From the Art of Video Games exhibit.

Lists are hard. You try your damnedest to round out to whatever number sounds good to you but something always seems off. Raise the number to include more then it feels like filler. Rattle off what’s already been established and what’s the point? Sure I could just print a list of the best video games ever. How different would that list really be though? As time goes forward we seem to further homogenize our views of what’s worth playing and what’s not into a cycling list of the same few games, just in a new order. Still I read them all and scrutinize despite knowing the strings involved behind the curtain. I can’t deny that I love making lists though so I decided to give myself a challenge. It started as listing a few scribbles on paper and grew into this semi-complete list of 140 games that sit before you now. Criteria and rules?

  • 5 games per system/designation. IE; Gameboy Color = Gameboy, and PC is broken down by decades starting in the 80’s.
  • Unless there’s a paradigm shift in how the game is played, one entry per series across all platforms
  • The list should compose of games that highlight the variety of the system, not necessarily “the best”.
    • Subnote – if I didn’t create this rule, virtually every choice of mine would have been RPGs
  • The games must be approachable in their current state today in 2017, not as they were at release.
    • Some games don’t age well and because of this will not be included.
    • This also means games that were amazing with a multiplayer focus may have been lobbed off
  • I’m going off of NA releases, and heavily bent towards games I have either first or second hand experience with. Sorry, no “but this limited print of an import JRPGs that influenced everything ever and OMG HOW DID YOU NOT INCLUDE THIS ON YOUR LIST”. Tangible, real, accessible games only.

By all means, feel free to state your arguments as to what should/shouldn’t make the cut. Just remember this isn’t a “best games for the platform” as much as it is a “this is why this platform was great”. The five games are unranked and represent a set to be plopped down in front of a group of players that’ve never experienced it in hopes of highlighting the range offered by that platform. That being said, these lists are meant to compliment one another and if you isolate them it might be confusing to why these games were chosen. For example you won’t find Super Mario 64 (OMG WHY?!) – Because I felt Super Mario Galaxy better represented the Wii yet the two games are similar enough to not need both games muddling up the lists.

Without further ramblings – Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of it all now. The lists of games and a bit about them… For this post I’ll keep it to all things Nintendo.

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Welcome to my Friday Five, where every week I put together a list of five awesome items from various topics. This week’s list? Nintendo Games from 2002-2015!

This wasn’t originally the plan I had for this week’s Friday Five. With the unfortunate passing Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata and some of my own personal issues, my mood shifted quite a bit though. Firing up Destiny to ease my mind, it just wasn’t doing anything for me. I found myself craving the comfort foods that only Nintendo could deliver on. Shortly afterwards I was playing Earthbound, a game that Iwata programmed earlier in his career. This was my first time playing the game since somewhere in the 90’s. Despite not having a huge personal connection to it I couldn’t ignore the charm and personality in the game as I explored it’s world. The positive and quirky tone just put a smile on my face. From what I’ve been reading, this is what Iwata was about. I’m not in any position to talk about how great of a person he was in the industry. I don’t know much about him or his work beyond“Please understand”,  a phrase often uttered during the difficulty times at Nintendo to his board of investors. It still hit me though as I heard about the news Sunday while a friend was catching me up on his social media feed.
Upon reflection in reading all the wonderful stories shared online about him it made me want to revisit some of what he left behind.

Life is short. We need more smiles during our time here. So without furthering the delay, here are five amazing Nintendo developed games that brought joy into my life.

