Secret Stage Top Fives: Super Mario Games

Just this weekend, Super Mario Bros. on the NES turned 30. To celebrate, Nintendo released Super Mario Maker on the Wii U last week, a level-making tool packed with nostalgia. Without a doubt, Mario is one of the most iconic characters in all of video games, with appearances in hundreds of games spanning several genres. Almost any gamer has experience with the mustached hero, and here are our favorite Mario games:


5. Mario Kart 8 (Wii U) - "This has to be on my list because it is such an awesome Nintendo racer. The graphics are amazing and there are so many levels to race! A ton of fun!"

4. Super Mario Bros 2 (NES) - "This one is on my list because of how different it was. Picking turnips and beating weird bosses!"

3. Mario Party 3 (N64) - "This was my favorite Mario party. The minigames were a lot of fun and I like the feel of this Mario Party over the news ones."

2. Mario Kart DS (DS) - "This was the first multi-player game on the DS that I played. Loved the minigames and playing it with Zach was a blast! "

1. Super Mario 64 (N64) - "This was my favorite Mario game hands down! It handled 3D so well and I loved how hard the levels could be. Great game!"


5. Luigi's Mansion (GCN) - "I think Luigi deserved the spotlight for once and this game not only did that, but it was also very different for the Mario franchise. I respect their versatility and thoroughly enjoyed this game."

4. Super Smash Bros: Melee (GCN) - "While this isn't exclusively a Mario game, it does pull characters from that universe. It was nearly impossible to attend any party in middle/high school where this was not going to come up at one point or another. Thus, it has more than earned a place on my list despite my incompetence."

3. Mario Party 7 (GCN) - "Of the Mario Party games this is the one I've played the most of so I had to call that one out specifically, but the whole series is great. It was perfect to get friends together in a way that was somewhat competitive like Mario Kart, but not quite to the extreme of wanting to murder them. See my number 1."

2. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) - "I think of the Super Mario Bros. games this is my favorite because it took the elements of the first two and improved upon them. Plus you get the frog, hammer and tanooki suits, which are awesome."

1. Mario Kart: Double Dash (GCN) - "This was my favorite of the Mario Kart games. Overall though, there is not a single person who can play any version of Mario Kart and not become super competitive. That makes it both fun and sometimes, a friendship ruiner... but that element of 'Which one's it going to be?' makes it interesting. Also, it is incredibly accessible in that anyone can figure out to play it after a single race."


5. Super Mario Bros. (NES) - "No Mario list would be complete without this game. It rates so low on mine simply because I never owned a Nintendo. I did play it a few times when I was a kid, but having no experience with video games at all, I was terrible at it. I'm still pretty bad come to think of it..."

4. WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii) - "I've only played this game once, but as far as games to play with others go, I like it more than Mario Party."

3. Yoshi's Story (N64) - "I borrowed this from a friend way back in the day and played it a lot. I unfortunately didn't get to finish it because they wanted it back, but at that time I loved exploring the world's of video games more than anything else, so it was perfect for me. "

2. Mario Kart 64 (N64) - "This was another one I borrowed from a friend and never really finished it. The first Mario Kart I played was for the Gameboy Advance, but I think the N64 version blew it out of the water."

1. Super Smash Bros. (N64) - "I know there are people that will swear by any of the other ones that have come out, but I don't have any of those consoles. I also loved the simplicity of all the characters. There were so few that they all had very unique traits. Fun fact, this is the only game on this list that I actually own."


5. Mario Golf (N64) - "Mario is a classic character, whose games I've always enjoyed. I also have a soft spot for golf games, so this one is a nice combination of the two for me."

4. Mario Party 10 (Specifically the Bowser Party mode) (Wii U) - "A few months ago, I played this for the first time. Honestly until that point I wasn't much of a fan of the Mario party games. Because of this game though, I would say I've changed that opinion, and would be more open to playing the Mario party styled games."

3. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) - "Now the Mario Kart games are a classic, and great to play with friends. I think this one takes the top for me though, due to a drinking game I was shown with it, we called it Beerio Kart."

2. Super Mario 64 (N64) - "This is probably the only Mario game I would play and not have to be with others. It has the right amount of challenge, and they do a great job on having such a diversity of level types. Great fun for hours."

1. Super Smash Bros. (N64) - "The whole collection of these games are the tips for me, but I have to say the original is my favorite. Between the nostalgic value, the originality, and it being on one of my favorite consoles, you can't go wrong."


