My Top 30 Favourite Nintendo Franchises: Rules and Honorable Mentions

If you’re reading this out of curiosity, you may be shocked to see me counting down 30 Nintendo franchises. “Wait a minute,” you may ask. “Does Nintendo even have 30 videogame franchises?”

Well, my dear reader, I can tell you after a bit of research on my part that they have more than 60 of the things. Yeah, that YouTube comment didn’t know what it was talking about. But what constitutes a “franchise” and what are the eligible entries that won’t make it onto my personal list? Indeed, before I get onto the countdown proper, it’s worth answering these questions.

WHAT’S ELIGIBLE FOR THE LIST

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To be eligible for the list:

— A franchise has to have released more than one game. Or else it isn’t a franchise.

— At least two of those games need to have been released outside of Japan.

— I must have played at least one of the franchise’s games, however briefly. On the actual list, games I’ve played will show up in bold.

— Games within eligible franchises must be either developed by Nintendo or published by them in collaboration with another studio using mostly Nintendo-owned characters/IPs. So Soul Calibur II doesn’t count, for example, because Link was the only Nintendo character to show up in the game, and sadly neither does Donkey Kong 64, because Rareware owns most of the characters in that game.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that characters don’t define a franchise. For example, even though Mario Kart, Mario Golf and Super Mario Bros 2 all have Mario in their titles, they’re obviously not from the same franchises and play completely differently. The same goes for all Nintendo’s Pokemon-themed spin off franchises. Even 2D Mario games and 3D Mario games tend to feel different enough to classify splitting them from one another, at least in my opinion (Nintendo even uses separate teams to develop them now).
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EXAMPLES OF GAMES THAT AREN’T FROM FRANCHISES

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These games don’t (yet) have sequels published by Nintendo, so they’re just standalone titles and don’t qualify for the list:

– Ice Climber (NES)
– Balloon Fight (NES)
– Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)
– Pokemon Snap (N64)
– Super Mario RPG (SNES)
– Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GCN)
– Tomodachi Life (3DS)
– Drill Dozer (GBA)
– Electroplankton (DS)
– HarmoKnight (3DS)
– Many one-off NES Games
– Several standalone “Touch! Generations” games on DS/Wii

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FRANCHISES THAT DON’T MAKE IT ON BECAUSE I’VE NEVER PLAYED THEM

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These would have qualified had I played even one of their games. Feel free to rage at my ignorance and inexperience:

– Super Mario Land
– Puzzle League (including the Tetris Attack and Pokemon Puzzle League games)
– Wave Race
– Freakyforms
– Style Boutique
– Punch-Out!!
– 1080° Snowboarding
– Mario vs Donkey Kong
– Sin & Punishment
– Battalion Wars
– Dillon’s Rolling Western
– Mario Strikers
– Donkey Konga (Yes, it’s different from DK Jungle Beat)
– Custom Robo
– The Legendary Starfy
– Mario Golf
– Fatal Frame (Nintendo now co-owns this franchise with Koei Tecmo)
– Pokemon Mystery Dungeon
– PokePark
– Wii Fit
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FRANCHISES THAT ARE ELIGIBLE BUT JUST DON’T MAKE IT

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a.k.a Actual Honorable Mentions:

– Wario Land
– Steel Diver
– Dr. Mario
– Rhythm Heaven
– Pokemon Ranger
– Mario Sports Series (the ones made with Square Enix, including Mario Hoops 3 on 3 and Mario Sports Mix)
– Pilotwings
– Mario vs Sonic Olympics Series
– Excitebike (plus Excite Truck Excitebots)
– Wii Play
– Wii Party
– “Training” Series (e.g. Brain, Maths, Sight Training)
– Big Brain Academy
– Art Academy (including the Pokemon one)
– Picross
– Nintendogs
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I know I’ve missed some, but this is thorough as I can manage for now. On to the good stuff shortly!

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