Top 10 Games by Nintendo [Best Recommendations]

The moment that the name Nintendo hits the lips of any hardcore fan, you know that there’s going to be a huge discussion about this incredibly celebrated company. Starting off as just a card company back in the late 1800’s, Nintendo eventually became a household name worldwide with hit franchises such as The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and now the e-Sports driven Splatoon and Super Smash Brothers. With such a large track record of hit releases, Nintendo has stood at the forefront of the industry when it comes to innovative ideas, and ushering in new ways of playing video games. With the most recent announcement of the Nintendo Switch, it seems like Nintendo is on its way once again to prove to the world that it has more up its sleeve. With so many games in their library to last an eternity, let us take a closer look at the biggest names in our top ten and see which one manages to come out on top.

10. Donkey Kong Country: Diddy’s Kong Quest

  • System/Platform: Super Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo | Rare
  • Release Date: November 20, 1995

Donkey Kong needs no introduction since for many years, this series has managed to captivate many with its challenging platform style gameplay, along with its lovable characters that mesh so well with the Nintendo image. Dating back to the early 80’s with the introduction of the arcade Donkey Kong, the series has managed to grab the attention of many, as DK and his crew battle King K. Rool’s kremlings in order to restore peace to the jungle.

With so many incredibly challenging levels to embark on, the Donkey Kong series has always managed to amaze players with its state of the art graphics, easy controls, and some of the greatest music you’ll ever hear in a video game (Aquatic ambiance anyone?). Whether you’re riding on Rambi the Rhino to strike down enemies, or chucking barrels at baddies, Diddy’s Kong Quest always promises to bring out something new and fresh every time to keep devoted fans of the series ecstatic. If we had to choose a runner up, it would most definitely be Donkey Kong Country: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble.


9. Star Fox

  • System/Platform: Super Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release Date: February 21, 1993

The iconic “Do a Barrel Roll!” meme has been around for ages, and it’s due to Nintendo’s classic Star Fox series. Take to the skies as Fox Mccloud along with his team including Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad, and Peppy Hare face off against the evil Andross in hopes to put an end to the terror that plagues the universe. Released back in 1993, the Star Fox series has managed to amass many followers, along with an assortment of sequels and spinoffs that still have people jumping out of their seats to this day with its rail shooting mechanics.

Star Fox as of late hasn’t been in the spotlight as much compared to when it first released on the Super Nintendo in the early nineties, but the franchise still has an incredibly devoted cult following that will most certainly never die anytime soon. What makes the series so impressive is that the gameplay was something unheard of at the time of its release, that allowed players to control the Arwing and blast their way through hordes of enemies on screen, while traversing through this 3D like world with colors flying at you every second. It was fast paced, thrilling, and incredibly satisfying as you desperately tried to avoid any hurdles in your way and make it to the final boss in one piece.


8. Kirby’s Dream Land 2

  • System/Platform: Gameboy, 3DS Virtual Console
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Date: March 21, 1995

This little pink ball of cuteness made its way onto the Gameboy in the early 1990’s with the release of Kirby’s Dream Land, then eventually grew into a worldwide phenomenon that still continues to shine on with more recent titles like Super Smash Bros., and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse for the Wii U. The story looks at Kirby as his world is being tormented by the annoying King Dedede, and so Kirby must rely on his special abilities to suck in and destroy his enemies along the path to take down the king.

Kirby titles are known for their very vibrant and colorful backdrops in a platform type setting, where the player must suck in enemies, take their powers, and use it against them in hopes to restore peace back to Dreamland. Kirby’s iconic appearance is what truly made it become one of Nintendo’s biggest mascots, due to its lovable personality and fearless approach in battle. In each iteration that Kirby fights in, battles get progressively more challenging, especially in Dream Land 2, along with the puzzles players must figure out to move onto the next level. Known to be one of the hardest Kirby games to get 100% completion, Dream Land 2 is sure to please any diehard or nostalgia freak.


