It”s amazing how far gamers will go to show their love of a particular game. They”ll stay on top of gaming news, create playthrough videos for YouTube, and record entertaining gaming podcasts.
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However, there”s one set of gamers who are more committed to their hobby than any of these. And that”s the people who make fan games.
Lots of franchises have passionate followings, but fans of Super Mario are a breed apart. They also seem particularly adept at coding.
This means that there are some great fan-made Super Mario games available to play online. And here are the best free fan games featuring your favorite plumber and his friends.
1. Super Mario Bros. X
Super Mario Bros. X (referred to as SMBX) is arguably the most popular Mario fan game ever made. It”s a tribute that emphasizes the fundamental elements of the franchise: platforming gameplay, exciting powerups, and fun level design.
SMBX has five playable characters in Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, and Link. Its power-ups include classics (such as Yoshi) as well as new ones (such as the Hammer Suit). And it even has local multiplayer! Play with a friend in co-op mode with a camera that seamlessly transitions into split-screen, or in battle mode.
But the best part of SMBX is its super-advanced level editor. You can pretty much create any kind of level your heart desires. Not only that, but the editor lets you change levels in real-time as you play them.
Download: Super Mario Bros. X (Windows)
Mari0 (that”s a zero) is an exact replica of the original Super Mario Bros. except with one major change: portals! Yes, the same gameplay from both Portal and Portal 2—you manipulate enemies and navigate levels using orange and blue portals.
This fan-made game is a perfect example of how two completely different genres can come together and become something greater than their individual parts. Not only is it fun, but you can now exercise even more creativity in how you win. And as a bonus, it supports four-player co-op and has a built-in level editor.
The best part? Mari0 is 100 percent open source. Made using the LÖVE framework for Lua-based game development, you can check out the source code here.
If you”re interested in experiencing more, try playing the best open source video games.
Download: Mari0 (Windows, Mac, Linux)
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Super Mario Bros. Dimensions is another remake-type fan game that takes the original Super Mario Bros. and expands it with a new gameplay mechanic—in this case, dimension switching.
At the press of a button, you can switch back and forth between the “real” world and the “alternate” world. This has a similar layout but different elements. There are also new power-ups to try (e.g. Laser Flower), secret levels to explore, and collectibles.
Lots of blood, sweat, and tears went into this game, and it shows. The quality is so good that you might even mistake it for an actual Nintendo-made game!