In celebration of Mario Day (Mar. 10), we've put together our favorite Mario games of all time.
Shigeru Miyamoto's charming Italian plumber quickly became one of gaming's most recognizable icons, and for many of us Mario and his friends have been lifelong companions. Continuously introducing waves of players to some of their first ever video games, the versatility of the franchise has truly proven that there's always something for everyone.
Alongside all of the classic mainline entries into the Super Mario series, we've seen plenty of spin-off games that have proven to be just as, if not more, successful than Mario's solo runs. From brutally punishing creations spawned from Super Mario Maker to intense Super Smash Bros. tournaments. Not to forget that anyone who proudly claims to be "the best at Mario Kart" will be met with an immediate challenge because, as we all know, them's fighting words.
What better time to look back at some of our favorite Mario-themed games than on Mario Day. Check out our picks below.
DBLTAP's Top Mario Games of All-Time
Super Mario All-Stars
Max: One of the first gaming experiences I had as a kid was playing Super Mario All-Stars on the SNES. A collection of all the Super Mario Games where I fell in love with the original and Super Mario Bros. 3. Plus, it was probably my first time ever raging at a game since I was unable to figure out why The Lost Levels were much harder than any other part of the collection. Maybe that taught me some restraint considering I haven't thrown a controller since trying Elden Ring as my first Souls game...
Super Mario Odyssey
Alex: Like a lot of 90's kids, one of my first introductions into gaming was through Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64. They were endlessly replayable to me throughout my early childhood. But as I grew older and discovered more intricate titles (Zelda, Final Fantasy, Elder Scrolls), Mario games kinda slipped off of my radar outside of a few party games. Enter Super Mario Odyssey; a game that really brought me back to just enjoying the complete experience of a simple game.
In the days of trophies, achievements, and social media clout, it's easy to get wrapped up in the desperate chase of completionism. But Super Mario Odyssey taught me how to enjoy and appreciate the little things again. It gave me the same sense of wonder as I'd had with Super Mario 64 and then exceeded it. Expansive levels, charming environments, hidden secrets and so much more. It's a truly solid game, and an absolute must-have for the Nintendo Switch.
Mario Party 2
Ralston: To be quite honest, there are likely more iconic Mario titles out there than the one I'm suggesting (e.g. Super Mario Galaxy (2007), Super Mario 64 (1996) and Super Mario Sunshine (2002)), but I just haven't gotten the chance to play those. As such, while I respect those core series titles and the greatness they brought to the gaming world, my personal favorite game with Mario in it is Mario Party 2.
I truly believe that this title is what gave me the confidence and mechanics to be decent to good in every other video game I've played since. The stress and fun that came from playing this game with friends and family growing up is like none other for me. Just about every minigame and board in Mario Party 2 was an instant classic, and as an extra bonus, this remains the only entry in the series where every character has a unique outfit to fit the theme of the map being played.
Mario Kart: Double Dash
Noam: It hardly feels controversial to say Double Dash may be the apex of the kart racing genre. It's chock full of inspired courses and old classics, and it led to many an afternoon hot swapping between driving and tossing banana peels with friends. But Double Dash could also be credited with teaching me racers were not going to be my forte, and all good things must come to an end.
The game and I parted ways when I traded it to a friend for James Bond 007: Nightfire. A month later they asked if I would trade back. Reader: I would not.
Super Mario Sunshine
Jack: I think this is the first Mario game I actually beat—as in, made it all the way to the end without spending an exuberant amount of time just exploring the open levels. I was the first person who got into video games in my family so, for better or worse, the GameCube was my first console and Super Mario Sunshine was my first console-based Mario title. Middle school me was absolutely captivated by the graphics of this game having just transferred from the 2D platforming world of the Game Boy Advance.
And who could forget the intro where, as usual, Princess Peach is the most observant character in the cast.
Most recently, this game helped my girlfriend and I get through a four-hour road trip to visit some friend in Massachusetts. Long live the Yoshi Bongos!