The Super Mario Bros series has been around since the mid 80’s during the NES days of gaming. When it comes down to popularity the very first Super Mario Bros game is quite possibly one greatest video games of all-time not only because it helped shape the platform genre of gaming but it was also very successful as well. The original Super Mario Bros game has reportedly sold over 40 million worldwide since its original release and the series itself had only grew in popularity as time passed. While Super Mario Bros 2 was a pretty fun game that allowed players to choose multiple characters including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad it was not as successful as its prequel. Despite, the improvements in gameplay featured in Super Mario Bros 2 it sold less than both its predecessor and successor and was often seen as the black sheep of the trilogy. While the original Super Mario Bros 2 game reach over 7.4 million in sales since ‘88; Super Mario Bros 3 managed to reach over 13 million in sales and was almost every bit as popular as the very first installment within the series. Super Mario World from 1990 which appeared on the SNES was arguably the best game within its series during the 90’s in general.
Super Mario World had a beautiful overworld along nice looking 2D sprites, stages and animation with the inclusion of Yoshi. Players could spend days, weeks or even months trying to complete Super Mario World since the game itself had multiple overworld maps and became more challenging towards the end of the game. Super Mario World ended up reaching over 20 million in sales since appearing on the 16-bit SNES console and is considered to be of the greatest installments within the entire series. We then got Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES which was a 16-bit remastered collection of the first three NES Mario games from the 80’s; with the addition of Mario Lost Levels. Super Mario All-Stars was a huge success sales wise and sold over 10 million copies worldwide since ‘93. We also got to see other 2D classics on the SNES & Game Boy throughout the 90’s such as Super Mario Land 1 & 2, Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario RPG which were all critically acclaimed classics that sold millions worldwide as well. The Super Mario Kart game from ‘92 was a nostalgic classic where players were introduced to iconic stages such as: Koopa Beach, Choco Valley and Rainbow Road. By the mid 90’s the world got to see Super Mario 64 & Mario Kart 64 two games that are legendary among the gaming community. While Super Mario 64 managed to sell roughly under 12 million copies for the N64 Mario Kart 64 arguably had the best soundtracks that one would ever hear in a racing game.
While the Mario games from the 90’s were more iconic there was no doubt that in terms of quality the titles we have seen from the 00’s onwards were far more superior games in comparison. In fact, the 00’s was the decade where we got to see the releases of titles such as Mario Kart DS, New Super Mario Bros, New Super Mario Bros Wii, Mario Kart Wii along with Super Mario Galaxy. The New Super Mario Bros series was like a breath of fresh air to many people during the mid to late 00’s because the 2D gameplay was reminiscent to the older installments within the series from the mid 80’s-early 90’s. However, the New Super Mario Bros games provided players with 2D gameplay with 3D visuals in a addition to simultaneous multiplayer mode which not he done on the NES/SNES during the 80’s or 90’s. The New Super Mario Bros game from ‘06 along with its Wii sequel from ‘09 sold over 30 million copies individually and are among the best selling titles within the entire series. We also got to see the release of Mario Kart Wii in ‘08 which became the second best selling Mario game of all-time reaching over 37 million in sales. While Mario Kart Wii might not be the most memorable installment within the Mario racing series it was highly successful due to popularity of Nintendo’s Wii console from late 2006. Prior to the release Mario Kart Wii Nintendo released Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii console in November 2007; Super Mario Galaxy was a critically acclaimed 3D platformer with a fantastic soundtrack and a and a solid plot where the setting takes place in multiple galaxies opposed to Mushroom Kingdom. Super Mario Galaxy had reached roughly under 12 million copies in sales since its Wii release back in late ‘07 is considered to be one the best 3D platformers within the series along with Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Odyssey.
We then look at the 10’s decade and Nintendo gave us some outstanding games such as: Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, Super Mario Maker along with Super Mario Odyssey. Despite, being exclusively on the Nintendo DS Mario Kart 7 reached over 11 million units in sales following its release in 2011. It was also in ‘11 where Super Mario 3D Land was released for the Nintendo 3DS and managed to reach roughly under 13 million in sales. Super Mario 3D Land in some ways felt like a prelude to Super Mario 3D World which included multiplayer gameplay where players could select Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad. Super Mario 3D World was the type of platform multiplayer game that Nintendo fans wanted to see in the Super Mario series since 90’s. Despite, being an incredible 3D platformer Super Mario 3D World had only reached over 5.8 million in sales which overall is pretty good. However, the Wii-U console was considered to be a flop sales wise in comparison to its competitors along with previous consoles that Nintendo had released with the exception of GameCube. Super Mario Odyssey from ‘17 was without a doubt the best Mario platform game that we got from Nintendo during the 10’s decade. Super Mario Odyssey felt like the 10’s version of Super Mario 64 and included cinematic cutscenes and soundtracks that made the game feel somewhat like a kids movie. Super Mario Odyssey not only received praise from various gaming publications but it also managed to reach over 18 million units in sales since its release in late 2017.
While the 80’s & 90’s may have been the period where Nintendo released its most iconic Mario games the overall quality of the titles that came out during the 00’s-10’s decade was without a doubt more superior. In fact, many would probably agree that the Mario series has aged like fine wine since the 80’s. It seemed like Nintendo has released more successful Mario games within the past two decades than they did in the 80’s & 90’s. Despite, Nintendo producing more successful Mario games during the 00’s & 10’s decade the very first game from ‘85 is still the most popular game within the entire series after being around for 35 years. While everyone has their own respective opinions on which decade was the best for in relation to the Mario series; everyone can agree that Nintendo has done an incredible job on the series fresh for over three decades which is an incredible milestone within the gaming world.