Jumpman is actually the bad guy!), but would be revived 23 years later in the GBA’s Mario vs. Donkey Kong, where the current generation DK would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps (creating its own mini-series as well). But, none can ever wish to forget the original rivalry that started the to-be plumber’s career.

There are many ports of the game. I had a bit of choice in picking which one to represent in the list (as I did with SMB: Deluxe). I settled between either the Arcade edition, the NES port, or the GameBoy version (sometimes called DK '94). I ruled the GameBoy version out because the original game was only featured in its first four levels; 97 other levels, with vastly different, more complicated gameplay, featured. While that's absolutely never a bad thing, it's too dissimilar to the original. The NES title would have been featured had it not been for one big flaw: due to memory limitations, the 3rd level, 50m, had to be removed, a flaw whose direct ports (such as the GBA's NES Classics Series and the version included in GameCube's Animal Crossing) reflected this. The Arcade version easily remains the definitive version.

Fun Fact: Jumpman was actually a carpenter in his debut; he didn’t actually become a plumber until his sewer-clearing “Mario Bros.” To those intimately familiar to the series this is common knowledge, but there are still many people unfamiliar to Mario's vocational origins.

Fun Fact: The Donkey Kong featured in this game is currently Cranky Kong of DK Country fame. His son is Donkey Kong Jr. obviously, but that is not who you think it is. The red-tie DK we all know is actually the son of DK Jr., making him DK the 3rd!

Huh? What the heck? Where on earth did this one come from?

Trust me, as much as I'm sure that's what you're thinking, that's exactly what I'm thinking too. This game is the most recent title on the list, and when I first wrote this list so many years ago, it was only out a month before submitting this. I have to say, this game easily deserves the top spot even after all this time.

There are some aspects of the game that aren't particularly outstanding. I'm not saying that this game sucks; quite the contrary, actually. The story is very Super Mario-esque and therefore not too surprising: on Peach's birthday, the Mario Bros. and some Toads gather to celebrate. When the massive birthday cake arrives, it happens to contain -Surprise Surprise- the Koopalings! Led by Bowser Jr., they kidnap Peach once again and its up to the Mario Bros., accompanied by a blue and yellow Toad, to rescue her. Again.

The game's graphical style is very Mario-ish too. The scenery is bright and colourful, the enemies sometimes bop to the music, and everything is delightfully unrealistic; all this help to put even a tiny smile on any self-respecting person's face. The music is has the same level of giddyness, with a jaunty appeal that reaches to all. It always sounds happy or excited.

But while these are definitely high points for the game, it's too be expected. Most Mario titles follow these themes; its just that New Super Mario Bros. Wii does it especially well in this game. No, the feature that makes it so stand-out is the game's primary selling point: co-operative multiplayer.

NSMBWii is the very first title in the main series that allows this method of gameplay. Multiplayer in the Mario platformers is not new. However, it has always, ALWAYS been competitive from the early days. In the sewer-crawling Mario Bros., you tried to get more points than the opponent while playing at the same time. Super Mario Bros. 1 and 3 and Super Mario World's 2-player mode had you try and progress further than your friend, passing the controler when you died or finished the level. Even more recently, the DS' New Super Mario Bros.'s only multiplayer mode, save the minigames, had you try and collect Power Stars faster than the second player, with opportunities to hinder their progress.

In NSMBWii, all 4 player characters are working towards a common goal: to traverse the entire Mushroom Kingdom spanning 9 worlds and rescue the princess together. If you really wanted to, you could still hurt the other player in various ways, doing so would never benefit you; more people will always made the ride smoother for you.

There's a certain section of the level which you can easily do but your friend cannot? Simple. Pick him up over your head and run through that section with both your lives intact. If they're using a Fire Flower, they can even gun down enemies with their fireballs like a human turret! Or say there's a secret Giant Coin near the top of the level that there's no way you can reach. Luckily, your friend just happen to have been using a Propeller Mushroom since the last level; he can just fly to the coin and collect it, without you guys having to revisit the level later on. See? Win-win.

