The Top 7... Mario spin-offs

3 - WarioWare (series)

Super Mario Land 2 begat Wario, a new nemesis that seemingly replaced Bowser as Mario's main villain. His popularity was so surprising, so immediate that the next Mario Land game starred Wario exclusively. This led to his own series of games, including the excellent Wario Land II, but further on down the line we saw WarioWare - a series that gave "twitch gaming" a whole new meaning.

Much more than a collection of minigames (or is it less?), WarioWare was jam-packed with four-second microgames that tested reaction speed like none before. Most of the games were over so fast you barely had time to even process what was going on. But once you figured it out, the once cryptic screen involving a finger and a nose quickly made sense - you're supposed to cram that finger in that nose! The more you played, the crazier the subject matter would be, covering one-second free throws to blasting Mother Brain from the original Metroid.

Blindingly fast and completely engrossing, this spin-off became an entire series unto itself. Each game brought something new to the table (which it also happened to bring, having invented a genre), from Twisted!'s motion sensitive device to Mega Party Game$'s multiplayer to Smooth Moves' hilarious introductory scenes.

His platformers aren't much to speak of, but when it comes to knee-jerk gameplay, Wario bows to no one.

Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.