Though I'm trying to remain decidedly neutral in this whole console war thing, I'm starting to get a little angry at the Sony and Microsoft junkies that continue to label Nintendo as a "kiddy" company. Sure, they've been... uh, overly family-friendly in some past incidents, but they've worked to clean themelves up over the years. Besides, even the happy-go-lucky stylings of Mario and the gang can't stop a game from being truly great. Still, if you must have your so-called "maturity," here's a list of games that Nintendo has published that ESRB chose not to give an "E" rating to. Say what you want about Nintendo's childish image, they had the common sense to release these amazing titles.

Though not quite as long, deep or expansive as its console big brothers (both of which will also appear on this list), Hunters took the formula that Retro Studios started and gave it a more conventional first-person shooter control scheme via the DS's touch screen. The result is a game that many already view as a classic, both in its solid recreation of the GameCube games' single-player adventure or its robust online multiplayer mode. Hunters finally proved that online FPS gaming is a possibility on handhelds.

"Mature," you say? Yeah, look it up -- this game is T-rated. Anyway. The F-Zero series is about futuristic racing at high speeds on tracks that loop, spiral, zigzag, flip, and do an assortment of other crazy things. F-Zero GX is easily the series' best entry yet, at it offers the most varied, intense and DIFFICULT track designs making for an experience no Gran Turismo title will ever provide. What amazes me is this game's ability to display amazing visuals and thirty on-screen vehicles at around a thousands miles per hour while still maintaining a 60fps framerate. Pretty game.

Though I personally wasn't too crazy about this game (one mini-boss in particular was so difficult, it actually marked the first time a game has made me vomit out of frustration), a surprising number of people thought that the sequel eclipsed the original, and it's easy to see the effort that Retro put into this follow-up. The art direction is stunning, as every environment feels unique and is packed with attention to detail. The game is longer than its predecessor, and is so loaded with hidden goodies that the hardcore could spend months exploring and still not find anything.

Yeah, believe it or not, Nintendo actually published this N64 title, which debuted late in the console's lifetime. It was a space shooter with missions modeled after the prequel film, and in this sense it's one of the few movie-licensed games that's actually much better than the film it's based on. The mission design itself was smart, the enemies were intense to battle, and the control was spot-on. If you're one of the many that missed out on this gem in the N64 days, track it down and pick it up.

One of the more recent good games in the GameCube library is the first non-handheld Fire Emblem to be released in North America. The popular strategy-RPG game doesn't necessarily present anything that we haven't seen before, but it does everything perfectly right in terms of pure, unadulterated turn-based strategy gameplay. And speaking of mature games, though it's only T-rated, Fire Emblem's trademark gameplay feature -- irreversible death -- is both realistic and a remarkably mature theme. Though it hampers gameplay to be certain, you will grow to like these characters. Watching one die on the battlefield as a result of your poor planning is tough to bear.

Without question, the most mature game to appear on this list. Nintendo published this originally-slated-for-N64 release that was later pushed to GameCube, and Silicon Knights, who more recently tackled a remake of Metal Gear Solid, called Twin Snakes, developed this frightening survival-horror game. Not only was the game gory -- the targeting system encouraged players to blow off specific parts of enemies' bodies -- but the brilliant sanity system messed with the player's head, putting forth illusions that will have you shaking. It's one thing to have a zombie dog jump through a window. But fooling the player into thinking he's just erased his game? That's horror.

More recent than Goldeneye (which scored even higher) and currently recovering from its so-so Xbox 360 follow-up, Perfect Dark doesn't get quite as much attention as some of the N64's bigger and more well-known games, but it should. Perfect Dark, developed by the same guys that made Goldeneye, took the basic controls and concept of that great game and set them in the near future, with droids, hovercrafts, high-tech weapons, weird floating computer-professors, and aliens named Elvis. Perfect Dark has some of the coolest weapons I've ever seen (check out the laptop gun), and continues to have one of the most expansive multiplayer packages in any console FPS, ever.

Perhaps the most popular GameCube game to date, and with good reason. Though a lot of hardcore fighting game fans would cringe at the thought of the SSB games being referred to as "fighting games," their popularity is due to the fact that they rest so separated from the standard Street Fighters and Soul Caliburs of the industry, instead opting for a more free fighting system, over-the-top character and level designs, and an amazing number of game modes. And whereas the N64 game was almost strictly a multiplayer experience, SSBM's extraordinary single-player game almost overshadows the amazing multiplayer mode. Almost.

Everyone loves this game. Back in the late 90's, online console gaming was all but nonexistent and even split-screen multiplayer titles were not as common as they are today. Combining timing with the oh-so-wonderful first-person shooter mechanics that Rare somehow crammed onto the limited N64 controller, "Goldeneye" was synonymous with "multiplayer game" at one point, and was even able to dethrone Mario Kart 64 as the king of multiplayer games. Sure, it's nothing today compared to Halo, but this is one experience that will remain in the hearts of millions of gamers for years and years to come.

And here we come to it, my favorite game of the PS2/Xbox/GC generation and a game that would easily rank among my top ten favorite games ever, if I were to make such a list. This is the fifth of the series but the first to take the franchise into the world of three dimensions. The gameplay we loved from Super Metroid is translated almost flawlessly into a vast, enormous, open 3D world. Prime, in a sense, does exactly what Ocarina of Time did for Zelda -- it takes a game that we love, reinvents it for the third dimension, and completely changes the way we think about that series forever, yet all the while it doesn't mess with the key principles that have made the series a success in the past. I would take a GameCube over an Xbox and PS2 just for this game, if that should give you an idea of how much I like it.

So there you have it. There's ten worthwhile, "maturish" games that Nintendo has not only allowed for release on their consoles but personally published. So quit whining, and quit making up excuses not to get a Nintendo console. (By the way, as much as I'd like to include Jet Force Gemini and Conker's Bad Fur Day on this list, both of those games, surprisingly, were actually published by Rare. Trust me, I did the research. Also, Sin and Punishment: Successor to the Earth probably would have been rated T had it ever actually been released in NA, and in that case it certainly would have made the list.)

List by MSuskie (06/16/2006)

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