8) Nintendo DS (2004)
Can we make this pick solely for the Nintendo DS Lite and the DSi? The original model was terribly designed, but Nintendo thankfully bounced back with better builds and the DS lived up to its billing as the spiritual successor to the Game Boy.
The dual-display approach (with a touchscreen on the bottom) helped enable new kinds of experiences, and Nintendo wisely shepherded a wide array of games onto the DS to appeal to adults and non-traditional players in a way we'd never seen before. Oh, and it gave us classics such as Professor Layton, The World Ends With You, and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.
7) GameCube (2001)
We're sure to get some hate mail over the GameCube's relatively low placement, as the system has its die-hard defenders – including a couple on staff here. However, the GameCube got creamed by the PlayStation 2 and was in many ways an awkward, underwhelming console.
And yet it had some really amazing games. Check out this roster: Metroid Prime, Resident Evil 4, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Mario Kart: Double Dash, and so many more. We might forget about the GameCube itself sometimes, but those games remain eternal.
6) Game Boy Advance (2001)
Nintendo's other 2001 hardware release takes the higher spot here, as the great Game Boy Advance essentially put a Super Nintendo-quality device in your pocket – and developers packed it with stellar, stellar stuff. Granted, the original hardware wasn't wonderful (that dim screen!), but the SP revision fixed most woes.
From Metroid Prime and WarioWare! to Advance Wars and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and plenty in between, not to mention killer ports of many of Nintendo's best 8-bit and 16-bit games console games, it has perhaps the best lineup of any handheld ever released.