What is the Best Japanese Video Game Franchise Ever?

You know what? We should have a little bit of fun today. For some reason I have had video games on the brain lately, so I have an incredibly important question to all you. What is your favorite video game franchise? I know it’s a bit random, but I was thinking about this the other day while watching this video Marvel vs. Capcom 3 rejection spoof:

I guess it kind of depends, if we’re talking in terms of dollars and cents, I wonder which franchise would emerge victorious…My guess would have to be the Mario Brothers franchise. I mean, they’ve made so many games, it’s kinda hard to ignore them: Mario Brothers (remember the old one? the early, non-adventure-styled one that was all on one screen, like Donkey Kong?), Super Mario Brothers 1, 2, 3, Super Mario World, Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Dr. Mario, Mario Kart, Mario All-Stars, Mario & Princess Toadstool: The Love Child, etc.. So maybe the last title is a fake, but you never know. In addition to these games making a truckload of money, many of the games were just a joy to play.

Classics! I consider Super Mario Brothers one of many classic franchises that we could consider. The The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, Metroid, and (to a FAR lesser extent) games like Bonk’s Adventure franchises that were essential to video consoles when they were first released on the market.

If we’re talking cool music, I have to give Megaman (ロックマン or Rockman in Japanese) its props, namely Megaman 2. I was a proper Megaman addict in my Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) days. Coupling some of the funkiest music and beats that the 8-bit Nintendo ever produced with the fact that the game had the fun factor of a high-powered, jet coaster makes it such a classic. Unfortunately, I can’t say I was super big on the other games in the franchise. I really dug Megaman 8 and Megaman X2 though. I’m about to show just how much of a nerd I really am. Isn’t this music the coolest?

If we’re talking stories and character depth, should we go the role-playing route? I remember back when Secret of Mana was released by this company I had never heard of caleld Square Soft. Playing The Secret of Mana for the first time was mind-blowing (it was never a franchise in the U.S. but it was a small franchise here in Japan). The characters in the Final Fantasy games had a such a depth to them that it was a kind of hard not to get attached. I remember playing Final Fantasy 7 all the way through the first time, and I was so intrigued by the all of the back stories (especially the hidden character Vincent), and just how masterfully created Sephiroth was. Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Quest, and a whole host of others could easily make it into my top list.

What if we look at the fighting side of things, which franchise most tickles video game region of your brain? Street Fighter? Mortal Kombat? Soul Calibur? Tekken? Fatal Fury? Marvel vs. Capcom? Capcom vs. SNK? How about those side-scrolling fighters like Double Dragon, Bad Dudes, or Final Fight? I’m just throwing them out there.

What about those video game ninjas that we know and love from Shinobi or Ninja Gaiden? I was more of a Ninja Gaiden fan because I was quite the Nintendo-phile. But Shinobi was a pretty hot game, too (it was pretty sweet on the Sega Genesis).

Or we could go scary. Has anybody hear of a little franchise called Castlevania? Or, how about the spleen-chewing, blood-spewing, heart racing fun of the Resident Evil games?
*Yes I know that’s a bit graphic, but then again so are the games.

I really think my brain is about to explode, so I’m going to pick mine, now. I know so many of you’re are gonna be like “Huh?” But I’m going to say my favorite franchise is the Metal Gear Franchise. I don’t know why I have such a soft spot for that game, but I remember playing the old old Metal Gear one just a little with my Dad. I remember how freakin’ innovative and impressive the Playstation remakes were. I loved it when that game required you to do things in real life. I remember looking in the real instruction manual to find a frequency code for the game, or switching controller ports to keep this psychic boss from reading your mind, or how that psychic boss (Psycho Mantis) would pretend to read your mind by reading your memory card. I can’t say I spent the most hours on this game but I can say that I truly truly enjoyed it.

If I wasn’t worrying about giving a rather obvious answer, though, I’d have to go with Mario Brothers because I have so many great memories of that game. But I’m sticking with my choice. Metal Gear…final answer. They recently released an updated, HD version of the Metal Gear Solid games for PS3, and I would kindly rip somebody’s leg off to have a PS3 right now :D .

How about you? I’m not even going to limit this to the television consoles. If you want to mention a computer gaming franchise, that’s cool too. If you post in the comments section, though, you have say why do you like the franchise you chose?

Inquiring minds (i.e.-mine) want to know!

See you next time!

Donald Ash

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  • Oooo this is a good one. +_+ I really enjoy the final fantasy series, though it’s gone down the last few releases in quality.. hmm I also *love* my zombie games. Nothing like a good ol shriek fest!! I think my favorite is the Fatal Frame series!! Or maybe silent hill? -ponders..-

  • Donald Ash

    I’ve never played Fatal Frame. I’m going to have to take a look. I do know Silent Hill, though. That’s a good one!! I don’t understand how silent hill and resident evil games were so wonderful, but the movies come up short.

  • dochimichi1

    Mario’s gotta be the most successful, I suppose. I’ve been running a video gamestore for years now, and all the mentioned titles are pretty big too, but when it comes to sales, Mario stuff always always sells. GTAs and Call Of Dutys come and go every season, but the little plumber guy always comes on top.
    My personal favourite is fairly unknown in UK Gyakuten Saiban/”Ace Attorney” franchise (-: Again, judging by the sales, I’m the only one who likes it )). Certain type of games never made it big in UK. I’ve noticed, that typically (from what I’ve heard of) popular in Japan games (of the Gyakuten type or RPG format), usually have very narrow circle of fans/players in UK. Final Fantasy probably the only one of the type, that ever made it properly big, but we’re talking more of Playstaion one glory days (-:
    Jya, oshaberi oshaberi gomen nasai ^ ^ Ii wadai dakara.

  • Petaris

    I really like the Zelda series. :)

  • Clive Bugle

    I would go for

    1. The Legend of Zelda
    2. Mario.

    Honourable mention – Tentacle Adventures

    • Donald Ash

      Really Clive? I surely thought Tentacle Adventures was going to be at the top of your list! But Zelda and Mario should do just fine, :D

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