I have so much to say in response to your tier list that I can't even begin!
I didn't think this ranking would be controversial! Aren't Mario, Zelda, and Metroid typically considered to be the Big Three!?
To be honest, I don't even have a specific definition of what I mean by tiers here, but it's probably something like "70% quality, 30% breadth of appeal." Pokemon sells better than almost anything, but the games tend to stagnate, whereas Metroid sells barely any copies, but most of the games are so good that they go on to become cult classics! (I wouldn't be surprised if Metroid Prime 4 blows away everyone's sales numbers expectations though, kids have been hearing about how good the original trilogy was for ten years now, people are craving a new one! If it's half as good as Breath of the Wild...)
I do feel bad putting Paper Mario and Luigi's Mansion on the B tier list, as awesome as those games were 15-20 years ago, but to me they're kinda just novelties at this point. Though I still think of Star Fox and F-Zero as A tier for some reason, even though they're still skating by on their success from the 90s'... they're so iconic in Smash though, they were part of the original cast!
Hmm, okay, lemme rework this a bit:
S Tier (Masterpieces) Mario Zelda Metroid
A Tier (Classics) Smash Mario Kart Pokemon Splatoon
B Tier (Darn Good Games) F-Zero Star Fox Animal Crossing Pikmin Donkey Kong Fire Emblem Luigi's Mansion Paper Mario WarioWare Rhythm Heaven
C Tier (Inoffensively Charming Fun) Mario Tennis Mario Sports Kirby Yoshi
D Tier (Abominations) Pretty much any platformer on 3DS that betrayed the quality of its original series (Chibi Robo, Hey Pikmin, Yoshi's New Island...) Mario vs. Donkey Kong at this point Mario & Luigi at this point Smartphone games with skinner boxes
No hate towards Kirby or Yoshi, they're just way too easy! (They were great and original on SNES and N64! Yoshi's Story is so weird!)
I don't know about tier ranking, but for me personally, I'd probably rank the franchises as follows (based on the games in the respective franchises that I've actually played):
Zelda (played 21 games) Donkey Kong (played 8 games) Smash Bros (played 5 games) Mario (played 17 games) Metroid (played 10 games) Luigi's Mansion (played 2 games) Pokemon (played 7 games) Mario Party (played 4? games) Mario Kart (played 5 games) Paper Mario (played 3 games) Pikmin (played 2 games) Mario & Luigi RPG (played 2 games) Star Fox (played 2 games) Animal Crossing (played 1 game) Kirby (played 3 games) WarioWare (played 1 game) Yoshi (played 4 games) Fire Emblem (played 1 game)
So there's a lot of franchises where I'm only played a small fraction of their total number of games (and a handful I haven't really played at all). The more games I've played in a franchise, the higher I tend to rank them. Of course that could simply be correlation since I tend to play more games from the franchises I most enjoy.
S Tier (Masterpieces) Mario Animal Crossing Pikmin Mario Kart Pokemon Luigi's Mansion Paper Mario Chibi Robo (only the first counts in my eyes) Picross DS Panel de Pon/Puzzle League Xenoblade
A Tier (Classics) Zelda (BotW alone would be S, but the franchise is dragged down by disappointments like OoT) Metroid (2D would go in S, but 3D and recent 2.5D drag it to A) Smash Brothers Splatoon Excite Series Advance Wars
B Tier (Darn Good Games) Star Fox Donkey Kong Fire Emblem Pilotwings Mario and Luigi RPGs
C Tier (Inoffensively Charming Fun) Nintendogs Mother Dillon's Rolling Western (S for theme, C for execution) Kid Icarus F-Zero WarioWare Rhythm Heaven Mario Tennis Mario Sports Kirby (Would wind up in D if not for Cursed Canvass and Dream Course, sorry Tbun) Yoshi (Yoshi's Island and Woolly World S Tier, the rest drag it to the trenches) Sin and Punishment Wii Sports Waverace
D Tier (Be Gone With Ye) Starfy
I went with personal taste rather than anything remotely CLOSE to objectivity. Cause that was the mood I was in. Fun game. Alright, going back to playing BotW now.
Alright, step aside gents. Time for a real list. And I'm actually gonna go in reverse order, because it's way more interesting. I'm going to avoid putting in series that I haven't really played or have only played a bit of, like Another Code or Balloon Fight.
F-TIER: SHOULDN'T THIS BE A LOT BETTER THAN IT IS? - Well, shouldn't it?
50. Mario & Sonic - Why are they still making these? They're not horrible but who's even buying them at this point?
E-TIER: GOOD BUT UNEVEN - Playing these is like eating a handful of Skittles--sometimes you get the nasty green apple one
49. 1080 Snowboarding - Was fine on N64 48. Brain Age/Big Brain Academy - Ranking them together. Okay in small bursts, but mostly it's just homework 47. Nintendogs - Sort of cool for a bit? 46. Golden Sun - Initially impressive but then got pretty boring. Dull, abundant dialogue. 45. Pilotwings - Decent but always felt tech demo-y 44. NES Remix - Good arcade-y action but not much content or replay 43. Luigi's Mansion - Yeah, yeah. I dunno, these games always felt kinda bland to me. They're pretty fun but the diorama view is limiting and the ghost-catching mechanics feel pretty luck-based.
