When Nintendo entered the world of home video game consoles with the NES, it was at a time when retailers wanted nothing to do with the gaming industry as they had gotten burned by the big "crash" of 1983. In order to Trojan Horse their way into households, Nintendo marketed the NES as a toy rather than a video game machine.
As such, the Nintendo brand became synonymous with kid- and family-friendly electronic entertainment, and companies who wanted to compete with Nintendo would deliberately attack that image. Nintendo detractors will often use derogatory terms like "kiddie" to describe the company and its games, a branding that has followed the gaming giant for decades.
Given the uproar over Mario appearing shirtless in the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey, it's safe to say that Nintendo still has a reputation for adhering to extremely G-rated entertainment. The ironic thing is that there has been a lot of very mature, very adult content to appear on Nintendo consoles-- often even produced by Nintendo themselves-- going back almost to the beginning of their time as a game maker. Sometimes they've even pushed the limits further than their competitors.
Here are 20 Nintendo Games That Are Shockingly "Adult."
20 Perfect Dark
Beginning with games like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom in the early-90s, first-person shooters have long been some of the more mature gaming experiences available, pushing the limits of blood and violence. Interestingly, the Nintendo 64 established itself as one of the first consoles that had a strong FPS presence, not only with exclusives like Goldeneye and Turok, but with respectable ports of PC classics like Quake, Doom, and Duke Nukem. The N64 was home to a whole lot of deathmatches and headshots for a console seen by many as being "for kids."
But where Nintendo really stepped out of its comfort zone is with Perfect Dark, spiritual successor to Goldeneye and one of the last high-profile games for the system. It's not an especially violent game by FPS standards, but it was the first M-rated game Nintendo themselves ever published, which was certainly a big deal.
Nintendo was also clearly trying to market the game's protagonist, secret agent Joanna Dark, as something of a Lara Croft-esque sex symbol, with promotional material that would often show her posing provocatively in skintight outfits.
19 Super Smash Bros. series
In Nintendo's incredibly popular Super Smash Bros. franchise, characters from a myriad of Nintendo properties get together and duke it out. Among those characters is Samus Aran from the Metroid series, who initially appeared in the Smash Bros. games in her traditional space armor form but was eventually split up between that and a "Zero Suit" version. Making its debut in Metroid: Zero Mission, the Zero Suit is essentially blue body paint as it doesn't hide any inch of her curves.
Considering that the Zero Suit in its original context was just a small part of one single game, it seems obvious that Nintendo only included it as a completely separate Smash character so that there could be a female fighter with a voluptuous body on the roster. In addition, Zero Suit Samus' breasts and butt have gotten noticeably bigger/rounder with each installment of the series.
She's far more modestly dressed-- and has a smaller cup size-- than the average female fighting game character-- especially fellow Smash fighter Bayonetta-- but Zero Suit Samus is definitely one of the most obvious examples of a Nintendo character being designed specifically with the male gaze in mind.
18 Mortal Kombat series
The original Mortal Kombat was one of the most controversial games of all time when it was released in 1992. It was actually one of the games that led to a rating system for video games. The extremely violent, extremely bloody arcade game was as successful as it was notorious, and so home versions were a foregone conclusion.
But how could such a gory game come to a "wholesome" console like the Super NES? With all of the blood and fatalities removed, of course. As a result, the Sega Genesis version-- which kept all the violent content intact with the use of a cheat code-- vastly outsold the SNES version.
Nintendo might have been a bit conservative in those days, but it also loved making money, and quickly realized that releasing another sanitized MK game wasn't an option. And so, when Mortal Kombat II came to their 16-bit system, Nintendo allowed it to be completely uncensored, like all of the other versions.
Nintendo must have been satisfied with the resulting profits, as a number of MK games came to subsequent Nintendo consoles over the years, even as the series got progressively bloodier and more sexually-charged.
