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Top 10 Super Mario Platformer Games According to Negative World [top ten]
If there is one character that is synonymous with the company Nintendo, it has to be Mario. Mario made his debut way back in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong (although he was called Jumpman at that point), and the success of the game propelled him into the spotlight. However, it was really 1985’s Super Mario Bros. that cemented his role as Nintendo’s flagship mascot, a position that he has held without serious challenge ever since. With Mario’s next big platformer (Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U) just around the corner, I felt like it might be a good time to stop and take a look back at the games that have led us to where we are.

As you probably already know, Negative World is clearly the best though not the biggest Nintendo fan site on the Internet, and we have top ten lists that span all kinds of Nintendo-related topics, from the commonplace (Top 10 NES Original Soundtracks (OSTs)), to the obscure (Top 10 Animal Crossing Fan-Art), to the esoteric (Top 10 Weird Things About Nintendo's "White Knuckle Scorin'") and everything in between. You want lists, we got ‘em.

So it came as quite a surprising revelation to me when I realized that we have never done a top 10 list for Mario platformers. We have done top ten lists for our favorite Zelda, Kirby, and even Castlevania games, but Mario platformers have fell by the wayside. I believe that it is time to rectify that omission.

Before I begin, let me clarify something here. This is not a list of my personal favorites, or a list that a small amount of Negative World editors have put together. Instead, this is a list based on the average scores of the Mario platformer games as rated by Negative World members in our game database, or in other words, this list is about as close to a consensus from the entire body of users of Negative World as we can possibly get. This isn’t just my list, this is our list. Because that is how we roll here.

You will see a few numbers in the header for each game in the last. The first is the average score (out of 10) for that game calculated from all member ratings, and the number in parenthesis is the amount of members who have scored this game (IE the amount of ratings that went into the calculation.) Sweet.
Posted: 10/25/13, 01:02:47  - Edited by 
 on: 10/30/13, 00:14:11
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Super Mario Bros. 2 (US) (NES) - 8.98 / 10 (42)
To be honest, I had little experience with video game sequels way back when Super Mario Bros. 2 was released on the NES, so I didn’t realize how entirely strange of a sequel that it was. Nor, at the time, did it ever cross my mind to suspect that the reason it was such an oddball sequel was that it was not the “true” (Japan-only until released with Super Mario All-Stars) Super Mario Bros. 2, but rather a game called Doki Doki Panic given a Mario skin swap in the West. So where did this Doki Doki Panic game come from? Well, it was originally started as a Super Mario Bros. sequel as well, but then got scrapped and later revived as Doki Doki Panic. Confused yet?

Anyway, dubious origins or not, Super Mario Bros. 2 is still an excellent game that deserves a spot in our top 10. I would have put it up a bit higher myself though.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) - 9.14 / 10 (90)
When New Super Mario Bros. was released on the DS it was an interesting concept (taking Mario back to his 2D roots) that resulted in a relatively well received game. However, most of us at Negative World seem to agree that the Wii game took things to a whole new level, introducing 4-player co-op and battle modes, as well as polishing and tightening the core New Super Mario Bros. gameplay to create a superior sequel. Cue Grant’s objections in 3… 2… 1...

And I still maintain that New Super Mario Bros. Wii’s Coin Battle mode is one of the best multiplayer modes on a Wii game, but I guess others don’t feel quite as enthusiastic about it since no one ever wants to play it with me.

Super Mario 3D Land (3DS) - 9.23 / 10 (39)
I wasn’t totally sure what to expect leading up to the release of Super Mario 3D Land, which was, as far as I can tell, Nintendo’s first serious attempt to take 3D Mario and make him appeal to the (much larger) 2D Mario fanbase. Super Mario 3D Land was clearly going to be, in many ways, a more straight-forward and linear game than the 3D Mario outings leading up to it (the Super Mario Galaxy games), and I was worried that the result might feel like a shell of a Mario game.

However, I was wrong. Nintendo’s gamble paid off, and Super Mario 3D Land ended up not just a highly rated Mario game, but a best selling Mario game as well. More importantly, we love it here at Negative World, which is all that really matters in the end.

