The Official Home Of Super Mario World, Super Mario World

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Nintendo

Even though it”s not a “real” Mario game, but “Super Mario Bros. 2” is fantastic. Notoriously, it”s a re-branded, slightly altered version of a game that was already out in Japan at the time, called “Doki Doki Panic.” Whatever.

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“Super Mario Bros. 2” is an excellent Mario game.

It”s the first to allow you to play as Mario, Luigi, Toad, or the Princess. Each of them has their own special attributes: Princess can float mid-jump for a moment, and Luigi has a slightly higher jump than anyone else. More importantly, it”s a surrealist adventure full of crazy landscapes, crazier enemies, and a bird that shoots eggs out of its mouth. It may not be the first Mario game you should start with, but it”s one that you absolutely should not miss.

Where can I play this game?

“Super Mario Bros. 2” is available for purchase on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console. It”s also one of the 30 games on the NES Classic Edition console, and it”s part of the Nintendo Switch Online virtual library.

9. “Super Mario Land”

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Nintendo

The first portable version of “Super Mario” came with “Super Mario Land,” an excellent standalone Mario game that took the concept of the original NES game and created something entirely new.

It”s still a standard “platformer” game — you start on the left side of a level and traverse it by moving to the right, killing enemies and avoiding your own death along the way. But “Super Mario Land” is full of delightful additions, like an underwater vehicle you get to pilot. It”s a bizarre, thrilling Mario game that, admittedly, was especially impactful on my very young brain when it was first released back in 1989.

Where can I play this game?

“Super Mario Land” is available for purchase on the Nintendo 3DSVirtual Console.

8. “Super Mario 3D World”

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Nintendo

“Super Mario 3D World,” simply put, is the best Mario game that”s been made in the last 5 years (before “Odyssey,” that is). It”s gorgeous, fresh, and perfectly designed. Like the best “Super Mario” games of the modern era, it seamlessly blends nostalgia-laced gameplay with new twists.

As a nod to “Super Mario Bros. 2,” players can choose to play as Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad — each has the same special ability that they had in the original NES game. “Super Mario 3D World” also borrows the overworld map concept from “Super Mario World” (the SNES game) and evolves it to its next logical conclusion: as an explorable world unto itself, full of secrets.

Each level in “Super Mario 3D World” feels like a gift waiting to be unwrapped, and playing it co-op with friends and family is a true delight. It may very well be the best game Nintendo made for the Wii U.

Where can I play this game?

“Super Mario 3D World” is available for purchase on the Wii U, digitally on the eShop and in-store on disc. Buy it on Amazon right here.

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Nintendo

“Super Mario Galaxy 2” was, for many years, the pinnacle of 3D “Super Mario” games. It takes the space theme from the first “Galaxy” game and doubles down, allowing for a new take on the way that traditional “Super Mario” levels arestructured. It”s unafraid to introduce a drastically new game mechanic for a single level, which gives the game a hand-made feeling.

In many ways, “Galaxy 2” is a master work in 3D platforming — a testament to Nintendo”s game design expertise. It”s the chef”s tasting menu (perhaps “omakase” is more appropriate here?) of “Super Mario” games, where individual, carefully crafted moments are doled out along a smartly timed schedule.

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Where can I play this game?

“Super Mario Galaxy 2” is available for purchase on the Wii U, digitally, and in-store on disc for Wii (which will work on the Wii U). Buy it on Amazon right here.

Nintendo

What the “Galaxy” series of “Super Mario” games did for 3D, the “New” series does for 2D. When it arrived on the Nintendo DS in 2006, “New Super Mario Bros.” was a breath of fresh air for the series. It updated the graphics, offered a mess of new mechanics, and evolvedthe 2D side of the “Super Mario” series in ways it hadn”t seen in years with a crazy multiplayer mode.

Like the core design theme of “Super Mario,” the series has gradually built upon itself over the years. “New Super Mario Bros.” added wall-jumping, for instance, which has since become standard in Mario”s repertoire.

The also excellent “New Super Mario Bros. U,” a sequel to the DS original for Nintendo”s ill-fated Wii U console, added co-op play as well. As a bonus, it features some of the best level design in any “Super Mario” game.

Where can I play this game?

“New Super Mario Bros.” is available for purchase on the Wii U Virtual Console (and physically available for the DS/2DS/3DS). Buy it on Amazon right here.

Nintendo

“Super Mario 64” is, at this point, hard to speak about in the same way we speak about other games. It”s a sacred cow of the video game oeuvre, and deservedly so. “Super Mario 64” set standard after standard in the mid-“90s, and it endeared an entire generation to “Super Mario.”

It was beautiful, it was fun, it was like nothing my 11-year-old eyes had seen before. It is, unbelievably, nearly 20 years later, still all of those things. It trained an entire generation how to use the analog stick on a gamepad. It literally taught an entry-level standard in game vernacular: how to use an analog stick to control a 3D character. That”s HUGE! Cannot-be-overstated kind of huge!

Where can I play this game?

“Super Mario 64” is available for purchase on the Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console. You could also buy the DS version(“Super Mario 64 DS”) and play it on a DS/2DS/3DS. Buy it on Amazon right here.

Nintendo

“Super Mario Odyssey” is a glorious combination of homage and evolution, nodding heartily at Nintendo”s long history of excellent Super Mario games while looking forward in scope and gameplay.

In “Odyssey,” which is the newest entry on this list, Mario uses his hat to take over various objects and enemies. In practice, this means playing as a few dozen different things — from a smiling fireball with Mario”s signature mustache and wide eyes to a massive T-rex. More than anything else, it”s the massive scope of “Odyssey” that sets it apart from the rest of this list. It”s amassive, joyous game that provides reason enough to buy Nintendo”s latest game console, the Switch.

Where can I play this game?

“Super Mario Odyssey” is available for purchase on the Nintendo Switch eShop and at retail stores. Buy it on Amazon right here.

Nintendo

When “Super Mario Bros. 3” arrived in 1990, it defied near-universal expectations about what was possible on the original Nintendo. It had a large, gorgeous map that was in perpetual movement. The levels were full of contrasting colors which seemingly popped off the screen. It”s important to note that this was in an era where arcades were still a relatively normal thing, and where most games had three or four colors, at most.

“Super Mario Bros. 3” set the precedent for how the entire series has been handled since. It took the previous games and added carefully while walking back some previous additions. Gone were the character selection and the bizarre themes of “Super Mario Bros. 2.” Instead, there were multiple worlds to explore with vastly different themes, new power-ups to collect with crazy effects (like a raccoon tail, used to take flight), and a magical flute that helps you skip around this massive new world.

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Where can I play this game?

“Super Mario Bros. 3” is available for purchase on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console. It”s also one of the 30 games on the NES Classic Edition console, and it”s part of the Nintendo Switch Online virtual library.

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