Nintendo has one of the most dedicated fanbases in the gaming industry. Crafting their brand on characters that players could get attached to, their franchises have kept them afloat all these years, with many of those characters still getting new games today. People still get excited over the next 3D Mario adventure or core Pokémon RPG.
It’s not enough that these characters are used over and over again, so Nintendo also had to ensure that people would keep coming back for more by making games that were astounding. There’s a certain level of “magic” that Nintendo puts into their games that makes them stand out from just about any other developer on the market. Many folks who work with them perfectly understand what it means to create an enjoyable experience, and that alone has made them one of the best in the entire industry.
That said, no developer is perfect, not even Nintendo. Over the years, despite the fact that they’ve created some of the greatest games of all time, there are numerous titles that were less than satisfactory. While some of them weren’t downright awful, they were each bad enough that the fans just like to pretend that they never happened. After all, the acknowledgement of these games just serves as a reminder that Nintendo has several blemishes on their record.
Be prepared to dig up old and painful memories as we go through 25 Nintendo games that fans love to pretend never happened. Again, being on this list doesn’t necessarily mean a game is the worst.
25 Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival
Instead of a proper Animal Crossing game on the Wii U, Nintendo decided to release a clone of the Mario Party series but without any of the minigames. It’s every bit as boring as you might expect. Furthermore, the game necessitates the use of the Animal Crossing Amiibo in order to move around on the board. It was instantly panned and many fans of the series felt betrayed by the Big N. They’re anxiously awaiting a proper new game on the Switch.
24 Metroid Prime: Federation Force
When Metroid fans were asking for a new game in the series, Metroid Prime: Federation Force wasn’t quite what they had in mind. Instead of a proper adventure starring Samus Aran, this game puts you in the shoes of the Federation Force. Being a multiplayer shooter with a shameless Rocket League rip-off mode, there weren’t many redeeming qualities to the game that brought people back for more. As a matter of fact, the initial trailer had drastically more dislikes than likes.
23 Mario Party 9
When Mario Party 8 released, fans were already suspecting that the franchise was going downhill. With linear boards and uninspired minigames, there needed to be a change to save the series. Unfortunately, Mario Party 9 was two steps in the wrong direction. Putting everyone in a car, moving them through a linear board, and collecting mini-stars as opposed to buying regular stars were some of the worst decisions ever made for the franchise. It didn’t help that the mini-games weren’t all that great either.
22 Mario And Luigi: Paper Jam
After both the Mario and Luigi and Paper Mario series were stuck in a rut, Nintendo decided the best way to save them was to have a big crossover. Unfortunately, Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam was a perfect symbol of the problems both franchises were having. Not only was the writing less than exciting, the environments were bland and the combat was repetitive at best. On paper (no pun intended), the game seemed a lot better than it was in execution.
21 Steel Diver
Steel Diver was an attempt to have a proper submarine simulator while still having an exciting action game to keep things interesting. Unfortunately, these two ideas were constantly at war with each other in the 3DS game. The controls were finnicky and slow at best, leading to action moments being more frustrating than enjoyable. Then there was the fact that the submarine required so many precise movements in order to work properly. If you want a better game like this one, play Affordable Space Adventures.
20 Pokémon Rumble U
Pokémon Rumble is a spin-off series that was deemed popular enough to make the jump to HD with some NFC figures thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, Pokémon Rumble U seemed more like a cash grab than an actual game, with noticeably less content than the previous entry in the series, Pokémon Rumble Blast. The HD graphics were nice, but the art style never allowed the game to be downright gorgeous. Besides, you’d be staring at arenas the entire time anyway. The NFC figures were quickly discontinued.
19 Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash
The Chibi-Robo games were best known for the exploration and puzzle solving. When the series came to the 3DS in the form of Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash, though, that was all thrown out the door in favor of a 2D puzzle platformer. Unfortunately, the puzzles never required much thought and the platforming was painfully bland. Diehard fans of the Chibi-Robo series were quick to dismiss this game from their memories. That Amiibo, on the other hand, was one item that collectors were dying to have.
18 Wii Music
Remember when Wii Music was revealed at E3 and Nintendo spent way too much time hyping it, and the whole experience came across as awkward? Well, that event wasn’t much worse than the final game. Having people use controllers to simulate instruments isn’t all that great of an idea, and Wii Music didn’t do anything to convince us otherwise. Most people refused to get it just because of how painful that E3 demo was to watch. That drummer’s hair was probably the worst offense.
17 WarioWare: Snapped
WarioWare: Snapped was released on the DSi to showcase what could be done with its camera. Players would align their head and hands and partake in minigames using their bodies as the controller. The problem was that there were only 20 minigames: a pitiful fraction of what normal WarioWare games have. On top of that, players would spend most of their time trying to re-calibrate the camera so that the darn thing would work. As you might expect, the game never took off.
16 Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast
Originally announced as a GameCube game, Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast was supposed to be a racer featuring Donkey Kong characters and the use of the bongos debuted in Donkey Konga. However, the game was pushed to the Wii without any sort of realization that work would have to be done to properly port the game over. The bongo controls were replaced with the Wiimote and Nunchuk, which are a poor imitation, the graphics look like a GameCube game, and the tracks are bland at best.
15 Pokémon Channel
If you like watching TV, then Pokémon Channel is the game for you. You follow Pikachu around as it interacts with other Pokémon. You also spend a lot of time watching TV with Pikachu and flipping through different channels. There isn’t a whole lot of interactivity with this game, and it only got attention because it was a spiritual successor to Hey You, Pikachu! (which still has its fans, mind you). Hey, at least the graphics weren’t totally awful, and Jirachi shows up too!
