Nintendo Top Developer

Well, you knew it was coming. Nintendo has set the bar for gameplay and innovation since 1985, when it released its groundbreaking platformer Super Mario Brothers for the NES.

The gray, rectangular-shaped cartridge would revolutionize the way games were played and raise the videogame industry out of the ashes of the great crash that occurred earlier in the decade.

Shigeru Miyamoto, a man who needs no introduction, is the maniacal genius that manages Nintendo EAD (Entertainment Analysis and Development). He's possibly the most influential person in this modern video game empire, a kingdom that he helped create. Miyamoto would shine as Nintendo's lead idea man and obtain messianic status over the two decades for his contributions to videogames the world over.

smb_start.jpgHis baby, Super Mario Brothers, was a bona-fide console seller. If you wanted to play it at home, you had to buy an NES, and everyone wanted to play. The game was like an adrenaline shot to the heart of an industry that crashed on poorly crafted software for graphically unimpressive consoles only a few years earlier.

With spot-on controls, challenging and intuitive level design, unforgettable characters and a high replay value, Mario showed us a glimpse of the future that was Nintendo.

Super Mario 3D illustrationBut as this list shows, making one good game does not make you the world's greatest developer. While many promising companies are sprouting up in newly rented business parks, with high-budget, genre defying juggernauts in tow, time needs to be spent building a library before judgment can be passed down. For those of you who need things put in perspective, here you are: Super Mario Bros. sold more than 40 million copies!

Miyamoto received inspiration for his next opus by recalling his childhood. A young Shigeru once discovered a cave while trekking through the forests of Kyoto, Japan, an adventure that would linger until the boy became the man.

It was this memory of magic and wonder that would lead to the creation of one of his most vivid worlds-- Hyrule. The Legend of Zelda was a game that would, in many ways, show the possibility of becoming truly immersed in a videogame.

Before Zelda, games were closed track sprint sessions from point A to point B, all about gaining high scores and moving through portals. Zelda was more like a hike up an uncharted mountain. You were simply given a sword and an objective: save the world.

How you were to do this was in many ways up to you. Would you explore the wilds or brave the underground? Puzzle solving, boss battles, item collecting, secrets and exploration put Zelda in the spotlight, where it remains to this day.

Every few years brings a new adventure to the homes of gamers everywhere. The Zelda series has delivered unrivaled quality, time and time again. In 1998 Nintendo released what many consider to be the best game of all time: Ocarina of Time. Receiving perfect 10s from critics everywhere, the game would envelop a whole new crop of fans and keep the series popular almost a decade later.

Zelda Wind Waker

And let it not be said that Zelda and Mario are the only mascots that would pave the way for the gaming giant that is Nintendo. Titles like Metroid, Star Fox, Donkey Kong, and Pokemon are interwoven into a gamer language, and they would further drive nails into the coffins of the competition. Lesser known carts such as Pilotwings, Balloon Fight, Ice Climber, and Kid Icarus may not have the worldwide acclaim of their bigger brothers, but they also have quite a big space in a lot of gamers' hearts.

samus_aran.jpgFor many, looking upon Nintendo's list of games triggers heartfelt nostalgia. Remembering a particular Nintendo game is to remember that point in time-- where you were, what you were doing, and what kind of person you were.

What makes Nintendo such a remarkable developer is the fact that many people can plot an entire lifetime by the release of one of their games. The first all-nighter you pulled trying to defeat Mother Brain in Metroid. That time you gave your brother a black eye for repeatedly bumping you into the wall in F-Zero. And who could forget the time you gave up a chance to get laid at your buddy's house party that weekend in 1998, because you were determined to beat the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time? We sure haven't forgotten.

Whatever your story, Nintendo has touched millions of people's lives on every continent, and for that they will always be number one.

Must Haves:
Super Mario 64 (N64),
Super Metroid (SNES),
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)

Have Nots:
Luigi's Mansion (GC)

Top Ten Developer List: 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1


  1. Under MUST HAVES why is Ocarina of Time not there as you said yourselfs probably THE Best Videogame of ALL TIME!

    And Luigis Mansion wasnt that bad i Enjoyed it personally!

  2. I agree, Luigi’s Mansion was a good game. It can’t be that bad if theirs talks of a sequel for the Wii!!

    Can’t really think of any Have Nots unless you count all those early crap games for the NES. Like “10 Yard Fight”.

  3. Blizzard? Although having a collection that includes such great games as Diablo, the StarCraft series and seven incarnations of WarCraft, do you honestly think that Blizzard entertainment touched as many lives as Nintendo, Sega or Konami? We have to embrace both the casual, devoted and compulsive gamer with these lists and Blizzard does not make the cut in my opinion. Again, this opinion is mine alone. But if we contemplate the influence of gaming as a whole (that meaning the revolutionary properties that have changed the face of gaming and its supporters), then Blizzard doesn’t get a seat at the table….at least not in the top ten.

  4. WTF? Nintendo?! They haven’t come out with an orginal game in years? Yea Nintendo’s good, at making the same game 7 freakin times!

