Nintendo games that bombed at launch but became cult classics

Despite being one of the most successful video game companies since the early days of the industry, Nintendo has had its fair share of shortcomings. Several of the company’s consoles were notorious failures, including the Virtual Boy and Wii U. Some Nintendo franchises also failed to gain mainstream attention, such as Arms Where golden sun.



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However, sometimes an initial failure is the first step to unrecognized success. Nintendo has had many games that didn’t thrive upon release throughout the company’s history, but in retrospect they have earned the respect of gamers. These games are all now considered cult classics, even though they were pushed back to the start of their life cycle.

ten Child Icarus

Child Icarus debuted on the Famicom and NES in 1986, the same year as The Legend of Zelda and metroid. Unlike those games, Child Icarus received mixed reviews. Many players have criticized its difficulty, as well as its inability to compete with other console platforms. Thankfully, video game history has been kinder Little Icarus.

Many publications consider it one of the best games of all time. The franchise was even revived in 2012 with Kid Icarus: Insurrection for Nintendo 3DS, following the inclusion of Pit in Super Smash Bros Brawl. This reboot was even piloted by Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai, who turned the platformer into a third-person shooter.

9 Earthbound

It is likely that Earthbound suffered from poor marketing when first released on the SNES in 1994. The game’s slogan was “This Game Stinks”, with the game’s packaging including scratch and sniff advertisements to reinforce this point. Early reviewers also called the game weird and crudely humorous, eventually stifling its release in European markets due to poor sales.

Nowadays, however, Earthbound is considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time. It has been hugely influential in the genre, inspiring many look-alikes trying to recapture the magic of gaming. Earthboundfollowing only in Japan, Mother 3.

8 Conker’s Bad Fur Day

When it comes to platforms on the Nintendo 64, few companies have been as successful as Rare. The developer had an impressive resume, which included the hits donkey kong 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. Conker’s Bad Fur Dayhowever, was their attempt to appeal to an older audience, which resulted in a rare commercial failure for the company.

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Many audiences were put off by Conker’s Bad Fur Day, especially for the contrast between its kid-friendly artwork and NSFW content. Despite this misfire, many gaming publications had positive things to say about the game’s design and humor. The title later received a remake with Conker: Live and Reloaded for the original Xbox.

seven Cubivore: survival of the fittest

The well titled Cubivore: survival of the fittest was released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002. The game finds players taking on the role of a cube, engaging in RPG battles to become king of all cubivores. Unfortunately, the game’s cute art style wasn’t enough to satisfy the audience.

Upon its release, many gaming publications criticized the gameplay and controls, while praising the creativity of the premise. However, in recent years, many people have been able to recognize its positive qualities. This is perhaps the result of fan nostalgia for the tropes of Gamecube-era games.

6 Crazy world

Crazy world was released for the Nintendo Wii in 2009 and was developed by PlatinumGames, the creators of Joe seeing it and Bayonet. The game received positive reviews upon release, with critics praising its city ​​of sin-graphic design. Unfortunately, many publications have also noted that it did not bring innovation to the hack-n-slash genre.

Also, the game released on Wii was probably a shot in the foot. The Wii’s audience was generally geared towards children and families, which meant that its sales were disappointing, especially in larger markets like Japan. Unfortunately, it failed to appeal to a wide audience, but those who played it can still appreciate its brief enjoyment.

5 The Wonderful 101

Unfortunately, Crazy world wasn’t PlatinumGames’ only flop. The company also developed the Wii U title, The Wonderful 101which certainly appealed to console audiences more than Crazy world did. The game featured players controlling an army of heroes, transforming together like a school of superhero fish.

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Upon release, critics had a lot of good things to say about the game. However, like many games on the Wii U, it failed to chart at all. The game was recently ported to Nintendo Switch, but only after a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. However, their Kickstart goal was reached very quickly, which means the game’s audience is still alive.

4 Code name: STEAM

Nintendo had a lot of faith in the 3DS title Code name: STEAM before its release. It was developed by Intelligent Systems, which was also responsible for breathing new life into the fire emblem franchisee with Fire Emblem Awakening. Additionally, the game’s design and its use of characters from American folklore intrigue fans.

Despite the hype leading up to its release, Code name: STEAM received mixed reviews from critics. Unfortunately, its art style and premise weren’t enough to satisfy critics put off by its length and complicated mechanics. However, the patches that were released in the future made it easier for skeptical fans to approach it.

3 Mario & Luigi: paper jam

The mario and louis The franchise has managed to place Nintendo’s iconic brothers in a proper RPG format. Previous games in the series, such as Superstar Saga and Bowser’s Inside Story, are loved by fans. It was exciting for fans, so when Nintendo announced that the franchise would see a crossover with the paper mario series.

Reviews were ultimately positive, although some were disappointed with the lack of game elements brought over from the paper mario series. Unfortunately, the 3DS title is the latest entry in the mario and louis series, as its developer AlphaDream filed for bankruptcy in 2019. Still, the series has a soft spot for many older Nintendo fans.

2 mitopia

The RPG mitopia was released for 3DS in Japan in 2016, with a worldwide release later in 2017. The game centers around player-created Mii characters, with gameplay affected by relationships between Miis. Many reviewers had a lot of positive things to say about the game’s creativity and take on the RPG genre.

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Other than that, the game received mixed reviews from critics. As Tomodachi’s life, mitopia suffers from a lack of player involvement in the flow of the game. The Nintendo Switch port, which was released in 2021, received a much more positive response from the public, attracting a much wider group of gamers.

1 Sushi Striker: the way of sushido

Sushi Striker: the way of sushido was released on 3DS and Switch in 2018 and was created by developers who had worked on games like Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and Electroplankton. The game consists of puzzles in which players compete against opponents using sushi. Fortunately, critics reacted well to the gameplay design.

Other reviewers had a lot to criticize regarding sushi strikerlength and controls. As a result, the game only sold 5,000 copies for the Switch in its first week, with the 3DS version not even reaching half that. However, many fans of the game criticized Nintendo’s lack of promotion for what could have been a great starting point for a new franchise.

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Timothy C. Mayo