I haven't played even close to all of them, but here it goes.
1) Super Mario World - Played it to death but can always muster another run. At some point, it transcended gamehood and became a Lego set, and that's when I think it became an irreplaceable favorite: I would be lying or at best very forgetful if I said anything else.
2) Paper Mario - Amazing soundtrack and colorful as heck with chapters with crazy story ideas make this so memorable and replayable. There is a lot to do in the big hub that connects the world and opportunities with the leveling system and Chet Rippo (or is it Rip Cheato? I forget which) limiting your stats to create thrilling challenges. Chuck Quizmo and the cooking system also are huge drives to explore absolutely everything.
3) Paper Mario: The Origami King - Another vibrant game with a killer soundtrack and a massive world that really feels like it could use whatever healing you can bring it. There are lots of rewards here for being a completionist, and I love that. Some plot elements are more frightening or sad to deal with than its whimsical predecessors, and it does include some neat puzzles even outside the battles.
(3.5 - Insert YI here if it's considered Mario. To me, it is the brginning of Yoshi's own mainline series, i.e. disregarding puzzle games and rail shooters that came out before it, as it doesn't play the least bit Mario-like. Amazing, timeless platformer, and probably still one of the very best out there.)
4) Super Mario 64 - This is not an easy game despite the reputation Mario games get. It's a game I both "hate" because it is infested with insta-kills that literally laugh at your star-searching adventures while Mario sinks in quicksand or burns his butt off and makes you deal with it because you aren't allowed to leave the level while in motion, and love because it is extremely, addictingly satisfying to platform around those threats successfully to get your star. It is all skill, no hand-holding, and no tolerance for cowardice.
5) Super Mario Bros. 2 ("The Lost Levels", not Yume Koujou, though that'd be my next pick) - It felt like an expansion of SMB, and its difficulty picked up almost where it left off. The new tricks like the Poison Mushroom and Pirahna Plants that come up even if you stand by them were spicy additions to mess you up if you had SMB in your blood by then. The challenges for me stay memorable, and I can't think of a 2D Mario level that's more memorable than that one night level with the strong wind and those springboards that push you way above the line of visibility. Bowser's castle was also amazing in that it was so confusing and decently precise. Game Overs at the lava pit on the first screen and the warp zone taking you back to world 1 with no other choices, good times. I adore that it is deliberately evil.
Just look above you... If it's something that can be stopped, then just try to stop it!
Super Mario World - Played it to death but can always muster another run. At some point, it transcended gamehood and became a Lego set, and that's when I think it became an irreplaceable favorite: I would be lying or at best very forgetful if I said anything else.
Super Mario World was the first Mario game I ever played when I was a wee tyke. My dad brought out his old SNES along with a couple of games and when I popped in Mario World I was hooked too haha. My own love of the game only increased once my family obtained a computer with internet and I learned of rom hacks. I was like. Wow, this game is like the most amazing thing ever. SMW was definitely my favorite game for many of my younger years simply because of my obsessions with rom hacking. And don't EVEN get me started on Yoshi's Island. I am still completely obsessed with that game. Everything about it is gorgeous. If I could figure out the YI hacking scene I would totally get into it but alas.
Originally posted by Counterfeit
Paper Mario: The Origami King - Another vibrant game with a killer soundtrack and a massive world that really feels like it could use whatever healing you can bring it. There are lots of rewards here for being a completionist, and I love that. Some plot elements are more frightening or sad to deal with than its whimsical predecessors, and it does include some neat puzzles even outside the battles.
When I heard that Nintendo was releasing a Paper Mario that was more akin in design and story to the first two I jumped at the opportunity to purchase it. I was pretty disappointed with Sticker Star and Color Splash so I really wanted to try it and I agree it is so much fun! The world is immersive the graphics are beautiful the sense of humor is brilliant the characters are lifelike the battles are challenging in a fun way. A lot of people knock the battles for being too puzzley but screw those beans you're just mad that you can't hop on and kill your enemies willy nilly you actually have to think about what you've got to do it. It really does make the completionist in me itch but I here that doing it is seriously similar to trying to 100% Crash Nsane Trilogy.
1 - Super Mario World, more for the physics and mechanics (even the unintentional ones, like the glitches make the game so much fun) than the level design, although I like how it's one of the few 2D Mario games to try to make its world somewhat believable, with the overworld geometry and paths being less over the top and having no overly clashing stuff right next to each other or a strictly formulaic world thematic (I mean, the worlds are all nicely connected on the map, instead of being obviously completely different environments with extremely different biomes and whatnot all separated from each other).
