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Lttp: Nintendo Power's 100 Best Games of All Time - Sept. 1997

Windu

never heard about the cat, apparently
Mar 29, 2007
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Nintendo Power said:
How do you decide the best 100 games of all time?

If you're like us at Nintendo Power, you get a bunch of your gaming friends together and hold a civilized debate, sort of like Roman gladiators having a tea party. It may seem civil on the surface, but we don't recommend turning your back for a lump of sugar. Our 12 debaters, representing every manner of gamer here at Nintendo, nominated their picks for the best games from the libraries of NES, Game Boy, Super NES, Virtual Boy and N64. (Virtual Boy completely struck out, Go figure.) Once the nominations were in, we opened the floor to illuminated debate. Participants argued vigorously and persuasively for their favorites, ticking off the reasons why they were right and why everyone else obviously had brain damage. Eventually, being red blooded North Americans we held a vote, which resulted in the list you find here. So it was democratic decision. You may not agree with every one of our choices, but we stand behind our picks, sometimes very far behind them. If you have a problem with this, take it up with the judge.
Games were picked from the libraries of the NES, Super NES, Game Boy, Virtual Boy and N64. This was published in September of 1997.

100. Alien 3 (Super NES)
99. Ultima: Quest Of The Avatar (NES)
98. Super Tennis (Super NES)
97. Final Fight (Super NES)
96. Bust A Move (Super NES)
95. Kickle Cubicle (NES)
94. True Golf Classics: Pebble Beach (Super NES)
93. Gargoyle's Quest (Game Boy)
92. Orge Battle (Super NES)
91. Lufia And The Fortress Of Doom (Super NES)
90. Demon's Crest (Super NES)

89. Battletoads (NES)
88. Baseball Stars (NES)
87. Goonies II (NES)
86. Black Thorne (Super NES)
85. Illusion Of Gaia (Super NES)
84. Metal Gear (NES)
83. Dragon Warrior IV (NES)
82. Breath Of Fire (Super NES)
81. Faceball 2000 (Game Boy)
80. The Magical Quest: Staring Mickey Mouse (Super NES)

79. Rescue Rangers (NES)
78. TMNT IV: Turtles In Time (Super NES)
77. NBA Live 95 (Super NES)
76. Gradius III (Super NES)
75. Super Ghouls & Ghosts (Super NES)
74. RC Pro-AM Racing (NES)
73. Shadowgate (NES)
72. Killer Instinct (Super NES)
71. Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land (Game Boy)
70. Final Fantasy Legend (Game Boy)

69. Double Dragon (NES)
68. Zombies Ate My Neighbors (Super NES)
67. Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey (N64)
66. Final Fantasy Adventure (Game Boy)
65. Earthworm Jim 2 (Super NES)
64. Star Tropics (NES)
63. Blaster Master (NES)
62. Blast Corps (N64)
61. Maniac Mansion (NES)
60. Earthbound (Super NES)

59. Crystalis (NES)
58. Mega Man X (Super NES)
57. Actraiser (Super NES)
56. Castlevania IV (Super NES)
55. Bionic Commando (NES)
54. Killer Instinct Gold (N64)
53. Mortal Kombat II (Super NES)
52. Contra (NES)
51. Golf (Game Boy)
50. Tetrisphere (N64)

49. Ninja Gaiden 2 (NES)
48. Shadowrun (Super NES)
47. Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)
46. Contra 3: Alien Wars (Super NES)
45. Dr. Mario (Game Boy)
44. Adventures Of Lolo (NES)
43. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (Super NES)
42. Secret Of Mana (Super NES)
41. Star Wars: Shadows Of The Empire (N64)
40. Sim City (Super NES)

39. Donkey Kong Country (Super NES)
38. Pilotwings 64 (N64)
37. Final Fantasy (NES)
36. Zelda II: The Adventures Of Link (NES)
35. Metroid (NES)
34. Metroid II: Return Of Samus (Game Boy)
33. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (Super Nintendo)
32. Super Mario Kart (Super NES)
31. Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream (NES)
30. Tecmo Bowl (NES)

