Top 10 Tuesday: Best Super Mario Bros. platformers

Super Mario Bros

This is one of those lists I want you to disagree with me over. I want to hear what you have to say. Don’t like my list? Please, give me feedback. But today we’re going to be talking about Super Mario Bros. platformers. Which ones are the best, and which ones don’t make the cut? And if you’re wondering where Spiral reviews are, don’t worry, those will come in the middle of the night; I haven’t forgotten!

10. New Super Mario Bros. U

This game didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it was still great. It built off the solid foundation of its predecessor NSMBW, and brought some fun boss battles to the table.

9. Super Mario 3D World

The Super Bell with its Cat Suits was a very welcome addition to the Mario series. Plus, getting to play as four different characters again like in SMB2 was a big plus. It may not have been a game-changer, but it sure was a great game.

8. New Super Mario Bros. (DS)

You can’t forget the DS game that restarted side-scrolling! This game brought back side-scrolling big-time, and led to its much more successful Wii sequel. It proved that side-scrollers could still be cool in this day and age of Halo, and it brought the Mini Mushroom and its nuttiness into play. A very underrated game.

7. Super Mario 64

It seems like such a shame to leave SM64 so low on this list, but that’s how stiff the competition is. SM64 reinvented platforming, making it now possible in 3-D. I’m sure several PlayStation games did so prior to it, but SM64 did it so much better than, say, a Crash Bandicoot. SM64 is still a classic, and my biggest regret in life – okay, maybe my second-biggest regret in life, behind not getting married yet – is that I never got around to finishing off Bowser, because the final level was too hard for me. Maybe this year I’ll do it!

6. Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

Do you want a challenge? Then SMBLL is for you. The Lost Levels are as hard as heck, and they are not for the faint-hearted. The Lost Levels troll you a little bit, with warps that make you go back to past levels, and Poison Mushrooms that kill you instead of making you bigger. Plus, even if you can get power-ups, there are some levels that force you to be little in order to complete them! This game was the original Kaizo, the original Super Mario Maker. Thankfully we all got to experience it when Super Mario All-Stars came out for the SNES.

5. New Super Mario Bros. Wii

A surprise inclusion here, NSMBW gets this from being such an amazing multiplayer game. There are four ways to play every level. One just by yourself, another with two players, then with three players, and so on. It really reinvented side-scrolling with the multiplayer mode. Definitely a huge game in the Mario series.

4. Super Mario World

Why isn’t SMW #1, or at least #2? Because SMW didn’t reinvent anything. It simply took what SMB and SMB3 created, and built off it. Sure, it’s a masterpiece, a game worthy of being played for days upon days. It’s one of the greatest of all time. But it didn’t really innovate that much. For that reason, it has to come up short.

3. Super Mario Bros. 2

Probably the most underrated Mario game of all time. SMB2 was totally different from other Mario games, and you’re probably aware that it actually originally wasn’t a Mario game, but rather a port of the game Doki Doki Panic. Yet the charm of SMB2 comes from its many enemies and their different attacks. The boss battles were awesome in this game, especially the final one against Wart where you’d jump up on Wart’s doorstep and force-feed him vegetables to knock him out. Plus, every level you chose a new character. So in reality, there are hundreds of ways to beat the game. Beating it with low-jumping Toad is a real challenge.

2. Super Mario Bros. (1)

It’s hard not to give this the #1 ranking, because SMB really did save video gaming. Atari had flushed video gaming down the toilet, and along came SMB to save it on the NES. In reality, video gaming would have eventually prevailed, but we can’t overlook what SMB did for it. It reinvented video gaming and brought Mario into many of our lives. It’s not #1, though, because of a certain game that reinvented the wheel.

  1. Super Mario Bros. 3

SMB3 reinvented video gaming again, a few short years after SMB saved it. With SMB3, finishing the level was only a secondary goal. Finding all the secrets was the primary goal. Could you beat Lemmy Koopa wearing a Hammer Bros. Suit? Could you get unlimited 1-Ups in the second level of the game? Could you find all 3 Warp Whistles? Could you beat Bowser by going through the secret (and harder) route? Could you beat Boom-Boom in that one Ice Land Fortress with a Starman? There were so many of those types of things, ones that I could go on for years talking about. So what if you beat the game? Finding every last secret was the goal of SMB3. And, after that, every game that came after it. Every other video game since has copied SMB3. The idea of “trophies” and “achievements” came directly as a result of SMB3. Now, when you play a game, you’re looking for all the secrets, and not just caring about beating the game. This is why SMB3 is the golden standard for video games, the one and only that will never be surpassed.

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