Best Nintendo Franchises of All Time – Top 10 Gaming Excellence

Best Nintendo Franchises of All Time

In the vibrant tapestry of the gaming world, few names command as much respect and admiration as Nintendo. For decades, this iconic gaming company has captivated the hearts of players young and old, crafting unforgettable experiences that transcend time and technological evolution. The Nintendo franchises, those beloved universes brimming with creativity and charm, have become an integral part of gaming culture.


Game Title



Super Mario Bros – NES

Nintendo Entertainment System


Pokémon – Game Boy

Game Boy


The Legend Of Zelda – NES

Nintendo Entertainment System


Metroid – NES

Nintendo Entertainment System


Super Smash Bros – Nintendo 64

Nintendo 64


Mario Kart – SNES

Super Nintendo Entertainment System


Fire Emblem – NES

Nintendo Entertainment System


Animal Crossing – Nintendo 64

Nintendo 64


Xenoblade Chronicles – Nintendo Wii

Nintendo Wii


Donkey Kong – Arcade


From the moment a player first plunged into the pixelated landscapes of the Mushroom Kingdom in “Super Mario Bros.,” Nintendo’s impact on the industry was undeniable. Over the years, they’ve consistently delivered groundbreaking franchises that have set the standard for innovation, gameplay mechanics, and storytelling. Whether it’s the fantastical adventures of Link in “The Legend of Zelda,” the whimsical battles of pocket monsters in “Pokémon,” or the exhilarating races of “Mario Kart,” each franchise has left an indelible mark on players worldwide.

Top 10 Best Nintendo Franchises of All Time

This compilation explores the very essence of Nintendo’s finest franchises, delving into the magic that has made them enduring favorites. Journey with us as we traverse through time, reliving the moments that defined generations, and celebrating the ingenuity that continues to drive Nintendo’s success. These are the best Nintendo franchises of all time, each a testament to the power of imagination and the joy of interactive storytelling.


1. Super Mario Bros – NES

Super Mario Bros., released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), is a groundbreaking video game that marked the beginning of the iconic Super Mario franchise. Developed by Nintendo’s creative genius Shigeru Miyamoto, the game follows Mario, the plumber, on a quest to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of the villainous King Koopa. With its innovative side-scrolling platform gameplay, vibrant visuals, and memorable music, Super Mario Bros. captivated players around the world and laid the foundation for modern gaming.

The game’s simple yet engaging mechanics introduced players to jumping, stomping enemies, and exploring hidden secrets, establishing conventions that continue to influence platformers today. Its imaginative level design, from the mushroom-filled World 1-1 to the fiery depths of Bowser’s castle, offered a diverse range of challenges and surprises. The game’s success cemented Mario as a pop culture icon and helped drive the sales of the NES itself.

2. Pokémon – Game Boy

Pokémon, short for “Pocket Monsters,” burst onto the scene in 1996 with the release of Pokémon Red and Green (Blue outside of Japan) for the Game Boy. Developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo, this role-playing game revolutionized the RPG genre by introducing players to a world where they could capture, train, and battle with adorable creatures called Pokémon.

Set in the fictional region of Kanto, players assume the role of a Pokémon Trainer aiming to become a Pokémon Champion by catching and training a diverse array of creatures, each possessing unique abilities. The game’s engrossing collecting and battling mechanics, coupled with its multiplayer link cable feature for trading and battling with friends, contributed to its immense popularity and long-lasting impact on gaming culture.

3. The Legend Of Zelda – NES

The Legend of Zelda,” released in 1986 for the NES, is a pioneering action-adventure game developed and published by Nintendo. Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, the game introduced players to the fictional realm of Hyrule and the hero, Link, as he embarks on a quest to rescue Princess Zelda and thwart the malevolent plans of Ganon.

Innovative for its time, the game’s non-linear exploration and open-world design set a precedent for future adventure games. Players navigate through a vast overworld, uncovering secrets, solving puzzles, and battling enemies in top-down perspective. Dungeons, each with unique themes and challenges, are a core aspect of the game, culminating in epic battles against powerful bosses.

“The Legend of Zelda” stands as a foundational title in the adventure game genre, renowned for its rich storytelling, intricate gameplay, and atmospheric music. It paved the way for an enduring franchise with sequels and spin-offs that continue to captivate players with their captivating narratives and engaging gameplay.

