Welcome to the final part of the Obscure & Forgotten Mario Games Remastered series. In the last eight parts I’ve talked about Mario games that fit in a specific genre, but with this last part, we’ll be looking at games that couldn’t fit into any of the other categories. While some of them may be somewhat traditional in their gameplay, others are not or maybe they star characters that aren’t directly Mario related.
Even with Nintendo being busy with their home and handheld consoles, Mario and friends still continued to show up in the arcades in the new millennium, but usually with the help of Capcom or Namco. Games in this penultimate part have a bigger focus on multiplayer and were released in the arcades from 2000-2017. While this is one of the longer parts at thirteen (technically fourteen) games, many of these games are similar to each other, so descriptions of most of these games will be pretty short.
While Mario got his start in the arcades in 1981 with Donkey Kong, he was still present in the arcade scene even with Nintendo shifting focus to the home console market just not always in the form of the traditional type of gameplay you may expect from the series. Part seven features Mario games that were released in arcades in either the 1980s or 1990s.
If games like Mario’s Time Machine and Mario is Missing have taught me anything, educational games with Mario are not fun or good in general. Heck educational games in the grand scheme of things aren’t fondly remembered with some of the only exceptions being Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. During the 90’s Nintendo seemed very open to licensing out their most popular character to various game companies with the result being a stack of mostly educational games with the occasional outlier like Hotel Mario. Games in this part attempt to teach players skills like math and how to type. I use the word attempt because these games will likely not keep your attention for long.
Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems like sports games are one of the least popular genres of games outside of people who only buy the latest version of Madden, NBA 2K, or whatever the other yearly sports game releases are. I assume a chunk of that reason is because of the yearly releases of these types of games and how little changes between them or that if you were going to play football or basketball, you could just do that in real life. Regardless, the only sports games that seem to get any love are the Mario ones, which is what this section will be about along with party games. Why are party games included? Well like the yearly sports games, for a while the Mario Party games followed the same pattern of releasing a game each year with very little changing between entries. It totally wasn't because I didn't want to end up with two more parts to this series that would be super short.
The Mario franchise has offered players games like Super Mario Maker along with inspiring tons of fan creations, be it in the form of art, fan games, accessories, mods, etc. to express themselves creatively and while some of these may get taken down by Nintendo, more will get created, even if take-downs could happen to them as well. To me, this shows a community full of creative, passionate individuals who grew up enjoying and continue to enjoy Nintendo’s games, be it Mario related or not. Games in this section focus on various programs that let players create. While Mario Paint and the aforementioned Mario Maker have been successful, quite a few of these creative type games have been left behind, usually due to advancing technology.
Going from the shortest to the longest with this week’s part. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from writing this series is that there are not only a lot of puzzle games in the Mario series, but that Nintendo REALLY loves Dr. Mario. Games in part three will have players dropping pills on viruses, using logic to uncover images, blowing up woodland creatures, and more. Hope you have some spare time since their are fourteen games to cover.