Mario Old Vs New – Mario Games, Which is Best?

This article is really just a leg-puller to get you thinking about your favourites amongst the old and new Mario Games.  Tell us what you think in the comments.

Old versus new - which Mario Games is the best in your opinion?

Before this article hits its stride, there’s one thing we need to get straight. The Super Mario series of games can do no wrong. There are so many great examples of Super Mario titles that we could spend the next few hundred words simply listing them for you. The character is an icon, and he has starred in some truly epic games. So even when we drop a couple of negative remarks in this article about the odd game here or there, it will only ever be done with a nostalgic grimace.

But let’s deal with the big elephant in the room first.

Super Mario Run

It's been out for quite a while now, but it still hasn’t achieved the kind of fame that traditional Mario games have. There are a few reasons to hate this game, but at the same time it has more than a few saving graces. It works, and anyone who is pouring scorn on it probably hasn’t spent more than a few hours on it.

It rewards an investment of time, basically. The biggest hurdle any player is going to face is the lack of control though. You simply don’t have the level of control over Mario as you would in pretty much any other Mario game. You’re on a continuous run.

This has a good side to it though. It’s probably one of the most mobile-perfect games out there right now. It doesn’t ask you to work too hard to get the game moving and to make progress. It's well-known as a game that you can play with one hand, and that’s a good thing as far as mobile players are concerned.

It's divided audiences really. The continuous movement thing makes some of them happy, others not so much. We think it’s a perfect little mobile game that deserves a lot more respect than it is getting from certain players. But how does it stack up against the classic Mario games?

Super Mario Bros 3 (NES)

This is perhaps the key title in the Italian plumber’s history. Released on the NES, it gave us a real sense of the core Mario spirit. By that we mean that it had a ton of stuff that made Mario great, including different suits.

The different suits told fans that Mario could have ‘skins’ and still feel like Mario. Problem-solving was a big deal, and this never really changed from then on.

Comparing this to ‘Run’ is a little unfair, in that it feels like what Mario should feel like. There’s nostalgia at play too. So let’s take a look at another, just to see if we can work out whether or not ‘Run’ (as a new game) can compare to what has gone before.

Super Mario World (Super NES)

This is what the vast majority of Mario fans feel is the very best Mario game ever. Yoshi debuted, and he’s been part of the Mario universe ever since. But there’s much more to the game than world-building. There’s a real sense that this is the beginning of something truly wonderful.

It came out in 1991, and is still seen as the ‘real’ Super Mario game, because it was the game that perhaps made best use of a machine’s capabilities. The Super NES was new, and unproven in every way. Nintendo decided to bundle this game with it, and the rest is history.

When you think about it, a launch game has to be pretty special. This one was. It had the graphical ‘leap’ that a new console needs to establish. It also had a lot of depth. You could literally switch worlds for example, and the game had a sweet spot when it came to difficulty. You had to work hard to beat it, and when you did you felt like your skills were the reason why you did. How many games do that today? And no, Dark Souls 2 definitely doesn’t.

Pushing all of that to one side however, the concept of a game launching new technology brings us right back to ‘Run’. That game is harnessing the best aspects of mobile gaming (speed, ease of use, casual play) and making it seem effortless. Super Mario World pushed the Super NES out to the gamers, and made it part of gaming history (the console is pretty much universally loved).

Old versus new

We think ‘’Run’ is the first time in a long time that a strong character has found a home on mobile. It’s taken it’s time to get here, and we feel that’s because it’s creators knew the stakes. Just like Super Mario World set a new standard and used the new console to the full, ‘Run’ uses the phone to the full, and sets a new standard for mobile gaming.

In other words, Mario’s getting his groove back, and we think it’s the start of something world-changing.


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