The 15 worst decisions in Nintendo gaming history
31st Mar 2012 | 18:30
In their latest issue, Nintendo Gamer digs up 29 of the worst decisions ever made in Nintendo gaming, either by us, Nintendo themselves, or their merry band of 'characters'. Below are some choice cuts from the full feature...
1. SUPER PAPER MARIO
Jumping through hoops is never fun
There's a point in Intelligent Systems' follow-up to the wonderful Thousand-Year Door where they've already made a heavy-handed attempt to satirise the tedious nonsense players will put up with for the sake of progress by forcing you to run in a hamster wheel for ten minutes to pay off a debt. But by then asking you to literally beg an NPC (you actually have to type in "PLEASE" several times) to find out the order in which to hit three blocks in a 25-string sequence (mess it up and you have to start again) it oversteps the mark. Not big, and certainly not clever.
2. METROID OTHER M
They call me Mr Lava Lover
Other M's concept of restricting Samus' powers until Adam Malkovich has given her the all-clear to use them is daft, though the story gives us the excuse that she's in awe of her superior, and thus happy to abide by his decisions. Sadly, this idea stretches credulity to breaking point in the sequence where she runs through a volcanic interior, her energy draining away with every second she spends in the heat, as she bizarrely refuses to activate her Varia Suit despite burning to death. Duh.
3. DISNEY'S EPIC MICKEY
A combination of thoughtlessness, clumsiness and stupidity at the outset of Warren Spector's ambitious adventure sees Mickey unleash an evil ink blot, and in his attempts to rectify his mistake he manages to send it to a previously bright and happy world, turning it into a bleak, ravaged wasteland. The dolt does at least attempt to atone for his errors - albeit only after the blot returns to abduct him - but the resentment that villain Oswald the Lucky Rabbit harbours for his rival made us see Mickey in a whole new light.
4. STAR FOX 64
Let this feathered fiend vanish into space
Over the years, it's been poor old Slippy Toad who's got it in the neck from Nintendo fans, his ribbety gibbering causing him to become the most hated character in the Star Fox series. Yet it's Falco Lombardi who earns the gold medal as Fox Team's lead jerk, aiming a constant stream of snark at you whether you're following orders or not. With that in mind, the worst thing you can do is to save him, as it only means more abuse later on. Ignore his demands and you won't have to listen to his avian idiocy any more. It might seem harsh, but you'll thank us for it as your self-esteem recovers from his sarcastic comments.
5. SUPER MARIO BROS - THE MOVIE
A cinematic disasterpiece
During an interview with The Guardian, Bob Hoskins described the Super Mario Bros film as "the worst thing I ever did". From a man who appeared in Parting Shots, Spice World and Outlaw, that's quite some claim. But it really is that bad, a dreadful mess of anti-entertainment that has blighted the CVs of everyone involved in its creation. Both Hoskins and Dennis Hopper called it a "nightmare", and if you've ever had the misfortune to see it, you'd find it impossible not to agree.
6. XENOBLADE CHRONICLES
"Man, what a bunch of jokers"
Man, what a bunch of jokers. Man, what a bunch of jokers. Man, what a bunch of jokers. Man, what a bunch of jokers. Man, what a bunch of jokers. Man, what a bunch of jokers. And hey, if you thought that was annoying, try listening to the same speech sample for over 100 hours' worth of battles. Whether you've just defeated a trio of colossal mechs or a single rabbit, you can be sure of Reyn reminding you that they're a collection of comedians. Who thought cutting corners on the script was a good idea?
7. ANIMAL CROSSING: WILD WORLD
Only cockroaches and Tom Nook will survive the apocalypse
We love writing about games - so much so that even Ninjabread Man hasn't put us off. But every job has its downside, and in our case it's taking screenshots of the games we play. Never has said task caused us such pain as the time we slotted Wild World into our DS screen-grabbing machine - without realising its internal clock was set 100 years in the future. Starting up the game revealed a weed-infested wasteland where the villagers had moved on and Tom Nook was - gah! - still alive.
Those letters? They stand for 'dubious device'
With N64's sales wilting in the face of PlayStation's might, Nintendo knew this ill-fated add-on was certain to be a failure. Yet they made the bizarre decision to release the DD anyway, albeit selling it mostly through the RANDnet subscription service. The 64DD was such a disaster that only nine games were ever released for it - and four of those were Mario Artist variations. It never came out outside Japan; hard not to see why.
9. PILOTWINGS RESORT
Take a break? Give us a break
Now don't get us wrong: we understand that in this climate of compensation culture that games companies need to be ultra-careful. Warnings for epilepsy sufferers, suggestions of 15-minute breaks per hour of play... fine. But telling us to take a rest half an hour into a game? And then every half-hour thereafter? Play for longer and you feel like nanny Nintendo is silently tutting in the background, threatening to send you to the naughty step.
10. OCARINA OF TIME
Feeling the irritation of the seven-year glitch
So, you're Link. Hero of Time. Here to save Hyrule. Hurrah! You've collected the three Spiritual Stones and have the Ocarina of Time, now you've just got to unlock the chamber to the Master Sword so you can nab the Triforce before Ganondorf can grab it. Easy. Only... hang on, now you're sealed away because you're too young to be the Hero of Time? And Ganondorf is about to screw things up for everyone? Good job, idiot.
11. ZACK & WIKI: THE QUEST FOR BARBAROS' TREASURE
Capcom dropped the ball in the final stages of their puzzling adventure. While the motion controls could be a little wonky, the riddles gave you enough time and space to compensate for gyroscope grief. Towards the end, however, you're forced to pull off some movements with perfect timing. Pro tip: the remote works even less well after being smashed on the floor a few times.
12. MARIO PARTY 6
Get off da mic
Build quality has long been a Nintendo strong point. Which makes the thin plastic cylinder masquerading as a microphone that came bundled with Mario Party 6 a highly surprising design choice. Aside from looking like it'd fall apart if you so much as looked at it funny, it didn't even work: you'd bark "jump" at Mario and see him leap a full three seconds later, or yell "blue" to a quiz question only to be told "yellow is the wrong answer". Then Nintendo have the temerity to call said quiz Speak Up. The bleddy cheek.
13. PHOENIX WRIGHT: ACE ATTORNEY
The black Dahlia
Phoenix is a smart guy, yes? Always finding holes in witness statements, spotting crucial evidence and such. Sure, he's reliant on Maya from time to time, but we'd be more than happy for him to represent us in court. So it's all the more surprising that he should fall for devious, manipulative Dahlia Hawthorne. Disturbingly unhinged from the off, you'd think Feenie would see through her sickly sweet demeanour to the dark heart beneath. Love must be blind after all.
14. PERFECT DARK
F or some people, Rare's future-shooter bested even GoldenEye. A darker, more complex and technically impressive game with an ace single-player campaign, it nevertheless fell apart a bit when it came to multiplayer. By opting to push the N64 to its limits, Rare ensured that in split-screen the frame rate would come juddering to a near-halt, leaving you thinking that you were watching a particularly violent Flipnote.
15. VITALITY SENSOR
Or: Mr Iwata's Pull My Finger
TheVitality Sensor is one of the weirdest Ninty decisions in recent years. Legend has it Satoru Iwata sprung it as a last-minute surprise for Nintendo's E3 2009 briefing. He persevered with the charade for a while, suggesting it was to be released "not too late in 2010". Two years later: no sign. Peculiar.