Not bad enough to be terrible but not good enough to superior.
#7 - 2005
Notable Home Console: Super Mario Strikers, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, DDR Mario Mix, Pokémon XD
Notable Handheld: Mario Kart DS, Animal Crossing: Wild World, Metroid Prime Pinball, Mario Tennis: Power Tour
Total Nintendo Games: 16
Take away the launch of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, and 2005 very likely plummets down this list. The GameCube lineup for this year was filled with mid-tier projects, such as Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Battalion Wars, DDR Mario Mix, and Super Mario Strikers. It’s a decent assortment (one some of us might kill for right now), but nothing that even approaches must-have or system-seller status. The DS, on the other hand, debuted two must-have system-seller-style games in Mario Kart DS and Animal Crossing: Wild World. Aside from that electric pair, the second holiday for the portable also featured the release of cult classic adventure game Another Code: Two Memories, shockingly good spinoff Metroid Prime Pinball, and the, according to former staffer Stan Ferguson, the 10/10 Mario Tennis: Power Tour.
#6 - 2007
Notable Home Console:Super Mario Galaxy, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Link’s Crossbow Training, Battalion Wars 2
Notable Handheld: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Mario Party DS, Master of Illusion
Total Nintendo Games: 11
The fact that the three years following up the Wii’s launch are #10, #9, and #6 is crazy, but here we are. With a once-in-a-console-generation masterpiece like Super Mario Galaxy, 2007 is almost by default a good holiday lineup. And it is a good thing Galaxy is there, because if you took that away, 2007 crumbles like a house of cards. The Wii is rounded out by Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Battalion Wars 2, and the weird GameCube holdover Donkey Kong Barrel Blast. What is mind-blowing is how limited the DS lineup is, as the biggest titles are The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Master of Illusion, and DK Jungle Climber. Though, this year for the DS is the equivalent of 2015 for the Wii U. After how big 2006 was for the little system, it makes sense that Nintendo’s guns might have needed some time to reload.
#5 - 2010
Notable Home Console: Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Wii Party
Notable Handheld: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem
Total Nintendo Games: 12
2010 is probably what the baseline is for the average holiday season. It’s got one slam-dunk masterwork in Donkey Kong Country Returns. It has a smattering of other quality games, including Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. It even has a few duds like FlingSmash for good measure. If every holiday system had the breakdown of 2010, we’d all probably still complain, but our complaining would be a little more “spoiled bratty.”
#4 - 2006
Notable Home Console: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Wii Sports, Baten Kaitos Origins
Notable Handheld: Elite Beat Agents, Yoshi’s Island DS, Kirby Squeak Squad, Clubhouse Games
Total Nintendo Games: 16
Remember the stuff I said about launch years? Well, in the case of the Wii, none of that matters. From day one, the Wii was a smashing success, and some of that can be attributed to the killer launch duo of Wii Sports and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Even Excite Truck is a quality game. The Wii launch still had holes, but if you got Wii Sports and Twilight Princess, you were good for a long time. And hey, you could have even gotten Baten Kaitos Origins when it hit GameCube in September. 2006 also benefits from being a strong DS year. Elite Beat Agents might have sold poorly but all the cool kids know that game is great (and all the hipster gamers liked it better as Ouendan). The DS was also buoyed by stuff like Yoshi’s Island DS, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2, the surprisingly solid Clubhouse Games, and Kirby: Squeak Squad. Low-key RPGs like Magical Starsign and Children of Mana even got brought to America by Nintendo of America this year.