The Evolution of Mario Page 2

27. Mario’s Tennis (Virtual Boy) – 1995

The Nintendo Virtual Boy was available in the shops for less than 6 months in North America. Mario was the star of 4 of the 22 games that were released for the system worldwide. Mario’s Tennis was the game that came packaged with the system so is probably the most recognizable to gamers.

Mario's Tennis

28. Mario Excite Bike (Satellaview) – 1995

Mario Excite Bike was a remake of the original NES game released over 10 years before. All human players had been replaced by Mario and his friends. The graphics had been improved considerably too to work with the SNES modem add on Satellaview.

Mario Excite Bike

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29. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64) – 1996

Super Mario 64 was a huge evolution for Mario, platformers and gaming in general. The game was set in a 3D environment, which was a huge leap forward as most other consoles on the market at that point were still 2D. Players had much more control over what Mario could do and were not simply limited to running and jumping.

Using the Nintendo 64′s analogue controller, players could now walk, run, crouch, creep, swim, crawl, climb and more. He could also do double and triple jumps and jump off walls. Not only that, Mario could talk! It was, in essence, a re-imagining of Mario and what he could do.

Super Mario 64

30. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Super Nintendo) – 1996

The Super NES had a fine collection of role playing games, the most recognizable probably being The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Super Mario RPG was the last Mario game developed for the SNES. It was developed by RPG veterans Square, who had already released SNES classics such as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, Breath of Fire and Secret of Mana.

The game shared a lot of similarities to other Square RPG’s though Mario himself looked more like the Mario from Super Mario 64 than any SNES game with Mario in it. It was the first ever Mario role playing game and the graphics, game play and humour ensured it got great reviews.

Super Mario RPG

31. Mario Party (Nintendo 64) – 1998

Mario Party was the first Mario party game released by Nintendo. It was a fairly boring one player game but quite fun in multi-player modes. In total Mario Party had 56 mini games. Mario and his friends looked very similar to how they looked in Super Mario 64. The latest game to be released in the series was Mario Party 9, which was released for the Wii in 2012.

Mario Party

32. Mario Golf (Nintendo 64) – 1999

Mario grabbed his golf clubs again for Mario Golf in 1999. It was a very simple game to play and included lots of fun mini games such as speed golf and mini golf. Baby Mario and Metal Mario could also be selected as playable characters.

Mario Golf

33. Paper Mario (Nintendo 64) – 2000

What was originally developed as Super Mario RPG 2 was eventually released as Paper Mario. The RPG was well received but was criticized for being too easy. Mario looked much younger in this serious of games compared to his other appearances.

Paper Mario

34. Mario Tennis (Nintendo 64) – 2000

In Nintendo’s 1984 Tennis game for the NES, Mario was the referee. It wasn’t until 2000 that he got to star in a tennis game of his own. Mario Tennis proved to be a popular game with video game fans. Easy to pick up and play but enough advanced controls to keep things interesting for more experienced players. Like many Nintendo 64 games, the game took advantage of the systems 4 built-in controller ports.

Mario Tennis

35. Super Smash Bros. Melee (Gamecube) – 2001

The sequel to the Nintendo 64′s Super Smash Bros became the best selling game on the Nintendo Gamecube (closely followed by Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Super Mario Sunshine!). The game can be best described as multi-player fighting mayhem. With a choice of 26 characters, 4 players could battle it out in a free for all. To KO an opponent you had to knock out them off the screen. This became progressively easier to do as enemies took more damage.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

36. Mario Kart: Super Circuit (Gameboy Advance) – 2001

Mario Kart: Super Circuit was a highly anticipated game and was well received by gamers. It was the first Mario Kart released on a hand held device. 20 new tracks were included and 20 from the original Super Mart Kart that was released on the SNES. The actual game played more like Mario Kart 64 than the original game though.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit

37. Super Mario Sunshine (Gamecube) – 2002

Super Mario Sunshine wasn’t available when the Gamecube launched though this didn’t stop it from being one of the best selling titles for the system. Like Super Mario 64, the game was set in a 3D environment. Mario has lots of new abilities, the most popular being FLUDD, a backpack that was strapped to Mario that allowed him to squirt enemies with water. New characters were also introduced such as Bowser Jr and Toadsworth.

Super Mario Sunshine

38. Mario Kart: Double Dash (Gamecube) – 2003

The first Mario Kart on a console in 7 years had a lot to deliver. Whilst it wasn’t perfect, it was certainly a fun game, particularly in multiplayer. The big difference in this game to others in the series is the ability to use two players on a kart: one drives whilst the other holds on to the back. Players can switch between the two characters at any time.