7. Earthbound [Mother 2]

  • System/Platform: NES, Super Nintendo, Gameboy Advance
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Date: August 27, 1994

Known as Mother 2 in Japan, Earthbound has captured the hearts of many with its emotional tale of struggle, hardship, and triumph as Ness and his friends band together to collect melodies in order to stop the evil Giygas from turning the world into ruin. The series was one of the rare titles that didn’t see a global release until much later in its lifespan, so players had to import the title at the time to really get a true feel for the story. Originally released back in 1989 for the Famicom, Earthbound has evolved into an incredibly memorable franchise with Ness and Lucas working their way into the massively popular Super Smash Bros. series later on.

The Earthbound series was actually built around the Dragon Quest series, using similar mechanics to control your player on screen and engage in battles. More notably and perhaps most importantly, is that Earthbound is known for its clever and witty dialogue, originality, and parody to other games. Using psychic powers to take down the enemy, Ness was a force to be reckoned with in the game with epic battle sequences and crazy over the top backgrounds. Earthbound most surely has a cult following in the west, and will continue to be an all time classic for years to come.


6. Super Metroid

  • System/Platform: Super Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo R&D1 Intelligent Systems
  • Release Date: March 19, 1994

Samus is a name that simply cannot be forgotten, as she has travelled the galaxy in hopes to take out the evil Ridley, also known as Geoform 187, before his plot to control the universe take effect. For years, many who’ve played through the series were almost certain that Samus was a he, but it was until recently that the mask had been lifted to reveal this attractive blond bombshell who’d been kicking arse for well over three decades. Metroid kicked off in 1986 and was created by the late Gunpei Yokoi, along with various others which took Samus Aran on an adventure across the galaxy to take out space pirates.

Super Metroid shared resemblance to that of Super Mario’s platform style, along with Zelda’s exploration features and really created a wonderful balance. It also combines shooting aspects with a non linear progression style, that encouraged players to backtrack on their journey to ensure that nothing was left behind. This became quite a challenge for many which in turn made the series even more popular because you were never sure of what you’d run into, and had to come prepared at all times. Using your arm cannon to take out your enemies, along with special power ups you’d find along the way, Super Metroid is a classic title that creates not only an immersive experience but an exciting one too.


5. Super Mario Bros. 3

  • System/Platform: NES, Gameboy Advance
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo R&D4
  • Release Date: October 23, 1988

Mention Nintendo and this guy will most definitely be right next to the logo. Yup, that’s right we’re talking about Mario himself. The Mario franchise has a plethora of titles dating back to the late 1980’s with Super Mario Bros. for the Famicom, and from there the plumber has sold millions of copies with classic hits such as Super Mario 64, Paper Mario, Super Mario RPG, Mario Kart, and just about every other title with Mario in it.

Whether you’re a fan of the classic platforming styles of Super Mario World, or have grown to love the 3D adventure style of Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, there’s something out there for everyone to revel in. Every Mario title has something unique tied to it and no matter who you are, what age, you’re bound to find a controller in your hand as you travel around stomping on Goombas, soaring the skies in your Tanooki suit, or throwing shells at your opponent to avoid dying in Mario Bros. 3. Given the enormous success of Mario in general along with the upcoming Super Mario Run for iOS, there’s simply no stopping this red and blue suited plumber from amassing millions in sales for Nintendo.


4. Yoshi’s Island

  • System/Platform: Super NES, Gameboy Advance
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: August 1995

Look up Trihex on Twitch and you’ll most likely see this guy speedrunning one of Nintendo’s most successful Super Nintendo titles to date, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. Follow Yoshi along with his other colorful Yoshi comrades, as they try to help protect baby Mario from trouble and to stop Bowser and his cronies from wreaking havoc on the Island.

There’s so much to say about this game that we’d need another article to showcase it exclusively, but for now we’d like to go on and state that Yoshi’s Island is in the top 5 of best Super Nintendo games ever made. Why? You’re Yoshi, and you have Baby Mario on your back as you collect eggs with your tongue, shoot them back at enemies while overcoming challenging obstacles, and pulling off flashy acrobatics to advance to the next stage. The game also featured some of the best (if not THE best) graphics on the Super Nintendo console right before fading out to allow the N64 to roll in. Yoshi’s Island was Nintendo’s way of leaving behind a legacy on a system that is still played by many today.


