Series Ranked: Nintendo Consoles

With the release of Nintendo’s new console, codenamed “NX” slowly creeping closer and closer to its March release, we still have virtually no information about it at all. My guess is that they will finally unveil everything about it in September, giving a good six months for gamers to decide if they want to buy it or not.

Nintendo’s consoles have seen huge success and not so much success. But how well something sells doesn’t grade the quality of the console, so that is what makes this list fun to make. I judge the consoles strictly on the games present on each console, because after all, that is what a video game consoles prime purpose is, right? Playing video games? Though most people have sadly seemed to have forgotten that fact these days.

That’s right, graphics, innovation, all that will not affect the rank of these consoles, unless they somehow add to the gameplay of the games. Because again, we are playing games here.

They are listed from my least favorite, to my favorite.

#6 Nintendo Entertainment System (1983)

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While this is probably regarded as the most famous console of all time, responsible for turning around the practically dead video game industry, it has suffered due to the early age of gaming at this point. Though pretty much everything that wasn’t an arcade port was new and exciting, many of the games were just plain bad. And if that wasn’t annoying enough, most of them were outrageously hard and required you to play for hours and hours at a time if you ever wanted to beat one of them due to the fact that there were no save files for most of the games, Zelda being the first game to implement it; and only a few had passwords.

But among all the bad and terrible games were a few gems that still hold up today.

My top three games for the console are: The Legend Of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. 3, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

The top two games especially blow any of the others on this console out of the water, and even many of today’s games as well. They are truly fantastic, especially for the time they came out. All three of these and many more are available on the Nintendo eShop if you have a Wii or Wii U.

#5 Nintendo 64 (1996)

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This was about as exciting as it got when this came out. Side-scrolling sprites made the jump to 3D polygons. Everyone can probably remember playing Super Mario 64 for the first time. But other than this huge jump in gaming technology, it was a rather awkward stage in gaming history. It’s competitors, the PlayStation and Dreamcast can also fit into this category. A lot of the games were very bad in this generation. Constant fighting with camera angles and bad controls plagued the systems, most likely due to the developers inexperience at developing games in 3D. Not to mention the controller was just very strange and inefficient, though still comfortable. The graphics themselves looked amazing back then, but playing them now, other than a select few, they are just horrid blobs. This is a console I bought very few games on, but despite all the bad ones, like the NES, this too was home to some of the best games ever made.

My top three are: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Paper Mario, MarioKart 64

These three games were phenomenal when they came out, and my top 2 still are today. Zelda made the jump to 3D better than anyone would have ever imagined, easily the best 2D to 3D jump made by any franchise.

Paper Mario was a unique and interesting idea that was remarkable and an exciting new direction for the Mario series, thanks to 3D graphics.

I played Mariokart 64 nonstop when I was a youngster. Sadly, it has not aged very well at all.

All these games mentioned are also on eShop for Wii and Wii U.

#4 Wii (2006)

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Motion controls. Something everyone was looking forward to all their lives. Everybody was excited for the Wii. Everyone remembers how exciting it was to play Wii Sports and Zelda: Twilight Princess with motion controls for the first time. It was a real exiting time and a big step forward in gaming history.

But unfortunately, human beings being the mindless lazy people that we are, motion controls proved to be too much effort to play a game with, and the underpowered graphics of the console failed to hold the attention of the people who need to look at something pretty and shiny. Eventually the motion controls were reduced to almost nothing more than a simple flick to do a thing or two in game, and a lot of third party games never even saw a release on the console due to how underpowered Wii was compared to PS3 and XB360. They also didn’t much feel like making the games with motion controls, finding it easier to just port from PS3 to 360 with all their huge similarities.

This hurt the Wii a lot. Everyone I knew owned a Wii, but I think I was the only one I knew who consistently played it. Sure, I had to buy a PS3 to get a lot of the games I was missing owning just a Wii, but the games that did come out, especially the exclusives, were phenomenal. The games that did motion control right were a lot of fun to play. Heck, even just flicking the remote to swing a sword or something was a lot of fun and more satisfying than pushing a button.

It’s a great console, but the lack of third party support brings this one way down on the list.

My top three games: Xenoblade Chronicles, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

These three are among the best of the many gems that appeared on the console and can also be found on the Wii U eShop.

#3 Wii U (2012)

I was never more excited for a console to come out than this one. When the gamepad controller was revealed, I was ecstatic. This took all the fun of the Wii’s unique controls and added another screen right in the players hands. I found myself imagining all the amazing ways this gamepad could be used in games. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone else could, players or developers. Initial games like Nintendo Land and ZombiU used the gamepad exceptionally and delivered both single player and multiplayer experiences that you could possibly only find on Wii U, and it was a lot of fun. But all too quickly, the gamepad became nothing more than a mirror image of what was on your TV. Even Nintendo developers couldn’t come up with clever ways to use it for many of their games.And again the system was underpowered, so no one wanted it. It wasn’t shiny enough I guess.

