Since his debut in the arcade classic Donkey Kong, Mario has been featured in over 200 video games. That staggering number, along with all the merchandise and screen time, make Mario one of the most valuable characters ever. For kids who grew up in the 1980s and after, Mickey Mouse doesn’t hold a candle.
In this article, we’re going to break down the best-selling video games that feature Mario in the title. So, put on your overalls and strap on your plumbing gear; it’s time to dive in!
10. Mario Kart DS: 23.60 million
Mario Kart DS is a kart racing game released in 2005 for the Nintendo DS handheld game console. It is the third-best-selling Mario Kart game of all time. The game received praise for its graphics, gameplay, and dual screen features. However, there was criticism for its repetitive single-player mode. Players loved that the game held onto the best features of past Mario Kart games while introducing new ones.
Mario Kart DS is the fifth entry in the series and features five single-player game modes: Grand Prix, Time Trial, Versus, Battle, and Mission. Players can choose engine classes between 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc in the Grand Prix and Versus modes.
9. Super Mario Bros. 3: 23.71 million
Super Mario Bros. 3 is regarded as one of the greatest platformers of all time. Released in 1998, the game was remade for Super NES as a part of Super Mario All-Stars in 1993. It’s the third-best-selling NES game of all time. Super Mario Bros. 3 also inspired the animated television series, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3.
Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced new power-ups such as flight and sliding down slopes. The game also introduced many elements that became staples of Mario games, like Bowser’s children (the Koopalings) and a world map to transition between levels.
8. New Super Mario Bros. U: 25.59 million
New Super Mario Bros. U is a 2D platformer released in 2012. This Wii U installment is the first Super Mario with HD graphics. It’s one of the best-selling games on the Wii U, which is probably unsurprising to anyone who owned a Wii U. An expansion disc called New Super Luigi U was released in June 2013.
New Super Mario Bros. U combines classic Mario gameplay with new features and levels. A new power-up called the Flying Squirrel suit allows players to glide across long distances. Older power-ups received new abilities, like the Mini Mushroom, which allows players to run up walls. The game offers two new gameplay modes: “Challenge Mode” and “Boost Rush.”
7. Super Mario World: 26.30 million
Super Mario World was released for the SNES in 1990. This 2D platformer is often considered one of the best games in the series and one of the greatest video games ever made. It spawned an animated TV series of the same name and a sequel videogame, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island.
This platformer expands upon its predecessors with colorful graphics, hidden secrets, and the introduction of Yoshi, a dinosaur companion Mario can ride and eat most enemies. The game introduced a new power-up called the Cape Feather, allowing Mario to fly, glide in the air, or use the cape as a sail.
6. Super Mario Odyssey: 26.95 million
Super Mario Odyssey was released in 2017 for Nintendo Switch and was critically acclaimed for its originality and inventiveness. It also improved concepts and prior Mario games. It’s often cited as one of the greatest video games ever made, garnering several awards. With its expansive open-world environments, the game was aimed at Mario’s core audience.
In the game, Mario can traverse many different worlds, called “Kingdoms,” on a hat-shaped ship named Odyssey to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. The game also features a photo mode, allowing players to take and save screenshots, as well as use filters and stickers.
5. New Super Mario Bros. Wii: 30.32 million
New Super Mario Bros. Wii was released in 2009, becoming a critical and commercial success, receiving several honors. It was the first Super Mario game to offer cooperative multiplayer for up to four players. Beginners can opt out of a certain part of a level, while more challenging levels were added for advanced gamers.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii delivers new features such as Super Glide, and the ability to enter a floating bubble on command. Certain levels are set underwater, where players must swim. The game consists of eight worlds with 8-10 levels each and a secret 9th world.
4. New Super Mario Bros.: 30.80 million
New Super Mario Bros. was released for Nintendo DS in 2006, launching the first installment of the New Super Mario Bros. subseries. It was the best-selling game for Nintendo DS and one of the best-selling games of all time.
Players of New Super Mario Bros. can venture across eight worlds with more than 80 levels in a quest to defeat Bowser Jr. and Bowser before saving Princess Peach. Players loved the game’s preservation of Mario franchise roots while adding improvements and features. Some minigames were brought back from Super Mario 64 DS, now with 3D graphics and multiplayer options for replay value.
3. Mario Kart Wii: 37.38 million
Mario Kart Wii was published in 2008 and is the sixth installment in the series. It was designed to take advantage of the Wii’s intuitive motion controls. It’s the second-best-selling Mario Kart game and one of the best-selling video games of all time. The game features 32 track selections with specialized items to hinder opponents or gain advantages.
Mario Kart Wii offers single and multiplayer modes, which feature split screens for 2 to 4 persons. The game originally had online multiplayer through Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, but was discontinued in May 2014.
2. Super Mario Bros.: 48.24 million
Super Mario Bros. was released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Considered one of the greatest video games of all time, this bestseller also has one of the best videogame soundtracks. Super Mario Bros. initiated a multimedia franchise of video games, TV series, animated films, and a live-action feature film.
Super Mario Bros. introduced players to the fantasy land of the Mushroom Kingdom and its inhabitants. Players guide Mario, or his brother Luigi, on a quest to rescue Princess Toadstool from the clutches of King Koopa (later named Bowser). Players navigate challenging levels filled with enemies and pits with the aid of power-ups like the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Starman.
1. Mario Kart 8: 65.47 million
Mario Kart 8 was released in 2014 and became one of the best-selling video games ever and the Mario franchise’s best-selling video game. The game’s presentation and gameplay garnered praise and awards, although its battle mode received mixed reviews. An additional sixteen courses with four additional cups were released as downloadable content.
The racetracks of Mario Kart 8 are themed from 32 locales from the Mario series and brought back features from previous versions and a new anti-gravity racing feature. The game offers multiplayer up to four players, while eight players can play through a local wireless connection, and 12 players online.
Not just a Mario fan? Be sure to check out our list of the Top 10 Best-Selling Nintendo Games of All Time!