Nintendo has been at the forefront of the video game industry for as long as anyone can remember. After the disastrous crash of '83, when the console and video game market looked like it was a come-and-gone fad, the Nintendo Entertainment System rose out of the ashes to usher in a new era of gaming.
Nintendo's console gave us the greatest video game characters of all time; Link, Mario, Kirby, Donkey Kong (in his modern version), and Megaman all started off on the NES and have remained with the company in the years since. The video game conglomerate has released seven generations worth of game consoles and handhelds since the late '80s and remains one of the "big three" today.
In recent years, however, Nintendo has shown somewhat of a slump; the Wii U was a failure of a system and the Switch still has much to prove in its early years. This has led to some ridicule for the company, often in the form of the internet memes made by frustrated gamers.
However, the sheer number of people who have played a Nintendo game paired the company's influence on popular culture means that there have been funny memes made for literally everything they've had their hands on, as well.
Here are 16 Hilarious Nintendo Memes That Only True Gamers Will Understand!
16 One of the Few Things Keeping Nintendo Alive
Though the Wii was the best selling console during its run, it was often looked down upon by gamers because of its lack of third-party titles and gimmicky motion controls. "Real" gamers claimed that the system marked Nintendo's turn away from appealing to the hardcore crowd towards a more family-dominated demographic.
When the Wii U came out it as more of the same; it was far and away the worst system of last generation, and the company's sales suffered greatly because of it. However, there has been one thing that has kept Nintendo alive in the hearts of gamers these last two generations - Nintendo's own franchises.
Mario, Zelda, Mario Kart, and Smash Bros. are arguably responsible for keeping Nintendo afloat in the home console market. The Switch appears to be turning this around, but for a while "We have Smash Bros." was the only thing the Wii U could claim made it better than the competitors.
15 Pokemon Logic
When two little games called Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue came out in 1996, Nintendo had no idea that they were launching one of their biggest franchises.
Since the first games, a Pokémon title has been released on every single Nintendo handheld, an insanely popular anime has run for over a decade, and the IP has been recognized as a pop culture phenomenon as well as one of the most profitable franchises around today.
Of course, Pokémon isn't perfect. There are some things in the game that just don't make sense... Isn't it a little bit inhumane to force living creatures to live inside tiny balls? Why are there a million identical Nurse Joys and Officer Jennys? Why do people randomly want to battle you just by making eye contact?
This meme points out one of the real head-scratchers of Pokémon. When in the heat of battle, you can use your turn to restore your Pokémon's HP with healing items. A bottle of water is worth 50 HP, while a medicinal spray is only worth 20 HP. Next time you're sick, we guess you can just drink some Aquafina and be fine!
14 Mario: The Truth Revealed
What can possibly said about Super Mario that hasn't already been said already? Nintendo's beloved plumber has essentially become the mascot for the entire video game industry, with a series of titles that are both accessible and fun to people of all age groups. Seriously, minus a few missteps in the early days (remember Mario is Missing?), there hasn't been a truly bad Mario game. Nintendo can always count on Mario!
One of the defining features of the Mario games are their unique and distinct power ups, including an array of different magical mushrooms that can make the heroes grow, give them an extra life, or turn them into a cat/bumblebee/ghost.
Now, we all know that "magic mushrooms" mean something completely different in real life. This meme asks the question "What if the Mario games were all just a mushroom-induced hallucination?"
It actually makes a lot of sense; a fat Italian plumber takes a psychedelic substance and he's suddenly transferred into a world of evil turtles and teleporting sewer pipes and hills with faces. That's it, this is head-canon now!
13 What Does it Take to Please You People!?
One of the biggest issues that modern-day gamers face is the issue of over-saturation. In the early days of the console wars, you could expect a new title in a series every few years; each of these titles would build upon what worked with the last game as well as introduce a new style and gameplay mechanics to the franchise. For example, no Legend of Zelda game plays exactly like the last.
In recent years companies have begun to recycle gameplay mechanics and graphics in order to release a new title every single year (looking at you, Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty).
Somehow, Nintendo has gotten lumped in with these other AAA titles in these gamers' criticisms. Smash Bros., New Super Mario Bros., and the most recent Donkey Kong games have all been criticized for just recycling the same style and basic mechanics of the previous game. However, what they fail to mention is all the new mechanics that get introduced into these titles.
Sure, New Super Mario Bros. is reminiscent of Super Mario World, but we don't remember there being four-player co-op or ice flowers or spin jumps or giant mushrooms in that one...
12 Nice Try, Nintendo...
It's become a stereotype (an extremely outdated one, we might add) that all gamers are just overweight losers who sit in their parent's basement all day and never spend a lick of time outside.
