5. Mario 

It’s Nintendo’s flagship franchise, so of course it warrants a spot on any such top five list. I rate it this low, however, because there isn’t a lot of quality control here. Mario’s had a lot of great titles, but for every one great game he’s starred in, there’s multiple trash spin-offs to match. Just look at any Mario sports game or Mario Party that’s released in the last decade.  Even the mainline Mario games aren’t all worthy titles: fans went from loving the NSMB games to reviling them in half a decade thanks to their oversaturation and refusal to develop. I love Mario, but if you look at the franchise as a collective, it’s far too much of a mixed bag to make it any higher on this list. And that much is true without even bringing that godawful film and those mediocre television shows into consideration.

If that last sentence upset you, I invite you to stare at this image until you agree with me.

4. Pikmin

It pains me that Pikmin doesn’t do better sales-wise than it does. The games are just so charming and unique, each in their own different way, with captivating gameplay that allows for a TON of replayability. And while the gameplay may have originally been discouraging for casual players, I feel that the franchise has since gotten to a point that strikes the perfect balance between accessibility for newcomers and depth for veterans. I think it’s clearly the franchise Miyamoto is most passionate about, and his Pikmin shorts were fantastic, so I’m hoping that when a new Pikmin finally releases on a successful console it’ll start getting the credit it deserves.

Forget this exists.

3. Xenoblade

This is something of a fledgling franchise, so I can imagine that this wouldn’t even make it on most people’s top TEN list, but I absolutely adore Xenoblade, and I’m thrilled to see that it’s growing in popularity. Sadly, as a JRPG with single-player MMO gameplay it’ll never see mainstream appeal, but Xenoblade truly is something special. Each of the games are a blast, with their own unique combat systems, variety of enthralling environments to explore, plots and characters that are uncharacteristically well-crafted for a Nintendo game, and THE ABSOLUTE BEST MUSIC OF ANY GAME FRANCHISE. And that’s despite the fact that there are only three games in the series. I can’t wait to see Xenoblade grow.

And it has the Nopon, which are so adorable as to make Slimes and Moogles look ugly in comparison.

2. Super Smash Bros.

I mean, come on. It had to be in the top two. Not only is it the greatest fighting game ever… not only is it the greatest party game ever… but it is also the greatest crossover concept in all of human history. What else needs to be said?

Screw the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even with just Melee’s roster Smash is better.

1. The Legend of Zelda

I can’t think of a video game franchise with the level of longevity and consistent quality as The Legend of Zelda. It’s easily the franchise that means the most to me on a personal level, and I imagine the same is true for most Nintendo fans. Nearly all the games are must-plays. This series has not only defined a genre, but later went on to redefine it. It may just be the most critically acclaimed video game franchise there is, and for damn good reason. It’s been around for over thirty years, and I expect it’ll be around for well over thirty more.

Hey, I never said the quality was PERFECTLY consistent.