The Top 20 Games of 2006-2011

As we round out the week, here comes our final Top 20 Games!

By Nintendojo Staff. Posted 05/04/2012 13:00 5 Comments     ShareThis

5. Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver (2010)

Pokémon SoulSilver box art

There are only two games on our Top 100 list that feature twice; one is GoldenEye and the other is Pokémon Gold and Silver. Regardless of where you stand of remakes versus originals, there’s no denying that this game took one of the strongest games of its generation and made it a whole lot more addictive. If Black and White are to be celebrated for everything new they did for the Pokémon franchise then HeartGold and SoulSilver were the ultimate last hurrah of all that was nostalgic about the last nigh-on 15 years. If the Legendary Beasts, escapades of Team Rocket, mammoth sixteen gyms and the fearsome Champion Red captured your imagination the first time around then these remakes were a gamer’s idea of perfection as they packed all that came before into one tiny cartridge and piled on PokéWalkers, the most legendary Pokémon ever to feature in a single game, new challenges, rematches and a shed load more into this amazing adventure. Also, Celebi.

Why Andrew Hsieh loves Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver

If the extreme success of Pokémon has taught us anything, it’s that people really like to whine about the extreme success of Pokémon. “It’s all the same!” they like to say. “They should’ve ended at Mew! No! Mewtwo! But no remakes! Ever! I’m going to play Modern Warfare 3 now!” Well. Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, as representations of these supposedly hashed-out remakes, must be incredible anomalies. Even ignoring the PokéWalker, that ingenious pedometer device that brought the Pokémon experience into the real world and into incredulous public spaces (“is that … a Pokémon Tamagotchi?!” being the most common remark), HeartGold and SoulSilver refined two of the most commonly touted “best Pokémon games ever” into values more precious than their namesakes. Adding everything from new areas (nice) to wholly new story events (very nice) to party members following you around, Pokémon Yellow-style, HeartGold and SoulSilver taught Pokémon trainers the world over that no matter what people said, fostering Pokémon was a noble profession, dagnabbit! Even if people looked at you funny at coffee shops.

4. Metroid Prime Trilogy (2009)

Metroid Prime Trilogy box art

Judging by Nintendo’s normal philosophy, cramming three games into one just doesn’t seem kosher. (Super Mario All-Stars is an anomaly.) And judging by Nintendojo’s normal philosophy, cramming three games into one place doesn’t seem kosher, either. But the thing is, any one of these games could win any number of awards. From the original Metroid Prime, which almost Half-Life‘d the Metroid series into a first-person adventure-shooter, to Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, which sent Samus into worlds both light and dark, to Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, which finished the series off with a satisfying motion-sensitive, voice-acted crunch, our heroine Samus Aran fearlessly traversed gamer hopes and fears– making sure never to abuse the Metroid name. Because it’s true– Retro Studios could just as well have created a game like those in Metroid Prime Trilogy under another name entirely. It might even have been easier. But it chose Samus to bear the name. And looking at all the scanned lore, all those enemies, all those weapons– they chose well.

Why Kevin Knezevic loves Metroid Prime Trilogy

Metroid Prime Trilogy stands as something of a love letter to Nintendo fans. Not only does it encapsulate three of the finest adventure games– first-person or otherwise– in a single, unified package, but it also represents a unique change of heart for the Big N. For all of its innovative strides in the industry, Nintendo has not been averse to some of its more seedy practices (which was especially evident during Mario’s 25th anniversary, when the company repackaged the SNES classic Super Mario All-Stars as a $30 Wii game), and it was all but guaranteed that both of GameCube’s Metroid Primes, should they be released for the company’s newest home console, would arrive separately under the guise of New Play Control! titles. That Nintendo bucked these expectations and released both, along with the more recent Metroid Prime 3, on a single disc, complete with an art booklet and a special tin casing, was something of a miracle and proved to be a fitting tribute to the Metroid series.