In reality, the gaming demographic is made up from everything from ten year olds to college frat boys to middle-aged women and everything in between! However, the stereotype still persists, leading companies to do their best to "get people off the couch" during their gaming experience.
Nintendo has been at the forefront of this effort; the Wii's big draw was its motion controls and many of their games have come with gimmicky accessories that tried to intertwine the real world with the virtual.
This meme shows off some of these efforts which have sometimes failed and sometimes been mega hits. Pokémon GO! was a huge fad when it was released in 2016. The Pokewalker was an accessory that went with Pokémon Heartgold and Soulsilver that allowed players to gain experience in the game for the steps they took in real life.
Nice try, Nintendo, nice try...
11 WTF Megaman?!
What does Capcom have against the Blue Bomber? Mega Man is considered to be one of the defining characters in the world of video games, yet he hasn't had a new game since 2010. There have been several announced projects that the company has since cancelled, leaving Mega Man to fade out of pop culture almost entirely. There are first graders who haven't been alive to see a new Mega Man game released!
Anyone who's every played one of these games knows exactly what this meme is talking about. Instant-death spikes are all around the stages of the different robot masters, usually below those blocks that disappear and reappear in a particular pattern.
But wait, Mega Man is a robot made of the highest grade metal. He consistently gets bombarded with missiles and debris from explosions and blows from razor-sharp blades. Yet touching the edge of his foot on a spike instantly turns him into a flurry of techno-sounding bubbles!?
10 The Woes of Being in First Place
Mario Kart is a game that completely ruins friendships. No matter how close you think you are, having your bestie whip by you at the last moment to take first place on Donut Plains turns people into enemies for life. Even worse is when one of your friends decides to use one of their items to knock you down three or four places in the race.
Mario Kart is amazing, but it'll make even the most laid back person rage out of their skin.
You know what's absolutely the worst? When you're way ahead of the pack, about to win the race, and then you hear that sound. Somebody just threw a blue shell at you - the item that automatically seeks out the person in first place and knocks them off course. Often times, the blue shell will make it so you don't even place!
This meme depicts the infamous item as Liam Neeson's character in Taken. Just like Bryan Mills, the shell will find you. And it will kill you.
9 Kirby PSA
Though it hasn't come out yet, fans are... intrigued, to say the least, about Super Mario Odyssey's new game mechanic. In this game, Mario can apparently throw his hat (which is somehow alive now) and possess different creatures within his world. When he does this, the player can take control of whatever is possessed and the possessee is given Mario's hat and signature mustache. We don't know how this is going to work out, but it looks insane!
This meme takes the form of a PSA about different Mario-Kirby fusions. Kirby is known for his ability to eat creatures and take on their powers. With the revelation of Mario's new power in Odyssey, it is important for gamers to know the difference between a Kirby that has eaten Mario and a Kirby that has been possessed by the famous plumber.
While not as funny as some of the other entries on this list, this adorable PSA could save many lives in the Mushroom Kingdom and Dreamland!
8 Ganondorf Hates the Internet
Even though Mario is Nintendo's mascot, The Legend of Zelda games are considered to be the company's magnum opus. Whenever an official ranking of "greatest video games of all time" is released, there are Zelda titles littered throughout. In face, Breath of the Wild took the record for "highest rated video game" away from another entry in the series, Ocarina of Time! Link has become just as much of a pop culture phenomenon as Nintendo's iconic plumber.
The main antagonist of these games is normally Ganon, a giant pig-like creature in the original games, or Ganondorf, a pre-beast version of the character whose form has been more frequent to the series since Ocarina of Time.
This meme is a simple play on words, but it's a clever one: Ganondorf refuses to browse the internet because there are too many links. And we all know how much the villain hates Links...
7 Shrink That Down for Me
The health mechanic of the Super Mario games has always been pretty straightforward. In the main series (minus Super Mario Bros. 2), any hit on the plumber is an instant kill unless he has a power up.
Mario and Luigi start off small and grow through the mushrooms and fire flowers that they encounter along their adventures. Some of the spin-offs utilize a health bar, but the one-hit, mushroom-based health system has been present in some for or another in each game.
Whenever Mario or Luigi is hit while they are in "large" form, they get shrunken down to their original human size. The meme above is a great play on the old euphemism "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Only, in this case, literally what doesn't kill Mario makes him "smaller."
It may be a eye-rolling dad joke, but you have to admit that you smirked a little when you saw it!
6 Patrick Loves Amiibos
All logic points to Amiibos failing. Disney Infinity was a total flop, and the Nintendo figures aren't as integral to their games as their Skylanders counterparts. Amiibos are just little figurines with a chip in them that unlock bonus features in different games. Yet, fans love these things. Perhaps it's simply because they are so well made, or maybe it's just because they have so much potential for future releases.
