Speaking of the hardcore, the Retro tracks are a deliberate nod to its huge long-term following, forged from similarly brilliant SNES and N64 versions of the classic formula. But for us, the number of tracks, four-man multiplayer and, in particular, that online mode makes Mario Kart Wii the definitive version. And the definitive version of the most universally-loved multiplayer series in gaming history surely deserves a spot in the top four Nintendo games of all time, right?
3. Super Mario Galaxy
Format: Wii. Released: 2007
OK, so here's where it all gets a bit controversial. How can Super Mario Galaxy, a brilliantly constructed, hugely imaginative and fantastically executed game like this only come third? It's certainly not because it's no good. Quite the opposite.
We were worried that in our original review we were swept away by that excitable little boy inside us jumping for joy at the mere arrival of a new Mario game. But we didn't get carried away at all. Playing it again now, away from those first flushes of New Mario Game Excitement, it's still utterly fantastic. It's almost embarrassing how superior it is to many other platformers on the Wii - there's more love, imagination and quality design in one galaxy of this game than there is in almost any other game we could mention.
If anything, when we played it through the first time, we didn't take enough time over it; we simply wanted to experience every brilliant moment and ingenious challenge as soon as we could. If you haven't done so already, it's worth starting a brand new game again, as there are just so many great moments in this game that, if you're anything like us, you'll have not fully appreciated them all in the mad rush to see and do everything. You can't really say that about many other games.
It goes without saying that if you own a Wii, you should own this game. In fact, we'd be pretty appalled if you didn't have Galaxy already and are nodding along to this entry in the top 100 in appreciation. We think it ranks above all but one of its predecessors because it's essentially as good as any modern Mario game is going to get. While it can't ever recapture the significance, influence and purity of the original back in the mid-'80s, it remains an absolutely masterful evolution of the series. We just wonder how on earth Nintendo plans to top it with the next Mario game. If they do, we may have to revise this list a little...
2. Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
Format: N64. Released: 1998
When it comes to 'greatest ever' lists, Ocarina Of Time is something of a veteran - in fact, we defy anyone that has experienced this N64 masterpiece not to place this in at least the top three. It seems that whatever your taste in gaming, absolutely no-one has a bad word to say about this Zelda epic.
But let's talk about its impact first. Like many of its contemporaries in the upper echelons of this list, Ocarina Of Time was a giant leap forward for gaming when it hit UK shores in December 1998. It was the first time that Nintendo was able to construct Hyrule's rich universe in full-on 3D and, arguably, the first time it truly came alive. While the previous four titles were all considered great successes (to varying degrees), for many gamers of the N64 era, Ocarina Of Time was a maiden voyage into Hyrule and it remains the most compelling Zelda adventure to this day.
The scale of the title is something that still impresses 10 years on. It was initially conceived as a flagship title for Nintendo's hard drive peripheral, dubbed 64DD, but was later crammed into a 256 megabit cartridge (the biggest ever released at that time). As a result, completing the main quest is a mammoth - but never gruelling - task. Take into consideration all the secondary tasks and collectibles and it's an absolute beast
of a game.