Super Mario Bros. 2: Sure, it wasn't originally planned to be a Mario game, but it tons of fun nonetheless. Four very different characters to choose from, hidden warps, creative bosses like Mouser and Birdo, and of course, plenty of vegetables to pick. This game might not have been on the list had there been no vegetables.
Donkey Kong Country: Although Miyamoto didn't like it, Donkey Kong Country was one of the best platformers out there. It had arguably better than N64 graphics and made an antagonist one of the most beloved game characters. It was so great when you rolled off a cliff for an item then jumped back onto land. Physics be damned! You wanted that extra life and you weren't going to let common sense stop you! To this day, it's still fun to watch a gorilla ride on top of a rhinoceros.
Paper Mario: Yes, a second appearance by Mario. He's in a lot of lists because he's been in a lot of good games. That's the reality. Paper Mario is the unofficial sequel to my all-time favorite game; Super Mario RPG. The original had a compelling story, some of the best music in a video game, and oodles of secrets. Paper Mario had none of these, but it did keep one thing; amazing graphics. While they may not be the most advanced graphics for its time, it was so cool to see how everything in a world was set up like a pop-up book. It made it even better when Mario fell and he floated down as a sheet of paper. The game wasn't thrilling during battles, but outside of them, there were a lot of puzzles to solve. I guess that's why there were no battles in Super Paper Mario...
Day of the Tentacle: In my opinion the best point and click game, the sequel to Maniac Mansion was hardly like the original. Only one of the playable characters stayed and rather than the evil doctor being the villain, he was your friend. Unfortunately, one of his pet tentacles drank toxic waste and became evil. To make a long story short, you and your friends get lost in time and you have toilets to communicate with each other. Although this sounds like a bad idea, it was actually a great story. The puzzles were cool to see play out. For example, if you get George Washington to cut down a cherry tree, it will disappear in the future, or if you put wine in a safe place, it can be found hundreds of years later as vinegar. All in all, it made you think, but it was extremely humorous while doing it. Maniac Mansion was so hard, that I couldn't beat it, though.
Yoshi's Island: Let's end with a Mario game, shall we? Yoshi's Island was the pinnacle of platforming. There were secrets, items to collect, an annoying sidekick, and the coolest bosses. In one you were shrunk down and eaten by a frog, another fighting a man-eating plant that surrounds you at all sides, and the last was shooting giant eggs into the distance while a giant Baby Bowser was inching towards you. Some may say that the game looked kiddy, but anyone who has played the game knows that it takes skill and willpower. This game was nothing like Super Mario World, even though it claimed that it was Super Mario World 2 on the cartridge. Super Mario World was a great game, but Yoshi's Island was just...epic.