Nintendo has mastered almost every game genre

By Michael On 9 May, 2013 At 08:21 AM | Categorized As Features | With 21 Comments

Nintendo has mastered almost every game genre 

I had a random thought popped into my head while playing Fire Emblem Awakening. Not sure how the thought came into my head but it got me fascinated. So I decided to do a little snooping and my findings were interesting to say the least.

What was that thought?

Has Nintendo mastered all the game genre’s?

The answer? No, they have not mastered every game genre. But they are darn close to it.

Nintendo has got a reputation of relying on the same IP’s (Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon). It is true to a certain extent but Nintendo has an impressive spread of games over many genres. Most impressive is the spread of quality games over many genre’s.

I compiled a list of games below.


  • To qualify for the list, the IP has to be owned or partially owned by Nintendo.
  • The highest game rated (metacritic) from each genre was selected.
  • I intentionally left out a few games (mainly because i can’t recall  all of the game Nintendo has produced).
  • I did not include games from the NES and SNES era.
  • I left out party and casual games because it is a given a Nintendo are good in producing these type of games.
2D Platformer     3D Platformer
New Super Mario Bros 89 Super Mario Galaxy 97
New Super Mario Bros Wii 87 Super Mario Galaxy 2 97
New Super Mario bros 2 78 Super Mario Sunshine 92
New Super Mario Bros U 84 Super Mario 64 94
Donkey Kong Returns 87
First Person Shooters     RPG
Metroid Prime 97 Xenoblade 92
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes 92 Mario & Luigi: BIS (DS) 90
Metroid Prime 3: Corruptions 90 Mario & Luigi: SSS (GBA) 90
Geist 66 Paper Mario (N64) 92
Main Pokemon series
Action/Adventure     Racers
Zelda: Ocarina of Time 99 Mario Kart Super circuit 93
Zelda: Majora Mask 95 Mario Kart ds 90
Zelda: Wind Waker 96 F Zero GX 89
Zelda: Twilight Princess 96 Wave Race 64 92
Zelda: Skyward Sword 93
Turn Based Strategy     Real Time Strategy
Fire Emblem: Awakening 92 Pikmin 89
Advance Wars: Dual Strike 90 pikmin 2 90
Advance Wars (Gba) 92 Battalion War 76
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin 86 Battalion Wars 2 75
Sports     Puzzle
Mario Tennis (N64) 91 Mario Vs Donker: MMA 82
Mario Golf (N64) 91 Pushmo 90
1080 Snowboarding 70 Crashmo 86
1080: Avalanche 73
Fighters     Survival Horror
SSB 79 eternal darkness 94
SSBM 92 Fatal Frame                   –
SSBB 93 Spirit Camera                   –
Sims Rail shooter
Animal Crossing 87 Starfox 64 88
Animal Crossing: Wild Word 86 Sin and punishment 2 87
Animal Crossing Wii 75 Kid Icarus Uprising (TPS)                  83


My thoughts and notes

  • The name Mario appears many times. However it is only a Name, a figure head for Nintendo, to sell the game.
  • Although not known for their RPG’s, Ninty has a fantastic lineup of RPG’s: Super Mario Rpg, Paper Mario series, Pokemon series and Xenoblade
  •  Eternal Darkness and Fatal Frame series are listed because Nintendo has ownership or partial ownership of the IP.
  • I am unsure about the agreement between Tecmo and Nintendo on the Fatal Frame series.
  • The Metroid prime series is listed under FPS because has prominent shooter elements. Many would argue it is strictly a first person adventure. I disagree.
  • Kid Icarus could be listed as a TPS.
  • Nintendo dominates 2D platformers, 3D platformers and action adventures. It comes at no surprise, Nintendo literally pioneered these genre’s.
  • The worrying trend is that you see the same series pop its head out. Nintendo does need to invest in new IP’s

So what genre’s are missing from Ninty’s repertoire?

From the top of my head: Racing Sims  Military shooters, Open world games, Third person shooters, Interactive movies, Stealth, Action, MMORPG’s.  Most are sub-genre’s.

Did I forget any? Please let me know!

Essentially, the genre’s that are prevalent on the competition, are the genre’s Nintendo are not capable of producing games for.

Nevertheless, it is a testimony to Nintendo’s pedigree as a publisher and developer. It will be hard to find a company that can match this (in both quantity and quality). Nintendo has an unparalleled grasp on video game design, it is no wonder that they still remain relevant for over 25 years. Keep it up Ninty.

How many genre’s will Nintendo cross with the Wii U? Hopefully, a lot more than they did with the Wii.

It would be interesting to compare Sony’s, Microsoft’s and Nintendo’s spread of games over genre’s. But I won’t do that because that will cause a flame war.

What do you guys think? Are you impressed? Are you as Fascinated as I am?

About - Michael is the proud owner and Editor-in-Chief of! He has a Bachelors Degree with First Class Honors ( try to guess his Degree), and has been writing about video games for many years. His favorite Nintendo franchises include the Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Bros. and Pokemon. When Michael is not playing video games – he is usually outdoors riding kangaroo’s, playing cricket or sleeping (or doing all three at the same time).

  • Matthew Ashwood Downey M.a.d

    Really… some of this is a bit of a stretch to say Nintendo as games like xenoblade wasnt developed by Nintendo and was simply published i.e not first party. Interesting to compare in the same years as Sony who i feel have a far better varied genres. Nintendo maybe able to create good games for all genres but atheistically and theme they are all the same! They cant do anything aimed at 15+ and everything is just slightly better than the last one. They make fun games not immersive games. Ocarina of time was one of the only nintendo games i got fully immersed in the game world.

    overall though i am impressed in areas where you wouldnt expect nintendo to do well like sims and real time strategy. For me though its been a very long while since i felt nintendo released a game that is a must play. They are good sometimes great games but never must play for me!

