We all know him, and most of us love him. Ok, maybe not him, but in some way or another, something makes us keep coming back to the franchise. I'll go through the games to date, not including cameos, so we can all make a decision.
Keep in mind, Mario has been featured in over 200 games, so i'll only be covering the main series.
The game that started it all. Not very exciting now, but it would've been amazing for it's time. The game simple consists of one level, in one frame. Rather simple, but look what it did for games now.
A sequel for Mario Bros, and the first Mario on console. This game was more adventurous. You play as Mario, or Luigi in 2-player, and travel to different worlds in search of the princess, who has been kidnapped by Bowser. It's the first game to have featured special blocks, in which you get power-ups from. Enemies can also now be jumped on to kill them.
Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES, SNES)
The next in the original series. This game introduced a few new things which the previous game didn't have. First, it introduced another dimension to the gameplay; vertical. You could now travel upwards instead of the traditional horizontal. Second, it introduced the ability to travel backwards, to earlier parts of the level you have already passed. Thirdly, you could now pick up and throw objects, instead of only being able to run and jump. Enemies can't be jumped on in this game.
This games story is simply Mario and the gang trying to rescue the world from the evil guy, King Wart.
The third game in the NES trilogy. This game introduced several more elements to the series. In addition to running and jumping, the player could now slide, fly, float, swim, throw hammers and jump higher. Enemies can also be jumped on once more. It also allowed for navigation of each of the worlds, via a mini-map. The story is based around the Princess getting kidnapped once again by Bowser, and the brothers trying to save her.
The 5th game in the series, and the first to introduce Yoshi, a dinosaur which Mario can ride, and can eat enemies. The game is essentially the same as the previous one, but with Yoshi.
The plot is similar as well, but while rescuing the Princess, who has been captured again, you're also tasked with rescuing Yoshi'.
The first game where the player takes the reigns as Yoshi, instead of Mario. In this, Mario is an infant, and the Yoshi' are tasked with transporting him safely throughout the worlds. Power-ups aren't common. Yoshi also has the ability to swallow enemies as eggs, have them follow him, and throw them. He can also somehow transform into vehicles..
The plot for this game is odd. A stork is transporting Baby Mario and Baby Luigi to their parents, and Baby Luigi gets kidnapped. Baby Mario then falls onto the island and is picked up by a green Yoshi. They then try to rescue Baby Luigi.
The first Mario game to go 3D, and the first on Nintendo 64. This game is considered "Revolutionary" for it's amazing camera controls, and 360 degree movement with the thumbstick. The game introduced caps, which Mario could wear to dematerialize, become entirely metal, and fly. Also introduced was the triple jump, which is used often in more recent games, and the wall jump.
The point of the game is to rescue the princess, who has been captured by Bowser, by collecting 120 stars hidden in painting worlds.
Similar to Super Mario 64 in a lot of ways. This game gives Mario a water gun that looks like a vacuum cleaner, which can be used to hover, sprint faster, spray, and shoot Mario high in the air. Yoshi also comes into play later. He is able to eat fruit and spray the juices, and changes color depending on the last thing eaten. The object of this is not to collect stars, but "Shine Sprites".
The plot revolves around Mario and Peach taking another vacation, to a place shrouded in darkness. This is because a Mario "Imposter" is stealing the Shine Sprites, and you are tasked with getting them back.
Very similar to the original side scrollers. It featured 3D polygons rendered on a 2D background. Several new power-ups were added, including the Mini-Mushroom, which shrunk Mario to a tiny size to access new areas, the Mega-Mushroom, which grew Mario to a large size to crush through any obstacles in his way, and the Koopa Shell which let Mario retreat into a shell to slide down slopes and kill enemies with ease, it also helped him swim faster.
The plot is also similar to the earlier games. Princess gets kidnapped and blah blah.
Person 1: I think we've used the same setting more than enough times now, what can we do next?
Person 2: How about we send Mario in space? We haven't done that yet!
Person 1: You, my friend, are a genius.
That's the sort of conversation i would expect to lead to an idea like this. Surprisingly, it was actually pulled off well. You can now travel galaxies as Mario, and completely circumnavigate planets. With the added physics, the player can jump from object to object with ease. After collecting all the Star Bits, you can also play as Luigi, which changes gameplay a bit. There are also new power-ups in the game. These include the Bee Suit, which allows you to hover, and scale certain obstacles, the Boo Suit, which allows you to become transparent, and the Spring Suit, which allows you to reach new heights. There is also a new flower, which allows you to shoot ice and freeze enemies. A new star, the Red Star, allows you to fly for a minute also. The game makes use of the Wii Pointer, which you use to collect items with. It also features several ways to make re-visiting worlds fun, by offering challenges.
The plot revolves around rescuing the princess. Again.
Obviously very similar to the New Super Smash Bros. on the NDS, with a new set of worlds and levels, and a few small differences. This game features 4 player co-op with a twist, all players share a screen. The other players play as Luigi, and two toadstools. This makes for some hectic Mario playing. You can bump, punch, carry, or throw the other players around. Also added is a new way to reach heights. By tilting the controller quickly, with the aid of a Propeller Mushroom, you fly into the air, and hover back down. Also added, is the Ice Flower, the Penguin Suit, which allows players to slide along ice and water, and make it easier to navigate both. Each player has seperate lives, and when a player is hurt, they retreat into a bubble. Another player must then pop the bubble for the player to come back into play, thus losing a life. Players can also once again ride Yoshi'.
Yes, we need to save that woman again.
Essentially the exact same game, with a couple of added power-ups.
You can now use the Spin-Drill, allowing players to drill through a planet, the Rock Suit, allowing players to smash through obstacles, and Cloud Suit, which allows players to create small platforms.
You can also ride Yoshi on certain worlds, and you can control his tongue with the pointer.
Super-sized Bowser kidnaps the princess, and you need to save her, once more.
Not released yet, and not much detail has been given. Apparently it will be a cross between Super Mario 64, and Super Mario Galaxy, and "Completely Original". Apparently the Super Leaf power-up will return. Mario will also complete a level by reaching the flag, and can die by getting hit as Small Mario, or falling into a bottomless pit. It also features content from other Mario games too.
The plot will no doubt be the same as the rest..
Will more than likely be extremely similar to Super Mario Bros. Wii. Also, it is being said that other players will more like be a hindrance than a help.
Side-scroller Mario? Saving her again..
Mario has also been Karting, Smashing characters from other franchises, Shrunk down to Party on a board game, Tennising, Golfing, etc. I'm not really sure how much more that man can take. He's on a plumbers salary!
I think it's safe to say, Mario has had an amazing run. Do you think he should continue? I mean, it does still have a lot of potential, what with the huge fanbase and all.
And just so you all know, every time i mentioned Mario rescuing the princess, i had the same image in my head. I think by the fourth time saving her, he would probably resort to beating her up behind the scenes (I don't condone violence against women). I mean, that would explain why she gets kidnapped so often, and why Mario learns all these new moves. Because he's angry.
Anyways, is his time up, or do you think he can keep going strong?