17 Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Metal Gear Solid, released for the PlayStation in 1998, was a landmark video game for a number of reasons. Not only did it set a new standard for acting, directing, and storytelling in video games, but it told a much more mature story than most video games up to that point. It was full of gruesome deaths, innuendo-laden dialogue, and a lot of gratuitous female flesh. In other words, a rather unlikely candidate for a game that Nintendo would commission an exclusive remake of.
Yet, six years later, The Twin Snakes came exclusively to the GameCube, a remake with the improved visual fidelity that a new console generation brings. The violence was cranked up-- one particularly brutal hallway massacre that was only heard in the original was fully shown on screen this time-- the adult dialogue remained, and the sexual aspects seemed even more "mature" given the vastly improved graphics.
Things that seemed a bit more innocent with the PlayStation's limited graphics, like catching Meryl in her underwear in the bathroom, Sniper Wolf's inability to properly zip up her jumpsuit, and the random posters of models in their underwear hanging up everywhere, suddenly felt much more NSFW in Twin Snakes.
16 The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Of all the ways that Nintendo used to be overly zealous with their editing, avoiding references to religion was something that the American branch of the company took very seriously. In fact, Nintendo of America used to be so worried about upsetting Christians that they infamously changed the name of a spell from "Holy" to "White" in early Final Fantasy games.
Fast forward a few decades, and one of the most religiously-charged games ever released found a home on multiple Nintendo platforms. The Binding of Isaac is an indie game that is based on the biblical tale of the same name, and a particularly dark one at that-- the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac.
In the video game version, Isaac is a young boy who is about to be murdered by his mother with a knife, as supposedly commanded by God, and he flees into a nightmarish world full of horrifying creatures that he must engage in extremely bloody battles with.
That Isaac sequel Rebirth came to multiple Nintendo consoles shows just far the company has come since the days of tiptoeing around religious content.
15 Xenoblade Chronicles X
When Nintendo stepped in to publish the JRPG Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii, it scored the company major points with the hardcore gaming crowd who had begun to feel Nintendo had forsaken them for all the kids and grandmas who had helped to make the Wii a monster success. Even better, that same crowd make good by buying the game in large enough numbers that Nintendo brought its follow-up to the Wii U.
Unfortunately, Xenoblade Chronicles X ended up souring those fans on Nintendo all over again when word got out about the localization changes that would be occurring when it came to the West. The age of one of the female characters was upped from 13 to 15, the ability to adjust the size of custom characters' breasts was cut, and some of the game's skimpier outfits were removed (partly so they couldn't be put on said 15 year old girl).
Even with what was taken out of the U.S. version of the game, it still doesn't change the fact it existed in a Nintendo game in the first place. Plus, the outfits that remained in the Western release would still make Luigi blush.
14 Duke Nukem: Zero Hour
Even though a port of Duke Nukem 3D came to the Nintendo 64, much of its "Duke-ness" was removed-- gone was the profanity, the half-naked women, and just about every sex and drug reference. While disappointing, it seemed like a given that such edits would have to be made to a Duke game coming to a Nintendo platform.
However, Mr. Nukem still had one more N64 outing left in him, and this time, it wouldn't be a PG adventure. N64-exclusive Duke Nukem: Zero Hour came packed with much of the lewd content that fans of the franchise had come to love-- levels that take place in strip clubs, scantily-clad women gyrating around/on every corner, and even some drug-related humor. And it wasn't just low-poly count flesh either-- perhaps most surprising were the posters scattered about of digitized photos of real women in g-strings.
Going from having to replace strip clubs with fast food restaurants in Duke Nukem 64 to having a level take place in "The Booby Trap" in Zero Hour shows how much Nintendo loosened up in just a few years.
13 We Dare
While the Wii is home to some excellent games, it was sometimes tough to find the gems among the glut of budget "party games" that flooded the system. While most of these minigame collections were aimed at families, publisher Ubisoft decided that the Wii could also be an accessory for "grown up" parties. Out of that bright idea was born We Dare, a party game that was designed to turn social gatherings into orgies with a Wii remote at the center of them. Well, kind of.
