Polygon Ranked The 18 Core Super Mario Titles

Polygon, specifically Jeremy Parish, recently posted an article that talked about 18 core Super Mario titles. In the process, they ranked the titles from worst to best. The list includes titles like the first 2 Mario Land, so no stone is left unturned. If you want to see just the list itself, we’ve included it down below, so feel free to check it out.

18. Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels
17. New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
16. Super Mario Sunshine
15. Super Mario Land 1
14. New Super Mario Bros. 2
13. Super Mario Bros. 2 USA
12. Super Mario Land 2
11. Super Mario 64
10. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
9. Super Mario 3D Land
8. Super Mario Bros. 1
7. Super Mario Galaxy 1
6. Super Mario World
5. Super Mario 3D World
4. Super Mario Galaxy 2
3. Super Mario Odyssey
2. Super Mario Bros. 3
1. New Super Mario Bros. U



      1. “HELL NO! It’ll never beat Galaxy especially in the music department.”

        Ok, what is your gameplay driven reason that Galaxy is fundamentally superior?

  1. I took one look on the list and immediatly looked at what was ranked number 1. Super Mario Bros. U? What was so groundbreaking about that game to deserve number 1?

    1. Yeah sure haha Super Mario 64 11th, aha, and 3D World better than Galaxy. Naturally U is the best Mario game of all times. We should all care about this BS because Polygon says so. Totally accurate

      1. “Mario Bros. U is the same fucking game repeated 3 times since 2006’s debut.”

        I agree, and I think the laziness in the series is deliberate. They don’t want 2D Mario outshining 3D Mario which they prefer to design. Even so, NSMBU with all of its laziness still managed to outsell 3D World, and then half again with the Luigi U expansion pack. The only way for 2D Mario to stop making 3D Mario look bad is for them to stop making 2D entirely………again.

      2. Exactly, there were five “classic” 2D Marios, six if you count that Mario skin of Doki Doki Panic. New Super Mario Bros. was good on the DS and Wii since it was so long and kind of refreshing, but after that another 2D Mario wasn’t really necessary. I remember New Super Mario Bros. U being the first Mario game where I sighed because I was tired of that type of game.

  2. Lost Levels, 64, Wii and World are WAY too low, in fact, you could swap Lost Levels with the FAKE SMB2, that Doki Doki skin…. worst Mario ever.
    And Wii is the best NSMB, by far….
    64 is #2.
    World is #1.
    You know it’s true.

    1. Say what you will, but I love Mario 2. It’s a fantastic, charming platformer with great graphics and established a lot of the rules of the supporting cast for the first time. When I was a kid, I enjoyed all three Mario’s, even if 2 obviously stood out as a little different. And I play 1, 2, and 3 waaaay more than World. Even back before nostalgia took over, I preferred 3 to World by a mile. Our lists would look very different.

  3. So obviously a lot of people aren’t going to give this a chance because it’s a pretty unexpected list. But it’s a list from Jeremy Parish, a fantastic journalist who, until he mostly retired, was my go to reviewer back when he ran 1up and later USGamer. The value here isn’t in the list, but in the actual article he wrote arguing his case. Read the article. It’s useful to hear from people that have different opinions from yourself or the popular opinion.

    1. Most people probably don’t know who Mr Parish is that are reading this. He has always been a little anachronistic and unconventional, but I valued his opinion. He has single handedly been responsible for introducing me to new genres of games and kept hand held gaming at the forefront in the early DS days. I don’t agree with all of the list, but he always is thoughtful and reasoned in his explanations.

    2. Thanks for pointing out the article. I would’ve completely skipped over it if you hadn’t mentioned it. I disagree with his list, and I think most people would, but he offers some good insight.

  4. I’m not even gonna try lol. Besides it depends on if you like 3-d or side scrolling Mario’s. Personally I’d have Super Mario World up top but heck we all know most of these games could be anyone’s favorite depending on when you were introduced to Mario.

  5. Lmfao, what the hell is this? What a god awful list xD They should have ranked them separately with 2D and 3D having their own. Looking at this list, though, makes me laugh- New Super Mario bros U ahead of Mario 64? Galaxy 1 or 2? Odyssey? LOOOOOOOL

  6. So Super Mario Run isn’t a core Super Mario game then? Seems like it fits the definition given in the source.

    “As for what constitutes a core Super Mario game: Any Nintendo-developed platform action game that stars Mario beginning with 1985’s Super Mario Bros. If it has Wario, Yoshi, Peach or Toad in the title, it doesn’t count.”

    From what I understand, DeNA handled the engineering of the game, but Nintendo actually designed and directed it.

  7. I disagree with a lot, but the list has more merit than a lot of the responses on here suggest. The 3D Mario games, though popular with the hardcore crowd, tend to be filled with a lot of shallow fluff that has a lot of novelty at the time, but doesn’t age well unless you’re a sucker for nostalgia. I can’t imagine a reason to play through Odyssey again, whereas 20 years later I can play through SMB 3 every day and have a good time.

  8. If I ever made the mistake of trying to make a list of this difficulty…I would go with this:

    1. Super Mario World
    2. Super Mario Bros 3
    3. Super Mario 64
    4. Super Mario Galaxy
    5. Super Mario Sunshine
    6. Super Mario Odyssey
    7. Super Mario Bros
    8. New Super Mario Bros U
    9 New Super Mario Bros DS
    10 Super Mario 3D World
    11. Super Mario Bros 2
    12. Super Mario Galaxy 2
    13. Super Mario Land
    14. Super Mario Bros Wii
    15. Super Mario 3D Land
    16. Super Mario Land
    17. Super Mario Land 2
    18. Super Mario Land 3

    Whelp I tried! One of the hardest decisions ever. I apologize in advance to those this list may offend lol

  9. Super Mario Land > Sunshine ?
    New Super Mario Bros. Wii > Super Mario 64?
    Super Mario 3D World > Super Mario World?
    New Super Mario Bros. U > everything else???

    I don’t think they played the same Mario games as I did…

  10. 1. Super Mario World
    2. Super Mario Sunshine
    3. Super Mario 64

    That’s my list. Will Odyssey knock SM64 out of the top 3? I’ll find out eventually.

  11. ||List irrelevant by default because of the number one weapon, pathetic…||

    1. Jeremy Parish, the freelance author of the article (not Polygon) and an influential gaming journalist for decades, is not irrelevant or pathetic. He specializes in the history of gaming, was the chief at 1UP before IGN consumed it, and always has interesting insights even if I disagree on something.

      “Let’s begin by establishing a basic truth about this list: There’s no such thing as a bad Super Mario game. ”

      “Revelatory and inventive as that NES game was three decades ago, has Nintendo truly created nothing better since then? Au contraire; Super Mario Bros. 3 deserves a place near the top because it’s the giant upon whose shoulders its sequels stand … but the best Mario game ever? No, Nintendo has definitely done better. And of all its myriad sequels, New Super Mario Bros. U does the best job of wrapping everything great about Mario (both new and old) into a single package … [NSMBU is] a reliable all ’rounder, tirelessly doing everything well. About the only creative thread of Mario history it doesn’t pick up and build on is the 3D sandbox concept, which makes it a perfect complement to Odyssey: Two games that explore their respective corners of the Mario universe better than any other.”

      Just examples of the kind of quality topics he writes on:

      1. ||1. The list is irrelevant, not him…2. Whether he is influential or not is of no importance to me…3. Writing about gaming does not make you a gamer…||

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