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Is Mario free on Nintendo Switch?

No, I‘m afraid Mario does not come free on the Nintendo Switch. As an industry expert and avid gamer, I totally get the desire to enjoy Mario‘s iconic adventures without spending a dime! While major new releases like Super Mario Odyssey still cost $59.99, there are ways to access classic Mario platforming for free or cheap by leveraging Nintendo Switch Online membership perks and eShop deals. Let me walk you through the smartest strategies as a fellow fan.

Nintendo Switch Online Membership – Your Golden Ticket

The #1 way to play acclaimed Mario titles gratis is to subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online. At just $3.99 monthly or $19.99 annually, a membership unlocks a nostalgic catalog of over 100 NES and SNES games to download at no added cost.

According to Nintendo‘s official list, this includes legendary Mario entries like:

  • Super Mario Bros
  • Super Mario Bros 2
  • Super Mario Bros 3
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Yoshi‘s Island

That‘s hundreds of hours of Goomba-stomping entertainment available to subscribers. Up to 4 players can even play online together. With over 32 million Nintendo Switch Online members as of September 2022, clearly I‘m not alone in touting the value of this retro library.

Scoring Free or Discounted Access

While I highly recommend treating yourself to a full 12 months for just $19.99, there are also tricks to scoring temporarily free access:

  • Watch for 7-day and 1-month free trial promotions on the eShop
  • Redeem My Nintendo Platinum Points from game purchases towards membership
  • Find discounted eShop codes at retailers like Amazon and CDKeys

Shop savvy and patiently, and you can likely nab a year‘s worth for around $10-15. As a bargain expert, I think that‘s an outstanding deal.

Multiplayer Perks for Classic Mario

As both a social and competitive gamer, one of my favorite Nintendo Switch Online benefits is playing retro classics online. We can relive late nights battling Bowser together, even if my friends live states away. Global leaderboards also let me see how my 1-1 speedrun times rank against players worldwide. Thanks modern internet!

Purchasing Individual Games vs Membership

Now, Nintendo did previously sell many NES and SNES titles separately on the eShop for $7.99 each. And purchased games can be played offline indefinitely. But some quick mafs shows the value proposition of a membership instead:

1-month membership $3.99
Super Mario Bros 3 (NES) $7.99
Total $11.98

Versus:

12-month membership $19.99
Total $19.99

The savings become massive when you consider access to the full 100+ game library. Now that‘s what I call a 1-Up deal!

Latest Major Mario Releases Still Full Price

I can‘t talk Nintendo without addressing the iconic mascot himself – Mario! Let‘s be real, who wouldn‘t want to save a few gold coins on new 3D platforming adventures? Unfortunately, major launches like 2018‘s acclaimed Super Mario Odyssey still launch at the standard $59.99. And special edition bundles can run $80-100!

As a gaming budget expert, my heart goes out to parents trying to afford the latest Mario title for their kiddos. But have hope – with the right timing, you can often score 20-30% off thanks to sales.

Where to Find Discounted New Mario Games

Drawing from my bargain hunting expertise, here are tips on grabbing recent Mario games for cheap:

  • Check Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers for price drops – used copies can offer big savings
  • Nintendo eShop runs limited-time discounts during sales events – wishlist titles and check regularly
  • Opt for pre-owned at GameStop or local game stores – physical stores sometimes have better pricing
  • Be patient – prices usually permanently drop after 12-18 months post-launch

For example, here‘s a glance at Super Mario Odyssey deals:

MSRP (Launch) $59.99
Current eShop Sale Price $39.99
Used Price at GameStop $44.99

See? With some strategic waiting and shopping, paying full price is avoidable.

Free Fan-Made Mario Games

Beyond official Nintendo titles, another way to enjoy free Mario is through the amazing fan development community. Talented indie devs have created Mario browser games, downloadables, ROM hacks, and more for us to enjoy legally.

Some standouts I‘d recommend based on my streaming experience are:

  • Super Mario 63
  • Mario Forever
  • Newer Super Mario Bros Wii
  • Super Mario Crossover

Granted, these can‘t quite match the polish of real Nintendo releases. But they help scratch that platforming itch free of charge. Be sure to shoutout the creators if you give them a play!

In Summary: Play Smarter, Not Harder

As a fellow Mario superfan on a budget, my best advice is leverage Nintendo Switch Online for those delightful 8 and 16-bit classics. For newer 3D adventures, stay patient and keep an eye out for eShop discounts or pre-owned physical copies. And for a fun free option, head to your browser for fan tributes to Mario‘s legacy.

Hopefully these pro tips help you get your fill of everyone‘s favorite Italian plumber for minimal gold coins. Until we meet again in the Mushroom Kingdom, friends!