Nintendo’s Mario has enjoyed some of the best videogame outings ever. From Mario 64, to Mario Galaxy – his videogame footprint is legendary. But even the best have off days, and for Mario – there’s a huge stack of games we’re sure Nintendo would love gamers to forget. For the sake of humor, we decided to look back at the Mario games we deemed the worst in the series – the worst Mario games ever hoist upon gamers.

What was your worst Mario videogame experience?


10. Super Mario Kart Circuit (GBA, 2001)

Someone’s going to get mad that I put this game on this list, but it kind of deserves it.

Easily the weakest of the Mario Kart series, It has some decent tracks and a fairly interesting soundtrack – but the game just doesn’t hold up. Whether its the weird fake 3D the game leans so heavily on or the overly sensitive controls, the game struggles when it comes to remaining enjoyable. As a technical demo, it stands out on a system in its early days. As a game to come back and play? Less so.

Compared to some of the rubbish on this list, Super Mario Kart Circuit isn’t awful – but it’s not one of the series finest hours. one of the weak Mario games when looking back.


9. Mario Party Advance

The fun of Mario Party as a series is that you get to play minigames with friends – but if the mini games you play are all awful – what’s the point?

Few Mario videogames deliver the kind of underwhelming mess that Mario Party Advance manages. With its combination of bad minigames, slow gameplay and a multiplayer mode that’s barely a thing – you’ll wonder what the point is.


8.  Mario Clash (VB, 1995)

Typically when Nintendo releases new consoles, it likes to do so with a Mario game or two in tow. It makes sense, gamers love Mario and his presence can only help elevate the consoles early existence. Not so in this case.

Released as part of the ill-fated Virtual Boy lineup, Mario Clash is a simplified take on the core plumber experience. Thanks to the consoles horrendous display, making out what’s going on is a chore all in itself. The game is slow, clunky and just a mess to try and experience.  This all wouldn’t be so bad if the levels were any good to play through, but the game relies on the same basic layout for all of its incarnations.

It’s lazy, poorly executed and thankfully for Nintendo, easily forgotten.


7. Mario’s Game Gallery/Mario FUNdamentals (PC, 1994/1998)

See that FUN in the title? You won’t be having much of that in this bizarre attempt to corner the PC card gaming market.

Don’t get me wrong, the games themselves aren’t actually that bad. The problem is that Mario Chess isn’t a game I suspect many gamers would be looking to play with the legendary plumber. Worse still, most of the card games are heavily simplified, making repeat playthroughs something of a bore.

It’s not a bad idea – but take Mario out and this is just your bog standard card game suite of titles. It’s not a horrible game – but certainly comes in as one of the worst Mario games.


6. Mario’s Time Machine (SNES/DOS, 1993)

If the idea of Mario floating through time and space sounds interesting, don’t hunt down this crude attempt at exploring the idea.

Mario’s Time Machine suffers from a lack of coherent ideas. Instead of giving gamers a heap of interesting worlds to explore – most of the actual gameplay takes place in short, dull historical locals. The music is fine, but the gameplay never tries to be anything more. There are also some odd trivia sections which serve to frustrate more than they entertain. Given that this game wasn’t developed directly by Nintendo (Instead under license from them) some of these shortcomings are understandable.

But really, there are better 2D Mario games on the SNES. Heck, there are better games full stop you should be making your kids play – instead of wasting time with one of the worst Mario games.


5. Mario is Missing 

The title of this game should really have been “gameplay is missing”. For those of us unfortunate enough to remember this heap of junk the first time round, the nightmares still remain.

The game charges you with playing as Luigi, looking for Mario around a crudely drawn globe. The game doesn’t bother trying to help you, reusing so many assets from earlier Mario games that it should illegal.

The effort that went into this game is shockingly poor – worse still if you were unlucky enough to play the DOS version. Who ever thought this would be a good idea for a Mario game?


4. Mario Teaches Typing

If you’re spotting a pattern in this list thus far, it’s that most of these bad games simply mooch off the core Mario experience, warping it with additions that take away from the core gameplay. Mario Teaches Typing faces the same problem.

Instead of directly controlling Nintendo’s plumber, you’re charged with typing out words to aid Mario along. Whether it be swimming challenges, platforming or numerous other attempts to warp ideas – there’s very little here to engage the audience.

The fact this came out on DOS only makes things worse. Soundcards of the early 1990’s were very much not up tot he task of playing complex melodies, leading to some of the worst music in any Mario game.


3. Mario’s Early Years Pre-School Fun (SNES, 1994)

Around this time, Mario was one of the hottest properties in all of videogames. So naturally, Nintendo wanted to milk their franchise for all it was worth. Pre-School fun though is anything but.

The game effectively is a series of mini games, designed for younger kids. This aim might be acceptable if the graphics and soundtrack on show weren’t so below the series standard. It’s clear minimal effort has gone into the outing – as the game throws some of the most mind-numbing minigames at you.

If you like your kids, you won’t let them play this mess of a Mario game. Arguably the worst SNES edition of Mario.


2. Hotel Mario (Philips CD-i, 1994) 

Hotel Mario is as far from a good Mario game as you can imagine. Developed by Phillips for their ill-fated CD-i console, the Mario franchise is forever sullied by an outing that lacks any of the series charm or excitement.

Instead, you’re charged with wandering through doors, collecting random tat and really just doing all the things you don’t want to in a Mario game. The cutscenes in this game have also gone down in gaming infamy

 This game has a hugely negative reputation on the internet, and it’s not hard to see why. But is it the worst Mario game? Not in my books, that honor falls too…


1. Super Mario Bros. Special (NEC PC-8801/Sharp X1, 1986)

Never saw release on a Nintendo console; probably not the worst decision. Hudson adapted Super Mario Bros for the Japanese market but somehow ended up warping the game into a merciless horror show. Things get worse when you realize that the screen doesn’t scroll, breaking the experience entirely.

Hudson adapted Super Mario Bros for the Japanese market but somehow ended up warping the game into a merciless horror show. Things get worse when you realize that the screen scrolling is broken and the iconic Mario levels have been given “twists” that all but ruin them.

Add in the fact that the game sounds terrible, looks horrible (even by 8-bit standards) and just lacks the precision controls Mario games are well noted for – and you have a recipe for disaster. The worst Mario game by sheer fact it doesn’t even try.


What was your worst Mario videogame experience?

'Editor in Chief' A lifelong gamer, lover of movies and devourer of television; Shaun still can't complete DOOM 2 on nightmare without breaking down into a crying heap.