Ring in the New Gen: Top 10 Nintendo Exclusives


It should be apparent by now, but in case it’s not, you’ll be delighted to know that the next generation of consoles is right around the corner.  Over the next three days, SpawnFirst will be counting down our ten best exclusives for Nintendo, Sony (you can view this list here), and Microsoft as a sendoff to all our beloved, but ancient, consoles – and get prepped for the bright days of gaming to come.  Although Nintendo’s Wii U is already upon us, the most intriguing titles for the system have yet to be unleashed.

For Nintendo, this is a list that’s been written a thousand times, will be written a thousand more and will always be debated on. For a company that’s been around since the dawn of video games and has more franchises than you can shake a deku stick at, it’s hard to pick just ten Nintendo games.  As mentioned before, this list only includes games exclusive to Nintendo; which, in all actuality, does not make the list any easier.  We’ll disclose this upfront: this list is a matter of opinion and consists of games “to-date,” so while classic Nintendo games are obviously in our minds, some of those classics won’t hold a candle to more recent releases. Furthermore, we’re attempting to pick just one game per franchise to get a wider variety of titles (let’s be honest, we could’ve filled this entire list with just Mario games) . If you disagree with our opinion and want to tip over a bus and set it ablaze, let us know; it’s been a desire of ours as well.  Let’s start this list off with number 10!

10. Star Fox 64

System:  Nintendo 64

Developer:  Nintendo EAD

Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date: July 1, 1997


Star Fox 64 stole the show with its script and voice acting.  We can’t count how many times we’ve told people to “use the boost to get through,” when a traffic light turned yellow.  Game play was well designed and took full advantage of the N64 controller.  Our only qualm was the inability to save in the middle of story mode.  Understandably left out due to a short storyline – it’s still something we believe every game should have, catering to both those with and without time.  A hard choice to make, but Star Fox 64 is our number ten.

9. WarioWare: Smooth Moves

System:  Wii

Developer:  Intelligent Systems / Nintendo SPD Group 1

Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date:  January 25, 2007


Five seconds, give or take, is the amount of time you have to figure how to play a game, and WIN that game in WarioWare. Smooth Moves, the Wii entry, uses motion control to turn the fast action “Microgames” up a tick, requiring you to move into position and exert yourself in ways that you may not have expected. Purifying gameplay to the essentials, Smooth Moves cuts out the fluff, providing a hilariously tense game for anyone willing to give in to its strange style (fart jokes paired with classical music and old Nintendo references? Nice.) With hundreds of different games within, great multiplayer, and excellent use of the Wii’s sometimes gimmicky controls, Smooth Moves lands at number nine. An experience that is “normal” only for Nintendo.

8. Animal Crossing: Wild World

System:  Nintendo DS

Developer:  Nintendo EAD

Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date:  December 5, 2005


Such a simple idea with no redeeming value yet we could not walk away.  It’s proven that FPS games help your vision, and puzzle games your spatial cognition, but what about Animal Crossing?  Your desire to sell fruit to a raccoon?  Your longing to have a matching set of golden tools?  With no reward to our real-world lives, we’ve spent endless hours caring for gardens, fishing up boots and bad puns, and organizing a farm of fruit trees.  Bringing Animal Crossing to the DS and making it more of an “in transit” or casual game was a smart move by Nintendo.  Using the WiFi capability to allow virtual social interactions was also a nice addition.  What Animal Crossing does well is what video games are meant to do: entertain.  With no beginning or end, this game is the bittersweet realization that our lives have been spent playing video games… but who are we kidding, it’s been worth every second.

7. GoldenEye 007

System:  Nintendo 64

Developer:  Rare

Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date:  August 25, 1997


A landmark first-person shooter, GoldenEye was probably the best movie-to-game adaptation ever made.  There’s no way for us to go into how great this game is in one paragraph.  It did 3D FPS beautifully for its time and is a role model for all others.  Our only gripe is that its success invoked what we call the “Shrek Syndrome”:  An idea is so great and successful, ten more with the same name are produced but just aren’t made with the same love.  GoldenEye 007 was,for us, what gave the first-person shooter genre life, and for that it’s earned lucky number (double oh) seven.

