Originally Posted by cochesecochese
Man, super tough call. My order changes all the time, but it's looking something like this for the mainlines right now from an 'objective' point of view.
V, III, IV, VII, VIII, II, I, VI, IX, X.
That's the order I recommend for people just getting into the series without experience. III & II (and I) remakes for SFC are my personal favorites with V remake for PS2 trailing just behind. VII and VIII next with IV coming in just next. VI (even the remake) is a bit bland for me and IX and X are lacking as single player titles.
I'm not gonna go crazy with the spinoffs but if you have a DS, Rocket Slime is an absolute joy to play. Joker 2 is pretty good as well.
IV might mainly be nostalgia for me but its definitely my favorite. I beat it in the NES multiple times as a kid and absolutely loved it. The chapter progression was pretty unique at the time, and the way they tried to give all the characters their own feel and personality was ahead of its time. Plus, running a store as Taloon was really creative for an NES game. Sadly, the otherwise fantastic remake was marred by the localization team's insistence on goofy dialects anf some silly dialogue which I felt took away from the charm of the original.
V on the DS was fun and I liked the way they tied the story together over generations, another example of some storytelling that wad ahead of ths hardware of the original.
I got VI but never finished it (DS). It just didn't grab me the way the others did which was kind of a bummer.
Other than that... loved III on the GBC, I&II haven't aged as well, VIII was fun but I never finished it because I don't have time for console RPGs. And IX might be my favorite DS game ever, which isn't an easy choice to make. God I wish they'd port IX to the 3DS for proper Street Pass functionality!