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.
With money and time as an finite resource, it’s very easy to stay in a comfort zone with the video games you play. But sometimes, you get rewarded for escaping your imaginary box. Despite my previous negative response to art games like Journey and The Unfinished Swan, trying out Gris on the strength of a recommendation from Kris and Rachel from Double Jump proved to be a worthwhile endeavour.
Here are a few more games that I’ve played that expanded my horizons in ways I wasn’t expecting.
[NOTE: Based on backlog and life circumstances, I don’t think I’m going to finish the Wargroove campaign any time soon. As such, this is an impressions piece based on my time with it instead of a formal review.]
“If you want a new Advance Wars so much, why don’t you make it yourself?”
– Nintendo, probably
With Nintendo’s military strategy game still on ice a decade after we last saw it, Chucklefish steps up to this hypothetical challenge with Wargroove. Take the Advance Wars gameplay, set it in a Fire Emblem like medieval setting, and watch the profits roll in. But does it offer anything more than just a repackaging of tried-and-true ideas?
Long before war got its “groove” back, Nintendo paved the way for turn-based strategy games with mainstream appeal with Advance Wars! You won’t need a time machine to relive the fight. Just watch the VOD as we play through the first few levels and have a great chat about the Nintendo Direct that hadn’t happened just yet at the time of recording, games that expanded our horizons, our favourite tactics games and more!
We got our Extra Life 2018 Medal!
Why I trade in and sell old games
How I fell in love with Advance Wars
My wife’s bougie Chess origin story
My Gameboy Advance SP NES Classic Edition
Playing Gameboy Advance during class
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“Super Mario is alright. The Legend of Zelda had a few hits. But have you played Electroplankton?!”
– Hypothetical Nintendo hipster
Nintendo makes some of the biggest and most successful games in the history of mankind. But not everything they make is a hit among the greater populace. From the aforementioned abstract instruments of Electroplankton, to the eShop exclusive Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball, to my brother who is still holding his breath for a new Elite Beat Agents, they do release games that fly well below the radar.
Here’s my list of Nintendo hipster faves. What under-the-radar Nintendo games are you a fan of?
Years before I knew what Fire Emblem was, I was a die-hard Advance Wars fan. Upon its original release on the Gameboy Advance in 2001, it opened my eyes to the wonderful world of turn-based strategy. Beyond being my first foray, it’s still one of my favourites.
The series would get three more sequels before Nintendo quietly stopped supporting the series in 2008. Meanwhile, its sibling game Fire Emblem has taken off to become a marquee Nintendo franchise. What happened to Advance Wars? And what can be done to bring it back?
Just beat Advance Wars again. This time on the Wii U Virtual Console. Holy cow that game is good. Even after all of these years, it still holds up as a brilliant turn-based strategy game. Hopefully its inclusion on the Wii U means that more people will get to continue to enjoy this underrated Nintendo classic!
For more on why Advance Wars is so great, check out this piece I wrote from a while back!
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Rival armies go toe-to-toe in a battle for land and sea supremacy. This is one of my all-time favourite games and one you should check out too!
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I love analytics. As someone who works in the online advertising industry, I find the process of analyzing numbers and deriving insights from those numbers to be very interesting. Although WordPress.com has a very limited analytics dashboard, I still check the numbers multiple times a day to see how everything is doing.
For the fun of it, I thought I’d write a mini-report of sorts to share with you some of the insights I’ve gathered about you and those who frequent this site. I sort of did this about a year ago, but I thought it’d be fun to try and make a persona model of you, the In Third Person reader. I understand that you’re all unique people, but the purpose of this exercise is to try and boil you down into one main archetype based on the numbers I have available to me. How does this match up to you?