Mario Kart: Double Dash

39. Mario Kart DS (Nintendo DS) – 2005

The next Mario Kart to be released was Mario Kart DS for the Nintendo DS. The game took advantage of the handheld’s dual screen by showing the main game in the top screen and the map and ranking at the bottom. Players could also pit themselves against others online.

Mario Kart DS

40. Super Mario Strikers (Gamecube) – 2005

Super Mario Strikers was Mario’s first football (soccer) game. It was an arcade style five-a-side game that allowed players to use power ups such as bananas and red shells against their opponent.

Super Mario Strikers

41. New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo DS) – 2006

4 years after the release of Super Mario Sunshine, Mario returned in his own platform game. The game left behind the 3D world and returned Mario to his 2D side scrolling roots. It stayed true to the original games and brought in lots of new features too. New power ups included a blue shell that lets Mario withdraw into a shell to protect himself from enemies, a mega mushroom that makes Mario huge for a set period of time and a mini mushroom that lets Mario run across water and enter pipes that normal Mario can’t enter.

New Super Mario Bros was a huge success. It sold over 26 million copies and as a result became the best selling Nintendo DS game of all time.

New Super Mario Bros.

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42. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) – 2007

Super Mario Galaxy was the next in the main series of Mario games after Super Mario Sunshine. In the game, Mario had to collect Power Stars from different planets. Once again, Nintendo had developed a classic which is regarded by many as one of the best video games of all time.

Playing the game was a little different from other Mario games due to the game using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. This added a new dynamic to playing a Mario game. It also included a co-operative gaming mode for two players.

Super Mario Galaxy

43. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Wii) – 2007

No one would have thought 20 years ago that Mario’s main platform gaming rival, Sonic the Hedgehog, would one day be headlining games with him. 24 sporting events were featured in the game including rowing, archery, athletics, gymnastics and more.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

44. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) – 2008

Nintendo took full advantage of the Wii’s capabilities when it released Mario Kart for the system. The game came packaged with the Wii Wheel accessory which allowed players to play the game using a steering wheel. This added a huge new dynamic to the game and a lot more fun to play. The game also had fantastic online features which allowed players to easily play people from around the world.

Mario Kart Wii

45. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) – 2009

The success of New Super Mario Bros on the DS in 2006 was no doubt the driving force behind them releasing a console version. It proved to be hugely successful as well, and was one of the best selling Wii games released. The Wii version has different levels from its handheld counterpart and 4 players can play at the same time.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

46. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) – 2010

More of a case of evolution than revolution, Super Mario Galaxy 2 looks like it’s predecessor visually though it is widely regarded as a better game.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

47. Mario Sports Mix (Wii) – 2010

Nintendo continued with their Mario sports games with Mario Sports Mix. Sports include basketball, volleyball, dodgeball and hockey. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t well received.

Mario Sports Mix

48. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem (Nintendo DS) – 2010

A fun puzzle game in which the player has to guide toy Mario’s to the exit.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem

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49. Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo 3DS) – 2011

Super Mario 3D Land is an interesting game that includes elements of 2D and 3D platforming. It includes lots of features from other games such as the power leaf from Super Mario Bros 3. It has earned the accolade of being the fastest selling Mario handheld game in history.

Super Mario 3D Land

50. Mario Tennis Open (Nintendo 3DS) – 2012

Mario’s latest tennis game was released for the Nintendo 3DS this year. It received mixed reviews though it does have some cool features such as multiplayer support for up to 4 players over a Wi-Fi connection.

Mario Tennis Open

Coming Soon: New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U) – 2012 or 2013

The sequel to New Super Mario Bros Wii is set to become the main launch game for Nintendo’s upcoming new system Wii U. It will work with the Wii Remote and with the new gamepad. The trailers that have been released so far suggest it’s going to be another classic.

New Super Mario Bros. U

Still Evolving

Mario has come along way from his humble beginnings as a bit part in someone else’s game. He changed a lot over the first 15 years of his life though his general appearance hasn’t changed much since Super Mario 64 (except for general improvements in graphics). It could be easy to look at Mario as the Krusty The Clown of gaming due to the number of games he has been attached to, though that’s not a fair representation. Mario has been the best selling gaming franchise for a reason. Not every Mario game has been a classic though generally speaking Mario themed games always get good reviews.

Whilst Mario has branched out into sports games, party games, RPG’s and more, he is still primarily known for his platform games. The main series of games have been at the forefront of gaming since the original Super Mario Bros was released on the NES in 1985. Every one since then has been widely acclaimed by critics and players and most were the best selling games on the consoles they were released for (though this was sometimes due to the game being bundled with the console). With the release of New Super Mario Bros U next year, this trend is sure to continue.

What are your favorite Mario appearances or games in the series? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section.


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