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Zelda Vs. Mario


The Unknown
Jun 18, 2011
So, it's pretty simple: Which is better, Zelda or Mario? So, ever since, Mario has overshadowed Zelda being the first of Nintendo's games, it has evolved into the most iconic game in the gaming industry. Wow, that's a tough hurdle to beat for Zelda. But, with Ocarina of Time, nothing's impossible, right? Do you guys think that Zelda will/has trump Mario? In sales, reception, everything, which is really better? I'm pretty sure that in Nintendo itself, Mario will always have that special spot, but how about to the general public?


The Garo Master
Jun 16, 2010
This is sort of a Zelda fansite, so I'm guessing a majority if not all responses will be Zelda being the better one.


Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
Zelda can't trump Mario, because Zelda isn't accessible to EVERYONE. Mario can reach the hearts of kids and adults, as well as teenagers. Like you said, Mario is the icon of Nintendo, I don't think Zelda will ever reach that status. Not even Ocarina of Time. Not even Skyward Sword.

Mario has always beaten Zelda at sales.
Critical reception of Mario games I don't think has been as good as Zelda, but keep in mind that there are MANY more Mario games than there are Zelda.
My personal opinion is that while OoT is the best game ever made, and Zelda is the best series ever made, that Mario is somehow above Zelda. Really, that opinion makes no sense at all. But it sticks to me like super glue..
Aug 17, 2011
Melbourne, Australia
Zelda trumps Mario by far.

There's really no contest. Really Mario is just another platformer and for almost every mario game i can think of a better platformer of the same style, even if it is a copy (banjo-kazzoie anyone?) really i find Mario very overrated.


Oct 4, 2010
Mario had almost always the same gameplay. zelda just keeps getting bigger...AND BIGGER... AND BIGGER... AND BIGGER........ AND BIGGER.....


Flirtatously Flirty
Aug 13, 2011
My Initial Response

I prefer Zelda over Mario. The Mario series is great and all, but it's the plot over and over again.... Defeat some evil dude(lady) and save Princess Peach(toadstool)

Zelda usually has some type of plot twist, and always keeps you excited for what's going to happen next.


Aug 24, 2010
Somewhere small
The two franchises approach their respective audiences differently, and both excel in the circles they're in. You're better off comparing Zelda to Chrono Trigger or the Secret Of series, and Mario to Metroid.

I mean one thing Mario's got over Zelda is that he's been able to stretch and fit various styles of gameplay, not just platformers. Even dabbling in RPG territory for 3 different spinoff series. Whereas Zelda dips into different gameplay to fit the central focus, and hardly even does that for long. Zelda can bring things to the table to fit the main theme, while Mario is more flexible, if you can believe it.

On the other hand Zelda has more interesting storylines, as troubling as tying them all together can get. While the Mario games have storylines, they're either very basic, very isolated, and hardly ever all that important to the game itself. Gives you less to concentrate on, but sometimes you want that, so that's where Zelda stands taller.

Music-wise would very much be down to preference. They're both good at what they do, but as I think on the subject I realize I wouldn't stick either series on my Mp3 player. They're both appropriate for what they do, and at the end of the day that's what matters.

At the end of it all though, I'm more likely to pick up a Mario game and run with that than sit down with a Zelda game and envelop myself in a fantasy setting.

So take that as a notch for the 'Mario' side, I guess.


Defender of Peace
Oct 2, 2011
Super Mario is a flexible platformer series that features dynamic possibilities in gameplay and story. The series has many different games which differ in style. Many of these games are what you would call "shovelware" as in, they are made to be sold and not have any impact on players at all. Many people recognize Mario as a complete icon in the video game industry, and he is. The Super Mario series is responsible for playing a large hand in reviving the Video Game Industry in the 80's and has since been going strong. The series features around 200 different games and is the best selling video game franchise of all time. On the other hand, Zelda is a much more complicated series with not as much games because the developers take their time with Zelda games.

However, although Zelda has only around 15 games, it has sold over 52 million copies worldwide; while Mario has around 200 games and has sold 200 million copies. This basically says that every Mario games sells around a million copies each while each Zelda game has sold more than that. This makes what VanitasXII said about Mario always trumping Zelda sales false, as it is evidently the opposite in most cases. It may seem that Mario has way more sales than Zelda at first, but with a closer look you can discern that this is not necessarily true. In addition to this Mario games come and go at a rapid pace while Zelda games are carefully constructed, which puts Zelda ahead in the quality department as well as in dedication.

