Mario has been a plumber, a street cleaner, a painter, a racer and just about any other occupation a video game player could imagine. That’s how ingrained he is into Nintendo’s culture and legacy.
Thankfully, a good number of games from the GameCube’s library are now available on Switch in remastered or re-released forms. Among these are several of the most popular titles from Nintendo’s iconic franchise.
1. Super Mario 64
Mario has been in more than 200 games over the past three-and-a-half decades, but it was with Super Mario 64 that he truly entered the next generation. This groundbreaking 3D game placed Mario in a brand-new world and revolutionized the way we interact with video games. The fluid movement and camera control helped push the era of 3D gaming into its first true evolution.
Super Mario 64 was also a significant game for Nintendo because it was the first time that they let someone other than Shigeru Miyamoto lead a mainline Mario title. The game was the work of Yoshiaki Koizumi, who had only recently taken over as lead designer for the franchise after a decade-long apprenticeship under Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka.
The original release of Super Mario 64 was a huge success, garnering rave reviews from critics and players alike. The game was a massive draw for the N64 and continues to hold up today. Its revolutionary open-world design, fluid movement, and camera control remain unmatched even to this day.
In the years since its release, many rumors have circulated regarding hidden Stars, secret glitches, and even the existence of a secret character known as Luigi. Whether you are new to the series or are returning to one of the most important games in gaming history, Super Mario 64 is worth your time.
2. Mario Party 3
Mario Party 3 is the third installment in Nintendo’s popular series of board game style video games. While it has a lot of the same core features as the previous two games, it also adds new ones that make the experience feel more dynamic and fun. This game includes the return of the car to transport players around the map, more unique minigames, and new boards that include shifting bridges in a canal and a linear climb up a mountain with branching paths. It is also the first Mario Party game to try different board mechanics, such as one that allows a player to buy any space on the island rather than only the spaces they have won in mini-games.
While it does have some issues, such as a lack of a story mode and having fewer total boards than the previous game, it is still considered a great choice for anyone looking for a good Mario Party game. It also features a duel mode that lets players play in pairs instead of playing against three computer-controlled opponents, which can be more challenging and fun.
Nintendo Switch Online has recently released a suite of N64 titles, but fans of Mario Party 3 are disappointed that it wasn’t included. Hopefully, a future update will bring this classic to modern audiences as well.
3. Paper Mario And The Thousand-Year Door
When people talk about the best Nintendo GameCube games of all time, Paper Mario And The Thousand-Year Door is always pretty high up on the list. Featuring an amazing story, interesting gameplay and a whole load of fun characters, it’s a true classic.
It takes a very different approach to the RPG genre than the first Paper Mario, with a focus on storytelling and character, rather than progression and dungeons. It’s a lot more engaging, and it manages to capture the essence of the Mario universe in a way that no other game has done before.
The game also features some really cool locations. These include a dingy seaside town, a fancy train, a pro-wrestling arena and even the moon! The different environments make each playthrough a new experience. Plus, the badge system lets players customize their game to their liking. Whether they want to be a high-damage hammer user or a multi-jump master, the game has them covered.
The game follows Princess Peach, who has been kidnapped by the X-Nauts. After discovering a treasure map, Mario sets off to rescue her and find the Seven Crystal Stars, which will open the Thousand-Year Door. It’s a great take on the RPG genre and a must-play for any Mario fan. It’s a true cult classic.
4. Mario Superstar Baseball
Mario and baseball go together well, making this one of the best sports games on the GameCube. While it may not be as realistic as a traditional baseball game, the characters and fun gameplay make up for it. The game features core features like different modes, unlockable achievements, play with friends, addictive gameplay and an objective storyline.
The game opens with a light-hearted cinematic that introduces the game’s “story”. Bowser invites players to challenge him in baseball, and they are off to beat other teams all over the Mushroom Kingdom. In Challenge mode, the player selects a captain and plays with a pre-made team as they wander the map of the Mushroom Kingdom recruiting other captains and teams to face off against Bowser in his castle. Along the way, the player can collect items that increase a character’s stats or abilities. These include the ability to hit home runs with a special charge swing, and batting abilities are increased when a character has a buddy on base.
The game also includes a Toy Field mode where a single character can be controlled on an interactive baseball field while completing a series of minigames. These include hitting Bob-ombs to create fireworks, or collecting gems in a baseball diamond while avoiding a Chain Chomp. A ‘Dictionary Mode’ is also present in the game, a feature that was carried over from the Mario Tennis series.