Ranking Every Mario RPG

Games Galleries
Share Tweet Submit Pin
Ranking Every Mario RPG

Mario games have always quietly subverted expectations. What has become common knowledge—mushrooms make you big, flowers give you fire, pipes lead underground—was once a sequence of surprises delighting players who thought they knew the territory.

The same could be said with Mario’s dip into role-playing. What was once a dalliance, starting in 1996 with Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars on the SNES, has become a biannual trend, with ten games released in twenty years, split between the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi spinoff series.

Though role-playing games were once dominated by fantastical dragons and beefy warriors, Mario’s take on the genre has remained steadfast in its priorities: Goofy characters, witty dialogue, and a surprisingly deep battle system. But which RPG is the grandest in the Mushroom Kingdom? And which should be sent to the Pit of 100 Trials, ne’er to return?

Please note: This is an objective list, arrived at by exhaustive considerations. The formula by which we came up with the results is… around here somewhere. In the meantime, behold: The one true ranking of all ten Mario RPGs.

Since 2003, Jon Irwin has been paid to write about film, techno, ice cream, wine, golf, drag-racing, French children and videogames. His first book, Super Mario Bros. 2, was published last year by Boss Fight Books. Follow along: @WinWinIrwin.