This meme skewers the ridiculousness of Nintendo fans in their quest for Amiibos. The meme is based on an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants in which the Krusty Krab experiments with staying open 24 hours, where Squidward sarcastically asks "Who wants a Krabby Patty at three in the morning?" to which the scene cuts to Patrick's alarm going off and him exclaiming "Oh boy, 3a.m.!" and munching on a burger.
Switch out Squidward for Walmart and Patrick for Nintendo fans, and you have a hilarious meme!
5 Everybody Warp Zone!
By now, every inch of the original Super Mario Bros. game has been explored. Every nook, every piece of code, every single secret hidden within the game has been unearthed by Nintendo fans and gamers who wanted to know more about the greatest game ever made. However, discovering the secret warp zone in the underworld of 1-2 blew our young minds the first time we played it.
Nowadays, this "secret" is common knowledge. You break the bricks at the top of the stage, hop up on top, and run you way across the level safely until you end up walking over the final warp pipe. Suddenly you're greeted with a message saying "Welcome to Warp Zone!" that allows you to bypass the rest of World 1 and go to World 2, 3, or 4.
This means that both veterans and newcomers to the game have never experienced World 1-3 or World 1-4 unless they intentionally went out of their way to avoid the secret area.
4 The Nintendo Switch in a Nutshell
Even Nintendo themselves wants people to forget about the Wii U. It sold terribly, mostly because it felt like a generation behind in terms of graphics and AAA games, as well as suffered from terrible marketing. Seriously, the marketing for this system made it sound like it was simply an add-on for the Wii. So, when Nintendo finally announced that they were working on a new system, gamers were skeptical.
When they finally revealed their new project, the Nintendo Switch, fans were intrigued, but not necessarily optimistic. At first glance the Switch just looked like a more sleek version of the Wii U's controller, complete with a touchscreen and detachable controller parts.
This meme pokes fun at the concept, claiming that the execs at the company got the idea for the new system by detaching the sections that had the D-Pad and buttons from the previous console's controller.
The Switch is selling well now, but this meme is a relic of a time when gamers were afraid that Nintendo had completely lost its touch with consumers.
3 Anyone Who's Played Castlevania Can Relate
When Nintendo's characters finally made their transition from 2D into the 3D world, there were definitely some mixed results. Games like Donkey Kong 64 and Ocarina of Time are considered classics. Franchises like Castlevania, on the other hand, didn't fare so well.
Every Castlevania title that has come out since the days of the N64 has been... lackluster to say the least. However, the original 2D games are some of the greatest games every created.
One thing that we can always count on in this series is for its games to be ridiculously hard. Many gamers have probably smashed their controllers out of frustration while playing Castlevania, thanks in part to the numerous bottomless pits and the mechanic that makes the player bounce backwards when they get hit.
The biggest source of anger comes from the flying Medusa heads that cross the screen in an unpredictable pattern, making the platforming sections of the game next to impossible. This meme sums it up by showing Alucard warning Simon about the heads that will be everywhere on his quest.
2 Water Temples Are the Worst
Ah, the Water Temple...you gotta love it. Featured in the legendary game The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, the Water Temple is (as its name suggests) a temple built by King Zora under the water to pay homage to the water spirits of his kingdom. Ganondorf sends his crony Morpha to take over the temple and prevent the Sage of Water from reawakening. Eventually Link must enter the underwater temple to face the creature.
The issue with the Water Temple is, it's hard. Like really, really hard. To complete the level, players must journey through the labyrinth like halls of the building and solve puzzles involving increasing and decreasing the water levels in the building. Did we also mention that it takes forever to complete?
Even the most seasoned gamers struggle with this one without a tutorial or walkthrough to guide them. This meme expresses the frustration felt by Zelda fans all throughout the world.
1 Emulator Machine
In terms of pure units sold, the Wii defeated the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 pretty soundly in the console wars. However, ask just about any gamer which of the three consoles was their favorite and chances are it will be one of the other two.
The Wii suffered from a lack of AAA titles (minus Nintendo's own IPs) as well from graphics that were almost equivalent to the Gamecube. Let's play a game here: How many "great" games can you name for the Wii that don't involve established Nintendo characters? No More Heroes? Wii Sports? Xenoblade Chronicles? That's about it.
Probably the most universally applauded aspect of the Wii by gamers was its Virtual Console as well as its ability to be easily modified to run emulator software. Especially near the end of its life cycle, people were purchasing the Wii mostly to play old NES and SNES games or to try and install N64 software onto it to recapture the games of their youth.
This meme is just saying what most gamers thought; save for a handful of titles, the Wii was mostly just a $200 emulator machine.
What is your favorite Nintendo meme? Let us know in the comments!