I have been sitting on this idea for a while and after conversing about this topic with some friends for a few hours we still couldn’t reach an agreement. One said the SNES era was when they reached their zenith while another thought the Wii and DS were Nintendo’s most outstanding achievement.
I disagreed with both because I believe Nintendo’s golden era has yet to happen, but my friends refused that answer so if I had to choose I would say the days of the Gamecube and GBA would be my choice. I know it wasn’t a particularly successful era mainly due to the PlayStation 2 dominating the marketplace at the time, but I think Nintendo was pushing for software innovation as opposed to now where they strive for hardware innovation and because of this we got games that are infinitely replayable such as Metroid Prime being a first person shooter, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker having a unique art style as well as having more of an open world and of course Eternal Darkness with its unique interaction with the player using a game mechanic known as sanity effects.
The GBA was a really safe bet made by Nintendo, but it had the most exceptional game library of any handheld before and after due to the breadth of genres it covered as well as the depth. But the main reason why the GBA remains my top handheld device is because it was an excellent JRPG machine with Final Fantasy’s IV, V, VI, Golden Sun 1+2 as well as more niche titles like Boktai or Scurge: Hive.
So what would you consider as Nintendo’s golden era or maybe you believe as well that they have yet to reach it? Let me know in the comments.