Since 1983, Nintendo has been an integral part of our video game life. Heralding a new era in video game consoles, the NES was just the beginning. Since then, many Nintendo video game consoles have followed one another, some being huge successes, others not. Let’s take a journey through the best and the worst Nintendo has had to offer.
Best-selling Nintendo games and consoles
Units sold: 770,000
Best game: Mario Tennis
For anyone who remembers that complete 1995 flop, it’s no surprise to find it at the bottom of Nintendo’s bestseller list. Maybe it was ahead of its time, maybe it was rushed, maybe it was just a half-baked idea. Whatever the problem, Virtual Boy simply never clicked. With only 14 titles to his name, Mario Tennis wins by default because it was included when purchasing the console.
Nintendo Mini SNES Mini
Units sold: 9 million units combined
Not really consoles, but the frenzy they sparked deserves them to be on the list. Offering a bit of nostalgia, both mini consoles were only available for a limited time (at least for now) and sold out faster than hot cakes. Maybe someday Nintendo will bring them back, but for now, for those of you lucky enough to get your hands on them, hopefully you’re playing them and not leaving them in the box in as a collector’s item.
Units sold: 13.56 million
Best game: Mario Kart 8
Since 2012, the Wii U has not had the same astronomical success as its predecessor. Beating only the utter failure of Virtual Boy, sales of the Wii U have so far been disappointing. However, Mario Kart 8 saw strong sales, with over 8 million copies sold, meaning more than half of Wii U owners bought it.
Units sold: 21.74 million
Best Game: Super Smash Bros Melee
Another of Nintendo’s weaker projects, GameCube, fills the bottom three on the list. With the release of the PlayStation 2 the year before, maybe gamers’ wallets were depleted, or audiences were getting older and looking for a different gaming experience. With around 21 million copies sold and a top-tier Super Smash Bros. Melee game selling 7 million copies, GameCube has struggled.
Units sold: 32 million
Best game: Super Mario 64
Maybe not the success some of us might think, but it’s still a classic system for any Nintendo fan. N64 brought Nintendo to the 3D world filled with polygons, and it was magic. Tons of classic games, but Mario reigned supreme with almost 12 million copies of Mario 64 sold.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Units sold: 49 million
Best Game: Super Mario World
Following in the original footsteps of the NES may be a difficult act to follow, but the SNES has held up with 49 million units sold. Going from 8 to 16 bit was a big deal, but not enough to match the NES. RPGs have made real progress on this system, but none could surpass the big man himself as Super Mario World was the best game with over 20 million copies sold.
Nintendo Entertainment System
Units sold: 61.91 million
Best Game: Super Mario Bros
Have you ever forgotten your first love? Many gamers will say that the NES was a life-changing experience, truly bringing them the world of video games. A huge success, by all means, the NES burst onto the scene with nearly 62 million consoles sold. Sticking to an original, of course, Super Mario Bros takes home the best game with over 40 million cartridges sold.
Game Boy Advance
Units sold: 81.51 million
Best Game: Ruby / Sapphire Pokémon
Another new example is not necessarily better; the Gameboy Advanced did not have the same popularity as its predecessors. That’s not to say he hasn’t had his own success. 81.5 million people thought the Travel Console was good enough to spend $ 100 in 2001. Based on the popularity of The Endless Pokémon Wave, more than 16 million Ruby Sapphire cartridges have flown off the shelves.
Units sold: 85 million
Best game: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Only on the market since early 2017, the Nintendo Switch has seen strong sales and continues to be a fan favorite. With the ability to play on the big screen and be taken on the go, Nintendo Switch does it all. The console already offers six games with more than 20 million copies sold with hits like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and others. But the top spot with over 35 million copies sold is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which still proves you’re trying to take the throne, but Mario is still king.
Units sold: 101.63 million
Best Game: Wii Sports
When it was released in 2006, the Nintendo Wii brought video games to a whole new audience. With a revolutionary motion controller and a family range, this console wasn’t just for gamers. With so many other uses (like workouts) and just to get you moving, the Wii has been a big hit with over 101 million units sold. Wii Sports, with nearly 83 million copies sold, takes the top spot here with its easy learning curve with tennis, bowling, and other fun games.
Game Boy / Game Boy Color
Units sold: 118.69 million
Best game: Tetris
Released almost ten years apart, these consoles are as close as possible to the cousins of the consoles. Even with its flaws, the original Gameboy was our first real glimpse of what gaming could be like on the go. Almost ten years later, GameBoy Color took the experience up a notch. Selling over 118 units in total, these two rank second on the list. One of the few consoles where the best game doesn’t include Mario in any way, the ever-popular Tetris takes the cake with over 35 million games sold.
Units sold: 154.02 million
Best Game: New Super Mario Bros.
The prize for the best Nintendo console is the Nintendo DS, with over 154 million consoles sold. It is in fact the second best-selling console of any type, behind the Playstation 2, and barely. Again, taking the gaming mentality anywhere, Nintendo has stepped it up even further with the Nintendo DS. Nintendo DS added a second screen, one being a touchscreen, allowing for highly interactive games. Nintendo’s usual cast of characters can be found with many Zelda, Pokemon, and other familiar faces having their titles, but as usual Mario takes the top spot. New Super Mario Bros. has sold nearly 31 million copies.
Nintendo isn’t known to sit on its successes (or failures). Firmly entrenched as a leader and innovator in the video game industry, Nintendo will no doubt have a few more tricks up its sleeve, entertaining current fans and generations to come for years to come.