That is easily the biggest selling point of the game, a trait that no other game in the series has. But there's no way you can ignore the incredible nostalgic value of the game as well. There are various callbacks to the Mario games of old, such as the POW Block which hasn't been seen in a platformer since SMB2 (or actually SMW2: Yoshi's Island in the Yoshi series), Kamek the Magikoopa (who, actually, seems to be making more of an apperance these days), the appearance (via hatching from eggs from ? Blocks) and rideability of a rainbow of Yoshis, and (probably the most obvious) the return of the Koopalings and their flying fortresses (alongside Bowser's other namesake son).

A game that remembers its roots so well, one that emphasises so heavily on co-operative play, and one that is accessible to n00b and vetran gamers alike... Yeah. This game easily deserves its spot as "The Most Memorable, Influential, or Just Darn Good Mario Game,": "The Most Stand-Out Mario Game".

Fun Fact: Remakes aside, New Super Mario Bros. Wii follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, New Super Mario Bros. on the DS. The latter was actually the first 2D platforming title since Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins was released in 1992, a timespan of 14 years. The Wii game however, is the first 2D platforming title released on a home console for 19 years, after Super Mario World on the SNES.

Fun Fact: Wario was considered to be playable in this game. He, among a few others suggested, were chosen not to be playable. Two Toads were picked as the other playables because they could play exactly the same as the Mario Bros. Mr. Miyamoto stated that if characters like Wario and Princess Peach were playable postgame, he'd feel the need to incorporate their special abilities such as Wario's farts and Peach's magic float ability.

And that’s all she wrote. That’s it with the list of best Mario titles, all things considered. Of course, as with any Top-10 list created by a single, interested fan, you have to take into account a couple of things.

Firstly, note that the list really is compiled of games “All things considered”, not just whether the game is good, or has more history, or whatnot. For example, Super Mario Bros. has a great nostalgic value to it and was a good game, but lost to SMB Deluxe for the reasons I stated in its entry. Secondly, this is a list of MY opinions, with reasons. The world is entitled to its own opinions, so some may not agree with my selection. That’s fine, as long as you can at least sympathise with my choices.

But serious note aside, I loved writing this list about Mario. He raised me since the dawn of the N64 days, and looked after me well. His series is renowned for its quality, and with good reason (you can count on one hand the Mario games I’ve played and didn’t enjoy). All of these games are games you should at least try before you die, definitely. And I definitely hope you enjoyed reading this list, as much as I did making it. (That’s a lot, by the way.)

Honourable Mentions:

Mario Strikers: Charged:
It’s sports, with the extreme factor cranked up to 11. It’s proof that Mario can approach “hardcore”. At the time of writing, it’s the one game that’s received the highest ESRB rating (which, ironically, is E10+).

New Super Mario Bros.: It’s the first sidescrolilng platformer since Super Mario Land 2 on the GameBoy, and the one that’s very reminiscent of the original games.

Super Princess Peach: Granted, not amazing, but is the first to put Peach in the driver's seat to rescue the Mario Bros. themselves.

Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: A gracious return to the rivalry between plumber and ape. It may have possibly taken spot 12 on the list.

Mario is Missing!: For obvious reasons (*coughWeegeecough*). I have never played the game myself so I haven't enough to write about, but it seems like it may have deserved at least a spot.

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins: Last platformer for over a decade. It introduced the longtime villain and/or rival Wario.

Super Mario World: Tight gameplay, IMMENSE world (comparable to those of newer platformers), the introduction of the Spin Jump, Cape Feather (one of my fave powerups), and above all, YOSHI. It may have possibly taken spot 11 on the list.

Luigi's Mansion: First mainstream, successful game to feature Luigi as the main character.

List by master_gamer11 (09/19/2012)

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