BEST. GIFTS. EVER. Advent Calendar Day 23: GAME ON!

Best Gifts Ever

We’ve had a blast recalling some of the BEST. GIFTS. EVER. during this year’s advent calendar, but Christmas had to come eventually. Naturally, we saved the best gift, for last!

EVERYTHING NINTENDO (1985 and beyond!)

The gangs all here!
The gangs all here!
There have been home video game systems before Nintendo, and plenty of popular options since, but for an entire generation nothing quite said “BEST GIFT EVER” like having the world’s most fun gaming toy under the tree. In our opinion, nothing quite beats your very first Nintendo gaming system, so we’re going to spend some time on our favorites…

Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
The NES was Nintendo’s first major success in the home console market. With its 8-bits of video game glory, we got icons like Mario and Link and countless others. The NES had tons of licensed games and accessories that made the console seem like an always updating joy machine. Nintendo reported sales of 61.91 million NES hardware units and 500.01 million NES software units worldwide.

My NES was given to me by my sister, actually, who saved up for months to surprise me. I remember playing Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt endlessly for the first few months I had the thing, until a bunch of NES games went on sale at the local KB. For every awesome Kung Fu, there was an impossible Back to the Future, but it was a joy just trying to figure these games out. – Frank

Super Nintendo (1991)
The Super Nintendo was the first of what would end up being the basic model of game console development; iterations and generations. The new Nintendo game system was a 16-bit wonder that introduced advanced graphics and sound capabilities for the time. It was also the rise of the polygon. Nintendo reported sales of 49.10 million SNES hardware units and 379.06 million SNES software units worldwide.

I didn’t get a Super Nintendo for Christmas, but I got my first game for it then. It was Super Empire Strikes Back, and I spent the entire morning playing it. I remember being blown away over flying a Snowspeeder with Mode 7 graphics, and I would just replay that level over and over. F$%& Wampas, though. Cheap-ass freeze breath was the death of me constantly. – Matt

Nintendo 64 (1996)
The N64 took 3D polygons to the next level, and introduced a super funky controller with analog sticks and feedback devices like the rumble pak.

I mean look at those kids, if that doesn’t say they just received the best gift ever I don’t know what does. They can play all those games at Blockbuster now!

We had home consoles before but this, but the N64 is when we started to see amazing games become staples. With games like Super Mario 64, Pilotwings 64, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Killer Instinct Gold, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, it was no wonder the N64 was a hit, and way better than playing with all these old action figures you were getting. Gaming was the way of the future, and soon my Christmas lists became consumed by cartridges and disks! Who needs Star Wars toys when you can play Star Wars video games… Who am I kidding, I still asked for both. – James.

GameCube (2001)
The GameCube moved off cartridges and onto optical discs, but it really stands out for being Nintendo’s first combatant against its current lead competitors, facing off against the PlayStation 2 and brand-new Microsoft Xbox (and, um, Sega’s Dreamcast). Nintendo reported sales of 21.74 million GameCube hardware units and 208.57 million GameCube software units worldwide.

The GameCube brought Donkey Konga into my life. It was the first time many of us conceived of what would become a major selling point for games in the next millennium; unusual interaction that bridged the gap between hardcore gamers and the casual players of games. Just ask anyone who bought a game system exclusively for Rock Band or Wii Sports what effect that has had. – Frank

Game Boy (1989)
Arguably the best offering from Nintendo started in 1989 and is still being revised and developed today, in a time when everyone seems to have a full scale computer in their pocket that can also order a pizza. Whether you’re first portable gaming system was a Game Boy, a Game Boy Advance, or even a DS, these amazing toys brought a whole new level of fun.

I always carried my Game Boy around wherever I went. – James

I’ve been to Christmas parties where a dozen grown-ass adults were all talking, drinking, enjoying each others company… and street passing various Pokemon stuff. Yes, James threw said party. – Frank

Consoles like the Wii (the company’s highest selling console) and Wii U maintain the Nintendo brand of innovation and fun, and you have to be a pretty jaded person not to acknowledge that millions of people find their joy of video games with products put out by this company. For many of us, seeing that Nintendo logo under the wrapping paper signified that a particular present was going to be the BEST. GIFT. EVER.