10 Best Mario Games (That Aren't Platformers) | ScreenRant

Originally known as "Mr. Video," Nintendo's iconic mascot Mario has featured in dozens of video games spanning all eras of gaming. Though the Mario gamers know today is primarily associated with platformers like the original Super Mario Bros. or the much more recent Super Mario Odyssey, he's had a hand in just about every genre in gaming.

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From his famed outings as a go-kart racer to his more obscure stints as a member of a demolition crew, the portly plumber has worn many hats over the past thirty-six years. While not all of his spin-off games have received acclaim, they nonetheless stand today as interesting relics of video game history.

10 Super Mario RPG: The Legend Of The Seven Stars

Developed by Square, a studio best known for their fantastic Final Fantasy series, the SNES-exclusive Super Mario RPG was a groundbreaking and genre-defying outing. Released late in the console's lifecycle, the title's 3D-rendered models and environments were eyecatching and have aged more gracefully than most early Nintendo 64 games.

An epic adventure that would combine the best of the Mushroom Kingdom's iconography with fine-tuned RPG elements for which Square was and still is known, Super Mario RPG was a landmark title that would go on to serve as the basis for the Mario & Luigi RPG series.

9 Mario Paint

While it may seem outrageously dated and impractical by today's standards, when it debuted thirty years ago, Mario Paint was a fascinating program that allowed users to create their own images and compose their own midi beats. Compatible with a mouse pad peripheral, it offered kids in the early 90s a creative outlet they likely wouldn't have had access to in an era before home computers were common.

It may not have much to do with Mario himself, but Mario Paint is a shining example of the creativity and ingenuity of Nintendo. It's still fun to return to today and explore what was essentially an early version of Microsoft Paint.

8 Wrecking Crew

One of a select few "black box" NES games released around the time of the NES console's 1985 North American debut, Wrecking Crew is far removed from the classic platforming action for which Mario is known. In fact, though both Mario and Luigi appear in the game, neither of their names appear in the title.

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With 100 levels to conquer, Mario is tasked with demolishing a set amount of objects in each stage while avoiding hazards and dodging enemies. It may bear few similarities to the all-time classic Super Mario Bros. NES game, but it remains an entertaining oddity for retro aficionados.

7 Mario Clash

Appreciated by few save for the staunchest of Nintendo supporters, the Virtual Boy was a commercially disastrous console that tried to take advantage of a new and unproven 3D technology. It may have been a neat novelty at the time, but Nintendo failed to break one million total unit sales and discontinued the machine a year after it launched.

That said, Mario Clash, the premiere Mario title on the system, shouldn't be overlooked. A reworked version of the 1983 Mario Bros. game, it combined classic platforming elements with fast-paced arcade gameplay to offer up an entertaining experience that is, unfortunately, stuck on a console that few gamers owned.

6 Dr. Mario

Created in 1984, Tetris was a puzzle gaming sensation and a driving force behind the sales of Nintendo's late '80s Game Boy handheld console. Naturally, Nintendo saw fit to put their own spin on the formula, offering up Dr. Mario in 1990.

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While by no means a rip-off of Tetris, Dr. Mario borrowed some very similar elements from the title, tasking players with matching colored pills to eliminate viruses while working to conserve space and avoid filling the screen. The NES variant is also one of a select number of retro puzzle games available on the Nintendo Switch.

5 Mario Tennis

Developed by acclaimed RPG studio Camelot and the first official Nintendo title to feature Luigi's foil Waluigi, Mario Tennis was, at the time, a strange release. Debuting in 2000 in North America, it was one of the Mushroom Kingdom crew's first forrays into the world of athletics.

Though obviously arcadey and by no means realistic, Mario Tennis was a surprisingly good time and helped to bolster the console's already solid lineup of multiplayer-focused titles. Camelot would go on to develop many other Mario sports titles, with the most recent being Mario Golf: Super Rush on the Nintendo Switch.

4 Luigi's Mansion

Though it doesn't star Mario himself, Luigi's Mansion proved that Luigi was capable of stepping into the hero role normally assumed by his brother. Wildly different from any other mainline Mario title, Luigi's Mansion was a GameCube ghostbusting galavant that, while somewhat short, was incredibly memorable.

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Featuring some of the franchise's scariest baddies and placing a major emphasis on exploration, first-time players never quite know what to expect behind the next door. The game was popular enough to spawn two sequels, with the most recent releasing on the Switch in 2019.

3 Mario Party 2

While the Switch definitely caters to those who love in-person co-op multiplayer, the Nintendo 64 is often remembered as the ultimate console for couch multiplayer. Released two generations before internet connectivity became a mainstay on most gaming devices, many games placed a major emphasis on split-screen play.

Perhaps the most celebrated of these titles—aside from Goldeneye 007—is Mario Party 2. While the first and third entries are also great, Mario Party 2 featured the most fan-favorite boards and minigames of the three, and, for dedicated Nintendo fans, it's typically the defacto party game.

2 Mario Kart 8

Every entry in the long-running Mario Kart series is fantastic, but, at the moment, Mario Kart 8 is the most fully-featured and easily accessible. Available on both the Wii U and Nintendo Switch and boasting 32 tracks—sixteen of which are brand new, and sixteen of which are remastered of classic stages from other MK games—along with a collection of unlockable characters, Mario Kart 8 is the go-to go-karting game.

The title also features a fairly robust battle mode alongside a suite of online multiplayer options that'll keep the fun coming for quite some time. With no official word concerning the next entry in the series, Mario Kart 8 seems like it won't be going away any time soon.

1 Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

The Paper Mario series got its start on the Nintendo 64, but it wouldn't achieve legendary status until the subsequent GameCube iteration Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.

A fully-fledged and incredibly lengthy—particularly for those looking to one-hundred-percent complete it—RPG that took Mario through several unique areas and featured some ingenuitive and thoughtful combat encounters, The Thousand-Year Door is generally regarded as the high water mark for the series. An installment for the Nintendo Switch was released in 2020, but many fans are clamoring for a remaster of this unparalleled classic.

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