11 Nintendo Games That Defined Their Consoles

Chelsea Stark
11 Nintendo Games That Defined Their Consoles
1. Donkey Kong

1. Donkey Kong

In 1981, arcade machines started to make their mark in America, and Pac-Man became a fast success. Nintendo had made many attempts to enter the American marketplace during this time. Its first success was an arcade game called Donkey Kong, an early platformer in which Jumpman (before he was christened Mario) must rescue a princess from a giant ape. Donkey Kong was the second title designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, the creative mind behind many of Nintendo's successful franchises. Miyamoto said he was inspired by the Popeye cartoon, and modeled the ape and Jumpman after Bluto and Popeye. Donkey Kong's arcade cabinet was released in 1981, and by June 1982, Nintendo had sold more than 60,000 in the U.S. and Canada, earning Nintendo around $180 million that year.

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Nintendo has three decades of game selling experience in the U.S., and it just happens to have the most recognizable franchises in gaming. From the 1980s (when gaming was a niche) to today's crowded marketplace (when games can be played on any device), Nintendo's hardware continues to appeal to rabid fans.

Its success is partly due to great quality hardware, but mostly because Nintendo publishes some of the best and most memorable games. It adds new elements that didn't exist in games before. In the 1980s, it brought real stories to games, along with characters like Mario, who are recognizable to children all over the globe. Nintendo's titles have been able to push risky or experimental consoles into millions of homes, for example, the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the Game Boy or the Wii.

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Nintendo's senior communications director Charlie Scibetta told Mashable that the company doesn't focus as much on what its gaming competition is doing. "We just make our games as good as possible, and everything else will follow."

Nintendo is preparing to launch its next-gen Wii U console, which has made some risky design choices with a tablet screen in the controller. The question lingers whether Nintendo can repeat its success. The company has announced 50 games that will be available within the first four months of the Wii U launch, but will those titles capture gamers' hearts and minds according to its historical precendent?

To examine this further, Mashable looked at games that were kingmakers on their own respective consoles. While Nintendo has many strong first and third-party titles, these 11 really stand out as system sellers. While we didn't touch on every major Nintendo franchise, these games broke ground and got new fans interested in Nintendo.

This story originally published on Mashable here.