Ever since getting my Nintendo GameCube as a surprise when I was a kid (Thanks again, Dad, and sorry, Mom), I have been a Nintendo fanboy. Never did I consider picking up a PS2 or Xbox Classic during that generation of consoles. The GameCube was all that I ever wanted and needed. I went a while in the previous generation with my Wii until I later conceded and got a PS3. Even to this day both my GameCube and my Wii still reside in my entertainment center with very little dust collecting on them. Without Nintendo, I would not have started this site, and I may never have fallen in love with video games the way that I have. Sure – I would probably have gotten more sleep, gotten some better grades throughout the years, and been a little more athletic in my youth, but it’s been worth it. These are the most influential Nintendo games of my life.
5.) Starfox 64/Starfox 64 3D (Nintendo 64/Nintendo 3DS)
A perfect combination of music, spaceship shooting, dialogue, and aesthetics: Starfox 64. I do not re-play games very often, but Starfox 64 brings me back time and time again. There are plenty of different ways to play through it. Letting your fellow squadron members die at various moments can completely change your journey. The varying levels during each play through is one of the best parts of the game, but the gameplay is where Starfox 64 truly shines.
I love spaceship shoot-em ups (SHMUPS), and Starfox 64 is all that is good about SHMUPS. Starfox is an on-rail shooter, but feels like a 3D version of classics like R-Type and LifeForce. Enemies swirl around your Arwing with lasers flying all-around as Peppy drops his classic “Do a barrel roll” line. Corneria is cleverly designed and makes the player forget he/she is often on a quite linear and specific path. There are enough different tunnels and gateways to immerse the player. On 3DS (the superior version), the control scheme is flawless. The 3DS circle pad feels tight, responsive, and almost like an extension of the player’s body after a while.
Adding to the immersion is the chemistry between the members of Starfox. From Falco’s sly and dry sarcastic humor, Slippy’s annoying yet charming distress calls, Peppy’s wise and serious nature, and of course, Fox McCloud’s cool and collected leadership, Starfox has everything.
It’s hard to believe that this is only number five for me, but there are some other games on this list that are truly out of this world.
4.) Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo Wii)
For a game that stayed on my shelf for a few years, it sky rocketed into an elite class of games for me. Super Mario Galaxy took everything that was great about the Super Mario series and brought it into a whole other dimension. The very second that the title screen came up, I knew that I was in for a very special experience. The music in this game is perhaps my favorite music in any game. The fully orchestrated soundtrack is second to none and fits perfectly within every single level of Super Mario Galaxy. Talking up a score of a film or game is not something I do very often.
The Wii remote generally takes a lot of flack. I am one of the people that does not like the Wii remote. I think it’s generally uncomfortable and feels gimmicky in nearly every game that it is used heavily in. Super Mario Galaxy, like Starfox 64, makes the controls feel like an extension of the body. A simple flick of the wrist will make Mario spin, aiming the controller will pick up star bits, and the nun-chuck controls Mario’s basic movements. Of course, a tap of the A-button will make your Red-capped hero jump and holding down the B-button will have him dash as well. It’s all perfect and maybe the best Wii remote/nun-chuck platform-game that there is.
What about Super Mario Galaxy 2? I like the sequel. I think it does what all good sequels should, and that is improve upon the original. For me though – It does not capture the charm and awe-factor of the first entry. The score doesn’t have as much of a spark as the first either. The level design does not feel as inspired either.
Super Mario Galaxy is a masterpiece and easily my favorite game on the Nintendo Wii. It’s the perfect fusion of old and new.
3.) Metroid Fusion (Nintendo Gameboy Advance)
Samus Aran was always my go-to Super Smash Bros. character alongside Link. Her skill set is unique and being one of the strongest lead females in gaming is pretty awesome too. Having neglected Metroid for much of my youth, I decided to start with Metroid Fusion. It was the cheapest one that I could bring along with me for my senior year of high school. Every passing period and every lunch period became dedicated to Metroid Fusion.
