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NWR 15th Birthday: The Best Game of the Past 15 Years

The Wild Card Round

by Neal Ronaghan - March 6, 2014, 10:34 pm EST

Eight games didn't make our top four from each year, and now they need to fight to survive.

When we went through picking out our four favorite games from each of the past 15 years, we had a few games that we felt still deserved a shot. These eight games below are those games. Some of them might freak you out. Yes, people on staff argued against Super Mario 3D World being one of the best games of 2013. These games can still get into the round of 64 games with a win here, so if you feel strong about one of them, get your vote in!

Voting ends on March 12 at around 1 a.m. ET. On March 12, we'll have Round 1, with 64 games and 32 match-ups, ready to go...

Luigi's Mansion vs. Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 3D World wins 83% to 17%!


Luigi's Mansion: This 2001 GameCube release was ironically the first "Mario" game to be released on the system. In it, Luigi wins a (haunted) mansion from a contest he didn't even enter. With a little help from Professor E. Gadd, Luigi wields and almighty vacuum cleaner to extract the ghouls from his newly obtained manor. Its clever use of environment and mechanics, characterization, and overall quirkiness makes this game one of a kind.


Super Mario 3D World: One of 2013's best games, Super Mario 3D World was Mario's big 3D foray into HD graphics on the Wii U. Featuring the adorable cat suit and tons of content, this game brought four-player mayhem to a new style of Mario, ruining friendships all the while. If this game loses in this round, there is a chance that it invalidates this entire voting process, and the NWR staffers who decided this wasn't one of the four best games of 2013 might have to stand trial.

Vote here!

WWF No Mercy vs. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

Castlevania: DoS wins 68% to 32%!


WWF No Mercy: Every time a new WWE game is released, people often ask why they don't just use the AKI engine instead of whatever Yukes has developed. The reason they ask this is because some of the best wrestling games of all time used this engine. One of the last and best uses of this engine came via WWF No Mercy, released on the Nintendo 64 in 2000. The WWF was reaching peak popularity at the time with stars such as The Rock and Steve Austin, and No Mercy was the pinnacle of Nintendo 64 wrestling games and maybe even all of wrestling video games.


Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow: This early DS game is a sequel to the best of the GBA’s Castlevania games—Aria of Sorrow. It is surprisingly similar, in fact, and feels more like Aria of Sorrow 2.0 sometimes, but that’s okay, because Aria of Sorrow 2.0 is still the best Castlevania game on the DS. The quality of the graphics and the music still stand out among the system’s best. The soul-catching system is as addictive as ever and there’s an interesting weapon-crafting system. It even has a second playthrough that is in line with the series history of awesome second quests.

Vote here!

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door vs. Viewtiful Joe

Paper Mario wins 55% to 45%!


Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door: The sequel to the Nintendo 64 original, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is not just a fun game to play, it’s also one of the funniest games you’ll find on the GameCube. Mario ventures forth on an adventure to find Princess Peach, who has gone missing, in a search for the Thousand-Year Door, which apparently leads to riches for whoever opens it. Using the same system as the previous Paper Mario game, Mario partners with one of his various allies throughout the game to solve puzzles as well as battle using the timed hit system from Super Mario RPG. It doesn’t stray from the original’s formula too much, but Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door delivers in terms of a fun, humor filled adventure that’s full of charm.


Viewtiful Joe: This 2003 GameCube release was the winner of Nintendo Power Player’s Choice Award for “Most Innovative Game Design,” as well as being a beloved, stylistic game from The Wonderful 101 developer Hideki Kamiya. What makes Viewtiful Joe shine is not only its comic strip style presentation, but its tight and fun combat and mechanics. Viewtiful Joe remains to be the closest to a true character action game on a Nintendo platform. The game's unique style and gameplay make this it a must play for any Nintendo fan.

Vote here!

Radiant Historia vs. Metroid Fusion

Metroid Fusion wins 58% to 42%!


Radiant Historia: The 2011 DS RPG might have been missed by some since it came out right before the 3DS launch. Those people, however, are fools because Radiant Historia is one of the best RPGs on the system. It's a time-traveling RPG with branching paths that you can jump around in, often altering one timeline to save another. The combat system makes use of an interesting grid system, and the story is shockingly very good. It's got fun characters, plenty of neat twists, and excellent gameplay. This might be one of Atlus' best games.