4. Metroid – NES

Released in 1986 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), “Metroid” is an iconic action-adventure game that set the foundation for the Metroidvania genre. Developed by Nintendo R&D1, the game follows the space-faring bounty hunter Samus Aran as she explores the mysterious planet Zebes to thwart the Space Pirates’ plans and defeat the parasitic Metroid creatures.

“Metroid” is praised for its atmospheric exploration, non-linear gameplay, and emphasis on discovery. Players navigate interconnected labyrinthine areas, uncovering power-ups that grant access to previously inaccessible areas. Samus’s iconic morph ball transformation and her diverse arsenal of weapons contribute to the game’s strategic combat.

The game’s minimalistic storytelling, where the true nature of the protagonist is revealed only upon completing the game quickly enough, added to its mystique. Its atmospheric music and dark visuals added to the sense of isolation and alienation, creating a memorable gaming experience that captivated players for years.

5. Super Smash Bros – Nintendo 64

“Super Smash Bros.” for the Nintendo 64, released in 1999, revolutionized the fighting game genre by combining popular Nintendo characters in a crossover brawler. Developed by HAL Laboratory and directed by Masahiro Sakurai, the game offered a unique blend of approachable gameplay and competitive depth.

Players select from a roster of iconic Nintendo characters, including Mario, Link, and Pikachu, and engage in chaotic battles across dynamic stages. Unlike traditional fighting games, the objective is to knock opponents off the screen rather than deplete their health bars. The game’s accessible controls and diverse character movesets allowed both casual and competitive players to enjoy the action.

“Super Smash Bros.” gained recognition for its multiplayer fun, where friends could gather to settle disputes and create memorable moments. Its party-like gameplay and simple mechanics ensured its longevity in social gaming settings. The franchise’s success led to numerous sequels and cemented its position as a staple in the Nintendo gaming lineup.

6. Mario Kart – SNES

Mario Kart” made its debut on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1992, introducing a new dimension to the racing genre by combining Nintendo’s beloved characters with arcade-style racing. Developed by Nintendo EAD, the game’s accessible gameplay and entertaining power-ups brought a lighthearted and competitive edge to racing.

The game features eight playable characters from the Mario universe, each with their own unique attributes. Players race across a variety of imaginative tracks, navigating obstacles and utilizing items like shells and bananas to gain an advantage or hinder opponents. The game’s signature item, the Blue Shell, became notorious for targeting the race leader.

“Mario Kart” was celebrated for its multiplayer mode, allowing up to two players to compete simultaneously. The game’s combination of skillful driving and unpredictable item usage created an engaging dynamic suitable for players of all ages. The franchise’s success led to numerous sequels, each introducing new features and enhancing the racing experience while maintaining the series’ signature charm.

7. Fire Emblem – NES

“Fire Emblem” is a tactical role-playing game (RPG) that was first released in 1990 for the Famicom, the Japanese version of the NES. Developed by Intelligent Systems, the game introduced players to a fantasy world filled with political intrigue, epic battles, and memorable characters. Set in the fictional continent of Archanea, players take on the role of Marth, a prince leading a group of warriors to reclaim his kingdom from an evil dragon.

The gameplay revolves around turn-based battles on grid-based maps, where players strategically move their units to attack enemies and achieve various objectives. Permadeath is a defining feature of the series, where fallen characters are lost for the rest of the game, adding an emotional layer to gameplay decisions. The game’s challenging difficulty and intricate strategic gameplay have earned it a devoted fanbase.

“Fire Emblem” introduced the Weapon Triangle system, which adds an extra layer of strategy by making certain weapons more effective against others. The game also laid the foundation for the series’ storytelling style, combining character interactions, political drama, and fantastical elements.

Due to its success, “Fire Emblem” became a long-running franchise with multiple sequels, spin-offs, and remakes, popularizing the tactical RPG genre in the gaming world.

8. Animal Crossing – Nintendo 64

“Animal Crossing” made its debut on the Nintendo GameCube in 2001 and quickly captured the hearts of players with its charming and relaxing gameplay. Developed by Nintendo’s Entertainment Analysis and Development division, the game introduced players to a delightful virtual world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals.

In “Animal Crossing,” players take on the role of a human character who moves to a village populated by various animal residents. The game emphasizes open-ended gameplay, allowing players to engage in a variety of activities such as fishing, bug catching, fossil hunting, and more. The real-time clock and seasons mimic the passage of time in the game, creating a dynamic and immersive experience.

One of the standout features of “Animal Crossing” is its emphasis on social interactions. Players can build relationships with the animal villagers, celebrate holidays and special events, and even visit the villages of friends through memory cards or online connectivity.

