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Ranking Nintendo's Past 10 Holiday Lineups

by Neal Ronaghan - November 2, 2015, 9:47 am EST
Total comments: 29

From 2005 to 2014, Nintendo released a lot of games from September to December. What years were the best?

With the delays of The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox Zero to 2016 and the apparent dumpster fire that is Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, Nintendo’s holiday lineup this year appears very weak. That got me thinking: where does this year’s slate compare to recent Nintendo holiday lineups? Is 2015 truly that bad of a year? Or are we just spoiled? Using a highly advanced scoring system (aka I listed out each game released from September to December in the past 10 years and stared at them blankly for like 45 minutes), I ranked Nintendo’s holiday seasons from 2005 to 2014. Over the next few pages, I’m going to list out each year in descending order and explain why each year is where it is. At the end, I’ll make my call as to where I think 2015 will slot in when all is said and done.

Just a note: I’m not factoring in sales figures at all (or else the Wii years would be at the top and everything else would be light years behind). This list is also, as most lists are, totally subjective. I’m probably going to not give a game you dug the respect you think it deserves. Consequently, I’ll probably give a game more love than you think it deserves. This is all in good fun and I love you all. Now let’s go start on that one holiday season that everyone knows sucked: 2008.

Talkback

Disco StuNovember 02, 2015

2013 all the way. 3D World, Link Between Worlds alone make it my #1.  This is also because I am a diehard Nintendo fan who doesn't particularly like Smash Bros (gasp) so 2014 was never ever going to top my list.

CompeauNovember 02, 2015

2012 is sneaky underrated with the Wii U launch lineup.  NSMBU is often overlooked because of the previous games in the series, but it's the best of the bunch.

2013 was crazy good.  A great 3D Mario, the best 3D Zelda ever, and NES Remix on Wii U, while the 3DS had the best new Pokemon since Gold/Silver and the best portable Zelda since Link's Awakening.

Ian SaneNovember 02, 2015

The second I saw this headline I thought "that Wii Music year HAS to be the worst" and sure enough it is.  To me that holiday was Nintendo sending the message loud and clear of "we don't give a fuck about anyone but casuals".  By the next holiday season I had a PS3.  And if you want proof that the Wii was a fluke look at how two of the key years of Wii-mania are at the bottom of the list.  Nintendo never put in a poorer effort into a console than they did with the Wii and the thing coasted on mainstream fad appeal thanks to Wii Sports and Wii Fit.  Nintendo clearly knew it too and developed lazy habits that bit then in the ass big time when they launched the Wii U.

Also you have to question how in-touch Nintendo was when they were releasing garbage like Wii Music and assuming it would have the same appeal of Wii Sports.  Either Nintendo had no idea what they were doing or "release half-baked junk and the rubes will eat it up" was their intentional strategy.  The Wii U's failure is karma for all the shit Nintendo got away with during the Wii years.

Vrgin XNovember 02, 2015

Great list, but 2008 would be the worst for me...

Also, in your 2015 prediction, you forgot one other game Nintendo's publishing this year, you know, Level 5's licence to print money... And it's out Friday!

Luigi DudeNovember 02, 2015

Quote from: Ian

The second I saw this headline I thought "that Wii Music year HAS to be the worst" and sure enough it is.  To me that holiday was Nintendo sending the message loud and clear of "we don't give a fuck about anyone but casuals".  By the next holiday season I had a PS3.  And if you want proof that the Wii was a fluke look at how two of the key years of Wii-mania are at the bottom of the list.  Nintendo never put in a poorer effort into a console than they did with the Wii and the thing coasted on mainstream fad appeal thanks to Wii Sports and Wii Fit.  Nintendo clearly knew it too and developed lazy habits that bit then in the ass big time when they launched the Wii U.

Oh shut the fuck up already.  The reason 2008 and 2009 were poor was because from the Wii's launch in 2006 until mid 2008, the system had the strongest 1st party lineup in Nintendo history.  Nearly every major studio got a game out during this time period with many of them being pretty huge content wise titles and top quality gaming wise as well.

