4: Super Mario Bros. 3
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Few games can rival the mass appreciation and timeless appeal of Super Mario Bros. 3. For over two decades it held the distinction of being the best-selling stand-alone video game of all time, and to this day it remains a perennial fan-favorite.
And there’s reason for its hefty status, Super Mario Bros. 3 took the foundations of the original Super Mario Bros., and cranked it all to 11. Its levels were constructed as brilliantly and beautifully as the very best of them, its characters were so imaginative that they can still be seen as the benchmark for the series, and it set the standard for Mario’s many abilities, most notable was his newfound ability of flight.
Its still inspiring, seeing Mario grabbing that magic leaf, donning a raccoon tail and taking to the skies, only to discover a whole other world in the clouds. It’s the product of genuine video game magic that is seldom captured.
And Mario 3 is bountiful in such moments, and not just in flight, but just about every facet of SMB3 seemed to capture the imagination. So much so that Super Mario Bros. 3’s elements continue to be seen in full force today. Some examples include Thwomps, Boos, Dry Bones, and many other such mainstays of the series that were all introduced here.
You can’t buy the kind of influence and longevity that Super Mario Bros. 3 seemed to so effortlessly capture. And it did it long before there was such a thing as internet hype.
For many, Super Mario Bros. 3 remains the definitive Mario title. And it is without a doubt one of the greatest games ever made.
Remembered for: Taking flight
While plenty of video game characters have now soared to the skies, none of them have captured the magic of when Mario first took to the skies in Super Mario Bros. 3. That raccoon tail is as iconic in the gaming world as anything, and is quite possibly the definitive power-up in video game history.
Today’s games use intense internet-based marketing campaigns to build hype for themselves. All Mario needed was a magical raccoon tail.