Super Mario Bros. (NES) - 9.36 / 10 (72)
Oh man, this is the game that started it all! I’m not just talking about Mario here, I’m talking about video gaming as we know it. Alright fine, technically there were some good video games before Super Mario Bros. came along, but I honestly believe that Super Mario Bros. was the first mind-blowingly excellent video game ever made, and it became a blueprint for a lot of what was to come in the industry. If you weren’t around and paying attention when it released, you will probably never understand how quickly the entire landscape of video games changed with the release of a single game.

However, some could argue, and perhaps rightfully so, that it has not passed the test of time as well as some of the other Mario games. This could very well explain why such a monumental game is only in our 7th spot.

Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario World 2 (SNES) - 9.46 / 10 (64)
I’m not sure if Yoshi’s Island should technically count as a Mario platformer when a very strong case could be made for calling it the first Yoshi platformer. Strictly speaking, Mario is not doing any platforming himself, but is relegated to the role of a baby who doesn’t do much of anything but ride on Yoshi and whine in a really annoying way every time that he gets knocked off. Yoshi is the true star of the show. Still, Nintendo put “Super Mario World 2” in the title in the West, so if we’re counting Super Mario Bros. 2 (NA) as a Mario platformer when it originally released as a non-Mario game, why not count Yoshi’s Island as well?

And what an excellent game Yoshi’s Island was. Yoshi’s Island had a nice mix of Mario staples and brand new concepts like Yoshi transformations, riding on balloons, and touching fuzzies then getting dizzy, combined with exploration-focused gameplay and a load of collectibles (that were actually fun to collect.) Hard to top that.

Super Mario 64 (N64) - 9.50 / 10 (108)
Super Mario 64 is yet another Mario game that was incredibly groundbreaking when it released. Various developers had made attempts at 3D platformers before, but Miyamoto and Nintendo stepped up and said hey, look, this is how you do it! In fact, Super Mario 64’s influence spread beyond platformers into 3D video game development as a whole. The camera work alone was much studied and emulated in years to come. The tight controls and variety of environments to explore didn’t hurt either.

It’s also another Mario game, however, that some believe has not quite passed the test of time as well as some of the others. And, as you will see soon enough, we at Negative World generally consider it to have since been surpassed by other 3D Mario games…

Super Mario World (SNES) - 9.52 / 10 (106)
I have to admit, my own personal rankings would not put Super Mario World up quite this high, although that probably has a lot to do with the disjointed way that I originally played through it due to not owning my own Super Nintendo when it released. But it’s clearly a very well loved Mario game here at Negative World, and hey, I can totally understand why. It was a pretty spectacular way to kick off the 16-bit era for Nintendo, and it made me jealous of everyone who did have a Super Nintendo at the time.

Also it was the game that introduced Yoshi. Who doesn’t love Yoshi? And the Cape Feather. Who doesn’t love the Cape Feather? And Ghost Houses. Who doesn’t lo… hmm. I’ll have to think about that one.

Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) - 9.59 / 10 (145)
In the midst of the epic console wars during the Wii / PS3 / 360 era, many of us Wii owners wanted that one killer game we could point to and say this is one of the best games of the generation and you simply can’t find it anywhere else. Well, and also we wanted that killer game because we actually like playing games, sometimes. Super Mario Galaxy provided all of that and more, instantly becoming one of the most highly rated and beloved games not just of its generation, but of all-time.

How did it do that? Stunning visuals and an epic soundtrack helped, for sure, but at its heart was a wealth of creative ideas and the execution to back those ideas up. And whether you feel like the planetoids and gravity mechanics resulted in “Super Mario 64 in space”, or that Super Mario Galaxy created a brand new way to play Mario platformers (as I do), it’s tough to deny both the polish and fun factor of this game.

Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) - 9.60 / 10 (101)
I don’t even know where to start with my praise for Super Mario Bros. 3. I recently wrote a top ten list where I named it the best same-platform sequel in video games, and I will stand by that. Yep, as revolutionary as Super Mario Bros. was at the time, Super Mario Bros. 3 came along and blew it out of the water, raising the stakes to even greater heights. Hosting excellent visuals, a stellar soundtrack, tight controls, a variety of environments, a non-linear overworld map, tons of secrets areas, and a bunch of power-ups and suits that were just plain fun to use, Super Mario Bros. 3 was not only one of the best games of the NES era, but is one of the best 2D games ever made, period.

