Top 5 Nintendo Games of the Decade

Well, I had to be fair and admit that in making a list of the top 5 video games, I really only have knowledge of Nintendo games. But hey, I think that’s good enough. Of course, this list isn’t just Nintendo-produced or published games-it is games that appeared on any Nintendo system in the last decade. It also gave me an excuse to make a blog post. =p

5. Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition (2007; original game 2005)

I played the GCN edition all the way through the first disc (back in the day 2 discs were sometimes required). And then I made the smart move and bought the game for the Wii, at a sweet price of $20. Frankly, there’s no reason not to own this game for the Wii. Obviously, if you’re not 17 years old, you should probably hold off on buying this game, but otherwise this is a near-perfect game in every respect. Very tense scenes combined with a unique combat system that seems tailor-made for the Wii remote controls, though it was originally a GCN game. When it made its way to the PS2 several months later, the developers included an extra mode and true widescreen support. The Wii version is the best of both worlds-has the extra features of the PS2 version and the same great framerates and graphics as the GCN version. What has been faulted is that it is true there is no other bonuses nor any graphical enhancements, but it still looks darn good, even being ported a couple years later. And with the Wii remote controls, the game takes on a new face. It’s really good, and highly recommended!

4. Star Wars: Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron 2 (2001)

Few people will likely have this game on a similarly titled list. For that matter, few people would regard this game better than Resident Evil 4. However, this game is phenomenal, and those who invested in it at the start of the Nintendo Gamecube’s life cycle were not disappointed. This is still one of the best looking GCN games out there, and in almost every way that mattered truly pushed the console. It had fantastic sound, music, voice casting. It is very difficult-I still can’t get the final gold medal in this game (Endurance; said to take over 2 hours). It has one of the best presentations for a game I’ve ever seen; with DVD-like menu screens and a great interface in the game. It completely took advantage of the GCN controller, with the sensitive L and R buttons and even the seemingly defunct D-pad for commands to shipmates. For those who are wondering what the fuss is about, you can likely find this game for a reasonable price nowadays-and I suggest you pick it up.

3. Metroid Prime Trilogy (2009; original games 2002, 2004, 2007)

Another Wii version of a game-but this time two others were included. In total, Metroid Prime Trilogy includes all 3 Metroid Prime games, and like Resident Evil 4, the first two games (originally for GCN) now feature Wii remote controls and true widescreen support. These were some of the best looking games when they were released and still hold up today. This game, just released this year, could not have been timed any better. The original Metroid Prime is still considered one of the best games ever created, and the gameplay still proves to be as challenging and exciting as it was 7 years ago when it was first released. I’m still re-playing the original Metroid Prime, but they threw in all 3 games for me, so I get two more games to play when I finish the first. The game sells itself on replay value right there. But this is all available at normal game pricing-$50. Highly recommended. It truly deserves a spot on this list, and I am thrilled to have it on here.

2. Perfect Dark (2000)

Even the N64 had a game that was worthy of this list. At the beginning of the decade, gamers were introduced with one of the best games ever made. This game was about as close as one could get to perfection, for its time. The only real fault is the spotty framerate, and that really could not be helped for the time. Even then, the game plays well, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any gamer or critic fault the game heavily for that problem. Only 9 years and two console generations later does it seem all the more obvious that it’s a problem. For those who can’t get past that, there’s the Xbox Live Arcade Version being released early this year.

Borrowing from Goldeneye 007’s engine, Rare truly mastered what was already a fantastic gameplay engine by adding fairly basic stuff-voices instead of just merely reading what the characters were saying, Dolby Surround Sound, Expansion Pak support, etc. But actually, the list doesn’t stop there. If Rare had just made a single-player game, the game would probably still be considered one of the best. As IGN argued on the opposite spectrum, Rare could have sold just the Combat Simulator (multiplayer mode) as a game itself and did itself well. Ironically, if you didn’t have an Expansion Pak, all you could do was the Combat Simulator; and even then, with just two¬†players total. But of course, the Expansion Pak plugged in opened up everything. 4-player multiplayer, high-res graphics, etc.

But every time I put in “etc.”, I just think of more and more I could say about this game. Combined with the extremely challenging one-player mode, thanks to 3 difficulty settings, Perfect Dark is the game that I think of when it comes to replay value. It sets the perfect standard for that. I am still playing it 9 years later and trying to beat “War!” on Perfect Agent (the last level on the hardest difficulty setting). I think I’ve logged 5 full days into this game over the past 7 years I’ve owned this game, and it is still playable today. And I could truly keep going on, but I think you get the point. I probably about sold you on the game, and I would mention that it is available for a very low price for the N64, but you almost may as well wait for the XBLA version simply because you’re paying more for better graphics, a smooth framerate, and everything else that the original game already had. But then I can’t guarantee it will be the same. There is that risk with ports. Either way, do yourself a favor and pick up one of the best games ever made.

1. Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 (2002)

My list may seem full of sequels, ports and the like. But it seems to me the best games came out in this manner. My favorite game of all time is this one; naturally, also the original. This game does what a port should, and that is upgrade the game in many different ways. The sound (music, effects), graphics were updated, as well as some interesting gameplay additions. The addition of Luigi as a character practically makes for an entirely new game. I am still trying to beat the game with just Luigi. This game also has incredible replay value, partially thanks to the original game itself including over 70 levels and over 90 ‘exits’, meaning some levels had multiple ways of clearing it.

Super Mario World was one of the last ‘true’ platforming games, even taking on the subtitle “Super Mario Bros. 4” in Japan. But it was the best of the ‘four’ games. Many would argue Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES (Famicom) was the best, but I disagree. Super Mario World had extremely rich gameplay and wasn’t quite as frustrating as Super Mario Bros. 3. And at the time, Super Mario Bros. 3 didn’t have any save files, which simply added to the frustration of the game itself. Honestly, I don’t know how gamers played games without game save files way back when. I can understand a game like the original Super Mario Bros., which wasn’t quite big enough to garner a save file, but games like Super Mario Bros. 3…

Anyways, Super Mario World for the Game Boy Advance essentially brought everything great about the original into portable form. Aside from the game itself and the already amazing replay value is the Super Mario Bros. arcade game which also allowed for cooperation or versus with multiple players. For Super Mario World, the game also allows save points anywhere you want, so you are no longer confined to saving from specific levels, which was a small nuisance from the original. Simply put, this is one of the best games ever made, and if you can find this game again (they still sell it new and sealed in Japan), I would highly recommend it.

Well, there is my list. Comments? Thanks for reading!

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  1. […] done. The most recent one I can think of is the Top 5 Nintendo games of the past ten years (link here). I hope to do some more like this. This one is rather specific, but it’s one I have […]

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