Here we go babeee, finally my top ten games of the decade. Err, well, I guess you could pretty much call this my top ten Nintendo games of the decade… Yeah, I love Nintendo don’t judge me. Regardless, this is my top ten games of the decade. This is purely subjective, but at the same time if you don’t agree with me then I will fight you.
10. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)
Animal Crossing on the Gamecube is a game I’ll always have fond memories of. I remember waking up early in the morning before school to just watch my brother play it. Seeing him run around catching bugs, digging fossils, and chatting with the villagers, was just so satisfying, and never got boring. Even at just 5 years old the game with it’s unique personality just reeled me in with it’s oozing charm. I’ll never forget how exciting it was experiencing a new day and just waiting to see what the game had in store. I then got to play its two sequels, Wild World, and City Folk. Unfortunately, Wild World (which was a fantastic game still) didn’t capture that same charm, and City Folk was just disappointing.
Enter Animal Crossing New Leaf. This game for the 3DS didn’t pull any punches. It had been awhile since the series felt fresh, but New Leaf changed all of this. This time around, you got to play as the mayor of the village. This allowed you to do things such as if the shops closed late or opened early. You could fund projects that would allow you to build things like park benches and street lights to flavor up your village, and more. The game also had a cool shopping district that would let you change hair styles, buy plants, attend K.K Slider’s shows and so on. The visuals and soundtrack were also on par. I have no idea how many hours I spent playing New Leaf, but (especially since a substantial update called Welcome Amiibo was added later on) it’s gotta be an unhealthy amount of time.
While I had loved the series before this game, New Leaf is what turned me into an Animal Crossing super fan. It’s Switch iteration New Horizons released recently and was even better then New Leaf, but regardless, New leaf was not going to be denied a spot on this list. Also, this game added Isabelle which is a huge plus.
9. Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)
The 3DS did not have a very good first few months on the market. The system was struggling due to a combination of a lack of games, and being overpriced. Nintendo made a very smart move by slashing the price of the handheld (250$ to 170$). This is when yours truly finally got his dirty paws on the device. Unfortunately, after I finally grew tired of playing Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (the best version of the best game ever) there was not much else to play. Until Super Mario 3D Land (the first 3D Mario for a portable ever) finally hit store shelves November 2011. I was super excited for the game leading up to release. The 3DS had this app that allowed you to download trailers for upcoming games, and I swear I must have watched the 3D Land trailer over 200 times.
All this excitement led to a game that was… not disappointing, and exactly what the system needed. The game has a unique style that has been deemed ‘a 3D Mario game that plays like a 2D Mario game’ (examples: Mario can be small or big, there is a sprint button, levels are linear, you grab a flagpole at the end etc.), and although it is a bit watered down compared to say Mario Galaxy it’s loads of fun. There are a good number of new and returning powerups, like the propeller block and the Tanuki suit, and the level design is safe but satisfying. You also can collect these star coins in ever level adding some depth to each area. The levels are a bit on the short side, but it’s actually perfect for pickup and put down portable play. There are also a good number of levels including a whole slew of bonus worlds you unlock after beating the game too. It’s WiiU sequel Super Mario 3D World added a whole bunch more, but the memories I had with 3D Land is why I put it on this list.
8. Mario Kart 8 (WiiU, Switch)
I’ve always loved the Mario Kart series, but none of the games compare to Mario Kart 8. Nope, not even Double Dash. Mario Kart 8 absolutely kicks @$$. Everything they did for this game proves how much loves the devs put into it. Let us bask in this games glory for just a little bit. First off, the game manages to actually feel pretty balanced for the most part. Other games in the series had a lot of luck involved due to the items, but MK8 (while not taking all the luck out) fixes some of this, and adds some depth to the general gameplay too. If your in first place now you won’t always get screwed by a blue shell. There is an item called the super horn that any player can get that can destroy blue shells! There are also coins scattered throughout every track that up your speed the more you collect. They also added an anti-gravity gimmick that doesn’t add a whole lot, but is cool and makes for more interesting track design.