And just like Wii, third parties dropped the console very quickly due to poor sales and the extra time to develop for the gamepad and overall difficulty of developing for the console in general. Except this time around it was much worse. Nearly every third party stopped making games for Wii U, leaving Nintendo to virtually support the console on their own. And I have to say, all things considered, they have done a fantastic job. Every game that has come out from them has been nothing short of a homerun, being some of the best games made in many, many years, and quite frankly, some of the best games ever.

Wii U had the potential to be the greatest console ever. Lack of third party support and use of the gamepad and underpowered hardware hurt this system badly, and every one learned from Wii not to invest their money into this.

I for one am extremely pleased with it, even if there is a severe lack of games for it, simply because the games are incredible that did make their way on it.

My top three: Super Mario 3D World, ZombiU, Wonderful 101, though there are so many Wii U games I have on back log that this could change any time.

#2 Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1991)

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This is a wonderful, wonderful system that I spent all of the 90’s playing, especially since I found it so much better than N64. This was when Nintendo dominated the video game market, getting basically every game developers made back then. Though unfortunately a lot of bad games and over the top, impossibly hard ones made their way onto it, just like its predecessor, it also played host to an incredible and unimaginable increase in game quality. In addition to tons of new and exciting games, we also saw additions to big franchises from the NES make its way over, blazing a trail of glory that continues to shine today. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Mega Man, Final Fantasy and Castlevania came out with some of the best games ever made back then, all of which can still be considered such today. Many new series started on this console as well, such as Mega Man X and Star Fox. This system just had one great game after another, keeping me very busy in my youth.

My top three games are probably a lot of other peoples. Super Metroid, Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

These games I still play as often as I can for they are just eternally fun. Don’t just take my word for it. All three of these games can likely be found in most top 10 best games ever made lists, if not the top five.

And they of course can be found on Wii and Wii U eShop.

#1 Gamecube (2001)

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And here we are, my absolute favorite Nintendo console, and favorite console of all time for that matter.

I love everything about the Gamecube. It’s strange, unique look and color, it’s neat little mini discs, heck even the name is awesome. It just says “yeah, I’m a cube that plays games, bitch!” It’s so cool.

The games themselves are what really make this console great however. For the first time, Nintendo did not release the system with a Mario title, but instead shook things up with a Luigi game, where he had to actually rescue Mario. The best part was, this wasn’t simply a Mario game where you played as Luigi, but a whole new concept more closely related to Ghostbusters rather than a Mario game.

And Luigi’s Mansion was not the only game to shake up classic Nintendo franchises. Super Mario Sunshine, Star Fox Adventures, Metroid Prime, Kirby: Air Ride, Donkey Konga/Jungle Beat-all examples of changing up the formula. Plus, we were treated to F-Zero, another Star Fox game, a sequel to Metroid Prime and Paper Mario, two Zelda games with completely contrasting graphics and both featuring innovative/unique elements that make both of them really stand out.

New titles such as Capcom’s Viewtiful Joe were introduced on the Gamecube, this game being one of my favorites of all time, which also got a sequel on the system.Nintendo also came out with a new franchise, the Pikmin series started out here, and that too got a sequel.

Other mind blowing events happened on Gamecube, such as Sonic being put on a Nintendo console! This was something no one ever thought would happen and we were treated to remakes of the Sonic Adventure games from Dreamcast, the second one being my favorite Sonic game ever.

Owners of this system were also treated to remakes and/or re-releases of the entire  Resident Evil series. I still consider the Resident Evil remake to be one of the greatest remakes of all time, maybe only second to Metroid: Zero Mission for GBA. Gamecube even got Resident Evil 4 as an exclusive initially, before its popularity exploded.

And lets talk about all the collections that came out for the system. Going back to Sonic, we had the Sonic Mega Collection, taking all the genesis games and putting them on one disc, and also the Sonic Gems Collection, taking most of the not so great Sonic games and putting them on one disc.

The Mega Man Anniversary Collection was a great gift to gamers, which is much better than the current Mega Man Legacy, as well as the Mega Man X Collection. And don’t forget about the Zelda Collection! There’s probably a few more I can’t think of right now too!

The third party games that made it on the system were incredible as well. There were a ton more games to choose from than compared to Wii and Wii U, and most of them were super fun to play. It seemed gaming as a whole was so much better than compared to the previous generation of gaming, and Gamecube did it best out of the three competing consoles. And most of the games on Gamecube still look gorgeous today. It was truly a lasting console, though ironically, it had very low sales.

And speaking of a lasting console, it has the best controller ever made, absolutely comfortable and amazing. It is so good that it still is being made today for the Wii and Wii U, the latter having a port made for it so people can still play Smash Bros with it.

To me, any company will have a hard time topping this system. I still buy games for it every now and then 15 years later.

My top three games are Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, Metroid Prime, Viewtiful Joe.

All three of these games rank among my favorites, with Paper Mario actually being my number 1 game of all time.

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