Nintendo has been a household name in family-friendly video gaming entertainment since the 1980s. Nintendo is known for making adorable games suitable for players of all ages and has such well-known franchises as Mario, Kirby, and Pokémon to their credit. However, as any seasoned Nintendo player is aware, reality is a little bit murkier than that.
There are many Nintendo games that conceal something terrible beneath their charming and cuddly veneer, just as Disney has its share of dark moments. Additionally, some games don’t even try to conceal it. Despite Nintendo’s image for being charming and cuddly, several games from its extensive and diverse catalog stick out.
10. Pokémon Sun & Moon
Pokémon is one of Nintendo’s most adored family-friendly brands, although every installment has also featured some disturbing scenes. They have come from both startlingly nihilistic villains and some rather frightening Pokédex entries, among other places. But Pokemon Sun & Moon outperformed them all.
The surprise villain Lusamine is responsible for some of the darkest scenes in the entire trilogy. She is not only a terrible and violent mother to her children, but she also wants to open a wormhole so that horrible creatures can be unleashed on the earth. Even if the game suggests she’s under Nihilego’s influence, this is still uncharted ground for Pokémon.
An astronaut crashes on a dangerous, extraterrestrial world with a toxic environment and ravenous wildlife. The astronaut has 30 days before his life support stops working, and he must find the components of his destroyed ship or perish on this harsh planet. Although this sounds like a scenario summary for a survival horror game, it is actually the story of the endearing Pikmin.
Pikmin has cute retro-sci-fi graphics and vibrant colors, but these features only barely mask how terrible the game actually is. If the player is careless, the deadly residents of the planet can consume even the adorable and humorous Pikmin in large numbers. Younger players may find the game to be extra scarier as a result.
8. Kirby Star Allies
The biggest example of a Nintendo franchise that is grim despite having a cute veneer is Kirby. The majority of the game’s bosses are eldritch gods or living nightmares, which stand in stark contrast to Kirby’s charming and cuddly demeanor. However, Kirby Star Allies is arguably the darkest game out of all of them.
Hyness, the leader of a magical cult who was exiled to the edge of the galaxy by people who feared his power, is the main antagonist of the game. Hyness is bent on retaliation and intends to wipe off all life by conjuring the evil God Void Termina. If this wasn’t sinister enough, Void Termina resembles Kirby in a startlingly striking number of ways.
7. Super Paper Mario
The Paper Mario spinoff series of RPGs can feature darker elements while still preserving the series’ trademark sense of humor because they are more story-oriented than traditional Mario games. Super Paper Mario is regarded by many fans as the darkest installment of the whole Mario franchise, despite the fact that it does away with many of its RPG components.
Super Paper Mario features much of the typical Mario humor, but it also features Count Bleck, one of the series’ darkest and most sad villains. Bleck went in to sorrow after losing the woman he had loved and devised a plan to wipe out the multiverse. Many Mario fans don’t anticipate a villain motivated by sorrow, yet many believe it set the game apart.
6. Xenoblade Chronicles
Nintendo released Xenoblade Chronicles, which was created by Monolith Soft, and its characters have appeared in numerous Super Smash Bros. games. The Xenoblade Chronicles games are all top-notch RPGs with endearing characters and intriguing stories. The first game among these features one of the darker narratives.
The young protagonist Shulk swears vengeance on the Mechon race of machines after they attack his town and kill his boyhood companion, which is when the game’s plot truly gets going. And that’s before a series of unexpected revelations about the nature of the Mechon and who the true antagonists of the story are. A grim examination of the essence of war, Xenoblade Chronicles seems out of place at Nintendo.
5. The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Majora’s Mask stands out as perhaps the darkest entry in The Legend Of Zelda, even if there have been numerous gloomy games that would startle casual players. Majora’s Mask features some of the most terrifying visuals in the entire game, even when compared to the gothic and desaturated aesthetic of Twilight Princess. Even allies like the Happy Mask Salesman, who is a game’s ally, have horrifying adversaries.
However, the premise of Majora’s Mask—that the moon would collide with Termina in three days—is what really gives the game its sinister feel. A young youngster who feels betrayed by his pals’ alleged abandonment is the source of this looming disaster. The darkest and most intricate villain in Zelda is now being controlled by a potent parasite.
One of Nintendo’s most well-known cult masterpieces is Earthbound, also known as Mother 2 in Japan. Many fans have been pleading for a sequel or remake for years because of the game’s enjoyable RPG combat and peculiar sense of humor. Earthbound is a ridiculously goofy game on the surface, yet it’s a very dark game with references to child abuse and cults.
The game’s primary opponent, Giygas, is the most frightful aspect. While it’s usual for video game plots to feature an alien that’s out to destroy the planet, this creature is rendered horrifying by his amorphous look and chattering vocabulary, which mainly consists of Ness’ name. Even the game admits that the player is unable to understand the exact nature of his attacks, which only serves to emphasize how horrifyingly unfathomable he is.
3. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Three Houses was the game that earned comparisons to Game of Thrones before Final Fantasy XVI did so frequently. While each Fire Emblem game has featured varied degrees of darkness, Three Houses has a rich and complex background that is filled with genocide, misogyny, racism, treachery, conflict, and horrifying experiments performed on children.
The cast of Three Houses is among the most traumatized casts in video game history as a result of everything that has happened. The characters that haven’t gone through any unpleasant experiences either before or during the game’s scenario should be listed more quickly. The fact that none of the game’s numerous endings can completely change how this ruthless and harsh world is made all of this worse.
2. Metroid Fusion
Metroid distinguishes out as one of the darkest of Nintendo’s enduring series. An M-rated Metroid game would undoubtedly look and feel the same as a regular one as it is situated in a dark sci-fi universe with terrifying monsters. Metroid Fusion stands out among this gloomy and sinister brand since it has a horror game-like atmosphere.
Metroid Fusion’s horrific tale and images gave many children nightmares despite the Game Boy Advance’s graphics. The SA-X, a malicious parasite disguising itself as Samus at her strongest, is the worst of all. Many gamers’ blood turned cold at the sound of the creature’s echoing footfall because they were unable to harm it for the majority of the game.
1. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
The game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, which has the apt moniker, is by far the darkest in Nintendo’s extensive collection. Eternal Darkness is the only M-rated horror game that Nintendo has ever released, which is the opposite of what most people would anticipate. The game is a sinister mystery filled with savage beasts and eldritch Gods.
The player alternately takes over the roles of various individuals in interwoven tales, which typically come to a terrible and gory conclusion. The worst part is a sanity meter that depletes each time the player witnesses an anomaly that defies explanation. In extreme cases, in addition to the horrific atrocities of the game itself, the player character also suffers from terrifying hallucinations.