Yes holiday 2008 was horrible but it wasn't because Nintendo decided they could lazily get by with tricking casuals.  On average it takes Nintendo's studio's at least 2-3 years to make the core oriented games.  If every single core studio just released something in the last year, then what the fuck were they suppose to release?

Would you rather have Nintendo turn into EA, Activision and Ubisoft and just have all the studio's that released their Wii games in 2007 quickly put together blatantly rehashed sequels so Nintendo would have more games in 2008/2009?  It takes time to make the quality games Nintendo is known for and your whole complaint is they should have basically scarified their quality just to pad out the schedule.  Of course you then bitch about Mario and Zelda games not being ambitious enough, but if Nintendo did what you want them to do they'd basically be yearly expansion packs like what much of the rest of the industry does.

Your argument basically comes down to Nintendo should be filled with Wizards who can magically make games appear out of their ass because that's the only way they can do actually what you say they should do.

Ian SaneNovember 02, 2015

Quote from: Luigi

Your argument basically comes down to Nintendo should be filled with Wizards who can magically make games appear out of their ass because that's the only way they can do actually what you say they should do.

If you can't offer a half-decent lineup of games around Christmas for two consecutive years maybe you shouldn't design your console in a way that completely sabotages all third party support so that you and you alone are responsible for there being games available.  I have expectations of how many games should be being released on a regular basis and that is a realistic expectation based on all consoles on the market.  If Nintendo has to be magic wizards that fart out games to meet the expectations that the other console makers have set then that is their own stupid fuck up and they get no free pass on that.  I wouldn't give a free pass to the other guys either.  This is the industry standard so you fucking meet it.  Don't have the resources, then expand.  Don't have the relationships with other companies, then build them.  Don't have the hardware, then make it.  If you fucked up several years ago and are still feeling the effects of it then I am going to give you a failing grade for each of those years because it is your fuck up and your responsibility and if you don't like it then maybe that will inspire you to not be so damn short-sighted in the future.

This is how the damn market works.  Nintendo gives us all this "please understand" stuff in the first few years of the Wii U and no one put with it and the console didn't sell.  These are companies trying to make money in a competitive industry.  You don't get to make excuses if the other guys are up to snuff and you're not.  I'm not being any less fair than the average consumer.  You offer this, competition offers that.  You match or exceed or you're left in the dust.

michaelbaysuperfan616November 02, 2015

I find it funny that anyone would point to Activision or Ubisoft as a standard of what not to do when they are the most successful game companies in the world right now, both putting out easily the best games people want to play. E.A is also doing fantastic for all the crap they get so again why hate on the companies that are actually making good games, consistently, while defending the company that made Wii Fit in the first place, and then gave it and HD sequel. Even if you don't like Call of Duty or Assasin's Creed there are plenty of amazing games coming from those studios, again yearly, that are easily twice as complex as the stuff Nintendo takes 2-3 years to make.

I love Nintendo and all but come on if you don't think they have to do something about their image you need to get your head examined.

LucarioNovember 02, 2015

E.A is shit hands down with ass's creed and Origin, clearly better then steam, cough cough!
but Nintendo does need to pull it's shit together.

Ian SaneNovember 02, 2015

I don't care for Activision or EA (except Mass Effect which is awesome) but they have some pretty elaborate games.  Meanwhile Nintendo has a slim release schedule for two years before the Wii U launches and their big Wii U game is a 2D sidescroller that might as well be NSMB Wii with a higher resolution.  Seriously?  It took years for them to release THAT?  It's not even 3D.  Fuckin' N64 games are more complex than that.  Nintendo puts years and years into games and then they come out kind of small and quaint.  What the hell?  There are clearly issues with their development process because they take forever to make games and the ones they make don't come across as particularly elaborate or complicated compared to other contemporary titles.

EnnerNovember 03, 2015

A lot of tastes being starved, I see.

Fatty The HuttNovember 03, 2015

Missing from the list, for me, are:
Metroid Prime 3 (August 2007);
Guitar Hero III (October 2007) (sold best on Wii and I also bough it on Wii);  and
Goldeneye (November 2010).