But why do we compare these two completely different series? Is it because they are made by the same company? Well, that just isn't enough relation to be able to discern which one is better without being completely subjective. One series is characterized by it's lore and legends which are inspired by many old cultures while the other is a simple fun-loving series that is highly accessible. If anything, these two series balance each other out and do it nicely. I personally find no reason to pit two completely different series against each other.
Uh, What He ^ Said. Dang man you keep beating me to the punch on these things :)

PK Love Omega

PK Flash's Good Twin
Jul 28, 2011
In a forest
Mario is a very good franchise that involves some minor puzzles and re-playbillity. But, there is practically no plot, and if you ask me, Re-playabillity and Fun factor is the only section in Mario. Of course, we have Kart racing and tennis, and that makes him even better, but then there is Zelda.

Zelda has plot, story, characters, graphics, and pretty much everything ranging from each game, and even a bit of re-playabillity with Boss Gauntlet and just finding bugs/poes/heart containers. We don't have any spin offs(Ignores Tingle) to ease our boredom between a 2 year gap, but the wait is worth it. Also, the puzzles can be quite major, and the music is so hard to not remember.

What I am saying is, Mario barely changes, Sonic, Kirby, Zelda and more series do. (Ignores COD) While he is a leader for great franchise, his games can be the same and repetitive.


The Unknown
Jun 18, 2011
Thanks for the responses, guys! Sorry for all you Nintendo fans who're torn by the choice, though. :sweat: Anyways, I guess I'll put my thoughts into this, since I never really elaborated at the OP.

So Mario (and arguably, Donkey Kong) was Nintendo's salvation back in the 80(?)'s. The company wasn't doing so good with there sales here in North America, and I heard that they had to scrap there arcade consoles, as well. They knew they couldn't waste such a thing so they made the NES (Famicom). Mr. Miyamoto then decided to take "Jumpman" from his previous game and dub him Mario. He then made the whole game, and BAM! It was a huge hit, and it still is being rated by IGN as the best game of all time. I don't see why it's not a worthy adversary as Zelda. It has the same polish, the same innovative ideas as any Zelda, or ANY Nintendo game out there. Like Erebea said, this franchise has a total of 200 something games out there. It's most successful gaming franchises of all time. To see that Nintendo would drop this over Zelda would be (not that much) surprising. But if they did, it's with good reason.

Nintendo is pretty famous for-pleasing- their fans. No kidding, I've never truly hated a Nintendo game as far as the games I've played. While Mario constantly keeps on coming out, coming out, at least every year, Zelda takes more time to make (as said above). The quality of a Zelda game is as good as ANY Mario game, in fact, even better! Ocarina of Time certainly took a while to make, and well, let's see, IT'S DEEMED AS THE GREATEST GAME OF ALL TIME! Anyone who's played the game back then (or even the remakes today) think so. It produced far more innovative ideas than Super Mario 64 had. Despite not being the first major 3D Nintendo game, it trumped Super Mario 64 easily. It made one of the biggest impact in the gaming industry. It gave us the lock-on targeting system, was one of the first games to use the battery back up file (is that how you call it?), admit it, it seems like Zelda took far more bigger steps than Mario ever could have.

Anyways, IMO, Zelda beats Mario when it comes to the overall quality of the game. With new ideas implemented into every single game, it's not hard to find the winner here.
Sep 2, 2011
I don't think you can compare those two games, since they're so different from each other. I love them both, and think they're both great in their own genre.


Jun 22, 2011
I want to clarify the Mario versus Zelda sales debate. Yes it's true that averaged across all games that Zelda games sell more than "Mario games" (Zelda 59 million/15 = about 4 million a game and Mario 262 million/200+ games = about 1.25 million a game). However, it's important to note that so many Mario spinoff games dilute the sales average of Mario games. When people think of Mario games, who thinks of Mario Party or any of his sports games before thinking of the main titles (I'll admit that Mario Kart has grown to a point that's almost as big as the main series)? Of course a Zelda game that took 5 years to make is going to sell more games than the sequel to Mario Golf. I'm going to argue (keeping in mind that Mario games have been bundled with systems which makes things complicated) that the average "main series" Mario game outsells a "main series" Zelda game most of the time. For simplicity I'll just do console releases. I won't average games out over time but compare them on each Nintendo console to illustrate that most of the time the Mario game beats the Zelda game.