There's such a sense of flow to the player movement and everything else, it's just great to control, also it has Yoshi and the cape, some amazing and game changing power ups.
2 - Super Mario Land 2, I partially blame nostalgia for this (not like this whole list isn't full of nostalgia anyway), but I love how creative this game is with its environments. It has some of the most off the wall worlds in any Mario game, it's simple but really fun and the level gimmicks are also really nice. It also has some of the nicest boss battles in the series, the music is great too.
One thing I like in particular that this game has over others is it's open approach to the worlds, you can start in any world you want, which is just nice and great for replayability. I actually think this idea could work nicely in a new 2D Mario, just expanded a little more.
Same with the shop, I really like that idea, and I think it could be amazing in a modern title, especially since it's generally agreed that lives are dated nowadays, so it would give the coins a purpose.
3 - Super Mario Bros. 3 - Honestly, I love the level design in this game and its difficulty, it also feels massive. The amount of powerups is also nice, the overworld is the most fun to explore in this game, I love how many secrets there are and all the little Toad houses and whatnot. I don't think I have much else to say, it's just a bit of an obvious one.
My favorite version is the GBA one, because of all the nice extras, it's basically the ultimate version of the game in my eyes.
4 - Um... I kinda want to stay with just non-spinoff games for this list, but I can't think of anything else I'd put on my list of most favorite Mario games since I haven't played anything from the Wii and onwards, so... Mario Kart DS it is!
Yeah, might as well put a Mario Kart title here, it's still one of the Mario games I've played the most, I love how robust its single-player mode is, I love the gameplay in general, drifting in this game is really fun, the stages are varied, the music is great and I like the different cars that you can use and all the different characters.
Sure, by now there's Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which has way more characters and stages and so on, but... I haven't played that AND that game doesn't have bosses and challenges like this one does (or if it does, I haven't seen anyone talking about it lol). Obviously, like anything else in this list, nostalgia plays a bit role in it too, but it doesn't change the fact that it's a great game and I think it kinda makes sense, if I'm going to make a list of personal favorites, might as well go with stuff that mean a lot to me and have huge emotional value, tons of memories related to it and so on. I wouldn't put a game I haven't played a lot, even if I enjoy it.
5 - I'm trying to stick with games that have Mario in the title, otherwise this list would be kinda impossible due to me loving Wario games, Yoshi games and so on. So I'm just going with Super Mario RPG, I guess... I mean, there are plenty of titles I have played more than this one, but this one is nostalgic as hell to me and it's just a fun game full of personality and great music, visuals and gameplay.
I haven't actually played many Mario RPGs like a lot of people out there, in fact besides this one, I have only played the first two Mario & Luigi RPGs and I have only beaten the second one.
There's a lot of stuff I love about this game, but I'm just gonna keep it short and say that I love how the world feels familiar yet different than other Mario games, which makes it always feel fresh but not out of place, I also like the pre-rendered SNES visuals a lot, besides everything else I've mentioned. I also like how it's the Mario RPG closest to a traditional RPG, while still having the timed button thing every other Mario RPG has.
Mario sports games, particularly Mario Tennis and Mario Golf.
I'm not really into sports games unless they have something that makes them stand out, and I have nostalgia for a few of the early Mario Tennis and Golf games, but... I haven't played them nearly enough for them to even come close to being in this list, but I still have some nice memories (I mean, Mario Golf was pretty much one of the 3 or so games that made me be kinda interested in Golf).
I've also played the GC Baseball and Football/Soccer games, but not a whole lot, still had fun though.
Super Mario Bros. 1 and 2 (both versions).
Ok, so SMB1 is a game I've actually played as a kid quite a lot, be it the original version, the All-Stars version or the Deluxe (GBC) version. Same with SMB2 (Lost Levels) and SMB2 (USA). I have good memories of them, and they can give me nostalgia some times, but it's not nearly as much for them to be in the list, besides them not being really my favorites, as I do think they all have some flaws due to being too old, but I still think they have some pretty nice aspects that make them unique, if only because they're really the earliest games so the series didn't have as many established rules.