D-TIER: WORTH A LOOK - Most of these are fun but not as memorable, or have bouts of unevenness
42. Donkey Konga - A couple of fun music games 41. StarTropics - Played through both several times. Let's get a new one already! 40. Mario Party - Good stuff with multiple people but always felt a little cheaply made. The new one is solid. 39. Dr. Mario - Fun, fast-paced puzzler but let's face it, it's barely changed since the NES. 38. Sin and Punishment - Didn't love the N64 original but the Wii one is good stuff 37. Mario Strikers - Could be on par with Golf and Tennis if they made more 36. Xenoblade - Really liked the first but stopped playing it for whatever reason. Not sure if I want to play more...? 35. Star Fox - The first series on this list to have a couple amazing games (SNES/64) amidst several questionable ones. 34. F-Zero - I really don't like the SNES game or GBA one. But X is solid and GX is great, so... 33. Pushmo - Not sure if I should have this here or not since I just played the first
C-TIER: REALLY GOOD - Some of these series have a stinker, but they're still cool overall
32. Yoshi - Yoshi's Island is SO good, so why does this dino get so many lousy sequels? Woolly World helps though 31. Panel de Pon/Puzzle League/Tetris Attack - Fun stuff 30. Wii Fit - I can really get into these. Would like a Switch sequel with less downtime 29. Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents - Just a handful of games but really fun and creative 28. Mario & Luigi - Games 1 and 3 really nailed it, but there've been diminishing returns since 27. Pokemon - I have so many mixed feelings about this franchise 26. Picross - Nintendo's best puzzler 25. (Mario vs) Donkey Kong - Like Paper Mario, can be inconsistent. DK (arc) and DK '94 are amazing, Vs is crummy 24. Mario Tennis - Really strong arcadey gameplay
B-TIER: GREAT - Lots of good memories with these series, even if they've all let me down at some point or another
23. Paper Mario - Such a gulf in quality here. The original and TTYD are top 10 RPGs, but... 22. WarioWare - Clever although a bit too many of these in the 2000s 21. Excite - 64, Truck and Bots are all lovely racers. An underrated racing series for Nintendo 20. Wario Land - A strong set of treasure-hunting platformers 19. Wii Sports - First game was a revolution and the second was still great 18. Fire Emblem - Too much of a good thing? 17. Mario Golf - Has grown on me over the decades to surpass its sister series 16. Animal Crossing - At its best, it's relaxing and charming and addictive 15. Rhythm Heaven - A great music series, and not even Nintendo's best one
A-TIER: AWESOME - These series are either really consistent or feature a super-great game somewhere
14. Splatoon - Very promising new series, wish the sequel was a bit more unique though 13. Mario Kart - Consistently fun, although not on Smash's level 12. Punch-Out!! - Awesome trilogy of games, would be higher if there were more of them 11. Advance Wars - Discovered this on the eShop, a real quality set of games here. Make more 10. Pikmin - Another series I love more as I get older. Pikmin 3 was a real gem for the Wii U 9. Kirby - Every game in this series is at least solid. Take note, Yoshi! Also a ton of experimental titles that work 8. Kid Icarus - I like the first two but Uprising has my favorite Nintendo cast ever. I want to see more of this world 7. Daigasso Band Bros. - Surprise showing of Nintendo's killer music series! Best DS game(s) ever <3
S-TIER: GAMING LEGENDS - Games that release in these series are pretty much always must-buys.
6. Donkey Kong Country - Friggin' good platforming by both Rare and Retro 5. Super Smash Bros. - Is there anything that has as much sustained speculation and hype as Smash? 4. Mother/EarthBound - A series as near and dear to my heart as one can get 3. Metroid - Contains my favorite game, plus the masterpiece known as Metroid Prime 2. Super Mario - Has several of the all-time best games in my favorite gaming genre, the platformer 1. The Legend of Zelda - Four games from this series are in my Top Ten! Zelda 1, Ocarina of Time, Breath of the Wild and The Wind Waker are really as good as it gets for adventure and exploration, and each one of them stands as the best game on their respective systems to me.
Good call. I added it into my list. Love Advance Wars, but sadly the fact they stopped making them always makes me forget about it as a series. :(
EDIT: Though interestingly BECAUSE they haven't released any lately I put it higher on my list than Fire Emblem, only because the last FE I played I kind of hated. High hopes for the Switch one, though.
I'm going to guess this is based on personal experiences and enjoyment, and not taking into account objective aspects such as popularity, sales figures, budget, etc. I haven't played every series, so I won't list the stuff I haven't yet played.
D-Tier: Not bad, but not for me 1080 Snowboarding Brain Age/Big Brain Academy F-Zero NES mostly one-off games (Wrecking Crew, Ice Climber, etc) NES Remix Punch-Out!! Wave Race
C-Tier: Maybe a redeeming quality or two, but overall not very interesting BOXBOY! Dillon's Rolling Western Dr. Mario Game & Watch games Kid Icarus Mario and Sonic Olympics Mario vs. Donkey Kong Paper Mario Picross
B-Tier: Some good games, but also some stinkers, or is a smaller / cheaper game Animal Crossing Fire Emblem Luigi's Mansion Mario & Luigi RPGs Mario sports Picross 3D Pokémon Pushmo Puzzle League / Tetris Attack Rhythm Heaven Star Fox StarTropics Super Smash Bros. Tetris WarioWare Wii series Xenoblade
A-Tier: Mostly good, but a few things stop it from greatness Advance Wars Battalion Wars Donkey Kong Country Excite series Kirby Mario Kart Mario Party Mole Mania Mother / Earthbound Pikmin Splatoon Wario Land Yoshi
S-Tier: The bestest The Legend of Zelda Metroid Super Mario platformers
I'm probably forgetting some smaller series or one-offs... oh well.