5) Animal Crossing: New Leaf 

Animal Crossing New Leaf

The Animal Crossing series has landed on every one of Nintendo’s platforms since the Nintendo 64 (in Japan) through the 3DS in 2013 for North America. When making it’s debut in the states on GameCube, it offered a truly unique and bizarre experience during a time of mainstream adoption of video games. While Madden, Halo, and Grand Theft Auto 3 were bringing in a new casual audience looking for realism and action, Animal Crossing sat squarely in the corner content and unphased as the consumerist social simulation that it was. Several iterations later it’s continued to grow into quite possibly one of the best games to own on a portable device. It’s perfect for any amount of time you want to spend with it. Whether you just want to unwind for a few minutes at night tending to your garden, or maybe spend all day fishing to gather the native currency (bells) – Animal Crossing New Leaf has you covered. Befriending villagers, fishing, collecting furniture, shaping your town, designing clothing, digging up fossils, playing island games, visiting a friend’s town… There’s so much to do and all the time in the world to do it. <3

Highlights: The mobility of the game allows you to collect other player’s homes via streetpass to occupy a special section of your town. I love getting excited with my wife as we attending geek gatherings like a Zelda or Final Fantasy concert, knowing next time we play we’ll have a slew of new homes to compare against our own or buy new rare items from other players.

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Nintendo Broken
It’s no secret that Nintendo has fallen from grace. Everyone has their own idea of what Nintendo needs to do to turn it around. While some live in denial, saying to stay the course and quality will win out. Others think they need to abandon anything unique and just become a third PC clone like Microsoft or Sony’s latest offering, but with killer first party games. Here’s my thoughts on what could potentially return them to the console throne.

No Kill MeFull disclaimer (since pitchforks and torches come with every Nintendo system it seems) – I’m in no way disillusioned to think that I’m speaking with any authority on the matter. I know my thoughts put to digital ink changes nothing. I’m just another observer in the world speaking my piece on my quiet little section of the internet. So if you think I’m off my rocker you’re probably right to think so, but please don’t be a dick about it. I also don’t think my approach to fixing the N issue is that radical anyways. A few tweaks that can be made while retaining what works.

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Shigeru Miyamoto IS Nintendo. His tenure at Nintendo has outlasted any director or officer at the company and has had a stronger influence than any President/CEO has ever had. Just look at a short list of what he’s directly responsible for there… Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Pikmin, and has been involved in the production of several hardware and software projects to come out of Nintendo. Even Pokemon has indirectly sprouted from him, with Satoshi Tajiri suggesting his style was heavily influenced by Miyamoto. Not too shabby for someone who went to school for industrial design and wanted to draw comics for a living. That’s what makes things so interesting and probably why he’s an enigma in the industry. Being a natural he came up without restrictions, structure, and from an entirely different direction than most trained game designers. The benefits of traveling the unknown road, no doubt.

For better or worse, Miyamoto is responsible for Nintendo’s brand above all others. With the absence of Gunpei Yokoi  (creator of the much beloved Virtual Boy Game Boy), he is one of the last voices of the old guard in the house of “Leave Luck to Heaven“. So what will a world without Miyamoto be like for them?

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“No Nintendo console is allowed in my house. They don’t know what they’re doing with that thing.” 

Late last year that was the thought my wife had when I was getting intrigued by Nintendo’s latest console. I couldn’t really argue her point. Nintendo didn’t seem like it knew what to do with the GamePad or how to organize an online infrastructure still. Third parties are scared to invest in Wii U support with the disparity between it and the PS4/X1. Yet, Wind Waker HD had a limited edition bundle and with Super Mario 3D World on the way it had finally started to become something I was interested in. Everyone knows Nintendo’s strength is in it’s first party titles and they were starting to seriously roll them out. Shiny games were enticing me. Fast forward to Sunday night as she and I were driving home from Toys R Us with this in the back seat.

WiiU

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ZeldaThe Legend of Zelda. It’s a franchise that has been around for a lifetime and is one of the primary reasons to purchase a Nintendo console for most. I’ve played quite a bit of the franchise including the original release on NES at some point. I was a kid then so don’t remember too much. Just exploring dungeons, a huge overworld map that was confusing at times. Lots of secrets and frustratingly hard enemy encounters at times. I know I played through the first dungeon at least because I remember fighting a dragon and getting a piece of the Triforce. At the time I don’t think I could have appreciated it for what it was. Looking back 27 years after it released in NA though I can confidently say this is one of the best games I’ve played this year. You can keep your 1080p‘s, they have nothing on Hyrule in it’s original form.

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