There are many Mario games that I like, so I'd say that a large portion of them could be on my list of nostalgic games and whatnot, but since this is about favorites, I decided to be more picky, but pretty much any game that was released on handhelds from the Game Boy up to the 3DS could be here, most stuff from the 80s to the early 2000s could be here.
1. Super Mario 64
It's definitely a flawed game, I will admit that. But it has a charm that I haven't really felt in any other mario game. Some people complain that the stars feel too repetitive, but for most of the levels I feel it works really well as a way to get you to explore different parts of a level, the only level I feel is too repetitive for no reason is tall tall mountain.
This was actually my first rpg. It manages to be interesting enough for older me to enjoy the story and gameplay while staying simple enough for 7 year old me to feel like I have enough of an understanding to have the real drive (and ability) to get through all of it. I have heard TTYD is better but emulators give me too much input lag and I can't justify spending a ton on a real copy of it, one day.
3. Super Mario Galaxy 2
I strongly prefer Galaxy 1's base game (which I will get to later, I have more to say on that game.) but I can sit down and enjoy Galaxy 2 for a lot longer. The green stars are a mechanic that I LOVE and it sucks so much that we haven't gotten anything like it in any newer titles.
4. Super Mario Galaxy
This has a much stronger base game than 2. There's actually like, a story. It's levels are a whole lot memorable, I might not be able to tell you what the exact name of each galaxy is but if you tell me "oh, it's the one that has like the moving candy floors with holes at the bottom" I would know exactly what you are talking about. A lot of people complain about the purple coin stars. I choose to defend it the same way I defended mario 64 being "repetitive" by saying that the missing 2 or 3 coins could be in a really cool corner of the level you never thought to go to in any previous star, it helped me really appreciate some of the levels.
5. Super Mario Bros 2 (JP)
I would rank this game higher if it's extra worlds weren't so tedious (do you really expect me to beat the game a whole ass 8 times without turning off the console?) I like how brutal the game is, it's a game that you really need to master. Every world I beat feels like a huge accomplishment.
Despite enjoying playing kaizo hacks a lot I feel that mario world is one of the worst, it controls really solid but the levels are way too easy, not to mention you can fly over like 80% of them, very flawed and it doesn't have enough charm to make up for it in my eyes.
1. Super Mario World - As my first video game, this Mario title in particular will always have a special place in my heart, despite its various flaws. I was enthralled with the 96-exit adventure to embark on through Dinosaur Land when I was younger, but now I more or less stick around to speedrun the game and mess with its many glitches. And ROM hack too, of course.
2. Super Mario 64 - Greatly enjoyable to bop about in the 3rd dimension as the mustachioed man, as you can quite literally fool around in every stage. I find that I end up doing so often once I fully complete the game, even with the option to just restart on another file.
3. Mario Kart Wii - Along with the addition of bikes, this entry in the Mario racing spinoff games has a very engaging selection of tracks to drive through, not to mention the wonderful OST as well. The manual controls felt quite natural for me which added nicely to the overall experience too.
4. New Super Mario Bros. - A valiant jump back into the 2D platformer genre during its time. Unlike the recent entries in the New series, this one I feel had more heart poured into it and was also much more memorable.
5. Mario Paint - I always find myself having fun with it for all the Mario-unrelated reasons. Doodling, making stamps, composing music, playing Gnat Attack... Literally (almost) endless possibilities with what you can do in the game, all through the titular SNES Mouse.
Threw my list together a bit quickly, but here we go:
5. Super Mario 64 - This was probably my most played N64 game as a kid, and remained my favorite 3D Mario game for a while. Frustrating at times, but still a very fun experience.
4. Super Mario Galaxy - Honestly, the Galaxy games are beautiful and great. The linear nature of things bothered me a bit--more so in Galaxy 2, of course--but Galaxy 1 remains higher up for me with more prominent story elements and mostly more enjoyable worlds in general.
3. Paper Mario (N64) - Actually the last of the original Paper Mario trilogy that I got around to, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Only reason it isn't higher up is just because I enjoyed Odyssey and TTYD more.
2. Super Mario Odyssey - My favorite 3D Mario platformer, I just enjoyed it so much. I know the sheer number of moons to collect is a bit much for some, but I still loved it.
Seriously, the New Donk festival. That alone brings it in this top 5 in my opinion.
1. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - Still my overall favorite Mario game, and one of my favorite video games overall. I had so much fun with it in all my playthroughs, and few other games have come close to topping it.
