You know what’s fun? Video games, of course. Hell, if you didn’t think that you wouldn’t be reading this train wreck of an article. With the Nintendo Switch hot on the tracks to release date, I started wondering what was it that I enjoyed so much about their platform over the recent years? Why did I always have such fond memories of the “gimmicky, inventive” console? Honestly, I would have to say Nintendo’s exclusive titles always reached out to me.
However, I would be done up on an internet cross coated in mountain dew if I didn’t admit there were some real flops. Today, I’m going to make a list of my top 5 best, and worst, exclusive Nintendo titles.Without beating around the bush, let’s get to it.
#5 Best: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
I’m a huge Zelda fan, and I am ashamed to admit I first played this game at 19 years old, far after it was officially released. I felt as though LTTP consolidated many things people loved about the very first Zelda, and managed to bring to light some of its shortcomings so that the development team could overcome that. One of these issues was a lack of direction and story, which LTTP managed to make function very well, and give the whole quest a much more epic feel. For the time period, this game was as awesome and astound as a modern Elder Scrolls. While I love the game, it, like many other Zelda titles, has the princess the game is NAMED for locked away, just being the manic pixie dream girl for link to save.
#5 Worst: Paper Mario Sticker Star
What do you get when you mix an inorganic battle system, with generally lazy writing, and a big old slab of Nostalgia? You get Sticker Star. The idea of only using a basic attack when you have the right stickers for it is asinine, the jokes felt forced and as though they rode entirely on the nostalgia people had for the series, while still cutting huge series staples like PARTY MEMBERS. Sticker Star was seven steps in the wrong direction and is a depressing title through and through.
#4 Best: Luigi’s Mansion
Luigi’s Mansion not only fleshed out Luigi as a character, officially giving him a real personality as well as a unique skill set, it also functioned as a good 3rd person horror game for children. It may feel odd to think of Luigi’s Mansion that way, but children got an appropriate amount of tension, resource management, and fear from the enemies, while still being able to complete the game fairly. A fabulous Gamecube title, and I heard the 3DS Sequel was pretty damn good!
#4 Worst: Superman
Commonly called Superman 64, this game was fundamentally bad in every aspect of function. It didn’t function whatsoever with game breaking glitches constantly, however; it didn’t have any specifically offensive story or dialogue, but it was genuinely a bad game. Terrible level design that gets you killed easily, the never ending sections of flying through rings just so you can progress to one fucking level, a bare bones, pathetic looking city and overworld. This game was bad, not offensive, but bad.
#3 Best: Super Mario Galaxy
3D Platforming literally pushed to its limit of the dimensions of the Wii lead to, in my opinion, the current best Mario game on the market. The use of Space and lack of Gravity, as well as unique world mechanics and some UTTERLY FANTASTIC boss fights, Super Mario Galaxy not only set itself apart from the modern platformer, but it also questioned how one platformed in the first place. Other games have tried the anti-gravity feeling before, but rarely made it a central mechanic in many areas. Mario Galaxy is a great first party title.
#3 Worst: Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
This is an old game, but it was SO BAD, even for the standards of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1983, it deserves this spot. The game has no actual method of tutorial or teaching you through gameplay, it consistently seems to break its own rules with the only conveyance is move forward. And when you die and become Mr. Hyde, now you move backward, but if you move too far, you lose, despite Hyde being able to combat monsters. Not only do they punish the player for having “fun,” they ruined the game. Maybe not first-party, but an old NES exclusive that is used in game design courses as an example of what NOT to do.
#2 Best: Pokemon Stadium
Not only did it have its own SLEW of mini games in a Mario Party fashion, it supported the ability for children who owned current pokemon games to hook them up to the N64 to trade, battle, and even play the game through the stadium on the big TV screen! This game allowed the player to experience Pokemon in a brand new way, and as such was possibly my favorite title for the Nintendo 64. I had a gameboy as a young girl, but I didn’t take very good care of it, but I still had my pokemon games. So, being able to keep playing pokemon on my TV no less? Call me nostalgia blind, but it was fantastic. Also the sequel kicked ass too with support for gold and silver.
#2 Worst: Metroid Prime: Other M
Now, there was nothing MECHANICALLY wrong with the game when I first played it, but it has been quite a few years since. No, what I greatly disliked was the absolute miserable characterization of Samus Aran. Samus has never been the type to blindly follow orders, never been the type to solely rely on some company or external force to give her motivation for the mission. Samus Aran is a bounty hunter first and foremost, and this game reduced her to just another mindless, emotionless character. Despite being the Protagonist of Other M, she was treated more as a commodity, and at times, as though she was unable to think for herself at all in dangerous situations. Other M may work mechanically, but they bastardized one of Gaming’s FEW female icons.
#1 Best: Pokemon, The Franchise
I could not, in good conscience, say that one specific game shined more than the others. Yes, some were hit and miss, but the overwhelming joy of the pokemon franchise, how it energized mobile gaming, and the utter glee people still have from playing pokemon today is a testament to the success of and far reaching emotion of the franchise. What started as a simple mission to go get a package for Professor Oak has evolved into a journey across continents, documenting creatures and saving the world many, many times over. There is no Nintendo exclusive I could ever love more than Pokemon.
#1 Worst: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
Not only were the few universally liked aspects of sonic characters’ personalities absolutely bastardized, but combine that with mediocre voice acting, absolutely broken and messy level design, and game breaking glitches with frame rates that dropped nearly to 5 frames a second. I needn’t say more. This is, objectively, the worst Nintendo exclusive I have ever had the displeasure of playing.
And that was my list! I hope you all enjoyed my thoughts on some of Nintendo’s best, and some of their biggest flops. Please remember, this is all very subjective, and your list may have been different from my list, but these are my thoughts. This has been Top 5 with Jacqueline, have an excellent day!