The Super Mario series turns 35-years-old this year. To celebrate, Nintendo released Super Mario 3D All-Stars, with plans to launch other Mario-themed goodies over the next six months.
Not all Mario games are as beloved as others though, and this is a list of Mario titles that you might have missed that you should play to celebrate the Italian plumber’s 35th birthday.
Super Mario World
This one’s not a very niche title, but it’s definitely a good one. Super Mario World is the best Mario platformer of all time. Those sweet 16-bit graphics, the music, the colorful environments and fluid level design… What’s not to love?
Mario Paint might not be the most exciting title to play gameplay-wise if you’re looking for something more traditional. However, the amount of creativity that can be poured into Mario Paint designs is truly impressive.
Nintendo hasn’t made a game quite like Mario Paint since its release on SNES in 1992. Any Mario fan wanting to dive into the franchise’s history should check out Mario Paint and see what they can do with this truly unique title.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars has become a cult classic over the past few decades, and for good reason. The game has one of the most comprehensive stories of any Mario game and even lets you team up with Peach and Bowser at the same time. Plus, it introduced Geno to the world and we’ve been waiting to get him back ever since. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is a hit for both RPG and Mario fans.
The original N64 Paper Mario is another incredible Mario RPG that tends to get swept under the rug. While it’s successor, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door may be a better game overall, there’s lots to love about the original. Namely, the fun battle system, cool music, great story, and unique sidekicks.
Super Mario Sunshine
Super Mario 64is a hard act to follow but Super Mario Sunshine pulls it off. Though not quite as loved as other 3D Mario games, like 64 and Galaxy, Super Mario Sunshine has one of the most unique settings of any Mario game and some of the coolest gameplay features.
Floating through the world on F.L.U.D.D. and cleaning up graffiti to prove Mario’s innocence in a tropical paradise sure is unique and a blast to play, especially for fans of the GameCube era.
Mario Party 5
Mario Party 5 is one of the best Mario Party games. Shortly after 5, Nintendo started messing with the formula, adding in a bunch of stuff (like riding around in cars together) that I wasn’t a huge fan of. Mario Party 5, though, is a classic version of Mario Party that still holds up and the one that I make all my friends play with me.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
The Mario Kart series is one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises of all time. In fact, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is currently the highest selling title on Nintendo Switch. Double Dash is by far the most unique, however, letting players team up and use two characters in one kart, swapping in and out to use items and drive. It also introduced a lot of tracks that stuck around, like Baby Park and the baby characters in general, so there’s a lot to love.
Mario Strikers Charged
The Mario Strikers series was short-lived, with only two titles on GameCube and Wii. While not as popular as Mario Golf or Mario Tennis, Mario Strikers Charged, released on Wii in 2007, is a phenomenal soccer game.
Personally, I’ve been hoping for a sequel for years, though at this point, it seems pretty unlikely. If you’re into other Mario party or sports games and haven’t picked up Mario Strikers Charged, I highly recommend picking it up and giving it a shot.
Super Mario 3D Land
Super Mario 3D World has gotten a lot of attention lately since the announcement that it’ll come out on Switch in early 2021. Its counterpart, Super Mario 3D Land, is a gem as well and one of the few games that makes use of the 3D on the 3DS in an effective and fun manner. The platforming and puzzles are great and I return to 3D Land pretty often when I want a quick and portable Mario experience.
Super Mario Maker
Super Mario Maker is every kid’s dream. You get to make your own Mario level and play ones made by your friends and strangers on the internet? Sign me up.
While Nintendo remains the ultimate authority on Mario level design, Super Mario Maker demonstrates the sheer creativity of Nintendo fans and some truly wild concepts that you would never see in a real Mario game.
Whether you like making levels yourself or just playing stuff made by other people, there’s always something new to find in Mario Maker.