games / Columns

The Top 8 Forgotten Nintendo Franchises

February 3, 2021 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Super Mario RPG

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk Nintendo franchises, specifically the ones Nintendo doesn’t care about anymore. They may pay the occasional lip-service to them but these are the franchises that they’ve either stopped working on completely, or the releases are so slow (or bad) as to ruin the good memories you might have had about them before. Also, I know I got the name of that Horizon sequel wrong. Maybe if game companies didn’t feel the need to stupidly have the same initials for stuff (Xbox One X/Series X springs to mind), that wouldn’t have happened. Enjoy:

#8: 1080 Snowboarding

I’m not going to say that 1080 was a good game, but it was a pretty fast game, especially the N64 version. I’ll fully admit that snowboarding games aren’t exactly heating up the charts these days, the last one I can remember was that “Steep” game by Ubisoft and no one cared about it. But 1080 does have a certain retro cache with some people, and if they made another one, even as a smaller project, it would be pretty neat.

#7: Dr. Mario

So Nintendo actually did release a modern Dr. Mario game in 2019. Unfortunately, it was a mobile game so it really doesn’t count. If that was on the Switch it would, but it’s not, so here we are. The appeal of Dr. Mario is pretty easy to get, you have to match up colored pills to the correct virus colors to eliminate them and heal the patient. Falling pills have gravity though so once a virus is eliminated the pills on top fall down and you can set up more combos to eliminate more pills. It kind of reminds me of a more understandable version of Puyo Puyo, at least to me.

#6: F-Zero

The last “real” F-Zero game was F-Zero GX on the GameCube, circa 2003. I’m not really counting the few GBA games after that. So, F-Zero has been in hibernation for almost 18 years now. Like with a few other games on this list, it’s likely that there isn’t anyone really passionate at Nintendo to spearhead a sequel to this franchise. There was some loose talk in 2015 where Miyamoto said they might do one if they could make some screwball controller for it. Frankly, F-Zero doesn’t need that, it’s just a great and fast racing game on its own. And it deserves better to have the only remnant of the game be Captain Falcon in the Smash Brothers franchise.

#5: Advance Wars

I think Fire Emblem really stole Advance Wars thunder, by having actual characters fighting and not military machines in a strategy game but hey, why not make both games? The strategy elements in Fire Emblem are good but not the deepest in the world, particularly in Three Houses. You could basically have Fire Emblem be the more casual/social franchise and then have Advance Wars be the ultra-complex military strategy game. If Nintendo doesn’t want to do it themselves, I’m sure they could license it out to SystemSoft and they could slap together a new Daisenryaku game just with the Advance Wars stuff bolted on top of it.

#4: Rogue Squadron

I attribute a lot of what happened to Rogue Squadron due to Factor 5 closing down in 2009. The last Rogue Squadron game was in 2003, but they did make one for the Wii, however it never came out due to legal troubles/company troubles for F5. I think the recent success of Squadrons now could show Nintendo/Lucas that a more arcade-style/easier to grasp Star Wars flight game still has merit in today’s gaming landscape. Plus, it was just a fun franchise, unlike other Star Wars games it didn’t take itself too seriously and was more set on providing an exciting experience than being too complex for people.

#3: Mario RPG

This one is odd because Nintendo would try to claim that Paper Mario is the spiritual successor to Mario RPG, especially with there being one Mario RPG game to the 6 Paper Mario games. Thing is: I don’t care. Unless Paper Mario has Geno and Mallow in it, I extra don’t care. At this point, Nintendo should just buy the rights to the franchise/characters from Square and get to work on a HD remaster of Mario RPG and a whole new sequel of the game as well. Also, bring back the Axem Rangers, they were great.

#2: Star Fox

Let’s be real, the last great Star Fox game came out was in 1997 with Star Fox 64. Since then, Nintendo has tried damn near everything to drive the franchise into the ground. The crazy thing is Nintendo seems to like the characters/idea of Star Fox, just look at the E3 video above, but they don’t actually want to make a GOOD Star Fox game anymore. Star Fox Zero would have been good but it got bogged down in an unwieldy control scheme for the Wii U. The less said about Star Fox Guard, the better. Nintendo? Just make a Star Fox game without gimmicky controls or gameplay. It doesn’t matter if the game is only 20 minutes long per run, as long as it’s actually fun, I’d be cool with that.

#1: Metroid

I generally don’t group in handheld games with console games but with Metroid you kind of have to. I don’t particularly like the “Prime” sub-genre of Metroid. For what it is, it’s fine, but it still feels really weird to play a Metroid game from that perspective. Samus Returns was nice but honestly, I preferred playing that fan-made AM2R game. I think Americans love Metroidvania-style games but the Japanese Nintendo folks don’t understand it/don’t care. Along with Legend of Zelda, this is the 35th Anniversary for Metroid. Unlike with Zelda though, I doubt Nintendo will care, outside of maybe (FINALLY) putting the Metroid Prime Trilogy on the Switch. Nintendo has said that Metroid Prime 4 is still being worked on, but at this point, I’ll believe it when I see it.

For comments, list your favorite forgotten Nintendo franchises and why.

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Top 8 Mundane Video Games