In today’s post, lots of Nintendo and Rare.
Finally the final five. These are the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the cherry on the sundae, the… okay yeah you get it. On with the list! Today, my favorite game of all time celebrates its ten-year anniversary. But first, we’ve got some Nintendo and Rareware to get through!
Release Date: November 20, 2000
Platform(s): Nintendo 64
I liked Banjo-Kazooie, though not as much as other people did. It was a fun little 3D-platformer, but it always felt to me like a Mario 64 wannabe. But Banjo-Tooie gave the franchise definition. It gave us a reason to see the Banjo franchise as its own thing. It introduced an open, interconnected world that was never seen before then. It allowed players to keep the abilities they attained from the first game right from the start, and gave them double the amount of moves by its end. Its story is mostly lighthearted, but at times surprisingly dark. It is the most ideal of 3D platformers, though sadly it was also one of the last. I do hope someone makes a spiritual successor to Tooie one day, because there really is no other game anywhere close to being like this.
4: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Release Date: October 11, 2004
Platform(s): Nintendo GameCube
So, funny thing about Paper Mario: TTYD. I actually didn’t realize how great of a game this one was until I beat it. I mean, I enjoyed it all the way through, and finished it pretty satisfied with what I played, but it didn’t dawn upon me until I wrote my review of it here on MyIGN. As I wrote my review, I realized that this game was… pretty much flawless. Yup, I couldn’t think of any flaws for this game. The battle system is fun and engaging, the story is hilarious, the presentation is top-notch, and the characters are so loveable… I had no reason to hate. Maybe there was a bit too much dialogue, but I didn’t really mind it. It’s one of my favorite RPG’s ever, though of course not as amazing as a particular other Mario RPG…
You can read my review for Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door here.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door also gets the honor of “Best GameCube Game”.
3: Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Release Date: February 11, 2002
Platform(s): Game Boy Advance
If you want to ask me why I didn’t just put the original Super Mario World here, it’s because I never played it. Much like with Yoshi’s Island, my only exposure to Mario World was through its Game Boy Advance re-release. I got this game as with my GBA as a bundle when I bought it at Costco, and it quickly became my favorite game ever. Really, there is little need for me to explain why this game is so good. Every aspect about it is perfect in design, oozing in detail, and bursting with love and charm. It’s quite simply one of the best games ever made, and if you somehow missed out on this classic of a game, you need to find a copy ASAP. Seriously, you’re missing out on one of the best digital creations ever to exist.
Super Mario World also gets the honor of “Best 2D Platformer”.
2: Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Release Date: March 5, 2001
Platform(s): Nintendo 64
Now this is a bit of a weird pick. Conker’s Bad Fur Day is a game that I was hesitant to dive into, mostly because immature humor isn’t exactly my thing. But after playing it to completion… wow is this an amazing game. It goes without saying that this is one of the most intelligently written games ever created, and the perfect final hurrah for Rareware and their legacy of Nintendo 64 masterpieces. It’s also one of the few games that made me want to cry at the end; behind the dark (and admittedly kind of gross) humor lies a deep tale of loss and regret, and CBFD remains one of the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve ever had, period.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day also gets the honor of “Best Nintendo 64 Game” and “Best 3D Platformer”.
1: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
Release Date: November 17, 2003
Platform(s): Game Boy Advance
And at last, we reach the end of my list. Perhaps a few of you guys have already guessed it, but my favorite game of all time is Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. It’s definitely an uncommon choice to be sure, especially considering it’s a GBA title (seriously, who else lists a portable game as their favorite game of all time?). But I mean it when I say Superstar Saga is my favorite game of all time, because it’s perfect. The personality and humor is there. The ridiculous amount of bonus content is there. The excellent pacing and battle system is there. The great story and writing is there. The music, the charm, the heart, the emotion… it’s the best game ever created, and one I give my highest recommendation to. Very few games make me as joyful as this, and while many would point to bigger, more ambitious titles as their favorite game ever, it’s this tiny little portable RPG that captured all that I love about this very medium.
You can read my review for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga here.
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga also gets the honor of “Best Game Boy Advance Game” and “Best Role-Playing Game”.
That’s all there is to it! I hope you enjoyed my little week-long feature here. Video games definitely hold a special place in my heart and creating this top 25 list was truly a very hard thing for me to do. I mean, there are just so many great games out there! But alas, the best of the best belongs to Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Happy 10th anniversary, you fine little portable RPG!
Thanks again for reading, you guys! As always, be sure to leave a comment below!