29. Mario Paint (Super NES)
28. NBA Jam (Super NES)
27. International Superstar Soccer 64 (N64)
26. Super Bomber-Man 2 (Super NES)
25. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (N64)
24. F-Zero (Super NES)
23. Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (Super NES)
22. Castlevania (NES)
21. Super Mario RPG (Super NES)
20. Mega Man (NES)

19. Chrono Trigger (Super NES)
The last, great Super NES RPG from Square pulled out all the stops. Not only was there a story that spanned the eons, but the technology and magic in the game were brought to life by beautiful graphics and a rich soundtrack. Chrono Trigger was a feast for RPG fans.
18. Yoshi's Island (Super NES)
It took several years and several false starts before the lovable dinosaur of Super Mario World found himself in a hit game of his own. Remember Yoshi, Yoshi's Cookie, and Yoshi's Safari? No? Don't feel bad. Yoshi's Island is the one to remember.
17. Tetris Attack (Super NES)
Okay, this one you might want to argue with, even if it was arrived at democratically. But although on the surface this seems like a complete poodle of a choice, let us explain the thinking. Our voters loved the back and forth nature of the two-player competition. Like baseball, it's not over until it's over. Is that enough to propel Tetris Attack into the top 20? Maybe we just wanted to stir up a little controversy.
16. Super Mario World (Super NES)
Miyamoto again? So far, ten of the top 16 games have been creations of Nintendo's game wizard, Master Miyamoto. Like Super Mario 64, Super Mario World showcased a new hardware system. It was the first game released for the Super NES and the first smash hit for that system. The richness of the graphics were unrivaled until years later when Donkey Kong Country appeared.
15. Wave Race 64 (N64)
As the top sports/racing game on our list, Wave Race 64 stands far above the Madden-ing crowd. This game is not just about reproducing or simulating a sport. It's about pushing technology to the limit so that when you bound over the realistic breakers in Wave Race 64 you'd better have a barf bag nearby.
14. Super Mario Bros. (NES)
The pundits said that the home video game market was dead, that Atari had killed it, and there was a great skepticism across the land. Then there was Mario, a humble plumber, but about a billion times more fun than Pong. When he became more popular than Mickey Mouse, the critics acknowledged that, perhaps, there was still a future for video games.
13. Star Fox 64 (N64)
Oh, Star Fox 64, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways. We love your brilliant graphics and smooth as silk play control. We love your sounds and your rumblings. We only put up with the frog out of a sense of duty, of course, and we forgive Mr. Miyamoto for being unabashedly, pro-amphibian.
12. The Legend Of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Game Boy)
In many was, Link's Awakening may have been the best of the Zelda games. It was the only game with a walrus, for one thing. The humor, characters, puzzles, and action were all great. The only thing missing was color. Super Game Boy can fix that.
11. The Legend Of Zelda (NES)
The Legend of Zelda turned players into explorers. With riddles, mazes, and monsters, Zelda turned out to be the richest game in the formative years of the NES.
10. Super Street Fighter II Turbo (Super NES)
Turbo had the best speed, the best moves and the animation was great. We decreed that this remains the tournament fighting game by which all others should be judged. SF II Turbo achieved great game design balance.
9. Final Fantasy II (Super NES)
For all you loyal fans of Final Fantasy II, take this ninth place finish with a grain of salt. So what if it doesn't have an opera scene. Who needs it?
8. Final Fantasy III (Super NES)
The gaming electorate at Nintendo nearly came to blows during the Great Final Fantasy III versus Final Fantasy II Debate. It came down to an argument about opera, and opera won. In addition to arias, Final Fantasy III had everything you could want - heroes, world shattering events, magic, mindless evil - plus Interceptor the wonder dog!
7. Goldeneye (N64)
There are two antagonistic camps at Nintendo - those who think Goldeneye is the greatest game in the history and those who think the first group has been seriously warped by having too much fun shooting each other in the back. The argument goes like this: Goldeneye hasn't been around long enough to prove it's staying power, even though no one on the Power staff has slept in about two months because they've been playing Goldeneye. Therefore, it can't be number one. The Goldeneye advocates argue that this is just a clever ruse to get them to go home, at which time the first group will steal their copies of Goldeneye. If nothing else, this debate proves that Goldeneye puts players in a cloak and dagger state of mind.
6. Super Metroid (Super NES)
The heart of Metroid games has always been the incomparable game control and attacks. We all agree that Super Metroid charted new territory with great moves like the Space Walk, Super Jumps, and Super Dash. And every game should have X-Ray goggles. Period. The graphics remain some of the best ever for 16-bit games.
5. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)


