“It’s a me, Mario!” This is everyone’s favorite line, and also the most well known line from the Mario series itself. Mario has starred in hundreds of games, ranging from parties to brawls and even golf, making him the biggest thing since sliced bread. The series has featured a hundred or so different characters as well as locations, and the Mario series continues to grow, but where did it start? Well back in the late 1980s Mario was introduced as a side scroller called Super Mario Brothers, which was the highest selling game for the NES ever. Some even go as far as saying it’s the greatest game ever made. Mario has changed a lot over the years, because well, 32 years will do that to you. Things such as a moving camera, to an open world, and even new mechanics that just make you think what in the world is this? Even though the storyline doesn’t change much throughout each installment of the series, no one seems to care. New enemies appear in new titles as well as old enemies we love, such as Bowser and King Boo. The main plot in most of the games is to rescue Princess Peach, but the new additions to the newer games being released make us want more and more of our favorite Italian plumber. So in celebration of the new Mario game Super Mario Wii U, here are our top 7 Mario game changers that defined the series!
Super Mario Bros. 2:
The believed to be failure of a sequel to Super Mario Brothers was released in 1985 and shocked everyone with an all playing style. Super Mario Brothers 2 was almost scrapped due to designers believing the game to be too difficult, but it’s actually one of the most unique Mario games of its time. Super Mario Bros. 2 gave players the choice to play between four different characters such as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad. Each different character brings different advantages to the game that makes it a fun experience. The story isn’t the same as the original Super Mario Bros; it’s not all about rescuing Princess Peach. This whole new world allows her to be a part of the action. Another new feature is the ability to pick up objects, which ties into the combat of the game. Instead of jumping on enemies to squish them Mario stands on top of them, picks them up, and then throws the enemy at other enemies to knock them out cold. You can also pick up carrots and other vegetables to use as weapons, plus you can pick up different power-ups to help you get through a level, which requires some serious strategy. The game also gives you a new challenging stage where Mario must dig down into the dirt in order to escape enemies, making it a lot more innovative than its predecessor Super Mario Brothers.
Super Mario Bros. 3:
Beginning a new era in gaming can be difficult, but Mario still lives on with the release of Super Mario Brothers 3. Released in the United States on February 9th, 1990, Super Mario Brothers 3 quickly became one of the best games on the NES at the time. The game offered a new take on the side scroller genre that Mario practically built with his other two games. The game featured more vivid colors, and a new landscape design which added more depth to a Mario game than ever before. Not to mention the nine new power-ups to the series, such as the tanooki suit, frog suit, and the goomba’s shoe. Super Mario Brothers 3 still added a sense of challenge to keep the game fresh and exciting through the numerous worlds you go through to save precious Princess Peach. Throughout the world there are special places called toad houses where you can find different items that you can use. There are also spade panels where you can find additional health and secret areas. In addition to all this goodness Mario can find whistles that can allow the player to skip to different worlds, adding a new twist to the secret tunnels form the original Mario days. One of the hardest parts about making a game which features the same characters is trying to keep it fresh and appealing to all players, and that’s exactly what Super Mario Brothers 3 does.
Super Mario World:
As one of the original launch titles for the SNES, Super Mario world offered a new location called Dinosaur Island and a new character named Yoshi. Yoshi’s are cute little dinosaurs that eat fruit and spit them back at enemies, making them really cool. They also eat enemies too so that’s a plus, and yes, Mario can even ride a Yoshi. There are four different colored Yoshi’s found throughout Super Mario World, although only some of the Yoshi’s are found in Star World making them a rare find. Super Mario World also introduced a new system that featured exclamation marked (!) boxes that could either change the environment or provide awesome items. The graphics are beautiful compared to the other games in the series. Super Mario World gave additional power-ups in addition to the ones in previous titles. So if you want to be fire Mario then by all means, go nuts. Just don’t forget the feather that provides our hero with a cape and the ability to soar through the air. The game also gives a certain challenge to each level you play. In each level Mario must use his optional power-ups as well as items to reach the goal line in order to pass into the next level, and some levels even offer multiple ending paths that could lead to secret worlds. Super Mario World is an intriguing title that is fun to play and pretty to look at, if you like retro games.
