Super Mario Odyssey Header

Super Mario games you should jump (up super star) into.

Super Mario Odyssey is finally here, and it’s well on its way to becoming one of the biggest critical smashes of 2017.

It may be hard to fully grasp the hype from an outsider’s perspective, so let me explain. Though there are a ton of Mario games that come out every year, there’s only a handful of core 3D games in the Mario canon. These generally include titles like Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, etc. Super Mario Odyssey is the first true 3D Mario game we’ve gotten in a while, and the fact that it has turned out so good is just a bonus for gamers.

Does that mean the non-core games are bad? Of course not! In fact, there are so many of these games that it’s easy to overlook some amazingly high-quality titles. In light of this, here are 5 Mario games that you might have forgotten about… or perhaps you never even knew they existed at all.

Mario Teaches Typing

5: Mario Teaches Typing

Once upon a time, you could actually go to school and play a Mario game without getting into trouble. Sure, it was just a typing tutor with some Mario graphics, but it was still Mario in school!

Mario Teaches Typing isn’t the most complex game you’ll ever play, but it’s still fairly historic for a few reasons. Aside from the before-mentioned novelty of Mario in school, this was one of the first games to ever give Mario a voice actor. It was a few years before Charles Martinet gave Mario his iconic voice, but hey, it was still progress!

Mario No Photopi

4: Mario No Photopi

As a Japan-only title, we don’t expect many of you to remember Mario No Photopi from your childhood. If you do, we commend your (or your parents’) commitment to importing video games during the 90s.

Mario No Photopi is, to a certain extent, a Nintendo 64 spiritual successor to Mario Paint. Players could insert SmartMedia cards into the cartridge, which players would use to import photos to edit and play with in the game. Keep in mind, Mario No Photopi is not to be confused with the similar, Japan-only Mario Artist for the failed Nintendo 64DD add-on. What can we say, Mario just really likes to paint.

Vs. Super Mario Bros.

3: Vs. Super Mario Bros.

Gamers of all ages fondly remember Super Mario Bros. for the NES, but chances are, only those of us around during the 80s would remember playing Super Mario Bros. in an arcade!

Vs. Super Mario Bros. was one of Nintendo’s many V.S. System arcade games, but make no mistake, this isn’t just a Super Mario Bros. port. Vs. Super Mario Bros. is a notably harder version of the game, with fewer 1-ups and more difficult levels that would eventually be used in Super Mario Bros. The Lost LevelsIf you consider yourself a Super Mario Bros. expert and somehow find a way to play this, chances are you’ll have a good time.

Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition

2: Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition

What’s this, a 3DS game is somehow on a list of forgotten Mario games? How could this happen!?

Yes, it’s true. Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition is a combination of the enormously popular Mario franchise with the mega-hit mobile game Puzzle & Dragons. On the surface, this looks like a recipe for success, but in practice this game came and went with surprisingly little fanfare. Even with the release of Puzzle & Dragons Z bundled with the game for free, Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition garnered very limited sales and was hardly talked about ever again. And this is a game that just came out in 2015!

So there you have it: if you’re interested in a non-traditional Mario game that you might have missed, consider picking up Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition. And hey, even if it’s not quite as addictive as the original mobile game, that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

Donkey Kong 94

1: Donkey Kong (Gameboy)

This game is not what it seems at a glance, which is ultimately why it is sitting at #1 on this list.

Donkey Kong for the Gameboy — also known as Donkey Kong ’94 — looks like a simple conversion of the arcade classic at first. And to be fair, once you start playing, you’ll be running through the 4 original levels that we all know and love from the original. Except, in one of the best video game twists in history, the game keeps on going after you see what would have been the original ending of the arcade game. In fact, it goes on for a lot longer.

As players quickly find out, the original Donkey Kong levels comprise merely 4 of the 101 levels in Donkey Kong ’94. And that’s not all: Mario has a ton of new tricks to navigate these new levels as well. Gamers remember all of Mario’s acrobatic moves from Super Mario 64, but as it turns out, many of those moves actually came from Donkey Kong ’94! We’re talking double jumps, backflips, and more. Who knew such an overlooked title could have such a massive impact on the series?

With Super Mario Odyssey paying heavy homage to the original Donkey Kong (that’s Pauline singing the theme song!), there’s never been a better time to check out Donkey Kong ’94 if you missed it at release. Donkey Kong ’94 is available on the 3DS Virtual Console.

Written by TimM
Tim is a video game aficionado who is fascinated by pop culture. He built his first collection in 1999 by catching all 151 monsters in Pokemon Red, and he hasn't stopped collecting since. His work has been featured multiple times on