The interesting thing about We Dare is that the game itself is actually fairly tame, and is rarely more suggestive than a primetime network TV show. However, it was the game's infamous trailer that tried to turn a poorly-made party game about eating apples and flying through rings into a vehicle for girls to get spanked-- and of course, spank each other-- and treat a Wii remote like a phallus.
Not surprisingly, the trailer ended up being way more provocative than anything in the game. Still, at least Nintendo was open to the possibility of the Wii being marketed as a toy for adventurous couples, failed execution of the concept notwithstanding.
12 Resident Evil series
In an effort to prove that their GameCube could be just as mature as the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, Nintendo commissioned not one, not two, but three exclusive Resident Evil titles for their cute little purple console.
One of them was a remake of the original RE, with enhanced graphics that meant that the bloody zombie action was more brutal-looking than ever. Another was Resident Evil Zero, a canceled N64 game that was a prequel to the original. And the third, the star of the trio, was Resident Evil 4, the long-awaited numbered sequel to the series that ended up not only becoming one of the most acclaimed games of all time, but was exceedingly violent-- a particularly nasty decapitation via chainsaw was so graphic that it was edited out of the Japanese version.
While none of these games remained GameCube-exclusive, it doesn't change the fact that Nintendo invested some serious cash in the mid-00s to prove that it could provide grisly zombie action as well as any other company. And just for good measure, the GameCube was also home to straight ports of three other previous RE games-- RE2, RE3: Nemesis, and Code Veronica.
11 Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers
It's all right there in the title: Bikini Zombie Slayers. In the Wii installment of the bafflingly long-running OneChanbara series, you take control of either a girl in a teeny bikini or a girl in a schoolgirl outfit as you hack through hordes of undead creatures, getting ratings like "Sensual!" for your efforts. Oh, and you also earn cutscenes that are as gleefully gratuitous as you might expect, full of shower scenes and teasing close-ups of navel rings and lower back tattoos.
Full disclosure: Bikini Zombie Slayers is actually tame compared to subsequent entries, especially the recent PlayStation 4 game where you can literally dress the girls in nothing but strategically placed splotches of paint. But just because the OneChanbara games have inched ever-closer to the full-on pornography that they seemed destined to become one day doesn't change the fact that there's a game on a Nintendo system all about mostly-naked women armed with swords hacking zombies to bits-- especially since it's one of only three games in the 11-games-and-counting series to be brought to North America.
10 Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
The Grand Theft Auto series, especially beginning with part III, has been one of the primary lightning rods for video game controversy in the modern era. While much of what the series is accused of by the mainstream media is inaccurate-- no, you don't get "bonus points" for killing cops and prostitutes-- there is no denying that the series has served as something of a trendsetter for how much video games are able to get away with.
While GTA has largely passed Nintendo platforms by, creator Rockstar surprised the gaming world when it announced it would bring an all-new GTA game to the Nintendo DS called Chinatown Wars. And other than the obvious graphical downgrade, Rockstar didn't tone down any of the content for Chinatown Wars. It was still full of brutal violence, sexual content, profane language (including f-bombs), and plenty of illicit criminal activity.
Most noteworthy was the drug dealing system created especially for the game that was not only surprisingly complex, but didn't bother coming up with fake drug types like so many other games-- including GTA itself-- often do. Real-world drugs like weed, ecstasy, cocaine, and even heroine were represented by their actual names.
9 No More Heroes series
Grasshopper Manufacture-- led by CEO and creative head "Suda51"-- is one of the last mainstream avant garde game developers still around and making big-budget games. In addition to being mechanically quirky and visually interesting, Suda51 games all tend to push the boundaries of violence and sexual content. While no stranger to Nintendo platforms, as the sex- and violence- filled Killer 7 came to the GameCube, Suda went all-in on Nintendo when he brought No More Heroes to the Wii.