  5. I agree truthhurtz, like namco and others on this list its all throw away junk, sure they may have contributed in the long run but most of what thy big named developers do is rehash a select few staples over and over.

    nintendo might still deliver quality software but I question who there target audiance is. it’s certainly not me, I’m Thoroughly uninterested in playing new zeldas and marios with the same formula

    I’m even more tired of hearing nintendo talk about how gamers are getting bored…oh really, I wonder why…whatever.

  6. Nintendo is surely the #1 video game developer of all time. (Judge thy comments by thy grammar.) Fantastic list James, and I couldn’t agree more.

    Game & Watch, NES, Gameboy, SNES, N64, GC, GBA, DS, Wii… all superb and essential systems. Impossible to beat. Thank you for a rare and well thought out list.

  7. Yes Nintendo stays loyal to its franchises. And obviously it should. Nintendo sits on a wealth of amazing gaming properties and characters. “Making the same game 7 freakin times”? That’s just flat out wrong. Nintendo has built on its series yes, but innovation has always come along with each new entry. Remember back in 1996 when Nintendo had to decide how to convert its 2D side-scrollers and top down adventure games into 3D titles? Well not only did they make the difficult transfer, but they made some of the best games of all time in the process. Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time could have been disasters, but they were masterpieces instead. Only Nintendo could have done that. And they’re still doing it today. Play the newly released Mario Galaxy and see why this company will continue to provide amazing new gameplay and level design for years to come.

  8. mario 64 and ocarina of time were good but there follow ups were boring to play mario sunshines water pack was stupid plus I’m not into rainbows and colors. wind waker was retarded with all the damned sailing, you needed suspend your brain functionality to trudge through the ridiculous world grid.

    how did the last two zelda’s innovate? they used the same exact game mechanics pioneered by ocarina, same weapons, same gameplay except for a lame talking boat or I have an okamai complex wolf play.

    the only thing that changes in zelda is the instrument the little fairy link blows.

    as for mario galaxy, I haven’t played it and currently do not have access and I’m not buying a wii until someone release an interesting game not geared towards a 5 year old. even vc is still lacking compelling games that I’d make a purchase for.

    I’d like to add that miyamato is insane and so are pikmin. people worry about MJ’s wonderland but they need to be worried about miyamato’s Fu-ck-ing garden and what the hell ever that loon is smoking!

  9. If we are talking about preference of games, then like I said – please post a top ten of your own in this thread. I’d really like to see what you guys think, and believe it would be interesting to see the differences in each. This list was chosen to show the developers that made the biggest impact on gaming in the history of the industry. That company is Nintendo. And if you feel those games are “kiddy”, then you are entitled to your oppinion. If you want to make strange comparisons about one of the most successful video game designers in history with an alleged child molester, then go right ahead. Please enjoy these posts and do feel free to vent all you’d like. Just take out the colorful language and act like an adult.

  10. maybe overall for impact your list is fine but I’m sick of nintendo and the same games same formula. I used to really like zelda but its charm wore thin with majoras mask well so did nintendos with the whole gamecube. I can’t stand them talking about how gamers are bored when there the ones that rotate a new zelda, mario, metroid once a year release leave there customers with six month to year and half droughts with no new games and when they finally deliver its just more of the same.

    I do think nintendo is going for a younger audiance with kiddy dialog and simplistic gameplay, it was the one thing in wind waker that was worse then the sailing.

    in no particular order except for crytec, crytec is number one.

    Crytec-I like what there doing with tech and I love the map editor in farcry and the crysis map editor seems to really expand on that which is a good thing giving the creative consumer the tools to expand a game beyond its original vision and the community an opportunity to embrace something outside of your standard 15 map multiplayer affair.

    Bioware-Epic Single player RPG’s, they also doing alot to expand npc interaction and player interaction with in what are usually static game worlds alternatives are mmo or japanic rpgs where every character says the same thing except for that one time during that one event 25 hours in when you long since stopped talking to everyone and you miss whatever that one thing was that you needed for that special event or whatever but can go get because that city and that npc died when the mr bad guy blew it all up…

    Bethesda-big open worlds to explore, and do whatever you like generally. though, I think oblivion was one step forward, two steps back with broken mechanics like level scaling, random loot which is level based and respawning dungeons that just don’t make any sense…

    Silicone Knights-I appreciate the level of detail they put into creating worlds to tell a story. I am attracted to the darker side of life so games like blood omen and eternal darkness appeal to me.

    Double Fine-psychonaughts was to say the least under appreciated but after having given it a chance I really enjoyed the humor even if the style of game wasn’t my cup of tea. DF is unique in the style of games they create and there humor is probably unmatched in video games. I’m looking forward to seeing brutal legend and hope they do enough to keep me intrigued as I’m usually bored to tears with adventure games.

    IO Interactive-Sandbox games are fun and Hitman 2 is probably the one I had the most fun with thus far. Kane and Lynch looks cool (I like lynch) I like the 3rd person kinda slow paced think what your gonna do gameplay as opposed to balls to the walls action point a to point b of other games all the time. I’m interested to see what IO does in the future.

    Piranha Bytes-I’m the only one I know who likes to play the gothic series and thats fine with me. PB were recently removed from developing the next in the series so I hope to see a new ip from them. It will be a shame if they go under.