Super Paper Mario (actually my first Paper Mario game. Beautiful story and interesting gameplay, but always felt somewhat too easy), Super Mario World (have to include SMW, of course), Super Mario Sunshine (couldn't beat it as a kid, but very satisfying to finally 100% it some years later), Mario Party 3 (best of the Mario Party games for me in terms of maps and minigames), Super Mario Galaxy 2 (still fun, but less so than Galaxy 1 for me)
1 super mario rpg
2 yoshi's island/donkey kong country 2 (dk and yoshi are mario characters. i dont care)
3 super mario sunshine
4 super mario bros. 3
5 super mario 64
i havent beat odyssey, either of the galaxies or any other rpg yet lol
even then i dont think odyssey would rank pretty high due to how its structured to provide instant dopamine instead of making sure every single one of your achievements means something other than a number on a counter. it's why i much rather prefer grinding and dealing high damage on like dragon quest and SaGa over like bravely and final fantasy after the first two (except tactics. and yes i abuse the hit yourself exploit on 2 it's the only bearable way, forgive me kawazu-sama)
but that's just me, dont let this affect your onion, everyone else feels that odyssey's the game of 2017 and i dont wanna take that away from them
3d land is okay, i honestly felt that the hard-ass special worlds were more filling but the sheer difficulty of them combined with the asinine circle pad is like hell on your thumbs and i can only take so much grinding per day. i'd probably have a much easier time with citra and a keyboard or a controller with an analog joystick. haven't played 3d world outside of testing it to see if it ran okay on my computer (it runs eh).
smb1 and lost levels are honestly pretty fun and i'll defend tll with heavy savestate abuse to retain level placement in worlds if playing the fds version (like restart at 4-2 if you game over at 4-2 instead of restarting back at 4-1). im bad at the infinite lives trick on both so Uh. still fun and rewarding despite the checkpoint placements imo
honorable mentions are new super mario bros u (my opinion isn't very developed because i borrowed it once from the library and only played through to the final castle; was a fun time though), super mario rpg (fun game but a bit of a mixed bag at times, i can't say it's in the top 5 but it's close), super mario world (this game's levels are kinda bland but the overworld and secret exits and physics are mmmm) and super mario 64 (lots of fun stages and stars and controlling mario in open space can be fun but man are the bad stages in this game intolerable)
My list is going to be very generic but might as well share it anyways.
Order is in from least most favourite to most favourite... favourite.
5th - Paper Mario
While I believe the original Paper Mario doesn't come close to being as good as PMTTYD, it's still a superb RPG as well as a superb Mario game. I loved the story and the gameplay, and it started one of my favourite Mario series.
4th - Super Mario Brothers & Super Mario Brothers 2 Japan / The Lost Levels
I think I'm able to include both these games together as SMBLL feels like a DLC expansion for SMB1. Anyways, fun but simple gameplay and challenging level design, especially in the Lost Levels, make both SMB1 & SMBLL a very fun experience. Most of my experience for both of these titles were on the SMAS remakes, and the 16 bit graphics make both of the games look nice as well as play nice.
3rd - Super Mario Brothers 3
Ironic that SMB3 is my 3rd most favourite Mario game. Anyhow, 90% of my SMB3 experience was on the GBA with the Mario Advance game series. I used to play it all the time when I was a kid, and I had so much fun with it. The game is fantastically paced with fun and fair level design, and the music and graphics looked wonderful as well. The final boss of SMB3 is one of my favourites in the Mario series as well.
2nd - Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
My favourite RPG of all time, and my second favourite Mario game. The story is wonderful, the gameplay is a great improvement of the original Paper Mario's, and all of the characters are memorable and wonderful. Overall an extraordinary RPG and Mario game. I've played and finished it at least 5 times.
1st - Super Mario World
My favourite Mario game, as well as one of my favourite games of all time. Extremely fantastic level design, charming graphics and very fun platformer gameplay. I've played both the SNES and GBA version a lot, and I have very fond memories of SMW. I've replayed it a lot as well, at least 10 times I'd say? It also has my favourite boss fight of all time. The music, the Clown Car, how most of the HUD disappears... it feels like a grand final battle, all achieved in 16 bits. I guess it's ironic saying SMW is my favourite game considering what message board we're on, but it's truly one of the best games I've ever played.
That's my list. Here are some honourable mentions.
- Super Paper Mario
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii
- Mario Party 5, 6 and 7