Speaking of track design, this game has brilliant tracks. Absolutely phenomenal tracks. They feel very unique compared to past games (which already had unique tracks). Like one track has you racing through an airport, another has you driving on a road made of ribbons taking place in the room of a child filled with toys. My personal favorite, Mount Wario, has you driving off a plane and onto a mountain. You then make your way all the way down the mountain to the finish line olympic style greeted by hundreds of fans. The game also has amazing music and visuals. Every stage has its own theme (a Mario Kart first), and they are all at least really good. Then there are the graphics. This might be the best looking Nintendo game ever. Everything is so crisp and detailed, and the courses look just amazing. Even the retro courses are updated to fantastic measures. Not to mention the game also runs like a dream at 60fps (30fps if your play with more then one other person). Online is also really fun, with there being little to no lag, and you can play splitscreen with a friend next to you.
The game also got paid DLC, that added a whole slew of new courses and characters for just 14 bucks (I wish the Smash Bros. DLC was this cheap…). And not just any courses and characters either. They literally added Animal Crossing characters and friggin Link. An AC and Zelda stage were added too plus a couple flippin F-Zero stages. If there was one thing that this game lacked was a good battle mode. It’s just balloon battle and not a very good one. But rejoice, a few years after MK8’s release we got a Switch port of the game called Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This version of the game added even more characters (Inkling baby!), and completely revamped the battle mode. Now there are five battle modes, a bunch of battle stages, and every mode and every stage is a whole lot of fun. This port to Switch also means the game is portable now too which is incredible considering how good the game looks. Mario Kart 8 is the best Racer ever made, and there was no doubt it belongs on this list.
7. Pokemon Generation 5 [Black and White, Black2 and White2] (DS)
Gotta catchem all. Pokemon has and probably will always be a worldwide acclaimed Monster Catching RPG, but no game in the series is better then Pokemon Black and White for the DS. Yes, I said it, it’s even better then Red and Blue, and Gold and Silver. These games upped the ante big time. It plays like a normal Pokemon game. You start off in a small town with just your starter Pokemon. You collect 8 gym badges, beat some baddies, and journey throughout the land to become a Pokemon master. But the journey this time resonates more then it ever has in a Pokemon game. The combat system has some added depth with rotation battles and triple battles. You get two rivals instead of one. The graphics of course have been updated from previous entries. You can finally battle other people online. These are just some of the minor things though, lets talk about the Majors.
First off, the game is really challenging and the story is incredible. Pretty unlike any other Pokemon games. Instead of just handing you everything, and leveling up your creatures willy nilly this game makes you work to make your team good. There are also a good handful of really tough dungeons (Victory Road anyone) which doesn’t seem to be a thing anymore in the modern Pokemon installments. The gym fights and boss battles are tough too, and you will never feel overleveled. The Story likewise is unlike other Pokemon games either. It actually feels very important this time, and like and actual RPG story. The antagonist team is called team Plasma, who are led by a strange man called N. Plasma’s goal is to liberate all Pokemon from people as they feel Pokemon are enslaved. It has a pretty religious vibe too it, And N is an incredible character. He isn’t just some boss who wants to take over the world, he actually has a complex personality, and feels like a rival to you too. This makes for some great cutscenes in the game, like one where N discusses some of life’s questions with you on a ferris wheel. The world of Unova (which is based on New York) is a fantastic region, and has some cool stuff like big cities to explore, and a cool 4 season weather feature.
Then you got the Pokemon. They added a whopping 158 Mons for you to catch in this game, and most of them are awesome. Some are a bit bland. Like a Mon made out of ice cream and a Mon that is literally garbage (although it fits well with the New York style world). But other Pokemon like Zoroark, who disguises himself as other creatures, and Krookodile this BA looking Crocodile are awesome additions. The music in the game is also incredible, and feels very RPGish compared to other Pokemon games. The entralink theme (a fun single player or multiplayer mode that lets you partake in sidequests) specifically feels like it was pulled straight out of an epic RPG.
All of this combines for an experience that any Pokemon fan could die for. It’s incredibly designed, balanced, has an amazing story, fantastic music, Pokemon, characters, everything a fan could want. I also included Black and White’s third entry games Black 2 and White 2. These games were not simple third entries like most in the series, but legit sequels that had a new story and protaganists as well as more world to explore. It also had this awesome Tourney mode that allowed you to battle a bunch of noteworthy characters from past games including Red himself.