5. Mario Kart 8 (Wii U) - "Hands down the best display of power and beauty that the Wii U can do. An amazing addition to the Mario Kart family."

4. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U) - "I debated on putting Melee, but I admittedly don't want to be 'that guy'. Smash Bros U is a beautiful successor to brawl and fixed most/all of the mechanics that were so great about Melee. I'm willing to let go of Melee and admit that I'm really all on board with the Wii U title."

3. Super Mario World (SNES) - "I liked Super Mario World mostly because of the vast array of levels to complete and the reward of advancing to new and interesting stages. Let's also not forget how impressive this game is for being released in 1990."

2. Super Mario Sunshine (GCN) - "Such a great standard set for 3D Mario! The story had depth, and visually it did not disappoint. Jumping and flipping around Delfino Plaza was a joy."

1. Super Mario Bros 3 (NES) - "This is the first Mario game to really set the bar for me as to what I found challenging but also interesting. It was also a great follow up to Mario Bros. 2 which I did actually enjoy. It was just different. Not necessarily in the best way, but different."


(Zachary can't just cram Super Mario into one list)

Mario Spinoff Games

5. Wario Land 3 (GBC) - "All of the Wario Land games standout on their respective consoles, but Wario Land 3 was a huge jump from the previous 2 games, and easily my favorite Gameboy Color exclusive. It was frustrating yet rewarding, and the games sticks with me even now."

4. Dr. Mario (NES) - "This game and it's successors are among my favorite puzzle games. It's simple to learn, and very difficult to master. The music and visuals are rock solid, and the game still plays great today."

3. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U) - This game caught me by surprise last year. I wrote it off as an expansion of the minigames in Super Mario 3D World, but this game is expansive and inventive in ways I wouldn't have imagined. It's a gem."

2. Mario Kart 8 (Wii U) - "The most beautiful Wii U game is also one of the most fun. Mario Kart gets better with each iteration, but 8 is a true testament to how far the series has come."

1. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES) - "This game spawned many Yoshi-centric sequels, but none have been as perfect as Yoshi's Island. The visual style, gameplay, and sound design is incredible, and puts this game among the best platformers of all time."

3D Mario Games

5. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) - "3D Land on the 3DS was inventive and fresh, but this entry simply perfects the idea and adds chaotic multiplayer. Coupled with great level design, you have a fantastic game on the somewhat barren Wii U."

4. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) - "One of the announcements that sold me on Nintendo's upcoming console back at E3 2006 was Super Mario Galaxy. The game looked gorgeous and took 3D platforming places that it had never been before."

3. Super Mario 64 (N64) - "I played a LOT of this game as a child. I know each and every world like the back of my hand. It was one of my first forays into 3D gaming, and set the bar very high."

2. Super Mario Sunshine (GCN) - "64 was a great new concept, but the sequel was a little more focused in what it set out to do. The living hub world and larger levels gave players a lot to do, and FLUDD remains an incredibly interesting mechanic."

1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - "Galaxy 2 feels like greatest hits remix of 3D Mario levels. EVERY SINGLE LEVEL is exceptional, and while the lack of real hub world was disappointing, the level design more than makes up for it. Also, Yoshi."

2D Mario Games

5. Super Mario Maker (Wii U) - "The newest Mario game is one of the most fun. You can create and play level in my four favorite Mario art styles, and share them with everybody. The things people have come up are insane."

4. New Super Mario Bros. U + Super Luigi U (Wii U) - "I've never understand the hate the 'New' games get, but the Wii U iteration is my favorite overall. It retains the freshness of the DS game and the fun multiplayer of the Wii version. The Luigi DLC is awesome, and increasing challenging as you go along."

3. Super Mario Bros. (NES) - "The original Super Mario Brothers features some of the best and most clean cut level design in gaming history. I still lug out the NES to ply this one with my gal more than most games on this list."

2. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) - "The 3rd Super Mario game is a huge leap in terms of technology on the NES. I love the new powerups and game mechanics, but the game doesn't run particularly well, and I have to knock it down a peg for that."

1. Super Mario World (SNES) - "To me, World is the quintessential Mario game. The powerups are more fun than ever, Yoshi adds another dimension to the gameplay, and the levels are so well designed, jam packed with surprises and secret exits."