Across two Wii games-- with a third recently announced for Switch-- No More Heroes stars the hilariously-named Travis Touchdown as he spends equal amounts of time slicing bad guys in half with his glorified lightsaber and ogling the cleavage and short-shorts of the many under-dressed vixens that inhabit his world.
When Travis isn't killing, flirting, and swearing, he needs to power his bladed weapon back up-- which players have to do by gripping the Wii remote and shaking it up and down in a deliberately obscene motion.
8 The House of the Dead: Overkill
Even though it is one of the most popular light game franchises of all time, Sega's The House of the Dead series had began to feel a little long in the zombified tooth going into this millennium. So the company decided to reinvent their classic undead shooting gallery series as a fun 1970s grindhouse-inspired romp for the Wii-- which, for a few glorious years, was the #1 platform for light gun games.
The House of the Dead: Overkill spiced up its well-refined zombie blasting action with stylish film grain and over the top-- and intentionally stereotypical-- characters who dropped f-bombs as often as they dropped zombies. And of course, like any good grindhouse ride, there were trips to strip clubs for no reason and a large-breasted femme fatale with a name that is a double-entendre - Varla Guns.
7 Manhunt 2
While Rockstar may have given Nintendo fans a gift in the form of Chinatown Wars, the company has largely ignored Nintendo consoles for much of its existence (at least since it has become Rockstar). How odd, then, that one of Rockstar's most violent and controversial games is among the select few games it brought to a Nintendo platform.
Manhunt 2 is the sequel to the snuff film simulator that was so unflinchingly dark and violent that it made Grand Theft Auto look like a Saturday morning cartoon by comparison. The follow-up was initially slated to get the rare AO (Adults Only) rating, which is akin to a movie getting an X rating.
While the necessary cuts were made to lessen the rating to Mature, Manhunt 2 still remains one of the most squirm-inducing games ever made, with murder scenes so brutal that you'll feel like you need a shower after you're done playing.
6 Bayonetta 2
Few characters in video game history have been as unabashed a celebration of in-your-face sexuality as Bayonetta, who stars in the video game series of the same name. The curvy witch sucks on lollipops, arches her back, swishes her hips, and does stripper moves as she mows down waves of demonic bad guys.
When the camera in a Bayonetta game isn't pulled way out to fit one of the building-sized bosses on the screen, it's probably zoomed in on/is panning across Bayo's boobs, butt, and/or crotch. Also, her costume is made out of her hair, which doubles as a weapon-- and when she transforms her hair into a giant boot or some other such object, oops, there's none left to cover her body!
When original publisher Sega hit some financial troubles and was unable to fund a Bayonetta sequel, Nintendo - of all companies - stepped up and brought the game exclusively to the Wii U, keeping things completely intact. Even more surprising is that Nintendo let her dress up in outfits based on Nintendo characters, including a Princess Peach dress that stops way short of adequately covering her derriere and pink thong.
Developer Platinum Games clearly saw the movie Sin City, and they were inspired to create a game with a similar visual style-- mostly black and white, save for strategic splashes of color for dramatic effect. In the case of Wii-exclusive MadWorld, that mostly just means bright red sprays of blood.
The art style also likely allowed MadWorld to get away with far more violence than a more realistic game could've pulled off, with decapitations, impalement, and all other manner of extremely violent, brutal death happening every few seconds.
Beyond the violence that would even make Quentin Tarantino flinch are two color commentators-- one of whom is comedian Greg Proops-- that say some of the filthiest things ever said in a video game. The "jokes" reference everything from rape to one commenting how the other's breath smells like a certain male bodily fluid. And yes, he outright says the obvious slang term in referring to said fluid.
To top things off for this seemingly un-Nintendo title are a pimp character in what borders on blackface, and a menagerie of other offensive and/or half-naked characters.