With over eight million copies in homes across North America, SMB 3 was the best-selling NES game of all time. But it wasn't sales figures that got our votes. Miyamoto's game design was at its creative best. In SMB 3, Mario donned a Tanooki (raccoon) suit in order to fly. Weirdness like that has got to be rewarded.
4. Mario Kart 64 (N64)


Kart comes in at the top because it is so much fun to play, especially as a multi-player game. Some critics have pointed out that the game isn't revolutionary. We would like to point out to them that games aren't about revolutions, they're about fun. Incredible play control and graphics don't hurt either.
3. Tetris (Game Boy)


Surprised? Don't be. Tetris for Game Boy continues to be one of the most played games of all time. Who can forget their first game of Tetris, the fascination of fitting the tetrads together, growing anxiety as the blocks stack up, and the almost spiritual sense that you get when you line everything up and clear the stack, achieving a zen-like oneness with your Game Boy. Tetris is life. Life is Tetris.
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Super NES)


Few gamers would argue that A Link to the Past deserves this lofty position, and if they did grouse, we'd give their address to a moblin. Coming in at number two in our voting, Zelda for the Super NES proves that you don't have to be radical to end up on top. Our one question is, why put Zelda in every title in the series when all she ever does is sleep and send occasional telepathic messages? Next time, give credit to the little green guy.
1. Super Mario 64


So many things are done so well in this game, that it's difficult to single in on a reason that makes it the best game of all time. Shigeru Miyamoto, the designer of Mario 64, had always wanted to create a game that he described as being like a magical garden full of surprises, excitement, discoveries and danger. The immersive nature of Mario 64 is unrivaled and maybe that's why it was our one and only unanimous choice in the great debate.
Games were picked from the libraries of the NES, Super NES, Game Boy, Virtual Boy and N64. This was published in September of 1997.
 

Dash

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Jul 8, 2004
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Haha, I was obsessed with this issue for months. I made it my goal at the time to play all their top 100 games. Although I haven't come close :lol.

At least it makes a lot more sense than their top 200 list >__>.
 

Red Scarlet

Member
Jan 29, 2005
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Hey guys, Super SF2 Turbo came out on the SNES!

What I find weird is Mega Man 1 was #20, but no other games in the series are there (aside from X1).
 

ant1532

Banned
Dec 21, 2005
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I remember bringing that issue to dinner with my family at some restaurant. I was so happy when SM64 got first lol.
 

soul creator

Member
Mar 31, 2006
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heh, I have the Next-Generation "top 100 games/series" issue at my parents house somewhere. I think it came out pretty much right after the N64 launch...Super Mario 64 was the top game also.
 

USD

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Sep 14, 2006
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Oblivion said:
...where's Ocarina?
Windu said:
Games were picked from the libraries of the NES, Super NES, Game Boy, Virtual Boy and N64. This was published in September of 1997.
.

Also, the top ten would be fine if MK64 wasn't there.
 

Red Scarlet

Member
Jan 29, 2005
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I'd screw with the Ocarina fans and say it was published after Ocarina's release.

Obliv..OoT wasn't out yet.
 

