What is the Best Nintendo Console? These 6 Picks Come to Mind

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Wikipedia (Evan-Amos) / GameStop / ONE37pm

For those of you that had to live through the highly depressing video game crash of 1983 that lasted through 1985, we salute you. The oversaturation of horrible games hitting the market caused everything to sink and led to American retailers not being all that interested in putting another video game product in their stores. Enter Nintendo, which did the smart thing by bringing over its Family Computer (Famicom) from Japan to the US and renaming it the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to convince those same companies that its product was more than just a video game console. Thanks to the massive success of the NES, video games came back stronger than ever before and the rest is truly history. Speaking of the NES, do you consider it to be the best Nintendo console of all time? We're going to attempt to answer that question by taking a look at the best aspects of Nintendo's most notable home console hardware.

RELATED: The 35 Best Wii Games of All Time

1. Nintendo Entertainment System

NES Console Set
Wikipedia (Evan-Amos)

Notable Game Releases: 'Super Mario Bros.,' 'Super Mario Bros. 3,' 'The Legend of Zelda,' 'Duck Hunt,' and 'Metroid'

We already spoke about how the NES single-handedly saved the video game industry in the mid-80s, but let's throw some praise toward Nintendo's groundbreaking home console. During the height of the 8-bit era, Nintendo birthed the franchises that still exist to this very day. Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, Punch-Out!!, and Kid Icarus all made their debut on the NES and solidified the amazing quality of Nintendo's first-party output.

It's also worth mentioning how strong the third-party output of other Japanese gaming publishers was during the NES' historic run. Konami's Castlevania, Contra, and Track & Field made waves. Capcom's Mega Man, Bionic Commando, and several licensed Disney games were smash hits. Square broke the mold with the very first Final Fantasy. And Tecmo gave football fans a whole lot to enjoy via Tecmo Bowl. With the "Official Nintendo Seal" adorning the boxes containing NES game releases, fans knew they were getting something special with every purchase. The NES 8-bit run at the top of the mountain during the 80s makes it one of the greatest consoles of all time.

2. Super Nintendo Entertainment System

SNES Mod1 Console Set
Wikipedia (Evan-Amos)

Notable Game Releases: 'Super Mario World,' 'The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past,' 'Super Metroid,' 'Donkey Kong Country,' and 'Chrono Trigger'

Once the NES had its dominant run, Nintendo followed up with a "Super" version of it that brought gamers into the new age of 16-bit gaming. With highly improved graphics and audio, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System entered living rooms and bedrooms everywhere to plenty of fan adoration. Nintendo's tentpole IPs came to the SNES, which then resulted in some of the most revered games ever made. Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Metroid are among those classic SNES titles. Even Donkey Kong got a standalone game of his own called Donkey Kong Country, which blew minds everywhere thanks to its pseudo-3D visuals and quality platforming action.

And just like the NES, the SNES was jam-packed with third-party greatness from a host of third-party publishers. Bangers such as Mega Man X, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Contra III: The Alien Wars, and Super Star Wars point to just how vast and varied the SNES third-party software library truly is. Another strong aspect of the SNES is its noteworthy RPG lineup - top-tier genre standouts include the aforementioned FF VI and Chrono Trigger, plus Super Mario RPG, Earthbound, Secret of Mana, and Breath of Fire II are all proof of that statement.

The SNES' upgraded visual and audio effects, plus its legendary collection of incredible 16-bit games certainly afford it the right to be considered the best Nintendo console ever made.

3. Nintendo 64


Notable Game Releases: 'Super Mario 64,' 'The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,' 'GoldenEye 007,' 'Mario Kart 64,' and 'WWF No Mercy'

When 32-bit gaming became the focus of the mid-to-late-90s, Nintendo threw its contender into the arms race between Sony and Sega via the Nintendo 64. On the positive front, we have to commend the N64 for being the ultimate party gaming console. With its four controller ports, the N64 gave way to countless weekends where our younger selves played well into the morning via GoldenEye 007, Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, Mario Party, and classic AKI-developed wrestling games. Now when it comes to the platforming genre, the N64 had that genre on lock - Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie & its follow-up Banjo-Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, and Conker's Bad Fur Day are considered platforming greatness.

Countless other classics come to mind when the N64 enters the conversation of the best Nintendo console - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time & its sequel Majora's Mask, Star Fox 64, Perfect Dark, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Paper Mario, and countless other releases maintain the high opinion older gamers have of the N64. Now it must be mentioned how devastating it was for Squaresoft to switch its allegiance to the first PlayStation, which resulted in numerous monumental RPGs giving the PS1 the leg up on Nintendo's 32-bit machine. The lack of quality ports of several blockbuster games from several prominent third-party publishers also sticks out as a sore point for the N64 as a whole.