It’s difficult to describe just how important the Metroid Prime trilogy is; all three games deserve their own individual writeups, and it’s impossible to do any of them justice in such limited space. Suffice it to say that this is one of the finest gaming compilations to have ever been released. Metroid Prime 1 brought the famous bounty hunter out of a decade-long hibernation and into the alien world of 3D gaming with all the grace of Link and Mario before her. Prime 2 tweaked Prime’s foundation and introduced its own unique flourishes to the gameplay, making it a more challenging (and more rewarding) game than its predecessor. And Prime 3, while arguably the roughest of the bunch (at least from a design perspective), effectively demonstrated the merits of motion controls in a traditional gaming experience. Together, all three stand as some of the finest games that Nintendo has ever released. It’s only a shame that Trilogy has long been out of print, because it deserves a place in every Wii owner’s collection.

3. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011)

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword box art

The game we’d been waiting for ever since Wii was released, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword represents the pinnacle of motion control gaming. With the added support from Wii Motion Plus, it was everything we wanted Twilight Princess to be and more, introducing a sense of strategy to the franchise as well as finally giving us some bad guys we could be proud in taking down. Likewise, despite being more fragmented than past titles with its three separate maps, it certainly wasn’t any less breathtaking either. It also nearly eliminated the word “dungeon” from the so-called Zelda formula, which is pretty darn impressive. Silent Realm piracy from Twilight Princess aside, Skyward Sword showed that Zelda was ready to evolve and take on new challenges as it entered the next phase of its long history, and we can only hope we’ll still be swinging our swords and Wii Remotes when it comes to Wii U.

Why Dustin Grissom loves The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Many of the games on this list are old favorites of mine. Many of the games on this list are current favorites of mine. Yet, only one game is considered my all-time favorite, and that game is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I loved every minute of this game; I loved the story, the innovative game play, the new additions to the Zelda formula, the dungeons, and yes, I loved Groose. This game, to me, was, and still is, perfect. I fell in love with Skyloft, its inhabitants, the world below, and for the first time ever, Princess Zelda. This is Nintendo at its finest; whether it’s story telling or innovative game play, this is one top-notch game that no one should miss. I’m looking at you, Wii haters.

2. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008)

Super Smash Bros. Brawl box art

For many Nintendo fans, the first and last word in multiplayer may well be “Smash”. (Okay maybe just the first, the latter is probably “Bros.”) Fighting franchises have come and gone, others pride themselves on intricacy, difficulty, destructible environments or jiggly boobs but it is only Smash Bros. that can boast of a unique form of likeability, player inclusive and sheer light hearted giddiness. Team that frothing gameplay with a Who’s Who of Nintendo heavyweights and you have video games’ equivalent to The Avengers; a group of heroes who have no business being in the same universe but somehow manage to gel into an experience that far exceeds anything that could be achieved on their own.

Motion sensor bombs, Poké Balls, Link’s Down + A aerial, collecting stickers, jumping off the stage as Kirby with your opponent trapped in your mouth, turning and spinning and striking expertly with your beam sword and then not even having a clue where you are on the screen two seconds later as explosions block your view and a Nintendog paws at the screen; Smash Bros may not be a traditional fighter but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why Dustin Grissom loves Super Super Bros. Brawl

If you look at my game play data from the Nintendo Channel, you’ll see 20 or so games with about 2 to 5 hours each, and then you would scroll up a bit and see some heavy hitters like Zelda and Mario with 30, 40 hours. Finally, scroll all the way to the top, and you’ll see an embarrassingly large amount next to Super Smash Bros. Brawl that would make anyone question my social life. But here’s the thing, all of that time was spent with friends– yeah, not by myself or with strangers online, but the majority of my time with Super Smash Bros. Brawl has been spent with a group of buddies and I “brawling” the night away. We had tournaments, scoreboards, challenges, custom game types, and a whole lot of caffeine and laughs. Playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl with a group of friends is like no other gaming experience that you’ve ever had.

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