Best Developer The reason you are reading this post, the reason video game sites even exist is Nintendo. They saved the industry in the 80’s. When the market was overcrowded with copycat entries and a lack of quality, they declared that games must be certified to be published. This was a lifeboat for an industry drowning in mediocrity. My first time with a video game was Super Mario Bros. I killed a goomba (…fine, he killed me the first time). I was hooked. Chances are your first experience was with a Nintendo property, and you loved it. Mario. Link. Samus. Star Fox. Kirby. Pokémon. These are the most recognizable IP’s in gaming. They are all owned by Nintendo. The same quality that they demanded of third parties wishing to develop for the NES is continually required for their own games. These franchises stand the test of time and are beloved by generation after generation. Nintendo doesn’t make the best hardware (Virtual Boy, Wii, Wii U, Game Boy Advance) but they continually make the best software. It is a testament to their development prowess that their consoles stay afloat solely on Nintendo games. No one purchases a Wii U for great third party entries (because they don’t exist). The Wii U is purchased to play Nintendo creations and their fans have no problem with that. The house that Mario built is a trendsetter. Super Mario Bros. is the template that everyone looks towards when creating a platform adventure. Any knockoff iOS game is trying to be Mario. Sonic is trying to be Mario. Crash wanted to be Mario. No one ever is. These games are criticized for being annualized and the same each year but in truth they are continually ahead of the curve and reiterate mechanics for the better. Super Mario 3D World is very different than Super Mario Galaxy than New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Yes, they have similar themes and character, but the execution, world building and design stand out. Ocarina of Time set the foundation for what 3D adventures should look like. Skyrim, World of Warcraft and Fallout all take cues from this Nintendo 64 game. It’s not just Nintendo’s commitment to being first, but their desire to do it better that makes them the best developer. The 3DS remake of OoT proved that this decade old game was still imbued with the mechanics and mythology building that modern day AAA releases strive for. Nintendo is willing to take risks. Following the success of OoT, Nintendo released the worse Zelda game ever, Majora’s Mask. I hated this game, but still recognized that it had merit. I may or may not be destroyed in the comment section for calling it the worse because fans absolutely adore this entry. That is one of Nintendo’s strengths; any game they create is someone’s favorite. For as much as I love Naughty Dog, no one is claiming that Jak X: Combat Racing is their favorite game. Smash Bros. pitted Nintendo mascots into the fighting genre, but instead of a traditional life bar they decided victory would be achieved by knocking opponents off a platform. This seemed like a ludicrous idea at first. This was Nintendo’s first crossover and their first fighting game. But as the community began playing, it was the perfect blend of Nintendo nostalgia, balanced fighting mechanics and layered gameplay. Nintendo doesn’t consider Sony, Microsoft, Sega, Electronic Arts, Naughty Dog, Bioware or anyone else their competition. Sometimes this hurts them, and their fans, (online policies, cross-buy, streaming, friends list, achievements) but perhaps this same attitude makes them nimble and creative. Instead of focusing on what anyone else is doing, they create the best games on the market. They have for thirty years. They will continue to be the best for the next thirty. . . . now hopefully they’ll create a device worth playing them on. Level Up, Friends!