It is March 10, 2020, which means Mar10 day has rolled around again. Basically, it is an excuse for Nintendo to try and draw attention to its most iconic character: Mario. We decided that it’s a great time to call attention to some of our favorite games that happen to have the plumber as a featured character in them. (While also learning about which Super Mario and Super Mario-adjacent games you enjoy too!) Especially since, well, we’re still waiting for that first Nintendo Direct of 2020.
Is picking Fortune Street, an Itadaki Street installment made by Square Enix, a bit of a cop-out on Mar10 day? I don’t think so! I mean, it pits characters from the Super Mario series against Dragon Quest icons as everyone attempts to accumulate as much cash and property. Becoming a mogul is so much fun with all of these familiar faces, and it is a lot of fun if you can get enough friends together to play. (Especially since the computer definitely likes to cheat!) – Jenni
While some Mario sub-franchises are just so phenomenally consistent that it’s hard to be amazed by any initial entry (as fun as platformers like Odyssey and racers like Mario Kart 8 DX can be), there’s one series that’s seen such highs and lows that its pinnacle is undeniably sweet. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door proved to be one of the best RPGs ever by delivering sharp writing and localization and streamlining combat and progression to make every decision count. The charming writing remained in later entries, but the less engaging battles and less memorable casts just don’t deliver in the same way. – Graham
Without hesitation, my favorite Super Mario game of all time is Super Mario RPG for the SNES. Other Mario games, like Mario 64 or Super Mario World might be more in line with what we think of when we think of Mario, but it was Super Mario RPG and Final Fantasy VI (then known as Final Fantasy III) that helped kindle my love of role-playing games, complex systems, and all the things I would’ve shied away from in earlier days. I honestly don’t know what my tastes in gaming would turn out to be had I not spent an idle summer plowing through it and beating the super-secret mega-boss. – Josh
This is not a fair question to ask me, as I have developed unhealthy obsessions with Super Mario World, New Super Mario Bros Wii, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario RPG, and Super Mario Sunshine. Still, nothing has dragged me in and made me forget all existence outside of it like Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. The things it does with timing-based RPG combat made every battle engaging, and it has this outrageous sense of humor that genuinely had me cackling at the game. Or chortling? Probably chortling. Fawful is the best villain. Sorry Bowser. – Joel
What can I say? A mainline Super Mario 3D exploration game only comes out once every so often, but when they do, it’s full of the quality you expect from Nintendo’s big flagship franchise. I wasn’t much of a Mario person in my childhood, apart from playing the Mario & Luigi series of RPGs, but Super Mario Galaxy captivated me. The higher stakes provided a great platform to begin an adventure with scope, and yet the game never forgets what makes Mario fun – the platforming, goofy atmosphere that was truly fleshed out via the different galaxies. I loved learning about Rosalina, which is why she remains one of my favorite characters in the series, and the game closed off with an optimistic, poignant ending. It was the capstone on a great Mario adventure. – Alistair
My mind said to go with Super Mario Land 2: Yoshi’s Island. That’s the obvious play. But my heart told me Mario Hoops 3-on-3. But when I was searching for a screenshot, I remembered Super Mario Strikers, and my mind and heart joined forces for truth and justice. Super Mario Strikers was such a dope game I played it even when I didn’t have people around for multiplayer. The Mario sports formula is perfect for soccer, a game that is loud and godless even with a referee on the field. But when you remove the pretense, shrink the pitch, and add banana peels and dinosaurs, you get what soccer is all about: screaming violence and astro turf. Also everyone is angry for no reason, and that’s hilarious. – Lucas
I really had to think about this, but honestly, I’m still a big fan of Super Mario Galaxy. I still remember when the game came out. It was so, so colorful, and the space setting really charmed me. Very quickly, Rosalina became one of my favorite characters, and the Luma kept me smiling until the very end. It was also so fascinating being able to go to new worlds and zip from rock to rock and planet to planet, all while using gravity to your advantage. Plus, the graphics are still really nice to look at. And, as a bonus, we got the best Mario ever: Bee Mario! – Mercedez