Nintendo: the video game company that delivered us out of the Atari bust. Thanks to them video games continued to grow. They have made a lot of great titles and innovations in the console industry. They are like the Disney of gaming. Everyone knows who Mario is and what Pokémon are. That said, it’s not like they are gods.
That is to say, they are humans. People can learn and adapt from others just like any smart tech company does. So I looked through the annals of history and found some examples of times when Nintendo could have hypothetically copied others. Whether that is true, or not remains to be seen. You can decide after you read through my findings. Am I crazy, or is the jig up for Nintendo?
20 Super Mario Maker
Super Mario Maker was a cool idea, don’t get me wrong. However, it’s undeniable that Nintendo looked at other user-generated games and thought they should get a piece of the pie. The big one that comes to mind is LittleBigPlanet, which, to be fair, was definitely trying to be the PlayStation equivalent to Mario.
19 Nintendo Switch Online
Nintendo has never really had a great online infrastructure. At least they were free compared to other companies. However, with the Switch they finally decided to catch up to modern times and charge users a membership fee in order to play games online. Way to lower yourself to Sony's and Microsoft's standards, Nintendo.
18 Kirby's Epic Yarn
I’m bringing back in LittleBigPlanet because there are actually three games I could cite as copying its aesthetic: Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Yoshi’s Wooly World, and Yoshi’s Crafted World. All three of these games use yarn, buttons, cardboard, and other normal everyday items in order to build their levels. It’s the one thing LittleBigPlanet had going for it!
17 Mario + Rabbis Kingdom Battle
This one is a bit of cheat because Nintendo didn’t make this game. Ubisoft was the core developer, but since they used Nintendo characters and I’m sure they ran things past someone over there, I’m going to count it. With that out of the way let’s talk about what this game really is: an X-COM clone.
16 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Breath of the Wild was clearly influenced by the recent trend of open-world RPGs, starting with Skyrim. You could even make an argument that the difficulty, at least when you’re learning the ropes, is also like Dark Souls. The number of times I fell in battle to a Moblin is embarrassing.
15 Super Mario Odyssey
While the use of Cappy being able to possess, or “capture” enemies was a neat idea for Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo did not pioneer this mechanic. Just because you change the word doesn’t mean it’s not a possession game. Ghost Trick, Stacking, and Avenging Spirit are some of my favorite examples.
14 Wii Motion Controls
When Sony came out with the PS3 Move controllers, everyone said they copied Nintendo’s Wii system. However, let’s not forget the PS2’s EyeToy. In case you weren’t around, this camera motion sensed your movements for a handful of games. Was it good? No, but it indeed came before the Wii.
Splatoon was Nintendo’s first real attempt on an in-house multiplayer-focused shooter. That’s one mark against it. You could also say, with the various ink powers, that it resembles Portal 2 as well. There aren’t ink variations that make the characters speed up, or bounce around, but the aesthetic is certainly similar.
Whenever most people see a game that has monster catching in it they often criticize, or at least comment that it’s copying Pokémon. However, prior to the first two games releasing in 1996 for Japan, Dragon Quest V allowed players to recruit monsters to join their party in 1992. Even earlier than that was the Shin Megami Tensei series, which had demon summoning.
11 Kirby Battle Royale
The battle royale multiplayer phenomenon started in 2017 with PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or PUBG. Since then everyone and their mother has been trying to cash in on the explosion and Nintendo is no different. While this game is at max a four-player competitive brawler, Nintendo knew what they were doing with the name, aka misleading the public.
10 Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing is just The Sims, but with animals. It’s cute, I’ll give it that and I would rather play it than The Sims any day of the week, but simulation games aren’t really my thing so that’s not saying much. I know there’s only a year difference between the two releases, but simulation games, like SimCity, existed way before this too.
9 Luigi’s Mansion
Resident Evil was a huge hit in the 90s and continued to be great as it marched on. While some of the games did appear on Nintendo prior to this, I bet someone at the company didn’t like them. Maybe they were too mature. That’s where the kid-friendly Luigi’s Mansion came in. It’s set in a mansion, with puzzle doors, and has ghosts instead of zombies. Sound familiar?
8 Mario Party
Mario Party is a pretty divisive series. It can be fun in small doses and some titles are better than others. It’s exactly like my feelings toward Monopoly, which is very similar to the board style layout. It’s also a lot like Itadaki Street, which is more RPG based. It’s a huge hit in Japan, trust me.
7 Super Mario Galaxy
One of my favorite PS2 series was Ratchet and Clank, which added zany guns to the platformer genre. What set it apart from Mario, aside from guns, were these cool spherical worlds you could explore. Just like the mini planets in Super Mario Galaxy. It kind of aggravated me when people hailed that game for the innovation when they existed years before on PS2.
6 Nintendo Switch
I love the Switch, don’t get me wrong, but it is merely a perfected idea Sony started. The PSP and PS3 had limited Remote Play, which allowed users to play console games on the handheld. This became a lot better between the PS Vita and PS4. And yes, both beat the Wii U.
5 Dr. Mario
Tetris is a lot older than I thought. I figured it started out with the Game Boy version in 1989, but it was first released for the Electronika 60 in 1984. Whatever version you’re talking about, Tetris was THE puzzle matching game and all other titles were copied from it including, yes, Dr. Mario. Stick to plumbing, Mario.
Did you know Toys for Bob went to Nintendo and pitched them the Toys to Life genre before they made Skylanders? Nintendo rejected the idea and yet after Skylanders and Disney Infinity became hits, they wanted a piece of that pie via Amiibo. Nintendo, you could have had all the pie!
3 Wii Music
The Wii was a sensation when it launched in 2006 and can be thanked for bridging the gap between gamers and those that found games childish. They thought they could do no wrong. They thought Wii Music would be just as good as Guitar Hero, or Rock Band, but it wasn’t. Oh no. Not by a long shot.
2 NES Mini
I can’t believe it took Nintendo as long as it did to make a plug and play console. When I was growing up I always thought Nintendo should try that. They are as synonymous with games as much as Disney is for cartoons, and well, I guess everything nowadays. I don’t know when the first plug and play console was released, but it was certainly before 2016.
For my last example, I thought I should look outside of the box. That’s when I remembered my first computer: a green iMac G3. It, prior to the GameCube, had a plastic handle on it. Coincidence, Nintendo? Yeah, probably, but I thought it was a funny example to bring up anyway.