I know some if not all of those don't fit Neal's criteria but they made 2007 a great holiday year, for me (what with Galaxy in that year too), and 2010 really good too (with DKC: Returns and Kirby's Epic Yarn). 

I am also basically judging console line-ups as the handheld line-ups felt, to me, basically holiday-proof in that they had a steady schedule of good releases that were pushed as attractive purchases all year round, including the holiday season. 

LucarioNovember 03, 2015

Ian's a lot like me (I love Mass Effect and 2 would be in my top ten fav games).
But Nintendo's does try.
People would argue that but think about it.
For Every Virtual boy a SNES
For every Wii U a 3DS
see Nintendo trys new things, and in a gaming world that lacks new idea's anymore, this is want made me love them there're not the generic asshole's that we see so often.
I love this concept of theirs that for every new invention, in case it fails they have a backup plan.
I love they're games (most of them)
I Love Pokémon (because who doesn't)
I Love Dankey Kang (my first ever game was DK Country)
I love Mario (even M&S at the Olympic games)
I Love Animal Crossing (Tom Nook you evil BITCH!)
I Like Zelda (yeah apart from OoT not my personal fav)
I Love Xenoblade (it's Beautiful!)
I Fuckin love SSB (hands down the best fighter)
and I LOVE NINTENDO
just because an artist has flops, theirs always a masterpiece on the Horizon, so Ian think before you post.

KhushrenadaNovember 03, 2015

I want to report Lucariofan99's post to a moderator..... for some kind of an award of excellence and to use as an example of more posts we need to see around here. I love it! I'm absolutely in the same mind set as you. I think this might be your best post so far!

LucarioNovember 03, 2015

;Doh, thanks Khush!
I just wanted to show you guys how much I liked all of you (even you bob!)
You are the most awesome Crew! (cough, One Piece ref)

sudoshuffNovember 03, 2015

Quote from: Khushrenada

I want to report Lucariofan99's post to a moderator..... for some kind of an award of excellence and to use as an example of more posts we need to see around here. I love it! I'm absolutely in the same mind set as you. I think this might be your best post so far!

Yes. My favorite part of the poem was:
"But Nintendo's does try.
People would argue that but think about it."


I was also intrigued by the capitalization of "Horizon" in the last line...what could the author be implying about the relative importance of that word?


Finally, "...so Ian think before you post" deserves a spot in somebody's forum signature...


Bravo Lucariofan99

CericNovember 03, 2015

Alright I think 2005 was way under rated.

azekeNovember 03, 2015

Quote from: Lucariofan99

Ian's a lot like me (I love Mass Effect and 2 would be in my top ten fav games).
But Nintendo's does try.
People would argue that but think about it.
For Every Virtual boy a SNES
For every Wii U a 3DS
see Nintendo trys new things, and in a gaming world that lacks new idea's anymore, this is want made me love them there're not the generic asshole's that we see so often.
I love this concept of theirs that for every new invention, in case it fails they have a backup plan.
I love they're games (most of them)
I Love Pokémon (because who doesn't)
I Love Dankey Kang (my first ever game was DK Country)
I love Mario (even M&S at the Olympic games)
I Love Animal Crossing (Tom Nook you evil BITCH!)
I Like Zelda (yeah apart from OoT not my personal fav)
I Love Xenoblade (it's Beautiful!)
I Fuckin love SSB (hands down the best fighter)
and I LOVE NINTENDO
just because an artist has flops, theirs always a masterpiece on the Horizon, so Ian think before you post.

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/18148053/images/1330526248202.jpg

ShyGuyNovember 03, 2015

2007 had Galaxy people. GALAXY. Plus I enjoyed Link's Crossbow training quite a bit.

Quote from: Fatty_The_Hutt

Missing from the list, for me, are:
Metroid Prime 3 (August 2007);
Guitar Hero III (October 2007) (sold best on Wii and I also bough it on Wii);  and
Goldeneye (November 2010).

I know some if not all of those don't fit Neal's criteria but they made 2007 a great holiday year, for me (what with Galaxy in that year too), and 2010 really good too (with DKC: Returns and Kirby's Epic Yarn). 

