When one thinks of Nintendo, the mind tends to gravitate towards their A-list games. Titles that have either garnered a level of success and critical acclaim that puts them at the head of the pack. Mainline Super Mario games easily clear this bar. So do the mainline Zelda games. While it’s one of the newest franchises, the massive success of Splatoon would put it up on that pedestal as well. Where you and I draw the line may vary here and there, but I think we can generally agree on which Nintendo games are at the top and which ones aren’t on that same level.
It’s not necessarily because these games are worse. Maybe they just haven’t found their footing. In spite of being great since the start, it took Fire Emblem decades of time and like a dozen releases before finding a wider audience. Some franchises sell well enough to still get multiple sequels, such as WarioWare or BoxBoy. Others are meant to be niche products, such as Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball. Though Nintendo probably would like for all of their games to sell in the 10+ million range, I get the sense that they’re willing to make and publish B-tier games so long as they make enough of a profit to justify their creation.
In any case, not every game and franchise in Nintendo’s ecosystem is on the same stratosphere. But with a bit more love, maybe some of them could be. Here are a few of my picks for B-tier Nintendo games and franchises that deserve another shot.
Long before I ever watched an episode of the Japanese anime Bleach, I owned an import copy of Bleach DS. During the apex of my Nintendo DS love, I was importing almost many hot Japanese games that likely would never see the light of day here. Of that set were two notable fighting games: Jump Super Stars and Bleach DS . I imported both. While Jump Super Stars had more hype surrounding it, I had a really hard time getting into its Smash Bros-inspired gameplay. Bleach DS on the other hand was much more up my alley. Bleach DS was a hardcore 2D fighting game that played in line with many of the modern fighting games at the time. Bleach DS came out in North America as Bleach: The Blade of Fate almost two years after the original Japanese release.
As awesome as the original was, Bleach DS 2nd (or Bleach: Dark Souls in North America) was even better. In my opinion, it will forever stand as the gold standard for 2D fighting games on the Nintendo DS.
With the Nintendo 3DS set to hit North America in a matter of days, it’s time to close the books on the Nintendo system that could. Who knew that the ugly and under-powered Nintendo DS would end up becoming one of the best-selling systems of all-time? Who knew the device would actually usher in a new era of casual gaming?
Though I’ll confess to not having played my DS in a very long time, I bought a ton of games for it during its hey day and had a lot of great memories with it. Before moving into the next era of handheld gaming, I thought I’d close things out by listing off my top 5 favourite Nintendo DS games.
As much as I love video games, there aren’t many games I truly geek out about. I like Gears of War, but it’s not a game that has any lasting effects on me when I’m not playing it. When it comes to games I truly geek out about, such as the Street Fighter IV, I constantly talk about it, thoroughly analyze it and evangelize it as much as I can. You don’t need to dig very deep into my blog to realize that I am a huge Street Fighter IV junkie.
While I have not said much about the Phoenix Wright series on my blog, that first game is one of those I truly geek out about. It’s not a perfect, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t leave a huge impression on me.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. As a video game blog, I hope you found every game you wanted under the tree this year and that you provided your friends and loved ones with the gift of game as well. Between my brother and I, we received a bunch of games that I can’t wait to dig into. Hopefully with my week off at work I can actually make a dent in them!
Having listened to the latest episode of the Joystiq podcast where they read and play clips of Joystiq readers share their favourite Christmas memories, I thought I would share one of mine with you.