When given the task of making a top five consoles list, I came to the realization that I do not have much experience with certain consoles such as any of the Atari or Jaguar consoles. Then I thought of the company of which I have had the most experience and fond memories. I thought of Nintendo. As someone who has had much experience with most, if not all, of the mainline Nintendo consoles, I thought it time to put them in order.
Warning: You may not like what Nintendo systems I put at certain numbers. That’s okay. My opinion might include different consoles than you. With that out of the way, let’s get started!
5. The Nintendo Switch
You know you have one heck of a powerhouse of a company when your list starts out with the Nintendo Switch. The Switch takes console gaming where it has never gone before: outside (if we forget the PSP and the PS Vita of course, but let’s factor in the Switch’s success in such a short time). The Nintendo Switch seems to have something for everyone. Staples such as Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild, shooters like Doom and Wolfenstein 2, and indies like Stardew Valley and Celeste. Docked or on the go. Alone or with friends, the Nintendo Switch doesn’t seem to want to slow down.
4. The Nintendo Entertainment System
Depending on your age, you may think this system goes too high or too low on this list. This system started it all. The NES saved video games from the video game crash of the 1970s.
So many game series saw their starts here. From Super Mario to Metroid to Kirby to The Legend of Zelda. Weekends would melt away as you tried one last time to beat that one boss you couldn’t beat. Its peripherals either hit like the Zapper or missed like the Power Glove, but no one can deny the NES’s spot in video game history.
3. The Nintendo Wii
If the NES made video games a force for the masses, the Wii reminded people that the masses could include your mom or uncle. Even your grandpa could work on his bowling. And with such games as Super Smash Bros Brawl and Xenoblade Chronicles, the “hardcore” gamer had their games too.
Some have a distaste for the system because it didn’t cater enough to those that had stood by them all this time. But I just can’t look past the simple act of bringing everyone, even those who don’t consider themselves gamers, together.
2. The Game Boy/Game Boy Color
If you really wanted to, you could label the Game Boy as doing what the Wii did only better. It got people who didn’t play games to become addicted. Tetris smashed popularity records back in the early 90s. But if you used that label, you would discount all the spectacular other games the Game Boy had to offer.
The library includes so many excellent titles and even more if you include the Game Boy Color. Oracle of Seasons and Ages, Battletoads, and of course Pokémon made up some of the many titles on the portable console. It made all those family car trips so much better. Just make sure to pack your AA batteries.
1. The Super Nintendo
Here we have it: the golden age of gaming. The Super Nintendo took everything great about the original NES and made it twenty times better. Games like A Link to the Past, Super Mario World, Final Fantasy 3 (6, don’t ask), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4, and so many more. The SNES even had a peripheral known as the Super Game Boy, which allowed you to play any Game Boy or Game Boy Color game on your television. If you describe the NES as Nintendo awkwardly learning what works like a teenager, you could describe the SNES as Nintendo reaching adulthood. Let’s just say, there’s a reason the SNES Classic Edition sells like hotcakes.
The word Nintendo roughly translates to “Leave luck in heaven’s hands.” While other gaming companies try to compete, Nintendo just focuses on the fun of it all. With so many great consoles, I don’t think their magic is just luck.
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I’ve been writing almost as long as I’ve been playing video games. I also do standup and improv. The game that made me realize that video games could be more than just a toy, was Metal Gear Solid 2.