Here are a few numbers: Two hundred. Two hundred million, closing in on three hundred million. 9/13/1985. Respectively, these are the number of video games Mario has appeared in, the number of video game units sold with his likeness in them, and the date he turned from a simple NYC plumber who cleaned sewers and jumped barrels into the iconic Super version of himself who had a thing for mushrooms and sparkly stars. Yes, it's been a full quarter of a century since Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. debuted in Japan's toy stores, setting on fire an industry still recovering from a massive crash just two years earlier, not to mention a consumer audience mesmerized by the dominance of Atari. Since then, the series' creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, has not relented with his vision of turning his personal creation into a worldwide phenomenon, spawning everything from television programming, feature films, video games, and, of course, hundreds of video games with Mario serving as its designated mascot. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the debut of the most influential video game in history, we're running down the best Mario brand games to ever exist—according to us. In other words, feel free to rage against the machine in the comments.
Note: We have excluded compilation titles, ports, games not released in the US, and remakes...although we did include a couple on a case-by-base basis.