Super Mario 64:
Released on the Nintendo 64 back in 1996, Super Mario 64 brought a full scale 3D Mario world to life for the first time. A true innovation of the era, Super Mario 64 laid down the template for all of the other future platformers to come. The basic point of this game is to collect power stars from the paintings in Peach’s castle in order to unlock doors that eventually lead to Bowser’s defeat. Mario returns with all new moves as well, such as punching, kicking, body slam, and many more. With it being one of the beginning Mario games it’s good to see Mario all tricked out for the first time. Super Mario 64 also has secret slide levels, which you can collect coins as well as a power star, depending on if you reach the end. Also, Super Mario 64 had done away with traditional power-ups. Instead we are introduced to different colored hats that offer Mario different abilities. Such abilities can be used to reach hire levels or become invulnerable to damage. The best thing this game offers is its intuitive way of keeping the player from getting bored. Super Mario also gave new life to the franchise and old, familiar characters, like how menacing Bowser looked with that new 3D aspect, or how the world just lets us explore to our hearts content. Whether you’re fighting goomba’s or racing a penguin down an icy slope, Super Mario 64 gave us a lot of options for the first time in a Mario game. Super Mario 64 is a part of gaming history, mainly due to the fact it graphically paved the way forward for most of the games we see today.
Paper Mario was released on the Nintendo 64, and it featured almost all of the characters from the series, and a couple of new ones as well. Paper Mario introduced a really enticing story. You play again as Mario, whose main goal is to find the Princess after she gets kidnapped. This sounds like all the other Mario games, but this time with a twist. Bowser has made himself invincible by using the power of the star rod, and he launches Peach’s castle into space. Mario must get help from the star spirits to help defeat Bowser yet again. That’s just the basic story, but there is more to it and its rather impressive. Alongside the awesome story is the allies you can recruit to help you on your journey. There’s also a leveling system, and a turn style fighting mechanic that makes this game fun and enjoyable. Paper Mario gives you the freedom to roam around a paper like version of towns throughout the Mario Universe. Mario is able to interact with almost every character he comes in contact with, each with something to say. The world itself is very unique for its vast popup book style of visuals that haven’t been seen before now. Like Super Mario 64 the world is your oyster, you can choose to travel where you what, as well as some secret levels too. You can visit stores, play mini games, and collect badges to upgrade Mario as you wish, which in turn made it one of the most innovative Mario games to date.
Super Mario Sunshine:
Even though this game wasn’t very well liked by some, it had some of the prettiest looking graphics on the GameCube back in 2002. Super Mario Sunshine features a Mario who has been framed for covering the all new island in paint, and now as a punishment he must use his water pump to clean it up. Oh yeah, by the way, the water pump can talk, which was really weird, but hey that’s the Mario franchise for you. The game also introduces us to Bowser Jr., the son of Bowser and the main antagonist in the game. This game had flaws, but the fun you can have by spraying people in the face never gets old. Super Mario Sunshine really revolutionized the way the Mario franchise looked. The overall prettiness of the game, and the 3D feel to it, gave high hopes for future games to come.
Super Mario Galaxy:
Released for the Nintendo Wii in 2007, Super Mario Galaxy offered the coolest, if not strangest, game yet. The story is much of the same; more rescuing Princess Peach, but what does change in this game? Everything else. This time you have to find her among different galaxies. Mario can use the power of gravity to his will by hopping from planet to planet, or doing insane jumps. Super Mario Galaxy is the first Mario game to come out since Super Mario Sunshine back in 2002, and everyone rejoiced. It’s pretty to look at, and the size of the game is very impressive, but what makes it so unique would be how after so many years the developers for the Mario games keep coming up with fresh ideas. There is also a new, wide array of different power ups and suits that Mario can wear to give him certain abilities, making it larger and more innovative than its Pre-Gen predecessors.
Mario has always been the go to guy for Nintendo for the last 32 years, and for good reason. He is one of the most beloved characters to ever appear in a game, and everyone knows who Mario is and what he is doing. Plus, Mario games are always enjoyable to play. Now that the next generation is here, more Mario is bound to be on its way with more multiplayer goodness that we all love. So grab a friend, or even your little sibling, hell even your biggest sibling, and just let loose with some of these classic Mario games!
Written by Guest Contributor: XPrinceofchaosX