Nevertheless, the bad outweighs the good when it comes to the overall quality of the N64's lifecycle.

4. Nintendo GameCube

GameCube Set

Notable Game Releases: 'Super Mario Sunshine,' 'Super Smash Bros. Melee,' 'Metroid Prime,' 'The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker,' and 'Mario Kart: Double Dash!!'

Your cool points went up into the stratosphere if your neighborhood buddies caught you walking to your friend's house while you were hauling around your GameCube like a lunchbox thanks to its upper handle. This precious box of fun marks a period when Nintendo got back to offering a wider range of important third-party releases and made sure its owners didn't miss out on many of their favorite franchises at the time. Goated IPs such as SSX, TimeSplitters, NBA Street, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Prince of Persia, and Burnout got their own GameCube ports, thankfully. And thanks to Capcom, the Resident Evil franchise received two of its most heralded series entries (the 2002 Resident Evil remake and Resident Evil 4). Speaking of Capcom, it went hard on the GameCube with the likes of Viewteiful Joe, ports of past Resident Evil games, and cult hits such as Killer7.

Nintendo's first-party efforts delivered some truly unforgettable titles - Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Metroid Prime, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Eternal Darkness, F-Zero GX, and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is proof of that. Shout out to all those small and cute GameCube discs! Now it must be said that the GameCube didn't get every one of those third-party hits at the time - if you only owned a GameCube and wanted to play the likes of Final Fantasy X, Devil May Cry, Kingdom Hearts, and Grand Theft Auto, you were simply out of luck.

5. Nintendo Wii


Notable Game Releases: 'Wii Sports,' 'New Super Mario Bros. Wii,' 'Super Smash Bros. Brawl,' 'Super Mario Galaxy,' and 'The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess'

The phrase "you just had to be there" applies to Nintendo's revolutionary motion-controlled system, the Wii. The tutorial-like commercials that showed non-gamers how to use the Wii Remote, the simple yet endearing design of the console itself, and the massive impact of Wii Sports had the world in a chokehold back in 2006. And for the remainder of its run, the Wii maintained its stronghold over the casual gaming market. Diehard Nintendo fans certainly got their fair share of worthwhile releases that were more than just motion-controlled minigame collections. Both Super Mario Galaxy games, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Donkey Kong Country Returns represent the types of releases hardcore gamers got a Wii for.

If you were dedicated to first-person shooter games, then you were practically in heaven with the Wii thanks to titles such as Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, The Conduit, and Red Steel 2. As much as we love the Wii, we have to acknowledge its two biggest faults - its lack of ports of the biggest third-party games that came to the PS3 & Xbox 360 and its software library full of "shovelware." It was always hilarious to walk into a Walmart at the time and look into a Wii game bin full of absolute basura such as Carnival Games, M&M's Kart Racing, and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

6. Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch Console Docked wJoyConRB
Wikipedia (Evan-Amos)

Notable Game Releases: 'Super Mario Odyssey,' 'Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,' 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,' 'The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom,' and 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'

Nintendo has had a wealth of successes within the home console and handheld gaming markets. But its misses are heartbreaking and a reminder that even the best sometimes slip up. The Wii U was one of those failures - a strange naming convention that confused casual gamers, a lower output when it comes to first-party game releases, and not much in the way of worthwhile third-party game releases hampered the tablet-hybrid console. After such a massive letdown for Nintendo fans, the gaming juggernaut came back strong with arguably the best Nintendo console we've ever gotten our hands on - the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo took note of the massive likability of its handheld consoles and offered that sense of portability with a console capable of outputting home console performance. And in the process, everyone flocked to the Switch and enjoyed the fact that it could be enjoyed outdoors as well as indoors. The first-party lineup for the Switch is incredible and still has room to grow stronger over time. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and its sequel Tears of the Kingdom, Super Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Metroid Dread, and Luigi's Mansion 3 stand out as the Switch's very best.

It's also worth mentioning the Wii U ports that blessed those prior releases with even more content and a much larger console install base to enjoy them - Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Bayonetta 2, and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury are just a sample size of those upgraded releases. The Switch is still going strong to this day and is championed by a vast collection of amazing first-party games, decent ports of third-party releases, and the ability to enjoy them all during a long road trip.

So which one would you say gets the final pick for the best Nintendo console? Feel free to hit ONE37pm on our social channels to lets us know!

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