I think I've only had significant experience with one of each, but the Kirby experience was back when I was a kid. I think I enjoyed it though.
When I was a kid I had a rom for one of the gameboy Kirby games and I remember liking that a whole lot, but beyond that I don't have much experience with Kirby. I spent some time with Epic Yarn, and the one following it for the Wii and I felt like the gameplay wasn't hard enough or complicated enough for me to derive much enjoyment once the newness had worn off.
I also paid my dues to Super Mario World and Mario 64 when I was a kid, and thought they were amazing at the time, though once I experienced Zelda I think I kind of wrote it off as baby stuff. I distinctly remember Sunshine coming out and acting like I was too good for it (because I didn't have a gamecube). It wasn't until my friends picked up New Super Mario Bros Wii and decided the four of us would play through the whole thing together that my love of Mario was really rekindled. I don't think I would've even agreed if the quick look weren't so good, and yet now I consider that playthrough one of my best gaming memories. I tried going back to the DS one and was kind of unimpressed, so I was ready to write it off as a multiplayer fluke until I played 3d land, once I got to the second 8 worlds that game had its hooks deep inside me. It ended up getting me to go back and play Mario 64 and that holds up way better than it should.
So yeah. Definitely Mario. Those first two Donkey Kong countries are pretty damn good too though.
@amyggen: Well I think they're fantastic, and I relatively recently headed back to 'em (and even 100%'d them both again, too), and think that they not only hold up surprisingly well, but are still really fun games with an appealing dose of personality. So... agree to disagree blah blah blah.
Mario. I'm not sure I'm into the feel of the controls or the design of many of the Kirby games anymore. It's kinda hard to explain but a lot of the time I just don't find the copy-powers satisfying to use.
I did like Epic Yarn though, it did away with the slow flying and the copy powers and generally played pretty well, I think.
Kirby is more about fucking about with fun powers. It's almost what you'd get if a brawler and a platformer had a baby. Sort of. I would say I generally prefer the tighter platforming of a pure platformer. That said I would not say Mario, Mario's a bit crap. Not as crap as Sonic, but not exactly top of the line. Modern Rayman or Donkey Kong Country's where it's at.
Donkey Kong Country.
Specifically, the second one.
Right on man. You know your platformers. Clapper's Cavern.
@yummylee: I was (kinda) trolling. I just think that CB has always been very mediocre, and don't understand the people who want a new game in that franchise. But I guess it's a platformer, but not a good one!
Well, take this into consideration. I am someone who's first real game console was a Playstation (my dad had a Saturn that I played before but it wasn't like I was buying Saturn games). As such, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro were the first two platformer franchises I played. I never owned an N64 or a Gamecube, and as such had very little contact with Mario, even though I did own Nintendo handhelds. Mario doesn't really do a lot for me since I do not have any sort of nostalgic backing. That's not to say Mario games aren't well made, but without any kind of nostalgia for that series, I see them just as I see any other well made game. Nothing more and nothing less. Super Mario Bros, Mario 3, and World are fantastic games, but Mario 64 to me doesn't really hold up at all to me as some classic of the ages or end all be all platformer. Without nostalgia for first party Nintendo titles, I have never had a reason to buy a Nintendo console. I think the original Spyro and Crash trilogies are excellent, and well worth being remembered alongside Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time.
All that aside, I think Kirby is the game series I have personally had more fun with than Mario. Mario is fine, but its not all that special to me. Kirby has a lot of personality and pizzazz.
I love Kirby but I feel like Mechanically they have never topped Super Star for the SNES? Granted, I haven't played a new Kirby game since Canvas Curse and it seems like every other Kirby game is a "nontradtional" Kirby game where you aren't absorbing powers.
Has a Kirby game had as much Depth as Super Star? Some of 64 was cool withe fusion of abilities, but I often find that his abilities will do like 1 thing now days or it's a game about whip attacks/ drawing lines/ mass of kirbys.
Mario I'd say is overall better, but I'd like to like Kirby more. It's just that Super Star was too good.