My only prior Metroid experience was the NES version of the game. I always had a soft spot for the Brinstar theme, but never found much enjoyment in the now-dated NES classic. That all changed with Metroid Fusion however. I enjoyed its much more linear gameplay as opposed to Metroid. It gives newcomers a general feel of a “Metroidvania” game while still holding his/her hand. Exploration is still a crucial part of Fusion. An A.I., Adam, leads Samus throughout Metroid Fusion and makes the objective clear. The game will give players all of the tools necessary, but it is up to the player to figure out when and how to use these tools.
The music in Metroid Fusion is subtle, but haunting. Traditional Metroid games leave Samus Aran alone, but Adam is a companion. The music helps bring a feeling of emptiness to the player; especially when using headphones. It’s dark, organic yet oddly cybernetic, and off-putting, which echoes the general theme of the Metroid Fusion.
If a player is new to the Metroid series, Fusion is my choice to get someone into the series. It can be tough, sometimes brutally so, but it’s for people starting from ground zero.
2.) Metroid: Zero Mission (Nintendo Gameboy Advance)
Remakes of games, films, and TV shows often fall flat. They seldom capture the magic and even the success of the original. When a game as iconic as Metroid is remade, the stakes are high. Following up Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion, Zero Mission had little room to be bad.
As far as remakes go, Metroid: Zero Mission goes above and beyond. With a whole new physics system, Samus controls better than ever. Samus feels much heavier than she did in Metroid Fusion. Fans of Super Metroid will find how the game controls familiar, but fresh. Without two extra face buttons, the Gameboy Advance should feel relatively limited compared to the Super Nintendo controller, but Zero Mission does not cut any corners. The Gameboy advance never hinders the gameplay and is smooth.
Metroid: Zero Mission stayed on my backlog for a long time. I ended up playing through Fusion once more before I even touched Zero Mission, but it felt like an immediate improvement over Fusion. Without the aid of Adam, Samus is back on her own. The re-arranged Brinstar theme is riveting and bombastic. Every theme that was in the original Metroid is better than ever.
From start to finish, Zero Mission is as good as Gameboy Advance games get. Maybe it’s because I’m a Nintendo fanboy and have Nintendo on my mind at all times, but sometimes various parts of Metroid: Zero Mission pop in my head. All I can do is just sit there and smile when they do come by. Metroid: Zero Mission is a breath of fresh air in the iconic series, and worth an immediate pickup.
1.) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch)
What can be said about The Legend of Zeld: Breath of the Wild that has not already been said? Perhaps I can start with this: I had never finished a Zelda game until Breath of the Wild. I have played at least half of every Zelda game, but they never keep my attention. I was hesitant to buy Breath of the Wild, but it was on sale after Christmas, and I bit the bullet. It was the sweetest bullet I have ever taken a bite out of.
The open world of Breath of the Wild is expansive. Even after 80 or more hours in, I have not even scratched the surface of Hyrule. Early on in the game, the weapon system can be frustrating, but eventually it becomes a strategy. There are times to save your stronger weapons and maybe take a beating here or there. Not a single play through of Breath of the Wild will be the same. The immersive, expansive world of Hyrule is jaw-dropping. If you can think it, there is a good chance you can do it. From being a cruel, bird-slaying horseman to casually riding a deer only to get it blown up by a Guardian, Breath of the Wild has it all.
I started this game when I needed it the most. This game is important to me, and it single-handedly made me fall in love with the Nintendo Switch. There is plenty of fan service within Breath of the Wild too. While trifling through Hyrule, many odes to past Zelda games are present. One of the greatest gaming experiences I have ever had was entering Hyrule Castle for the first time. Breath of the Wild does not have much of a traditional Zelda score, but when the Hyrule Castle theme entered my speakers, my jaw dropped.
Breath of the Wild is not only my favorite Nintendo game of all-time. It is my favorite video game of all-time.