Also, it basically had an entire feature film created to market it to us unsuspecting children in The Wizard. A movie without which we would have never had this gem of a quote. That’s… something. I guess.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - 9.63 / 10 (100)
How do you top something as amazing as Super Mario Galaxy? By doing the same thing again, but better. Super Mario Galaxy 2 will never be called a groundbreaking game, as it stuck closely to the formula of the first Super Mario Galaxy, but it exudes pure creativity on every level, managing to be one of those rare sequels that feels familiar yet fresh at the same time. That’s not to say that it didn’t introduce anything new, it as it had a variety of its own unique power-ups, including the first playable Yoshi that doesn’t suck in a 3D Mario game sorry Super Mario Sunshine.

Whether you prefer the original or the sequel, it is tough to deny the impact that the Super Mario Galaxy games have had on the Mario platformer. Nintendo seems to be moving Mario in another direction with the upcoming Super Mario 3D World, and it looks pretty spectacular, but I just can’t help but hope to see a Super Mario Galaxy 3 someday.

So there you have it, the top 10 Super Mario platformers based on member ratings here at Negative World. If you agree, disagree, or have anything else to add, why not do so in the comments below? And don’t forget to rate some games! If you’re not a member yet, you can sign up quick and be posting and rating games within minutes. Why be a passive observer when you can change the course of history?

Now let’s all get pumped for Super Mario 3D World together!

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Posted: 10/25/13, 01:02:47  - Edited by 
 on: 10/30/13, 00:14:11
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Hinph said:
There's a lot that I love about the game, but I still feel after all these years that it was rushed out the door before it was ready... that another 6-12 months in development would have made it an undisputed Mario 64 killer. I'd actually still like to see them make a more complete version of the game with additional levels and objectives thrown in. I'd buy it for sure.
Agreed. Sunshine had an incredible foundation. Its controls are sublime, and it probably has the best repertoire of jumps and attacks. Most of its issues were in the challenge design and in levels that clearly didn't get enough TLC from QA.

I don't know about revisiting Sunshine, though. A hypothetical remake would have a lot of work to do to fix the game's mistakes. It's not like Wind Waker where all that needs fixin' is handful of things that can be sped up or axed. The blue coins are a huge part of Sunshine, and they're maybe the worst thing in any Mario platformer. The Pachinko machine level is legitimately broken. And a bunch of the secret stars are pretty crappy, too. And if not a remake, are we talking sequel? Would we really want to see a Super Mario Sunshine 2 instead of something with a new theme?

and since we're all whipping out our lists and comparing them...

15. Super Mario Land
14. Super Mario Land 2
13. Super Mario Bros. 2
12. Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels (All-Stars Version)
11. Super Mario Bros.
10. New Super Mario Bros.
9. Super Mario 3D Land
8. Super Mario Sunshine
7. New Super Mario Bros. 2
6. Super Mario Bros. 3
5. Super Mario Galaxy
4. Super Mario Galaxy 2
3. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (multiplayer gives this a nice boost, though it's an excellent 2D Mario solo as well)
2. Super Mario World
1. Super Mario 64

haven't played enough of NSMB U or Luigi U to give them a spot.
Posted: 10/26/13, 04:01:51  - Edited by 
 on: 10/26/13, 04:03:44

Yeah, it would definitely take a lot more work that Wind Waker HD... of course, I think that game needed more tweaks and content to bring Wind Waker to its full potential as well. The Gamecube days truly were the era where Nintendo dropped its perfectionism and was releasing games before they were as good as they should have been. I guess they figured they needed to get Mario and Zelda out as quickly as possible to stay competitive with Sony and MS, so I get it...

You are probably right though. I would prefer Nintendo to keep their internal teams focused on developing new content rather than touching up games of the past. Sunshine is still a good game overall and will retain a special place in the series.
Posted: 10/26/13, 04:18:03
Needs more SMB 2 JPN. But I suppose that's something that requires a refined palette to enjoy. Not for the unwashed masses who vote on this site.
Posted: 10/26/13, 04:40:19
All it really ever was to me was a 2D plane wrapped around a sphere.
Posted: 10/26/13, 09:35:12
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