Nintendo home consoles ranked from best to worst

Nintendo’s place in history as one of the most important video game companies cannot be denied. With the industry in a downward spiral at the start of the 1980s, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) lit a spark that never went out. From that point, gaming gradually became the mainstream hobby it is today.

With that said, not every console the company made turned out so great. Certain Nintendo consoles will be remembered and cherished for generations to come. Others will leave fans scratching their heads.

Here is one man’s opinion of the greatest Nintendo home console down to the worst (yes, the Switch counts).

1. Super Nintendo (SNES)

During the 16-bit era, Nintendo simply held all the cards. Their console proved more powerful than the Sega Genesis, and it had the support of nearly every major third-party company. The list of third-party titles included Final Fantasy II and III, which were part of the main line of Final Fantasy games. Capcom gave excellent arcade ports of their Street Fighter II line. Of course, Nintendo produced a number of timeless classics too, such as Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, F-Zero, Pilotwings, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Star Fox and more.

2. Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

Perhaps the NES can be argued as Nintendo’s greatest home console. After all, Nintendo revived the gaming industry with Super Mario Bros. Many of the same IPs mentioned above in the SNES section made their start on the NES. The graphics did not age well, but many retro games today try hard to emulate the old 8-bit style. Is there anything else to knock about the NES? The cartridges sometimes did not work. Plus, the controller felt limited with only two buttons. It still offered a huge and well-varied library of games, making it one of the greatest consoles.

3. Wii

On the Wii, longtime Nintendo fans could actually buy many classic NES and SNES games through Virtual Console. That fact alone made it a strong purchase. But the Wii earned its place in history through innovation. Nintendo attempted to do something different with the “Wiimote” controller. It also had solid games in general, including Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Wii, Mario Kart Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and more. The ability to play online gave the Nintendo base something new. Nintendo insisted on restricting online interaction though. It hurt the system, and the trend did not help future Nintendo consoles either.

4. Nintendo 64

Nintendo stumbled a bit with the Nintendo 64. By making the console cartridge-based instead of CD-based, they lost a major third-party company in Squaresoft (later called Square Enix). Square later released Final Fantasy VII for the Sony PlayStation instead of the Nintendo 64, giving RPG fans a reason to jump ship to a console with cheaper games. However, the Nintendo 64 had its own charm. Besides the usual strong lineup of Nintendo franchises, the console offered 4-player gaming out of the box with four ports. If only the controller did not feel so bulky and awkward.

5. Switch

The Switch counts for this list. Ranking it is hard though because its lifespan is not finished yet. Yes, the Switch hardware has sold great. It truly is an innovate piece of hardware that can be used as a home console or portable system. There are some promising signs too from the third-party front, although the system’s lack of power is not going to help. Nintendo’s restrictive and sometimes strange online policies continue though. Besides that, the Virtual Console is still not present.

6. Wii U

While many people knock the Wii U, and it did not sell well, it had some good games. For example, the usual Nintendo franchises made their appearances. Super Mario Maker, a game Nintendo originally intended on as the next Mario Paint, ended up fantastic. However, the third-party companies such as EA jumped ship and the console crumbled as one of their worst-selling pieces of hardware.

7. Gamecube

It looked like a lunchbox. How seriously could it be taken? To be fair, the Gamecube offered powerful specs inside. After the company lost some ground with the Nintendo 64 though, it became hard to regain the top spot from Sony.

Lists are never perfect, so it is fine to disagree. What Nintendo console deserves the No. 1 spot? Which one proved worst? The second question is a more difficult debate. Write those comments below.

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