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Published:January 9th, 2014 18:24 EST
5 Nintendo Franchises That Could Use a Comeback

5 Nintendo Franchises That Could Use a Comeback

By Derek Sanders

5 Nintendo Franchises That Could Use a Comeback

Nintendo is one of the biggest video game companies in the world. They are well-known to the point that several people that do not play video games know about them. With franchises spanning multiple decades like Super Mario Brothers, Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid, gamers could count on Nintendo making engaging titles. However, some of those titles are not as well-known as others. While these games were not large blockbuster titles, they often had other qualities that made gamers pay attention.

NOTICE:  This article is not a top five list. These entries are in no particular order and are not in any way ranked.

Balloon Fight " Balloon Fight is one of those Nintendo franchises that keep showing up in collections of classic Nintendo games, though it has not received much attention for years. Released in 1985, for the NES, Balloon Fight has had only one other entry in its series for the original Game Boy. In the games, the player takes control of a person who uses balloons tied to their back to fly and has to pop the balloons of the other flyers, making them drop out of the sky, to move to the next level. It also featured a second game mode called Balloon Trip, a side-scrolling flight game where the player got points for every second they stayed in the air and had to avoid balls of lightning that would drop them out of the sky.

Since its release, the game has gotten appearances as mini-games in the Nintendo series WarioWare Inc. and references in Nintendo crossover titles like Tetris DS and Super Smash Brothers. Balloon Fight has a simple premise, like other NES games, but it leaves room for creativity to build a world from that premise. With the revival of the Kid Icarus series, another NES game, onto the 3DS, other series from older consoles could warrant receiving a similar treatment.

Elite Beat Agents " The Nintendo DS handheld system has seen just as many successful games as Nintendo`s main consoles. The console`s touch screen has contributed to the novelty of the console and its games helped to show how innovative its controls were. One of the games that helped to showcase the potential of the DS touch screen was Elite Beat Agents.

Released in 2006, Elite Beat Agents is a spiritual successor to the Japanese rhythm game Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan. In Ouendan, players would tap and slide different icons on the screen in tune to the music while a Japanese male cheer squad encourages people going through tough times to make their way through. The better the player follows the music, the better the people on the screen are performing. Elite Beat Agents has the same gameplay as Ouendan, though the popular Japanese music that made up the soundtrack is switched with popular Western music and the cheer squad is replaced with a group of suit-clad government agents, reminiscent of the Men in Black or the Blues Brothers.

While Elite Beat Agents did not receive a sequel, Ouendan did. While a new game in the Western series would require the same amount of effort as the second Ouendan game, the first Elite Beat Agents game did not make as much money as Nintendo expected, so a new game in this series may not be possible soon.

Nazo no Murasame Jo " For a long time, Nintendo limited a lot of its releases to Japanese audiences only. While reasons may vary, this means that a lot of Western gamers were unaware of the existence of some Nintendo titles. Over the years, some games that have been kept to Japanese audiences, like Fire Emblem and Advance Wars, have been given releases in other regions, while some have yet to be seen overseas, like Nazo no Murasame Jo.

Nazo no Murasame Jo, whose name translates to The Mysterious Murasame Castle, was released in 1986 for the Famicom Disk System, a Nintendo console only available in Japan. It was a top-down action-adventure game similar to the original Legend of Zelda for the NES. Taking place in Japan during the Edo period, a strange creature takes control of the feudal lords of the land and unleashes armies of ninjas and monsters on the people and a young samurai named Takamaru is tasked with defeating this creature and saving the country.

Released for the Famicom in the same year as games like The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Konami`s Castlevania, Nazo no Murasame Jo did not receive the same level of commercial success. The series has since received a few cameos in other games, the most recent being the mini-game Takamaru`s Ninja Castle in the Wii U launch title Nintendo Land. Seeing as the game was similar to the original Legend of Zelda in gameplay, though relying more on fast-paced action than puzzle-solving, a new iteration of this game could see it becoming a more fast-paced counterpart to the Legend of Zelda series.

EarthBound/Mother " The Mother series is considered a cult classic amongst many gamers, though to many American gamers, who have only seen one of the games, it is known by a different name. EarthBound, as it is known to western audiences, is a role-playing game released for the Super Nintendo in 1995. 

Players took the role of Ness, a boy with psychic powers living in the small town of Onett, as he and three others embark on a journey to defeat the alien menace known as Giygas. While there have been other games in this series with different characters and different antagonists, recurring themes in these games are protagonists with psychic powers, a modern day environment, unorthodox items for equipment, and what some would describe as an offbeat sense of humor. 

This series is an odd case as far as a new entry goes, because while EarthBound has a sequel, it was never released outside of Japan. While a new game with the recurring themes of previous entries of the series would catch the attention of many Western gamers, releasing this third game to Western audiences would do that as well. Nintendo has included Mother 3`s main character Lucas as a playable character in its crossover fighting game series Super Smash Brothers alongside Ness from EarthBound, while fan websites like have been working on unofficial translations for the third game, which proves that there are people who know about and want to play games from this series.

Ice Climber " Players of the Nintendo all-star fighting game Super Smash Brothers see a wide variety of characters from franchises both new and old that has helped to shape Nintendo into the game developer it is today. While many would recognize Mario, Pikachu, and Link, not as many would recognize Popo and Nana, the protagonists of the 1985 NES classic game, Ice Climber.  

In the game, players would control one of the parka-clad protagonists and climb their way up a mountain. It functions as a side-scrolling platformer that moves vertically instead of horizontally. The game has no power-ups, the characters only having their wooden mallets to ward off enemies and the summit of each mountain functioned as a bonus level, where the player had to grab vegetables scattered around for extra points.

Despite being included in several classic NES collections and its characters being featured in Super Smash Bros., Ice Climber has not received another entry in its series. While the game does not have an extensive story like other Nintendo titles, like Balloon Fight, a new entry in the series could allow for a new story to be made and allow a world to be developed around that story.