6. Super Metroid

System:  Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Developer:  Intelligent Systems / Nintendo R&D1

Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date: March 19, 1994


Something about this game was just so mesmerizing.  The level design put a certain atmosphere in the air and the music gave that atmosphere life.  It also had one of the most memorable moments in the Metroid series (baby metroid to the rescue).  I always felt Metroid should be a FPS, and Metroid Prime does some damn good work, but Super Metroid is just one of those games that sticks with you forever.  Super Metroid is my number six.

5.  Super Smash Bros. Brawl

System:  Wii

Developer:  Sora Ltd.

Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date:  March 9, 2008


Have four friends over and need a game to play?  Then pop in arguably the best party game of all time.  Granted Metaknight was exploitable, Brawl felt nearly perfect.  Aside from a huge, diverse, well-known cast of classic characters, the game was just plain entertaining and accessible for anyone.  With barely any notable issues, every iteration of the Smash series was fantastic; Brawl, though, was a cut above the rest.

4. Pokémon Red/Blue

System:  Gameboy

Developer:  Game Freak

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date:  September 30, 1998


Why aren’t Pokémon real yet?  With how far technology has come you’d think we’d be able to electrically charge a rodent or give a lizard wings and fire breath.  We blame PETA for holding us back.  With that being said, Pokémon Red/Blue created a world unlike any other and has (so far) endlessly been replicated because it’s just that good (Shrek Syndrome done right).  There are TONS of other Pokémon games, but none compare to the original unveiling of Red/Blue.  It gave birth to one of the most imaginative universes ever created, and its existence has left many forty-year-olds still to this day playing Gameboys in their mothers’ basements.

3. Mario Kart Wii

System:  Wii

Developer:  Nintendo EAD Group 1

Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date:  April 27, 2008


If one were to add up all the curse words we’ve shouted in our days (excluded when playing Mario Kart) the amount would not compare to what we yell at ONE blue shell.  It’s difficult to pick just one, but Mario Kart Wii had the most enjoyable tracks the ability to span all skill levels.  This is the racing game that was done right; Whether hardcore gamer or oblivious parent, Mario Kart brings out the competitor in anyone and everyone to the point of unplugging controllers.  With a proud bronze cup shooting out confetti, Mario Kart Wii comes in as number three.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

System:  Wii / Nintendo GameCube

Developer:  Nintendo EAD Group 3

Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date:  November 19, 2006


There’s no possible way to rank a Legend of Zelda game and not get ridiculed for its position, so bear with us.  Twilight Princess had the open world of Ocarina of Time, and the darkness of Majora’s Mask, making it our personal favorite.  These obviously aren’t the only Zelda games worth mentioning, but Twilight Princess took the best of the best and made it even better.  A doomed Hyrule stranded in ‘twilight,’ everyone’s favorite Link-Nemesis Ganondorf, and an amazing soundtrack – what’s not to like about this game?  Not to mention the first time (debated) Link took his sword up in his right hand for mirrored motion controls.  Though ravenous fans may dispute over Link’s best incarnation, Twilight Princess is indisputably one of Nintendo’s best offerings.

1. Super Mario Galaxy 2

System:  Wii

Developer:  Nintendo EAD Tokyo

Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date:  May 23, 2010


Super Mario Galaxy 2 had everything Super Mario Galaxy had plus Yoshi.  Sure, it wasn’t anything ‘new’ since it had already been done, but we believe that it was better than the first… or any Super Mario game, for that matter.  The invention of the wheel is one thing; the use of the wheel is another.  Super Mario Galaxy introduced the groundbreaking element of 3D gravity and Super Mario Galaxy 2 took that element and used it to its full potential.  It’s a prime example of the imaginative powers that Nintendo can always hold over Microsoft and Sony.  Though there’s approximately eleven million Mario games that could’ve taken the top spot, there’s only one that had the top spot in our Nintendo-loving hearts.

We can already hear you: “Where’s Contra? What about Super Mario Bros. 3? Ocarina of Time is second to NONE!” Valid points; we have our list, but what about yours? Tell us your favorite Nintendo games in the comments below, and please feel free to battle to the death about our choices!