4 Fire Emblem series
Nintendo's own Fire Emblem series started out as a Japan-only RPG series until some of its characters starting showing up in the Smash Bros. games. Western gamers got curious, and Nintendo decided to not only start bringing new Fire Emblem games over but also remaking and translating some of the old ones.
Among the things that we got once we started getting Fire Emblem games in English is the franchise's gallery of proudly curvaceous ladies. Not only are many of these women completely under-dressed for dangerous combat, but they're often shown "off-duty," which usually means bikinis (or less).
One of the most popular of the FE vixens, Camilla, not only frequently has her impressive assets on display and struts around in ways that make them jiggle, but says naughty things, like that her allies they can rest their heads "in her lap" if they're feeling weary.
In addition to all the T&A and suggestive dialogue, FE also displays its affection for the bodies of its characters via the recent mobile game Heroes, which shows the women-- and the men, to be fair-- conveniently having their clothing rip in visually pleasing ways as they take damage in battle.
3 Senran Kagura series
As the story goes, the producer of the Senran Kagura series specifically wanted to utilize the 3D functionality of Nintendo's 3DS by making a game full of girls with ample bosoms that would constantly be bouncing off the screen at players.
As a result, we have a series of games where absurdly proportioned young women-- who are barely wearing anything to begin with-- engage in battles that involve their clothing ripping apart, and also having to shove a scroll between their breasts in order to transform into their more powerful form.
The Senran Kagura series also has all the trappings of games of its ilk, including DLC packs of even skimpier outfits, a mode that lets players just freely zoom in and out on the girls' bodies, and of course, a lot of suggestive interplay between multiple girls at once.
And yes, there are ways to "interact" with the girls via the stylus that we won't get into here. It's ironic that the core installments of these games are on a mobile platform, since most people probably wouldn't want to play something like this on a bus or in an airport.
2 BMX XXX
In an effort to stand apart from the Tony Hawk juggernaut, developer Acclaim decided to take its Dave Mira Freestyle BMX series and transform it into a game that was half-extreme sports game, and half-wild sex comedy.
The result, BMX XXX, was a game proudly marketed as not only having juvenile humor but literal naked women. While having exposed breasts in video games these days isn't nearly as big of a deal as it once was, in 2002, very few games showed fully naked boobs-- and certainly not mainstream console games. Not only did BMX XXX promise topless video game women, but also real-life topless women, with video footage of actual strippers.
Most of the press that BMX XXX got for its content ended up being negative, and the adult content did little to attract people to the game. In fact, Sony wouldn't allow the unedited version on the PlayStation 2, and demanded the breasts be covered (that's the version we used in this list for obvious reasons).
Kudos to Nintendo, because they were willing to let both polygonal and real breasts to be shown in a GameCube game, long before that became commonplace for console games.
1 Conker's Bad Fur Day
Former Nintendo golden boys Rare had already made three cutesy 3D platformers for the Nintendo 64, and hype for their fourth wasn't exactly at a fever pitch. Rather than just scrap the long-delayed game, Rare decided to retool it as a platform game starring a foul-mouthed squirrel who drank, smoked, murdered, and had a fondness for well-endowed women.
A lot of people thought Conker's Bad Fur Day was a joke when it was first revealed in game magazines, but sure enough, in 2001, one of the most violent, profane, and sexually-charged video games ever made-- Nintendo or otherwise-- was released for the N64.
Not only did BFD's feature casual swearing, but it showed Conker getting drunk, peeing on bad guys, cutting heads off with chainsaws, getting into a boss battle with a literal singing pile of poop, and using what might be the biggest pair of breasts in video game history as an actual platform.
BFD didn't just push boundaries for Nintendo, it pushed content boundaries for console gaming, period. While Nintendo eventually lost Conker to Microsoft, his first time drinking, cussing, fighting, and breast-bouncing all happened on a Nintendo platform-- and nothing can ever change that.
Did you play any of these Nintendo games as a kid? Or should they be strictly for adults? Sound off in the comments!