14 1-2 Switch
Of all the launch titles for the Nintendo Switch, 1-2 Switch was easily the worst one. Trying to showcase what the HD rumble in the Joy-Cons could do, it was a fun time for about an hour. Once you strip the novelty away, you’re left with an awkward game that has almost no game to it. There are just a handful of minigames that aren’t in-depth enough to warrant a $50 price tag. Needless to say, this game quickly faded out of existence.
13 Star Fox Guard
When Star Fox Zero launched, it came with Star Fox Guard: a tower defense game that starred Slippy Toad. You were tasked with placing guns around fortresses to defend yourself from a series of evil robots. The gimmick was that you had to switch between cameras on the GamePad. While not an awful game, a tower defense title on the Wii U was never destined to take off. It didn’t help that Star Fox Zero wasn’t well-received either, thus putting a halt on the franchise.
12 Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
When Mario Tennis came to the Wii U, many fans were expecting something more than what we got. Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash suffered from a lack of content. Period. There were few characters, only one court, and a lack of modes. While it was certainly well-polished, almost nothing about the game was thought out properly. Even the new mechanic, in the form of a Mega Mushroom, didn’t add anything to the fun (or lack thereof). Good thing the mistakes were mostly rectified with Mario Tennis: Aces.
11 Mario Party 10
After the lukewarm reception of Mario Party 9, many people expected Nintendo to hear the fans outcries and return the series to its roots. Instead, the doubled down on the car and gimmicky mechanics with Mario Party 10. This time, they added Bowser Party, which was an unbalanced mess that was almost impossible to win if you weren’t Bowser. There was also Amiibo Party, which was just a shameless way of selling Mario Amiibo. To top it all off, there was no online functionality.
10 Game And Wario
Game and Wario was a collection of many of the tech demos that were shown off for the Wii U. Unfortunately, few of them were very fun back then, and few of them were fun with the final game. There were maybe one or two minigames that were worth the effort but, even then, it certainly didn’t game Game and Wario worth its price tag. Despite being associated with Wario, it had a painful lack of content and very few people bought it.
9 Yoshi’s New Island
As a continuation of the Yoshi’s Island series, Yoshi’s New Island didn’t do that good of a job. It replicated the original game in name alone. Despite having the same mechanics, Yoshi’s New Island is a standard Yoshi game but without any of the heart or charm that existed in the initial release. Furthermore, the art style was inconsistent and the music was downright awful at times. The additional transformations and Eggdozers certainly weren’t enough to salvage it, and Yoshi fans quickly moved on.
8 Pokémon Battle Revolution
Did you like the story-focused gameplay in Pokémon Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness? Did you like the varied environments and Shadow Pokémon to catch? Well, all of that is gone in Pokémon Battle Revolution. Instead of a story or capturing Pokémon, players are left to only battle in stadiums with a predetermined roster of creatures to use. The only thing this game was good for is battling your friends with your DS consoles on the TV. Even then, it certainly wasn’t worth full price.
7 CDI Games
There’s not much to say about the CDI games that haven’t already been said. Hotel Mario, Link: The Face of Evil, Wand of Gamelon, and Zelda’s Adventure were so awful that they basically made Nintendo afraid to let anyone else use their characters to make games. They all had stupid voice acting, disgusting animation, and gameplay that either pointlessly changed the standard of the franchise or was just a cheap recreation of it. They are some of the most infamous games in history.
6 Metroid: Other M
Metroid: Other M isn’t forgotten because its gameplay was truly awful. It was forgotten because its attempt to give Samus a backstory had a similar effect to Darth Vader with the prequel trilogy. The less we knew about Samus’s past, the more interesting she was as a character. By exploring her backstory, and making it as bad as it was, it cheapened a lot of the potency that her character brings. Furthermore, she was turned into a massive whiner, always complaining or getting emotional about anything.
5 Donkey Kong Jr Math
If you thought that Nintendo was above creating cash grab games solely for the purpose of trying to be educational, then you thought wrong. Donkey Kong Jr. Math was a continuation of the Donkey Kong franchise and an attempt to teach kids math. Not only was the game not very fun, but it was also an extremely bad way of trying to get a young child to understand how to add and subtract. Surprisingly enough, the game was given a re-release on the Wii Shop.
4 Star Fox Command
At first glance, Star Fox Command looks like a recreation of what made the series so great and put on the Nintendo DS. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Not only was Star Fox Command incredibly short, but it interjected a lot of story elements that felt out of character for Fox McCloud. As if that wasn’t enough to keep fans away, there were turn-based sections. In a Star Fox game. As the final nail in the coffin, Nintendo acknowledged that the game wasn’t canon.
3 Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates To Infinity
The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games appeal to a lot of people under the premise of being able to befriend and play as any Pokémon ever created up to that point. That’s why a lot of people were disappointed with the release of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. The number of Pokémon playable was severely limited and the “Infinity Gates” mechanic was so tacked on that there wasn’t any reason to explore it further. Most fans quickly moved on to Super Mystery Dungeon.
2 Wii Sports Club
Wii Sports was such a simple concept that worked so well for Nintendo. Using the new Wiimote and having people play virtual sports with them was fun and exciting. It was the big reason that many people got a Wii in the first place. Moving on to the Wii U, there was Wii Sports Club, which was essentially an HD version of Wii Sports that you had to pay for (as a service). Also, the upscale to HD didn’t add anything to the visuals. Just play the one on the Wii and save yourself the money.
1 Super Smash Bros Brawl
After the beloved Super Smash Bros Melee came and went, the next entry was Super Smash Bros Brawl for the Wii. While it was still an incredibly popular game, Brawl was heavily criticized for how slow and float-y it was. There was no potential for the intense combos that were able to be pulled off in Melee. Furthermore, tripping was added as a means of making the game more balanced for newcomers. It was made to not be competitive, and many fans of the series blocked it out of their memories