Video Games for People Who Love Mario
Run, jump and smash.
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Nintendo’s flagship Mario games have long been a gold standard within the gaming industry. They take the classic platformer genre—running and jumping—to new levels. But there are other great games out there, if you’re looking for something new to scratch that itch.
Platformer games are some of the oldest and most beloved in the history of video games. Generally when we talk about platformers, we’re talking about games in which getting from point A to point B—often via jumping on platforms, hence the name—is the main goal. 2D platformers have you going from left to right in a flat environment, like the original Mario games; 3D platformers have you exploring a more open world. Other games play up different elements: some are heavy on collecting items, others on combat, and others on narrative and atmosphere.
Platformers may have hit their peak as the defining genre of games on consoles like the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation 2, but they’ve come back in a big way recently. Today, you can find revivals of those classic games, as well as artier indie games with compelling stories, innovative mechanics (like time manipulation or creating your own levels as you play), and difficulty levels anywhere from super easy to maddeningly difficult.
If you’re particularly obsessed with the platformer genre, the Nintendo Switch is probably the console for you. Thanks to games like Donkey Kong Country, New Super Lucky’s Tale, and, of course, Mario Odyssey, the Switch is home to more high-end platformers than any other console. That said, both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have great platformers available, too: many games are available on all three devices.
One valuable part of the Mario experience is that the games are appropriate for all ages, unless you have a moral objection to butt-stomping sentient evil mushrooms. Many, though not all, platformers follow that lead: these are family-friendly games, even the really difficult ones.