The gaming world was changed forever in 1981 when Nintendo released Donkey Kong. While there were many reasons to love this classic arcade game, one of them was the fact that it introduced the most popular plumber in video game history — Mario — and it wasn’t long before he started getting games of his own.
Mario has received a variety of platform, puzzle, racing, role-playing, party, and sports titles, and the list continues to grow. In fact, Mario’s latest game — Super Mario Maker 2 — just hit shelves this past June.
Here, we’ll be taking a look at which Mario games have outsold the rest. While some of these titles will likely be passed up by newer additions to the Mario franchise soon (we’re looking at you, Super Mario Odyssey), we’ll be using the data presently available to rank each game. Additionally, we’ll only be looking at true Mario games, meaning Yoshi, Wario and Donkey Kong titles — while taking place in the same universe — will not be taken into account.
With that said, here are the 10 best-selling Mario games of all time.
10 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The best-selling Mario title for the Nintendo Switch has sold over 17.8 million copies to date, and that number continues to grow.
Mario Kart 8 was originally released for the Wii U, but because the system was not hugely popular, the game was given a second updated shot on the Nintendo Switch. It paid off.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe became the fastest-selling game in Mario history at the time of its release, selling over 1.2 million copies across the world in only 3 days. The title contained a series of colorful courses, new karts, and classic characters. The beautiful graphics and added gameplay elements took it to the next level.
9 Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario Bros. 3, which first released for the NES in the late '80s and early '90s, sold around 18 million copies. The high level of sales made it the third best-selling NES game of all time.
The second sequel to Super Mario Bros. once again had Mario and Luigi journeying through various kingdoms to rescue Princess Toadstool. That being said, the updated graphics, replayability, sound, and gameplay made it easily as fun as the first.
8 Super Mario Land
This 1989 game sold 18.1 copies and became the best-selling Mario series title on the Game Boy. This side-scrolling quest had Mario trading the Mushroom Kingdom for Sarasaland, where Princess Daisy was being held captive by the evil spaceman, Tatanga. Additionally, the graphics were drawn in line art, allowing the game to take on not only a new story but entirely fresh look of its own.
Players were excited to have a pocketable Mario game for the first time ever, and critics were quick to praise the fun play and catchy soundtrack.
7 Mario Kart 7
The 3DS installment of Mario’s racing series has sold over 18.3 million copies to date. Like previous titles, Mario Kart 7 had racers choosing from one of 16 playable characters and then challenging their friends on all sorts of crazy tracks. Unlike previous games, this 2011 installment added vehicle customization options that affected the way karts drove for the first time ever.
Additionally, hang-gliders were added to all vehicles, allowing players to skip over certain portions of track by instead soaring high through the sky. You could say the fun flew to new heights.
6 Super Mario World
Yoshi's debut came in 1990 via Super Mario World. This side-scrolling game had Mario and Luigi journeying through the prehistoric Dinosaur Land in an attempt to rescue Princess Toadstool. However, they get a little help after meeting Yoshi who hatches out of an egg in a forest.
The game received much applause, with critics praising the challenging levels and satisfying graphics. Fans loved it, too, as over 20.6 million copies of the title flew off shelves. Super Mario World ultimately became the best-selling game of all time for the SNES.
5 Mario Kart DS
Zooming into fifth place with 23.6 million copies sold is none other than Mario Kart DS. This racing game became the third best-selling DS game of all time and was swept up by fans who were excited by the new multiplayer capabilities.
The fresh courses, graphics, and replay value were additionally praised, as well as the game's expansiveness. The racing series that was already great continued to gain speed.
4 New Super Mario Bros. Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which was both the fourth best-selling Mario game of all time and the fourth best-selling Wii game of all time, put out over 30.2 million units.
The 2009 title had players teaming together to journey through eight colorful side-scrolling lands. Fully completing each level unlocked the magical (and difficult) World 9.
Gamers could play as Mario, Luigi, Yellow Toad, or Blue Toad. And thanks to all the exciting power-ups, gameplay never got boring.
3 New Super Mario Bros.
The predecessor to New Super Mario Bros. Wii released on the Nintendo DS in 2006. This similar 2D side-scrolling quest had Mario journeying across crazy worlds in an attempt to battle Bowser Jr. and Bowser as well as rescue the princess.
New Super Mario Bros. was quickly adored and sold over 30.8 million copies. In fact, it became the best-selling Nintendo 3DS game of all time. Critics praised the classic feel and expansive gameplay. Clearly, it impressed fans just as much.
2 Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart Wii raced onto the system it was named for in 2008. It sold over 37.2 million copies worldwide, becoming the second best-selling Wii game of all time behind Wii Sports.
This installment in the Mario Kart series had the gang joining back together for some friendly competition. This time, the motion capabilities of the Wii remote were utilized, allowing players to steer their controllers like they would steer a car. The novelty (and epic courses, characters, battle modes, and online play capabilities) paid off.
1 Super Mario Bros.
There's nothing quite like a classic.
This original Mario series game, released for the NES in 1985, had players journeying on a side-scrolling quest through the Mushroom Kingdom as Mario or Luigi. The goal: to rescue Princess Toadstool from Bowser while destroying enemies, nabbing power-ups, and collecting coins along the way.
This game was adored upon release, and its legacy continues to live on. It ultimately sold over 40.2 million copies.