The game’s relaxed pace, adorable characters, and creative customization options, including home decoration and clothing, make it a unique and endearing experience. “Animal Crossing” has since become a beloved franchise with numerous sequels and spin-offs, maintaining its reputation as a heartwarming and therapeutic gaming series that encourages creativity and community engagement.

9. Xenoblade Chronicles – Nintendo Wii

Xenoblade Chronicles, originally released for the Nintendo Wii, is a critically acclaimed role-playing game that combines an expansive open-world environment with an engaging storyline and deep gameplay mechanics. Developed by Monolith Soft, the game follows the journey of Shulk, a young man wielding a mystical weapon called the Monado, in a world inhabited by both humans and mechanical beings known as Mechon.

The game’s standout feature is its vast and visually stunning open-world, which is populated by diverse landscapes ranging from lush forests to expansive plains and colossal ancient structures. Players can explore this world seamlessly, engaging in real-time combat that involves strategic positioning, special abilities, and chain attacks. The Monado itself plays a central role, as it grants Shulk the ability to see glimpses of the future, allowing for tactical decision-making in battles.

Xenoblade Chronicles is also known for its intricate and emotional narrative, exploring themes of revenge, friendship, and the clash between organic and mechanical life. The characters are well-developed and their relationships evolve over the course of the game, adding depth to the overall experience. The game’s expansive side quests and exploration elements provide ample content beyond the main story, encouraging players to delve deeper into the world.

The game’s re-release on the Nintendo Switch as “Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition” brought enhanced visuals, quality-of-life improvements, and an additional epilogue chapter that expands upon the original story. With its captivating world, compelling characters, and strategic combat system, Xenoblade Chronicles remains a standout RPG title that continues to captivate players on the Nintendo Switch.

10. Donkey Kong – Arcade

Released in 1981, Donkey Kong is a classic arcade game that marked the debut of two iconic characters – Donkey Kong himself and the one-and-only Mario (then known as Jumpman). Developed by Nintendo and designed by the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto, the game laid the foundation for many gaming conventions and became a cornerstone of the industry.

In the game, players take on the role of Mario, a carpenter, who must rescue his girlfriend Pauline from the clutches of the giant ape Donkey Kong. The gameplay consists of four different levels, or “screens,” each presenting unique challenges that involve climbing platforms, jumping over barrels, and avoiding hazards. The game’s simplistic yet addictive mechanics, coupled with its escalating difficulty, kept players hooked and engaged.

Donkey Kong is not only notable for its gameplay but also for its historical significance. It introduced the world to Mario, who would go on to become Nintendo’s mascot and one of the most recognizable video game characters of all time. The game’s success also propelled Nintendo into the forefront of the video game industry.

Over the years, Donkey Kong has been re-released on numerous platforms, including the Nintendo Switch through various collections and digital storefronts. Its enduring popularity and influence on gaming culture are a testament to its timeless appeal and the impact it had on shaping the industry.

Top Nintendo Franchises of All Time

The realm of gaming has been forever transformed by the creative brilliance of Nintendo’s iconic franchises. These remarkable universes have captured the imaginations of gamers across generations, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape of interactive entertainment. From the pioneering days of pixelated adventures to the immersive worlds of modern gaming, Nintendo’s franchises have stood the test of time, redefining genres and setting new standards for innovation, gameplay, and storytelling.

Each entry in the top 10 list of the “Best Nintendo Franchises of All Time” has left an unmistakable imprint on the gaming world. “Super Mario Bros.” initiated a revolution in platforming, while “Pokémon” brought the joy of creature-catching and battling to the masses. “The Legend of Zelda” transported players to fantastical realms of adventure, “Metroid” ventured into atmospheric exploration, and “Super Smash Bros.” united characters in unforgettable battles.

The spirited races of “Mario Kart,” the tactical brilliance of “Fire Emblem,” and the communal charm of “Animal Crossing” showcased Nintendo’s diverse creative range. “Xenoblade Chronicles” captivated with its sprawling world and deep narrative, while the primal battle of “Donkey Kong” introduced two icons that would shape the industry.

As we celebrate these best Nintendo franchises of all time, we recognize the enduring power of creativity, storytelling, and innovation. These franchises have not only enriched the lives of gamers but have also left an indelible legacy that will continue to inspire future generations of game developers and players alike. Nintendo’s ability to create worlds that resonate with players’ hearts is a testament to the magic of interactive storytelling, and these franchises will forever remain a cherished part of gaming history

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