Metroid Fusion: The 2002 Game Boy Advance release took Super Metroid’s gameplay and attempted to inject some story, some gravitas, into the formula. No longer could Samus run from one area to the next—she had missions this time, given to her by a sentient computer program, in an effort to stop the spread of a deadly space organism (the “X” parasites) from TAKING OVER THE UNIVERSE. These story sequences are not always welcome or well-written, but the gameplay is silky smooth and features a few new gadgets to play with. The space station offers are larger and more interconnected playground than anything in Zero Mission, but Fusion is a more cerebral Metroid game.

Vote here!


AdrockMarch 07, 2014

It's a toss up between Metroid Prime and Resident Evil 4 for me though I'm leaner towards the former.

NeifirstMarch 07, 2014

Paper Mario: TTYD is only a wild card!  I hope it gets the votes it deserves - by far my favorite of the Paper series.

ejamerMarch 07, 2014

Fun idea. Is this the first time that Video Game March Madness happened?

Zebes regional: Wow, you guys made me root for the meteor in the 16-1 matchup. Well played. Also, if the wild card doesn't crush in the 1st round here, there is no justice on this planet.

Umbrella regional: I think the wild card can make it out of R1 if it's Pap... Xenoblade's a 4 seed? mrgrgr...

Mushroom regional: Fire Emblem can make the sweet 16, and it'll give Galaxy a run for its money there.

Hyrule regional: Two typos there: You spelled Platinum "Diamond/Pearl" and Rouge Squadron 2 should have "11" next to it.

Then again, if I was booking, we'd have the Reyn/Final Destination/Comet/Malamar divisions, so take my words with as much NaCl as you need.

Hey folks: should we tighten up the voting time periods? Right now, each round is 5 days. Do you think 3 days would be fine?

Wild Card round will still go until next Wednesday because we're still putting together the write-ups and content for the round featuring 60 new games, but do y'all think a 3-day window for each successive round would be enough time?

Leo13March 07, 2014

Yes, tighten up the voting time period.

How is 3D World a Wild Card and New Super Mario Bro U is in? Didn't you mean to flip those 2? I've never talked to a single person that thought U was better than 3D World

Quote from: Leo13

How is 3D World a Wild Card and New Super Mario Bro U is in? Didn't you mean to flip those 2? I've never talked to a single person that thought U was better than 3D World

Read the explanation! We picked 4 games from each year from 1999 to 2013. NSMBU and 3D World came out in different years. We have the wild cards to make up a little bit for years with tons of great games.

ejamerMarch 07, 2014

I agree about tightening the voting period if possible. 5 days per round is going to drag on for a long time.

CericMarch 07, 2014

3 Day window probably be better.  Also the ability to do all the votes on the page be cool but I get why we can't.

Mop it upMarch 07, 2014

Hm, this could be an interesting series of polls, and just in time for March Madness to boot.

I think I would have to choose Perfect Dark as my fave game from the past 15 years. The only other contenders would be Super Smash Brothers Melee and Mario Kart Wii, I've certainly played all three games the most. But those two are less "unique" than Perfect Dark. It sucks that those two games are going against each other though; no idea what I'll pick there!

PhilPhillip Stortzum, March 07, 2014

I like this more than March Madness. This tournament doesn't make The Late Show enter reruns for several weeks. :)

Round 1 is underway. I'll be posting the pages over the next few hours, but feel free to vote on everything now in the March Madness subboard.

Leo13March 12, 2014

In the planet Zebes region, my favorite is A Link Between Worlds...and there isn't a close second (at least not to me I'm sure there are many people that will opine differently)

Leo13March 12, 2014

Let me specify. The above statement is only true for part 1 of the planet Zebes region.

Leo13March 12, 2014

In Planet Zebes 2 my favorite is Donkey Kong Country Returns with Mario 3D world a very close second.

Leo13March 12, 2014

In the Umbrella Corporation Region Part 1 I feel compelled to discuss 2 of the matchups, I loved Rhythm Heaven and I hate Epic Yarn. Yes I realize most people loved Epic Yarn for the visuals which really were cool and creative, but after about 40 minutes of being in awe of the visuals I realized it's an incredibly boring game.