I am also basically judging console line-ups as the handheld line-ups felt, to me, basically holiday-proof in that they had a steady schedule of good releases that were pushed as attractive purchases all year round, including the holiday season. 

All three of those are rad, but my criteria was Nintendo-published games from Sept to Dec, which none of those games fit.

There were quite a number of late August releases (oddly nearly all Metroid games) that definitely could be considered borderline additions. My original idea was to just use Oct-Dec, so I didn't want to widen the scope of "holiday season" even further to mean half the year. Plus, modern Nintendo seems to think the year doesn't start until September-ish anyway.

KhushrenadaNovember 04, 2015

There's a month before September? Since when?

michaelbaysuperfan616November 04, 2015

Great post Lucario man you nailed it. I actually found this site searching for positive Nintendo news especially about NX.

LucarioNovember 04, 2015

Plus I do see this forum as one big family, we act like it so much, we love, we fight and we stick up for each other.
who would be the mum and dad though...

Probably me and Khush.

KhushrenadaNovember 05, 2015

I'd say the mom is Bill Aurion who wanted her forum children to get along. She tried to be positive and post happy anime pics for us but in the end, we broke her heart with our behaviour and now she is distant and estranged and can not deal with NWR forum life without her many pills and Pietriots support group.

The dad would be Animecyberrat would be who is frustrated with what his forum life has become and is angry with the world and copes by drinking a lot. He feels that forum life is stifling him so he leaves us all and take off only to try and reconnect with his kids every couple years when he starts sobering up. However, after a little period of peace, bridge-building and spirit to improve, he soon feels that forum life is imprisoning him again and starts to drink again and get upset and lash out at the world around him until he can't take it and has to leave again. He keeps repeating this cycle.

Insanolord would be the black sheep of the family or red-headed stepchild. Your choice. Khushrenada would obviously be the cool, rich, uncle that all forumers secretly wish really was their dad and seems to have been unaffected by growing up around this family by avoiding a lot of the family drama.



Oh, hi there NWR readers and non-forum members who came here to read the article of how one person would rank the Nintendo Holiday seasons! Hope these past few posts have helped add more food for thought to this topic. I think it's clear that everyone agrees 2010 was the best of these holiday seasons as you can tell by the way the discussion has gone.

LucarioNovember 05, 2015

I'm Khushy son obviously! 8)

KhushrenadaNovember 05, 2015

That's my boy!  ;)




A huge disappointment....  :(  :-[

LucarioNovember 06, 2015

But daddddd!
I want to follow my dreams!

Mop it upNovember 06, 2015

Wow, most of this list is not at all what I would choose. Games like NSMBWii and Super Mario Galaxy were both enough to propel those years to some of the best holiday seasons, and lessor stuff like Battalion Wars II was awesome as well. Multiplayer Mario was a freakin' magical thing that sometimes feels like something only I can see. Meanwhile, the Wii U had a very underwhelming launch, Smash 4 was just Brawl 1.2, and lineups like 2005 were full of yawns as well.

Oh well, at least Skyward Sword got some praise. What a refreshing Zelda game that was. One thing's for sure, Nintendo have released a lot of good games in all of these years.

My own list would probably be something like:

10. 2005 - wow, what a bunch of second-tier stinkers.
9. 2012 - a poor launch showing for one of the most disappointing systems yet.
8. 2014 - at least it had Fantasy Life.
7. 2008 - I spent a lot of time with AC and friends, and Wario Land was pretty good too. This isn't enough of a well-rounded lineup for it to be higher, though.
6. 2013 - both Mario and Zelda were underwhelming and a bit rehash-y, but were still fun in their own right.  Pokémon was still Pokémon.
5. 2010 - return of DK and a beautiful Kirby made this a holiday to remember.
4. 2009 - multiplayer Mario is something I'd dreamed about since the first time I played SMB1, so this was a great year.
3. 2006 - a solid Zelda in here sure, but the hype for Wii was real and Wii Sports brought people together.
2. 2007 - one of the best platformers ever, and some nice side stuff too.
1. 2011 - amazing Zelda, amazing Kirby, and decent other games makes this a good lineup all around.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterNovember 07, 2015

Whichever one had Skyward Sword is automatically the worst one.

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