Armitage

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Oct 31, 2006
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Oblivion said:
Seriously, I know quite a big portion of GAF doesn't care for OoT (we all remember that little Edge top 100 games thread, dont' we?) but for it not to appear on a top HUNDRED best games list is just insanity.
what is going on here
 

ZealousD

Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
Apr 17, 2007
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Man, I know this was 10 years ago but there are some real head scratchers.

Mario Kart 64 > Nearly everything?
Wave Race 64 > Super Mario World and Chrono Trigger?
International Superstar Soccer 64 > Punch-Out and Donkey Kong Country?
Golf (Game Boy) > Contra?
Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey > Zombie's Ate My Neighbors, Wario Land (SML3), and Double Dragon?
 
Aug 27, 2006
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Gotta give them the credit that even after just 2 months they could tell Goldeneye was classic material, that would be a tough call to make.
 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
Dec 5, 2005
51,673
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Do you all really need to be told why Ocarina isn't on the list....? THINK.

hint: Why isn't Twilight Princess on the list...?
 

manueldelalas

Time Traveler
Mar 18, 2007
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BocoDragon said:
Do you all really need to be told why Ocarina isn't on the list....? THINK.

hint: Why isn't Twilight Princess on the list...?
Because Gamespot rated it 8.8? =P
 

super funk

Member
Mar 6, 2007
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BocoDragon said:
Do you all really need to be told why Ocarina isn't on the list....? THINK.

hint: Why isn't Twilight Princess on the list...?
Because its overrated, is the same old game, and has that hard part with the cat.
 

bard

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Aug 19, 2006
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Saitou said:
Edit:WELCOME GAMERS BORN AFTER 1990! OCARINA OF TIME WAS RELEASED IN 1998
Thank you. I was about to flip out and hurt someone.

Anyway, a list of 100 ANYTHING is pretty much meaningless. You can't hold that in your head, and it ends up being just a jumble of games. No major discussions over why Baseball Stars deserves one better spot than Battletoads. AMIRITE?!

And did anyone read all 100 entries?
 

underfooter

Banned
Feb 9, 2006
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Would it have killed them to choose genesis?



....and Mario Kart 64 by today's standards is a big no. MKDS crushes it.
 

Sharp

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May 6, 2007
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Screw you guys, if you want to try to pretend that you're super sophisticated and Ocarina didn't blow you out of the water at the time it's okay, but for me, as someone who had never played a Zelda game or owned a console before, it got me to buy the damn system after just one opportunity to play it. That said, it does not belong on this list, because even Nintendo Power could not see the future.
 

Link

The Autumn Wind
Jun 6, 2004
28,545
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ZealousD said:
Man, I know this was 10 years ago but there are some real head scratchers.

Mario Kart 64 > Nearly everything?
Wave Race 64 > Super Mario World and Chrono Trigger?
International Superstar Soccer 64 > Punch-Out and Donkey Kong Country?
Golf (Game Boy) > Contra?
Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey > Zombie's Ate My Neighbors, Wario Land (SML3), and Double Dragon?
Games seem better when they're new. The hype hasn't died down yet and hindsight hasn't kicked in.


Saitou said:
ONE POINT TWENTY ONE JIGGAWATTS MARTY LET'S GO BACK TO THE FUCKING FUTURE
I've already made that BTTF reference, thanks.
 

Red Scarlet

Member
Jan 29, 2005
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Sharp said:
Screw you guys, if you want to try to pretend that you're super sophisticated and Ocarina didn't blow you out of the water at the time it's okay, but for me, as someone who had never played a Zelda game or owned a console before, it got me to buy the damn system after just one opportunity to play it. That said, it does not belong on this list, because even Nintendo Power could not see the future.
If the OoT people that went into wtfmode noticed the date in the topic title, they wouldn't have even asked why was it not in there.
 

jman2050

Member
May 18, 2005
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Oblivion said:
Edit: Oh shit, nevermind. Reading ftl. :/
Oblivion said:
Seriously, I know quite a big portion of GAF doesn't care for OoT (we all remember that little Edge top 100 games thread, dont' we?) but for it not to appear on a top HUNDRED best games list is just insanity.
Stealth edit = failure