    Obsidian-there like Black Isle hold outs aren’t they? anyway kotor 2 wasn’t very good and I haven’t played NV2 but there a good company with good devs so I’m hopeful for there future.

    Free Radical-ex goldeneye guys or least they were I don’t know much about who works there. The timesplitters is a decent game with humor and time travel. recently had it lanned up its fun to play. Haze looks interesting and I hope to check it out soon. I hope it does well enough for them. theres of course another timesplitters coming but I’d like to see them branch out more with there unique style.

    StarBreeze-Chronicles of riddick good.

    I really want to see new ip and new ideas that build on already established ideas. I want to see independent developers that can flourish in the market and I want to see creativity rewarded not strangled in favor of sequels so balance.

  11. “I’m the only one I know who likes to play the gothic series and thats fine with me.” WTF? You willing admit that you’re the only one of your group of friends who likes this series and probably part of a very small pool of gamers who do. How do developers like this HAVE THE GREATEST IMPACT ON THE GAMING INDUSTRY? James made an effort to relate his choices to the development of the industry at large, you just chose the developers you personally like – these two lists are not the same – your list is all about you. Can you do me a favor and at least do what James did – provide the must have titles from each of your preferred studios?

  12. yeah, it was personal preference thats what james said and i never claimed to have a comparable list with the same guidelines as his.

    I chose these developers cause i like what there doing. and yeah so what i like niche developer/games. i think every developer has some impact and while you can heap praise on the likes of nintendo, other lesser known developers however are the ones who fill the uncreative voids with something different.

    you don’t like it post your own damn top ten or insult my gaaammmaaaar or call me stupid or whatever i don’t care.

  13. In official TOP 10, the order is following:
    #1 Nintendo Co, Ltd.
    #2 Namco-Bandai Games, Inc.
    #3 Konami Computer Entertainment, Inc.
    #4 Sega Sammy Holdings, Ltd.
    #5 Ubisoft Montreal Studios, Inc.
    #6 Square-Enix Software Inc.
    #7 Capcom Co, Ltd.
    #8 Electronic Arts, Inc.
    #9 Hudson Software Co, Ltd.
    #10 Maxis Software Inc.

    OK, the author of this article don't put official data.

  14. The list is kinda messed up. It should be #1. Capcom 2. Konami 3. Nintendo 4.Square-enix 5. Sega 6. UbiSoft 7. EA 8. Namco 9. Blizzard. 10. Rare

    I am a fan of Nintendo, I have owned every home system they ever made. But I gotta say Mario 64 is Waaay overrated. Yes, it WOWed me for 4 hours with it graphics and controller but then it got boring. Getting the last 20 stars was tedious. I hated getting the 8 red coins. Thats why I haven't tried galaxy yet. However, Ocarina of time was awesome, kept my interest throughout. One of the finest games ever.

    I hope Sega and Rare can bring more of their classic series back. Sonic is a great series, I am glad they are continuing with Sonic 4 but they also have other great series. Like Streets of Rage, Thunderblade, Panzer Dragon, Shenmue and Shinobi. Rare had Double Dragon and Battletoads, and both of those games desperately need next-gen updates.

  15. What are you smoking? You forgot Valve? They update pretty much all their shit fo' free and the games are both epic and cheap. Valve takes care of their customers more than any other developer I've seen. For that, they win at everything, always.

    • hey Bungie wanted to stop after Halo 3 but Microsoft made them make more…why do you think Bungie was so anxious to partner w/ activision? Its because bungie wants to make a new IP and make multi-platform games. Hell I play PS3 now, x360 sucks but I remember the golden years for me at least 2001 – 2007

  16. Yeah, where is Blizzard, and Valve? No other companies like these have created rich stories and great multiplayer so immense like they did.

  17. I respect your opinion about Blizzard but you have to realize the vast scale of subscribers to World Of Warcraft. It's not just that game that makes them great but also the classic games like you mentioned. How can you say that Blizzard is NOT influential yet mostly the reason why theres so many MMO's now is becuase of Blizzard. And more and more will immerge. As for Valve I forgot to mention how supportive and dedicated Valve is to the community. They release updates and expansion packs for free. Unless you were to count the DLC's for L4D on x360, but you've got to remember that it was Microsoft, not Valve, who put the prices there.

  18. bs man i loved luigis mansion, sure its not the best nintendo title but it was also a launch title for the gamecube so they really didn’t have much to work with

  19. Oh, no UK developers? Ok here we go then.

    Team 17 – Worms.

    Rareware – GOLDEN-FUCKING-EYE. Donkey Kong. Perfect Dark

    Lionhead – Fable series.

    Rockstar – GRAND THEFT AUTO, LA. Noire, Max Payne, Lemmings.
    Bullfrog – Theme Park/Theme Park World.Codemasters – Dizzy Egg, Toca Race Series, F1 Series, Dirt Series.SCE London Studio – The groundbreaking PS2 Eyetoy.Kuju Entertainment – Rail Sim, Microsoft Train Simulator.I think it’s obvious who the best country for games is. There’s a fuck load more then what i’ve wrote.