Mario has been around for a long time. Mario, the Italian plumber was “born” in 1981 — so he has become an integral part of gaming pop culture. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone under the age of 40 who hasn’t heard of Mario. He and his merry team has spawned over 200 different games, including Super Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros, and NES Open Tournament Golf.
His cheery “Maariio!” is instantly recognizable, quotable, and often imitated (often by yours truly, much to the annoyance of the long suffering wife).
So now of course, with the Internet providing every form of entertainment and distraction one can think of, we now have Mario games online for us to play for free. Of course, they pale in comparison to playing Mario on a games console with a proper controller.
But if you are having a quick 5 minute break in front of the computer, or if you are commuting, then these sites could be just what you need for your Mario fix. Everything depends on your Internet connection speed. Those with very slow connections should not attempt to play these.
Before you dive into playing Mario games, it pays to visit his official home at Nintendo first. There are no games to play here (they obviously want you to buy the proper console games) but there is still stuff here to look at, to get you in the mood for some Italian plumbing. In particular, Mario Knowledge where you get to choose your difficulty level, and then show how much of a Mario fan you really are, by coming up with the facts.
You can also play Mario Memory where each character is hiding behind two separate panels. You have to click on the panels, remembering where everyone is and clear the board. Rather addictive.
OK, now onto the actual Mario games.
While loading, it will open a tab to Mario on Ozmo Games. Ignore that and wait for this link to fully load. It doesn’t go full screen and the controls take a bit of getting used to, but listening to the Mario music, and playing in familiar terrain will soon get you going.
This game emulates Mario on the Nintendo NES, and to complete the experience, you can see the controller underneath with the keyboard equivalents overlaid on the controller keys to remind you which way is up, and how to jump.
This version has a bigger screen, and so it was easier to play, especially since I didn’t have to memorize the keyboard controls. I could just look at the NES controller if need be.
This game is good but there are two snakepits you need to avoid. The first is that you should play this in your browser’s Incognito Mode. Otherwise its cookie will block you after several visits and demand your email address before going any further. So use incognito mode and all will be well!
Secondly, when you go to the link above, you will see links for “Play Super Mario Brothers”, “Play Super Mario Kart”, etc. Ignore those. As far as I can see, these are “search queries” (probably Adsense links).
Instead, wait for the page to load, and then click the blue PLAY GAME button at the bottom. The game is not available as full-screen unfortunately, but that doesn’t matter. This is still a good game, and you are given several characters to choose from.
This was probably the site I enjoyed the most, as it has numerous Mario games of many descriptions. Super Mario Land, Super Mario World, and my favourite, Super Mario Moto. This is definitely the place to go to for online Mario games. Especially when I found out that you could play Luigi. I was sold.
Which other online Mario game sites do you visit to get your Italian plumbing fix? Let us know in the comments.