    • duducus

      I find most nintendo game can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Your 15+ thing doesn’t make sense. Do you mean people who want dark themes and violence?… Because you can be mature and enjoy many of their games…

    • Mike

      monolith soft is 100% owned by nintendo therefore the games they create are 1st party

    • bluegazer6643

      Try the Mario rpg’s their very emersive and fun, I think you’d like them. Oh and I’d have to disagree on Nintendo not doing anything for ages 15+. Sure if you only like to play videogames for blood and guts, then they’re not for you but they make games that are fun for adults and children(thats why they’re so succesful). I know many adults including myself who love to play Nintendo games.

    • Mauricio Guaura

      Xenoblade is a Nintendo game. Just so you know, Nintendo BOUGHT 100% of Monolith Soft, meaning it’s a first party company…

  • Erudito De Firenze

    erm just no there is no real diversity no heavy rain esque game or any that have mature stories etc. It is a kiddy console with lots of different mario games

    • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

      Actually, The Legend of Zelda is highly arguably the only non-kiddie game in Nintendo’s line-up. Though adults, teens, and kids all play the series, overall the tone, atmosphere, and aesthetic of the series is beyond much of being placed in the kiddie category. though those categories also play mario games, I believe it’s because Nintendo has found that more kids obviously are drawn by Mario than Zelda, not to sound objective. So in that case Nintendo has made much more Mario games like you said, but because there is a much larger fan base for Mario games so more have been made by Nintendo. But for Zelda, you’ll find that kids are a very small percentage of the fan base for Zelda. I’m not trying to say you’re totally wrong or out of line about your position-though it seems over subjective- but depending on how you look at it Nintendo is really a console for everyone with it being mature and kiddy only because of kids’ big influence on their games, not really because of the kind of games they make which is one of the reasons why Nintendo is opting for an art style inspired by Skyward Sword for the next Zelda since many people really liked the style. Though there is no diversity from a first glance, the diversity is in the gameplay experience so even though every game Nintendo makes now seems like a rehash of the last, they’re always trying something new whether it’s breaking the fourth wall or just making it easier for people to play and enjoy the game. So really, Nintendo’s games only seem for one particular audience because of what’s on the surface, not within. Though Mario is more of a kiddy game in the industry nowadays, in super mario bros., the blocks you hit in the levels-according to a booklet or so about the game- are actually citizens of the mushroom kingdom transformed into blocks by Bowser, hence the reason something always or almost always comes out of the blocks-just to show you not every detail in Nintendo’s games are so kid friendly underneath. I know I sound like a Nintendo fan boy, but I honestly I play Sony and Microsoft’s consoles also so don’t get me wrong by me sounding bias; i’m just making a point. And also, out of all of Nintendo’s games, Zelda has to have the most mature story of their games with Pikmin in second since Pikmin and Zelda aren’t as easy to get on board as Mario or Fire Emblem. Anyway, just wanted to clear that up so you get the whole side of it. I’ll clear any of my points up or elaborate on my knowledge if needed.

      • bluegazer6643

        And the people who dis Mario are so annoying. They’ve never played games like Paper Mario or Mario and luigi. Those games actually have some dark storylines,its pretty cool.

    • bluegazer6643

      You havent played the games, you are assuming. Dont bother telling me you have, cause you havent.

      • Erudito De Firenze

        have you played none nintendo games?

    • Mauricio Guaura

      …Seriously? You think Heavy Rain qualifies as a good and mature game?


      • Erudito De Firenze

        i rate over all the mario clones games. My point was the console has no real diversity and this is the reason after the wii tanked(may have sold well but was lacking in games and it gathered dust) and why the wii u and such piss poor sales.

  • calvincrack

    “Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon” is Nintendo-survival horror in my mind. What with the pixel hunting and ghosts

  • MyBodyIsReady

    What a load of bollocks


    ummm no…. Metroid is great not denying it but lets be honest atleast with the original versions on Gamecube the mechanics were trash (they were infinitely better on Wii). Also in the racers category the games chosen are very similar no variety theres kart racing wave racing (similar to kart racing) but nothing like a realistic racer or something. Also in the sports category those games are not really sports games they are too arcadey to be considered that imo. What about open World games (ye theres Super Mario 64 and sunshine and stuff but they aren’t true open world of great scale). Nintendo has done very well in all categories (or most) but to say they’ve mastered them all thats a stretch!

    • Mike

      but i did not say Nintendo mastered all of them :(

      • LEGIT _ELITE

        Oh I should have phrased it better I’m not saying you are saying that but instead that for someone to say that would be incorrect imo

  • Negative Hippie

    I have to agree that this article seems to be stretching what is considered “good” to make the article’s point stronger.

    Eternal Darkness is the only good survival horror game that they are involved with; and now, they seem to have no interest in the IP, and the developer is liquidated.

    The fighting genre has three games from one franchise. Hardly mastery to make only one kind of game.

    Nintendo lacks a non-arcade racing game, and has next to no arcade-style sports games beyond the generic NES ones.

    • Mike

      I just want an insight to your opinion. What have I stretched exactly. I merely presented data and made a statement:
      “Nintendo has an impressive spread of games over many genres. Most impressive is the spread of quality games over many genre’s.”

      Besides i think many just skimped through the article. I did not claim they have mastered all the genre, but are very close to it.

    • bluegazer6643

      A Eternal Darkness sequal has been anounced for Wii U.

  • Negative Hippie

    And yes, Metroid Prime is definitely an FPA. Even the developers agree on that. It’s a game set in the first person, where you happen to be shooting, but the main point of the game is to adventure, same as Super Metroid.

    Prime 3, though, I could be fine with being called a shooter.