Ranking Nintendo’s Systems

An undefinitive evaluation of the company’s consoles and handhelds.

By Joshua A. Johnston. Posted 10/25/2013 11:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

Everyone loves a good ranking list, especially the people composing it. Not only does it put things in some sort of order, but it creates great fodder for coffee talk. Nintendo has been in the console and handheld markets for long enough that there are no fewer than 11 current and former Nintendo systems, including the current entrants, Wii U and 3DS.

I’ve set out here to rank all of Nintendo’s systems from top to bottom. In evaluating each system comparatively, I tried to look at how good the system was in the context of its time, but I also considered how the systems have held up over time. Hardware gets some mention, but obviously games are a big driver, since quality games ultimately determine how much we really take to a system.

A few notes about this list. One, revisions that use a common cartridge or disc (such as the Game Boy and Game Boy Color) are treated collectively, since they operated with the same family of games. Two, I excluded some systems that might qualify as peripherals or novelties, such as Panasonic Q (which was a GameCube with DVD functionality) or Game and Watch (which were self-contained single-game devices rather than a console with a library). Three, I’ve excluded Wii U and 3DS / 2DS simply because they are far too young to have enough to properly grade them on.

Finally, as with all rankings, they will ultimately be subject to debate. People are liable to take issue with how high or low something is or even the rationale behind the ranking. That is the nature of such lists. Feel free to offer your own take in the comments.

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3 Responses to “Ranking Nintendo’s Systems”

  • 784 points
    Marc Deschamps says...

    I know I’m in the minority, but the GameCube will probably go down as my favorite system ever. The number of games I’ve owned for it (got rid of a LOT over the years) would probably make some jaws drop. But what can I say? Having disposable income for the first time in my life while having no driver’s license and no girlfriend made it easy to pick up a lot of games. :)

  • 690 points
    KisakiProject says...

    Its kinda funny I find the SNES the most overrated console. For my my favorite Nintendo systems are 64, Cube & 3DS.

  • 1294 points
    Robert Marrujo says...

    Interesting list, but I disagree about the graphics and people not playing the games anymore on Game Boy. While the black and white games might not be as vivid without color, there are still some intricate and beautiful titles that were released. Ackk Studios is working on a Wii U title called Two Brothers that has some stunning colorless Game Boy-inspired graphics as part of its design.

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