6. Super Smash Bros. For (WiiU, 3DS)
Smash4, this era marked my best performance as a Smash bros player. Just wanted to mention that really quick… Anyway, Super Smash Bros For was yet another incredible entry in the Smash series. It marked the first time that the game was released for two systems as well as the first in the series to get a handheld installment. The leadup to the games release was massive too. All the trailers showcasing new characters and such was just as joyous as Brawl’s had been. More 3rd party characters like Pac-man and Mega-man, more beloved Nintendo fighters like Little Mac (as annoying as he is), and Shulk. Smash4 was shaping up to be an incredible fighter (and a game the WiiU desperately needed), and an incredible fighter it was. All the additions made to this game like 8 player Smash, Online tourney, as well as single player modes like Special orders were very joyous experiences.
The cast of characters which hit 50 at launch made for some awesome variety and was an incredible milestone. The two biggest positives that came from Smash4 though would be the better fighting mechanics, and the online mode. Super Smash Bros Brawl was made to be a pretty casual fighting game in response to Smash Melee having a very hardcore fighting style. This hurt the Smash competitive community, and made for a more overall party like style to the game. Smash4, fixed this to an extent. It was still slower like Brawl, but fixed stuff like tripping and added more hit lag and such to make a more competitive game. The Online mode too was pretty awesome. It had a for fun mode and a for glory mode that allowed you to play the game the way you wanted too. It had a couch co op online mode which my brother and I cherished, and there was an awesome Online tourney too boot. I myself won a few of these tournaments.
The game also marked the first time we got DLC in a smash, and some fighters included Ryu and friggin Cloud Strife, which paved the way for Smash’s future in the 3rd party fighter department. This was kinda the best WiiU game for awhile as well, and I spent a ton of time playing this game. It’s not my favorite Smash, but it was definitely good enough to make some memories and this list. Although this next entry is for sure my favorite Smash game.
5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)
Not sure where to begin with this one. How about this? Smash Ultimate is the best multiplayer game ever made, and you have to agree with me. With Ultimate Smash is no longer just a love letter to Nintendo’s franchises, but a celebration of gaming history. Cloud, Banjo Kazooie, Solid Snake, Sonic the hedgehog, Joker from Persona. The list just goes on and on. Not to mention Big Nintendo additions like King K. Rool and friggin Ridley. This game is incredibly massive. 80 fighters (and counting), over 100 stages (and counting), over 1000 music tracks (and counting!).
Alas, all these would be for nothing without the core gameplay, which is also outstanding. The fighting mechanics have been improved even further then Smash4. The game runs satisfyingly fast now. Moves are precise, but also feel responsive. Added abilities like parrying, and directional air dodging are great choices. There aren’t as many game modes here as we are used to getting in a Smash game, but what we did get is incredible. Classic mode is revamped and now all 80 fighters have their own unique Classic mode route. These routes have tons of references to the series your fighter is from, like in Link’s route one of the battles is you teaming up with Zelda to beat Ganondorf. Sonic has a level where he faces off against metal Sonic and so on.
Adventure mode returns (which was surprisingly absent from Smash4), and it’s great. The 30 hour journey has you exploring this large map, fighting in what are called spirit battles (similar to Classic mode, but spirits can give you buffs and such), in an attempt to save the whole roster of fighters which was Thanos snapped by a villain called Galeem. Seriously, this game is just brimming with just creativity and fun. The leadup to this game was like Smash4 on steroids. My brother and I were like little kids who just couldn’t wait for this game to come out, and it has met all expectations.
The DLC so far has been very solid adding in characters like Hero from Dragon Quest, Joker from Persona 5 (like mentioned before), and friggin Banjo-Kazooie. That one made me cry a little. The games creator Masahiro Sakurai went above and beyond for this game (excluding the crap online mode) to appease the fans, and it payed off. I hope he takes a break once all the DLC is finished for good (well how about we get a Kid Icarus Uprising HD Switch port first..). There is so much more I could say about this game, but maybe I will write a whole article dedicated to it instead.
4. Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
Mario’s back again and this time he has returned to the sandbox Super Mario 64 style. The series had been on a Linear get to the flagpole binge for awhile, so it was nice seeing this return to 3D Mario form (I wish Paper Mario understood this) you could say in a way. It also paid off very well, Super Mario Odyssey is a masterpiece. Amazing visuals, banging soundtrack, tight controls, incredible level design. It’s all there like any Mario game, but multiple things make it stand out.
This game has a unique twist to the normal run around, jump, flip, attack, Mario formula. You have a partner named Cappy who when thrown at enemies literally has Mario take control of that enemy. This makes for so many unique styles of play. You can control a Goomba and jump on other Goombas and control the stack you create. You can control a hammer bro and throw hammers (obvi), and the list goes on and on. It turns the already deep mechanics of Mario even deeper and the level depth is just insane. Speaking of depth lets talk about the different worlds. In Mario Odyssey, the worlds are split up into different kingdoms, each with their own unique setting and characters. Your goal is to collect the 883 power moons scattered in all of these kingdoms combined. Yes, instead of just 120-242 stars like in other Mario games you must collect a gargantuan 883 of these suckers this time. Except here, once you collect a power moon you aren’t booted from the level like in past games. This is due to how big these kingdoms are. It really feels like your playing an open world Mario game, and not just a sandbox Mario game.
The worlds like I said earlier are vibrant, fun to run around in, and are full of unique folk (again another thing I wish Paper Mario understood), that really add a level of atmosphere. Like one world is home to these mermaid creatures, another is home to literal kitchen utensil characters and so on. It makes the game even more lively and inviting then it already is. It also helps that the visuals and music are on fleek (as they say). Graphically the game is stunning, everything is very detailed, Mario’s nose flops in the wind, the water is bubbly and shiny etc. The music themes fit very well within every kingdom. Finally, collecting all the moons itself is a joy. There are so many unique puzzles, twists and turns, platforming challenges that make nearly every moon a joy to grab. Some moons are placed out in the open, but even those can feel good to grab. Mario Odyssey is phenomenal, and I’m hoping it gets a sequel.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (WiiU, Switch)
The worst part of being in my 20s is that it feels like my childhood has been stolen from me. In reality it hasn’t, I got to live my childhood, but now that its gone it feels like something is missing. This losing of my childhood has affected the way I see games too. I still love games to death don’t get me wrong, but It’s not as genuine as it was when I was a kid. It truly didn’t feel like any game could give me that joy I had when playing games as a kid (the WiiU’s untrustworthy life cycle didn’t help either). Like how it felt to play a game then go outside play put in the backyard with some friends, and pretend that I was in that game.
Those days I thought were gone, but then came Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Words really can’t describe the impact this game has put on me. That magical day when I obtained my Nintendo Switch an copy of this game, from the journey through this new big world of Hyrule, to the end and defeating Ganon. No game has felt this magnificent In a long time (Odyssey and Smash were very close, but not quite), no game has made me feel more like a kid again. The vast open World, the incredible and deeply satisfying combat. The utterly gorgeous visuals, the compelling post apocalyptic but beautiful atmosphere. All the different character races, the puzzles, the experiences, the challenge. The moments, the laughter, the tears, the excitement. This game gave me a piece of my childhood back. I could go on and on, but just know this. Know that Breath of the Wild was the game that allowed Andrew to be a kid once again, even if it was just for a little while.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
Oof, big plot twist here. Honestly, this top 3 could all be number 1 so don’t ragequit on me. Also, don’t ragequit on me for picking this game above Breath of the Wild (or any game for that matter). I love Skyward Sword, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. When everyone was playing Skyrim and Minecraft back in 2011, I was hanging with Skyward Sword, gold wiimote in hand and all. I also had to play this game in secret as my Dad didn’t allow us to play video games at all for a time in 2011-2012 sadly. I had to play this game though, as it is the best game ever made. Ha, I’m just kidding (mostly), but seriously this is a really good game.
