Multiplayer Games That Defined Every Nintendo Console

nintendo began its console game with an emphasis on multiplayer. That’s why it launched with two controllers in Japan and even more accessories when it launched in the West. Video games can be fun on their own, but playing with friends is really what creates memories. Local sessions were quickly blown out of the water thanks to online support.

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It changed the landscape of gaming forever. Players no longer needed to resort to split-screen modes, dividing experiences. It also allowed more players to get involved at once. Including the NES and Nintendo’s current console, the Switch, there have been 12 major systems. One of these 12 will be counted as part of another series. With that in mind, let’s remember the multiplayer hits that dominated these systems. For fun, their Metacritic scores have been added where appropriate. Even Metacritic hasn’t cataloged all the games.

11 Nintendo Entertainment System: Contra


Fight enemies in Contra

Super Mario Bros. is one of the most classic NES games of all time. It technically has multiplayer, but dying between lives barely counts. A better example would be the first Contra which indeed had cooperative gameplay.

It wasn’t the first game to implement the Konami code, but it can be thanked for popularizing it. The original honor goes to the NES port of Gradius in 1986. Contra would not reach the NES in North America until 1988. Contra and its sequels created a pop culture phenomenon with this infamous code.

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ten Game Boy: Pokemon Red/Blue


Professor Oak's Laboratory from Pokémon Red/Blue

The Game Boy was launched in 1989. There were some good multiplayer games on the system, but it wouldn’t hit its peak until its near death. the Pokemon series launched in Japan in 1996. North America won’t get it until September 1998, two months before the launch of the Game Boy Color.

He certainly made the system, even though he was, again, at the end. Trade and fights between friends via link cables was like the wave of the future. That held true for its sequels in 2000 for the aforementioned Game Boy Color.

9 Super Nintendo: Street Fighter 2


Fight a match in Street Fighter 2

street fighter 2 makes fighting games a thing. They existed long before this game, but what set it apart were the combos. There was nothing like it before. Even the first arcade game was not so popular.

The sequel was almost an accidental hit in the arcades that carried over to the SNES. From that original game to its many re-releases, it would have been hard to find a home without a version of street fighter 2 inside.


8 Nintendo 64: GoldenEye 007 (96)


Promotional art featuring characters from GoldenEye 007

The N64 was designed for multiplayer, unlike any console that came before it. The system had four controller ports, eliminating the need for third-party multi-tap devices. There are many excellent examples on the system of Mario Kart 64 at Super Smash Bros..

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However, the game that made the console infamous was GoldenEye 007. It was one of the first examples of a good license-based game. The campaign was fun, but the multiplayer was where it was. It was a must have for the holidays.

seven Game Boy Advance: Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire (82)


Fight a Battle in Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire

Pokemon remained the supreme king of Nintendo handheld devices throughout the Game Boy Advance. Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire is a tipping point for some fans though. Some loved it as much as previous games while others felt the formula was getting too repetitive at this point.

Where was the evolution? Either way, it still sold like gangbusters in all regions. With each new generation of games comes a new generation of gamers. The cycle repeats and the series continues.

6 GameCube: Super Smash Bros. Melee (92)


Promotional art featuring characters from Super Smash Bros.  Melee

Super Smash Bros. Melee is an example of a suite that every series should look for. It wasn’t a launch title for the GameCube but it wasn’t released until a few weeks later. It improved everything from the original.

The gameplay was tighter and there were more fighters and stages. There’s a reason it’s stuck in the fighting game scene decades later, even after the sequel releases were released. He is a legend among legends.

5 DS: Animal Crossing: Savage World (86)


Promotional art featuring characters from Animal Crossing: Wild World

The different Pokemon the sequels were probably the most played multiplayer experiences on DS. It’s hard to deny the appeal of these games in portable form. However, Animal Crossing: Wild World was also a great success. It was a better representation of what the original GameCube game was trying to produce.

It wasn’t easy to connect with friends in the original, unlike this DS sequel. It turned the series into a more household name and only grew from there.


4 Wii: Wii Sports (76)


Play a Tennis Match in Wii Sports

Sports Wii was like a Trojan horse. It came with every system and was the perfect demonstration of the Wii’s motion capabilities. Sequels would only reinforce this demonstration of play wii at Wii Sports Complex.

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He made the Wii what it is today, a complete and total revolution, just as its code name suggests. It made everyone buy a console, including the elderly. It filled the gap for many and there was nothing quite like this original game compared to its sequels.

3 3DS: StreetPass Mii Plaza


Greet SpotPass Guests from the StreetPass Mii Plaza

Pokemon, again, could be cited here, but it may be another case of a Trojan horse explosion. StreetPass Mii Plaza is built into every 3DS. This central world had two games: Find Mii and Puzzle Exchange. Players could use their Miis with friends they had SpotPasted in these games.

Extensions would include Mii Force, Flower Town, Warriors Way, Ultimate Angler, Battleground Z, Ninja Launcher, Feed Mii, Market, Crashers, Mii Trek, and Slot Car Rivals. The best of them was monster mansion which was part RPG, part puzzle game. These are all passive multiplayer experiences, but they still count as mega hits.

2 Wii U: Splatoon (81)


Fight a match in Splatoon

The Wii U wasn’t as big as the Wii. It had a relatively short lifespan but gave way to the Switch. Still, this prototype-like console can be thanked for two huge successes: Splatoon and Creator of Super Mario. These games entice people to go out and buy units.

These games weren’t enough to lift the console out of the dirt, but they certainly extended the lifespan. Splatoon introduced an interesting shooting experience that did not rely on bloody gameplay. Creator of Super Mario was a more passive experience but created a sharing community that grew endlessly.


1 Switch: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (93)


Fight a match in Super Smash Bros.  Ultimate

The Switch has had an incredible amount of multiplayer experiences since its debut in 2017. Chief among them is Super Smash Bros Ultimate, which was released in 2018. Thanks to the DLC, it stayed with the times until 2021 when the last DLC character was revealed.

He finally took over for Super Smash Bros. Melee because something fans could finally agree on was better. Animal Crossing: New Horizons should also be noted for helping people through a tough 2020. The future is still bright for the Switch.

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