3. Super Smash Bros.

  • System/Platform: Various Nintendo Platforms
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Date: January 21, 1999 - Present

Super Smash Bros. takes all of your quintessential characters from every Nintendo franchise, and throws them into a huge fighting game that has grown to become a global eSports phenomenon. Originally released on the Nintendo 64 back in 1999, Sakurai’s child paved the way for other multiplayer fighters to come out of the woodwork, but nothing could ever stand up to the massive success that Smash had achieved. Spanning just over a decade, the Smash Bros. series has become the staple title for anyone looking to lay the smackdown with their friends, or take it to the competitive stage for a chance at the big pot.

Choosing from a wide selection of Nintendo characters along with other franchise characters that soon made their appearance as well, players can choose from iconic Nintendo stages such as Hyrule Castle, the popular Great Fox from Star Fox, or the more recent Animal Crossing Smashville stage in the Wii U version. With so much to offer in one title, players would spend hours trying to generate high scores, or unlocking their favorite characters through countless battles or story mode which just brought hype levels over the limit. Whatever you desire, Super Smash Bros. has it all there for you, so be sure to pick it up and support an incredible title.


2. Pokemon

  • System/Platform: Various Nintendo Platforms, iOS
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo | Game Freak.
  • Release Date: February 27, 1996 - Present

Gotta catch em’ all! That’s the catchphrase that spawned an army of diehard Pokemon fans, dating back to its origin in 1996 with the legendary Red and Blue versions. Everyone and their pet wanted to become the best, like no one ever was. Traveling across the lands, searching far and wide, looking for that one Pokemon to carry you towards the Elite Four was the dream for many and still is today.

With countless iterations ranging from Red and Blue, Gold/Silver, to the now massive Sun and Moon, the Pokemon franchise has no plans of steamrolling its way through and cementing itself as the world’s greatest RPG series. Pokemon GO was just the tip of the iceberg when it dropped on smartphones earlier this year, selling with mind blowing numbers and further proving that Pikachu and his vast array of Pokemon friends are here to stay. Over 300+ Pokemon are waiting for you, so what are you waiting for? Pick up your 3DS and grab your Master Balls!


1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

  • System/Platform: N64, Gamecube
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: November 21, 1998

It’s certainly no surprise that The Legend of Zelda reigns supreme on this top ten Nintendo list, because it has captivated the hearts and minds of millions across the globe with its rich and powerful story, spectacular gameplay, and innovative features that can still be seen to this day. The story focuses on the young Link, who must save princess Zelda from the evil hands of Ganon (known as Ganondorf in later iterations) and restore peace back to Hyrule. With his sword in hand, he takes to the valleys and hills to fight off the many fearsome creatures that stand in his way, in hopes to bring Zelda back in one piece.

As stated earlier, what truly sells the Zelda franchise more than any other Nintendo series is its riveting storyline, that just somehow absorbs you into this vast world filled with mystery, and suspense. All you have in the beginning is your sword, and so you must traverse through the game in order to obtain all of the rare items you need to secure victory at all costs, all the while overcoming difficult puzzles and defeating challenging bosses. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is arguably the biggest Zelda game to date, and most would say the greatest of all time. Nintendo now has bigger plans to amaze the world with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Wii U and Nintendo Switch, which is the title all Zelda fans have been waiting for and may quite possibly take over the number one spot as the best Zelda title out there.


Closing Statement

Splatoon was missing from the list but not because it’s bad by any means, but because there’s just a huge cult following for the mentioned titles that we simply couldn’t ignore them. Other honorable mentions are Pikmin, Animal Crossing, F-Zero, anything with Luigi in it, and Kid Icarus. Let us know what other memorable Nintendo games you loved in the comments down below, and be sure to share our articles to keep the community buzzing!

As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Rob "NualphaJPN" B.


Recommended Post

[Editorial Tuesday] Why Nintendo Is the Pioneer of Gaming Today


Recommended Post

Top 10 N64 Games [Best Recommendations]


Recommended Post

Top 10 Super Famicom Games [Best Recommendations]


Recommended Post

Top 10 3DS Games [Best Recommendations]


Recommended Post

Top 10 SNES Games [Best Recommendation]