Old School to Modern Day: The Best Nintendo Games Ever

A good number of us have fond memories of playing Nintendo when we were younger. Nintendo, an early participant in the world of video games, is the developer of many of the video games that we have come to associate most strongly with our childhoods. These games include Super Mario, the Legend of Zelda, and other great works by the incomparable Shigeru Miyamoto. Nintendo was one of the first companies to enter the video game industry.

Some of the most recognisable video games of all time have been released by Nintendo over the course of its history. These games are more than just a way to pass a few hours doing nothing; many of them can be considered genuine works of art due to the fact that they feature stunning graphics, compelling narratives, and a substantial amount of gameplay depth. Even though it is inevitable that a few significant games will be omitted from any list of this nature, the following are our top choices for the best games that Nintendo fans have ever played.

Our Picks

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

This game follows the famous Kokiri hero Link as he is—once again—trying to save the land of Hyrule and its enigmatic princess, Zelda, from the clutches of the nefarious villain Ganondorf. In Ocarina of Time, Link discovers that it’s his destiny to free the Seven Sages in this classic battle against good and evil.

This one stands out as one of the most revolutionary in video game history out of every game in the series. Despite being released in 1998, its immersive gameplay has stood the test of time and made this one of the most outstanding titles that Nintendo has ever released—and possibly one of the greatest that it ever will.

Super Smash Bros Brawl

This follow-up to the original Nintendo 64 game and subsequent sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee for GameCube, was released on the Wii and is possibly the best game in the series. Featuring the same “knock-em-down” battle gameplay that made the first two installations such a wild success, Brawl includes an expanded range of characters, abilities, and arenas that provide hours’ worth of intense multiplayer gameplay.

In addition, this game features online multiplayer, which was not available in the previous two installments. As far as combat games go, it’s hard to find one that’s more fun than this.

Super Mario 64

In terms of titles that forever changed the history of video games, Super Mario 64 ranks right near the top. With graphics that were unparalleled in their time—as well as previously unseen gameplay—Super Mario 64 provides a fun, light-hearted experience. Players hop their way through Peach’s castle and a variety of challenging levels as the jovial Italian plumber, whose name has become legendary in the video game community.
Featuring plenty of bosses and challenging, interactive gameplay, this is undoubtedly not only one of the best Nintendo games ever created, but one of the greatest video games of all time.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Though The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess didn’t do much to revolutionize video games—or even the Zelda series for that matter—it still included the same classic characters and gameplay that make the Zelda games perennially fantastic, with a few updates to give the game its unique style.

In this game, Link is again on a quest to save Hyrule from the villainous clutches of his nemesis Ganondorf, while an otherworldly twilight is consuming the world. Players navigate the twilight world as a wolf version of Link while playing as the character’s human counterpart in the regular world, Midna, a mysterious pixie with unknown ties to the twilight world.

Super Mario Bros. 3

Going way back, this game was one of the first of its kind to ever hit the world of arcade video games in 1988. In Super Mario Bros 3, King Koopa—who would later come to be known in the series as Bowser—has kidnapped Princess Toadstool, better known to fans of the series as Princess Peach. It’s the beginning of an often-repeated plotline in the series that somehow manages never to get old.

In this game, Mario must hop and skip through various arenas to save the Seven Kingdoms of the Mushroom World, fighting King Koopa’s seven children as a boss at the end of each. This is one of the earliest examples of addictive gameplay, with fans sinking hours into it when it was first released. Simply put, they’d never seen anything like it before, and it shifted the paradigm of the video game world.

Super Metroid

The third installment in this iconic series was released on GameBoy in the mid-90s. The Metroid universe’s heroine Samus Aran plays a traditional side-scrolling adventure game in which she is on the lookout for a Metroid that the evil Ridley, the captain of a group of space pirates, has stolen. Players must jump, crawl and fight their way through a series of engaging levels that make this one of the best games ever released on the GameBoy.

This game is also the first to reveal the gender of the series’ iconic main character—previously presumed male by fans, it is discovered at the end of this game that Samus Aran is, in fact, a female character. It may seem like a small detail, but in retrospect, it was a significant step forward in terms of female representation in the world of video games.


The following list is by no means exhaustive; however, we have made an effort to include a variety of games that we believe are representative of Nintendo in its most excellent form. Since the 1990s, Nintendo has been in existence. This was quite a long time ago. Within that span of time, the platform has distributed an innumerable number of games, the majority of which have been of exceptional quality. In this space, it would be impossible to list all of them.

We hope that this will take you on a trip down memory lane and bring back fond memories. You should give any of these older games or systems a shot if you happen to have them on hand. It is surprising how many of them have been able to withstand the passage of time while maintaining their exceptional style. As was mentioned at the beginning of this piece, a fantastic game has the potential to be more than just a source of entertainment for idle activity. It is possible for it to be a work of art.