It's the time of year for big video game announcements, and while 2020 has turned out a little differently to what you may have expected, there are sure to be big video game reveals in the coming days and weeks ahead.
One announcement that many are banking on is the much-rumoured remasters of Mario games in honour of the plumber's upcoming 35th anniversary, including potential Switch releases for Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy. The exact form these re-releases might take is unclear, although it's fun to imagine a sequel (of sorts) to the 1993 SNES compilation Super Mario All-Stars, which collected four classic NES platformers in 16-bit remastered form on a single cartridge.
It should be noted that these are still rumours, but with multiple respected and trusted sources corroborating the story--not to mention the sudden appearance of the also-rumoured Paper Mario: The Origami King--it seems highly likely that the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. will come with a bumper crop of Mario 'masters for Switch.
But with a catalogue bulging with classic platformers, which Mario games would you choose for a hypothetical Super Mario All-Stars 2? Below we've rounded up the major contenders (the mainline 2D and 3D Mario games from both portable and home consoles), so take a look and choose your four favourite in the poll at the bottom of the page.
Mario's original Game Boy outing isn't the longest or most challenging game, but it distilled the core essence of 2D Mario onto the granddaddy of handheld consoles in a way few dreamed possible. Its remarkable sequel upped the ante yet again, but Super Mario Land's dreamlike oddness (in a series built on surreal, quirky logic) gives it a special place in our hearts.
Already available on Switch as part of the Nintendo Switch Online subscription, Super Mario World is still arguably the pinnacle of Mario in two dimensions. Of all the games on this list, this is the one we struggle to imagine being improved with a remaster. We'd gladly take a true 16:9 option with the appropriate UI tweaks, and perhaps some achievements thrown in, but this still looks sublime to our eyes. Let us know how you think it could be improved in the comments.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that Super Mario Land was the absolute limit of what the Game Boy was capable of in terms of delivering an approximation (a very fine one) of the Mario platforming experience on such under-powered hardware. And then Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins comes along and blows every expectation you had to smithereens.
This feels like a portable, uncompromised companion piece to Super Mario Bros. 3, and from a sheer technical perspective, it's one of the most impressive achievements on this list. It really is very, very good.
We've already had a remake of this one called Super Mario 64 DS, and we can think of no better treatment of this classic than to receive a thorough polish and brush-up in a new version on Switch. Preferably one that combines the extras of the DS version (the extra playable characters, mainly) with the beauty of that widescreen-enabled PC port that cropped up a while ago.
The incredible polish of many Nintendo games can give the impression that they were somehow birthed fully-formed in divine, digital fashion; Super Mario Sunshine feels like it was assembled by human hands, covered with fingerprints and imperfections. However, it has a freewheeling, unhinged character of its own that's quite different to the rest of Nintendo's mainline Mario output.
Its rushed development resulted in the least polished of 3D Marios, though, so there's no better candidate on this list for a game that could do with the care and attention of a remaster.
Love it or loathe it, the 'New' branch of the Super Mario series defines 2D Mario for an entire generation of gamers, and even the least compelling entries contain nuggets of Nintendo's design genius. New Super Mario Bros. on DS introduced items like the Mega and Mini Mushrooms and delivered the first true 2D Mario platformer (okay, 2.5D) since Super Mario Land 2 on the Game Boy. It has the potential to shine brighter than ever in remade HD form.
Mario's first foray into the final frontier was pretty astonishing, and we've been itching to play it in HD for years. The Nvidia Shield port of the game shows how it can work perfectly fine without motion controls, although there's zero reason why a Switch version couldn't rework the original controls using a non-infrared pointer and even touchscreen input to collect those star bits in handheld mode.
Regardless of how Nintendo does it, Super Mario Galaxy on Switch would be a stellar treat indeed.
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We've already got the 'Deluxe' version of New Super Mario Bros. Wii U on Switch, and it would be lovely to revisit its home console predecessor on Switch, too. New Super Mario Bros. Wii was the first in the series to support up to 4 players simultaneously, and even though it lacks the prestige of some of the other mainline Marios, we'd jump at the chance to see it spruced up in HD.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, and we can think of no better way to celebrate than the game coming to Switch. This sequel took the baton from its predecessor and ran and triple jumped into the stratosphere with it. And it brought back Yoshi in rideable form. What's not to love?
The first Mario game to have a foot in both the 2D and 3D realms (no, 2.5D doesn't really count), Super Mario 3D Land blended the smaller, compartmentalised worlds of the side-scrolling games with the gameplay possibilities of a 3D space; an autostereoscopic 3D space, too. Obviously, a new version would have to sacrifice the glasses-free 3D, but it would benefit from a huge bump in resolution on Switch. Ultimately, the loss of the 3D effect would be no reason to leave this fantastic jewel in the Mario firmament behind.
"Wah!" No, Wario hasn't crashed the Mario party - that's the trademark sound of the New Super Mario Bros. series. Wah! Still, given this game's preoccupation with coins, you'd be forgiven for thinking Wario led development on this one. However, what's surprising is how New Super Mario Bros. 2 took such a basic trope as coin collection and somehow made it feel fresh and vital again.
It may not be in many fans' Top 5--and we're sure there are many who skipped this entry altogether--but there's a lot to like about New Super Mario Bros. 2, and we'd welcome seeing all that gold again in high definition.
And finally, we arrive at the most recent entry on the list: Super Mario 3D World for Wii U. We'd bet our house on this coming to Switch in 'Deluxe' form as a separate release rather than being part of any potential compilation, but we'd have also bet for it to have happened before now. Expanding the compartmentalised worlds of 3D Land onto a widescreen canvas, this was a delightful halfway house between the 4-player mayhem of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and the unbridled freedom of Super Mario Odyssey. It would be a shame for millions of Switch owners to miss out on this game's impossibly bright worlds and brilliant local co-op.
More than you thought? You'll note that we've excluded both Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island on the grounds that you should really be able to control Mario in a Mario game - being a nominal sequel to one of the above doesn't necessarily make a game a Super Mario game!
Now you've refreshed your memory, feel free to join our poll and pick your four favourites below. Why just four, you ask? Two reasons: 1) because we're evil, and 2) the original Super Mario All-Stars came with four games (plus Mario Bros., which we'll throw in for free this time as well - you're welcome), and this arbitrary limit forces you to choose only your absolute favourites.
Plus, how is Nintendo going to make 'Super Mario All-Stars 3' and 'Super Mario All-Stars 4' if it uses up all the games in one go? 12 games means at least 3 compilations, no? You know how these things work - c'mon, get with the programme!
Tough choices, huh? Let us know how you made your picks below.