Skyward Sword plays more like a traditional Zelda game (so not open world like BOTW), but has a huge game changing twist. Motion Controls. The game uses the Wiimotion plus to allow you to move Link’s sword 1 to 1, and it works wonderfully. It changed the combat so that now you had to be technical with the swings of your sword in order to defeat enemies. For instance, if an enemy as holding there weapon horizontally, you would have to swing the controller vertically and vice versa. It was really cool and added some needed depth to the Zelda fighting mechanics. No more button mashing or wiimote waggling. On top of this new gameplay feature, it seemed like SS upped the ante with pretty much everything else Zelda had established too. The dungeons in SS are by far the best in any Zelda game (Twilight Princess comes close), including the water dungeon for once!
Link’s movement also feels incredible too. On top of the new motion controls (which are also used for other items in addition to the sword) Link can also sprint, and perform some parkour up walls, plus climb things faster. His arsenal of weapons can also be upgraded which is a cool feature. There’s also this games amazing story which is the best in the series. This time Link and Zelda are actually childhood friends, and when Zelda gets kidnapped you actually feel a connection to her since Link truly wants to save her. Not just because of destiny, but because Zelda is his dear friend. Groose is an awesome bully turned good guy. The new villain in this game Ghirahim is also a great kooky character that adds a lot of depth to the story (though he is a bit underused). Impa too is very important to the story here which is nice to see. The music is incredible like any other Zelda, and the visual are outstanding (even for a Wii title).
When it comes to negatives well, people complain that your partner companion Fi is annoying and unhelpful. They say the game is handholdy and too linear as well. Some say its too long also. They might be right about some of that stuff, but I say screw the haters. This Zelda game is a fantastic title, and I would avoid listening to the haters and just play the game yourself to see what its like.
1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
Now for my game of the decade. Its none other then Super Mario Galaxy 2! (I was actually inspired by this game to finally get up off my @$$, and type this article because yesterday was Galaxy 2’s 10 year anniversary.) This game released just a few months into the 2010s, and alas I feel it was the best. This game came out about a month before my birthday. So I only needed to wait 30 days before I could get my hands on it. Thing is, I couldn’t wait that long. That seemed like an eternity to wait for the sequel to the phenomenal Super Mario Galaxy. So what did I do? My library had one copy of the game, but it had already been checked out. So everyday I carefully checked occasionally to see if the game was available again. Finally, just a few days later it was.
I begged and convinced my brother to drive me to the library. I sped like hell on the way in praying that it hadn’t been taken. I walked my way ( I wanted to sprint so bad) to the video game aisle, and there it was. In all of its glory Super Mario flippin Galaxy 2. I swear I was the happiest kid in the world in that moment. I grabbed the game and victoriously walked my way to the checkout counter near the front literally holding the game up above my head. I may have seemed a bit embarrassing lol, but it was worth it. The game I got to 100 percent that following week was one of the best gaming experiences ever. In a way it was just experiencing Mario Galaxy again for a second time, but hell who wouldn’t want that?
The game wasn’t just a part two to Galaxy either (nor would it feel like just an expansion in the modern day either), it was its own beast. Everything you knew and loved from the first game (the awesome gravity mechanic, the outstanding level design, the fun motion controls, etc) is back, but dialed up to 11. It’s bigger, more challenging, and even deeper. They added more abilities such as the cloud powerup, the rock powerup, and Yoshi makes his grand return. They added a comet coin collectable to each level to add some depth, and now you could switch between Mario and Luigi at anytime instead of having to have a separate save file. After getting all 120 stars the game would literally throw in an additional 120 green stars for you to collect. There were more banging tunes, and even more stunning visuals to appreciate.
A modern masterpiece that people originally thought couldn’t live up to the original Galaxy. Well it did, and may have even surpassed it. Truly one of the best games ever, and my favorite game of the decade.
Well there we go that is my top 10 games of the decade. I finally wrote it Brandon. Hope your happy, I’m sure my placement of Skyward Sword will please you well hehe. Also, I might write a list of 3rd party games that I enjoy in order to not make everyone think I’m closed minded. Trust me I’m not Nintendo is just truly the best In my eyes. Ok, I’m signing off now, or as Mario says, ‘Ba-Bye!’