NES- Mario had SMB 1,2, and 3 and Zelda had Zelda 1 and 2. SMB 1 sold 40 million copies but was bundled with the NES so I'll exclude that.

SMB 2 vs. LOZ- 10 million against 6.51 million so SMB 2 wins
SMB 3 vs. AOL- 18 million against 4.38 million so SMB 3 wins

SNES- Mario had SMW and SMW 2: Yoshi's Island and Zelda had ALTTP. I'll exclude SMW's 20 million since it was bundled.

SMW 2 vs. ALTTP- 4 million against 4.61 million so ALTTP wins

N64- Mario had SM64 and Zelda had OOT and MM. Being generous I'll pool both OOT and MM together.

SM64 vs. OOT + MM- 11.62 million against 10.96 million (7.6 for OOT and 3.36 for MM) so SM64 wins

Gamecube- Mario had Sunshine and Zelda had WW and TP but to make this as fair as possible I'll pool TP's gamecube and wii numbers together into the wii category.

SMS vs. WW- 5.5 million against 3.07 million so SMS wins

Wii- Mario had NSMB Wii, Galaxy, and Galaxy 2 and Zelda had TP (and will have SS). I'll throw out NSMB Wii's 21.94 million since at some point it was bundled

SMG vs. TP- 8.84 million against 6.82 million for TP (pooled) so SMG wins

SMG 2 vs. SS- 6.36 million against Pending

Note: all my numbers come from wikipedia

Conclusion- so Mario won 6/7 of my main series matchups or about 86 %. I believe that you can't say that Zelda games sell more copies than Mario games when considering the main games of each series. Mario games have a clear domination in terms of sales over Zelda games.

Critical Reception- I won't do an analysis of this (yet at least), but I would say there is a slim advantage for Zelda games.

Overall- If you're just considering critical reception and sales and weighing those criteria equally, then Mario games win because a significant difference in sales trumps a slight difference in critical reception.

Personally, I'm more of a Zelda fanboy than a Mario fanboy so I'd say Zelda games are clearly better games from a critical perspective, but I can't argue against sales.

The Nintendo hierarchy has always had Mario over Zelda but over time things could change. Right now though, I think it's a not quite a fair comparison. Right now IMO it would make more sense to argue whether or not Pokemon has overtaken Mario as Nintendo's top franchise at least in terms of sales.
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There you are! You monsters!
Forum Volunteer
Feb 8, 2011
Mario games are overly-challenging at times, so much that they're almost too frustrating to enjoy. I actually speak of Mario Sunshine the most (Sand Bird, anyone), because the others I've played (SM64 and the classics) really intrigue me. I have yet to try out either Super Mario Galaxy title, but I'm sure I'll look into the them, after purchasing Skyward Sword, of course.

On the other hand, Zelda centers on a medium degree of difficulty, or sometimes a step up. Those puzzles are much more interactive for me as well as playable. I'm certain the challenge will pick itself up in Skyward Sword but remain an enjoyment. Anyhow, I'd overall opt for Zelda due to its independence firstly, then the casual feel to it rather than everything seeming to be over the top in hardness.


One-Winged Skyward Angel
Sep 28, 2011
I just want to make one point about this conversation here: what did Nintendo push more, the Mario 25th Anniversary or the Zelda 25th Anniversary. From my perspective, they've pushed and crammed everything into the Zelda anniversary than the Mario one. Here:

Zelda 25th...........|.....Mario 25th
OoT 3D...............|....Mario All Stars Port
Skyward Sword.....|.....Galaxy 2
Zelda I Port..........|.....
Zelda II Port.........|.....
LA Port ...............|.....
Concert ..............|.....
Zelda HD Demo.....|.....
Flipnote Contest....|.....Flipnote Contest

Not saying that it means Zelda is better than Mario, but it seems Nintendo cares more about its anniversary than Mario
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Mar 13, 2011
Better sales will almost always be Mario. Better games, I give the edge to Zelda, because they are more puzzle and plot based than Mario games.

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