The other one is Ogre Battle 64 is such a cool game; however, Xenoblade is my favorite game of all time. I didn't learn about it until it was going for $100 on ebay. I GameFlyed it (can you say Game Flyed for rented from Game Fly) I signed up for a Game Fly account for 1 month to try Xenoblade and decided it was worth the $100 people were paying for it. Now I'd tell you it's worth even more. I'm hoping enough people played this one for it to go all the way to the Championship (I've yet to hear someone that played it and didn't love it)

Leo13March 12, 2014

I have 1 thing to say about Umbrella Corporation Region Part 2:
Zelda: Four Swords Adventures is one of the most underrated games I'm familiar with. It was super fun and most people don't even know it exists. I'm very happy to see that the sages as Nintendo World Report had the wisdom to include it even though it probably won't survive the first round.
My wife and I played this one together and really enjoyed it. I'd love to see an HD remake of this on Wii U integrated with 3DS I'm sure the Wifi connection would be fast enough to do it that would be so AWESOME!

Fiendlord_TimmayMarch 15, 2014

Majora's Mask and Ghost Trick both out after the first round?! God what is wrong with you people?

You hurt me, NWR community. You really do. :(

marvel_moviefan_2012March 15, 2014

Good to see actually Majoras Mask is overrated

Leo13March 21, 2014

Hey these links are taking me to the results page of the last round! In other words we can't vote on these new matchups

MythtendoMarch 21, 2014

I'm glad Majora's Mask was quickly eliminated, I always thought that game was too over-rated.

Hmm, yeah the Elite 8 links just go to results from the previous round.

InvaderRENMarch 21, 2014

Voting not working for me either :(  I'll check back later to see if link fixed.

Quote from: InvaderREN

Voting not working for me either :(  I'll check back later to see if link fixed.

Sorry about that. I didn't update the links. It's fixed now!

lwrightMarch 21, 2014

Now, I'm curious. This round determines the winner of each of the 4 brackets, but which 2 brackets will face which 2 brackets in the final four?
Is it possible to have a Galaxy 1 vs Galaxy 2 semi or could that only happen in the final?

Quote from: lwright

Now, I'm curious. This round determines the winner of each of the 4 brackets, but which 2 brackets will face which 2 brackets in the final four?
Is it possible to have a Galaxy 1 vs Galaxy 2 semi or could that only happen in the final?

Zebes faces Umbrella and Hyrule faces Mushroom Kingdom.

So, winner of Prime/3D World plays Xeno/TP
Winner of Galaxy/Sunshine plays Wind Waker/Galaxy 2

That means, yes, if the Galaxies win this round, it's Galaxy-on-Galaxy action.

Retro DeckadesMarch 27, 2014

Not to take anything away from these two great games, but this is a rather boring and predictable final.

KhushrenadaMarch 27, 2014

Well, if more people had followed my advice of voting for all the 16 placed ranked games in the beginning, it would have knocked all the number 1 games out at the start and created a huge change in how this all played out. Unfortunately, too many people took this seriously to do that and I gave up on any real upsets occuring. (Side note: I am shocked though at how many people really like Super Mario Galaxy. I didn't think it would be the final game going up against Metroid Prime.)

Really? I think this was easily the most likely final matchup. We didn't really get many upsets, as opposed to the real March Madness bracket.

Retro DeckadesMarch 27, 2014

At the very least, I am very happy to have seen both Xenoblade Chronicles and Twilight Princess go as far as they did.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, March 27, 2014

Happy 15th birthday, NWR! You may be getting older, but that doesn't mean you're an adult yet. You need to continue working hard at school, mind your manners, brush your teeth, don't do drugs or alcohol, and make your parents proud!

GaviinApril 13, 2014

Did you guys ever finish this feature?  I only see the "finals" post, but no final results.  Did you forget about it or something??

The original winner failed a drug test.

CericApril 14, 2014

Quote from: Shaymin

The original winner failed a drug test.

I think the final winner was take out back by Boom Blox and "removed from competition."

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