Based on their output, which company is your favorite developer for each Nintendo system, besides Nintendo themselves? Here are my picks:
NES: Capcom -- It's close given how much good stuff Konami gave us (Contra, Castlevania and Turtles plus all the side companies they pretended to be), but it's hard to top the Mega Man library and the Disney games.
SNES: Squaresoft - Lots of worthy competitors here, but I have to go with the JRPG king, Squaresoft. Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy II and Super Mario RPG are enough to win it, while Secrets of Mana and Evermore put them even further in the lead.
N64: Rareware - Could it be anyone else? Rare's N64 output was so good it almost outclasses Nintendo themselves. Banjo-Kazooie, Blast Corps, GoldenEye, Perfect Dark and Conker are just a few of their gems, and I also enjoyed Tooie, Jet Force Gemini, Donkey Kong 64 and Diddy Kong Racing.
GameCube: Capcom - Capcom takes its second win in a much closer race. While I didn't care for Mega Man's GCN outing, the combo of Resident Evil, Viewtiful Joe and Resident Evil 4 make this a hard company to top.
Wii: Marvelous/XSeed - Almost gave it to Atlus for their Trauma trilogy, but I think Marvelous/XSeed beats them out for Little King's Story, Rune Factory Frontier, and Fortune Street.
Wii U: ???
Switch: Square-Enix (so far) - Ol' Square is really coming through this gen for me. Octopath Traveler was one of the best RPGs I've ever played! Dragon Quest XI S is everything I want from a DQ game and their sudden support for Trials of Mana is great. Plus we got ports of a ton of long overdue games like the PSX FF trilogy.
This is long enough--I'll do handhelds later. What are your picks?
It's funny, back in the NES and SNES days (and maybe even N64) I didn't pay one lick of attention to developers. So I wouldn't begin to guess! Except for SNES I suppose I'd have to give it to Natsume because they made my all-time favorite game, the original Harvest Moon.
N64 is easily and obviously Rare, and I will duel anyone who brashly claims otherwise. Rare hands down.
On the Gamecube I have to go with Amusement Vision, with a close second for Skip LTD.
On the Wii, probably either have to go Konami for Elebits or Ubisoft for publishing No More Heroes 1 and 2. Who did Boom Blox? That was pretty fun as well.
Wii U goes to Monolith Soft for XBCX which was not as good as the other Xenoblades, but still extremely fun.
Switch so far I would give to give to Monolith Soft again, for the excellent XBC2.
But really, the answer is always "Nintendo." Nintendo is the MVP every single time. If Nintendo released a console without Nintendo games, I probably wouldn't buy it. That's why I don't own a Playstation or Xbox anymore.
NES: A super-tight race between Capcom and Konami. So many classics. Konami probably had more breadth... Ultimately, it comes down to Rad Spencer vs. the Belmonts. I gotta reo my boy, Rad! Capcom.
SNES: Square was pretty strong, but I am not an RPG guy, so I'll give this round to Konami, with Capcom in a strong second.
N64: If Rare qualifies, who else could win here?! Perfect Dark 4 Lyfe. Acclaim had a pretty strong showing, too. And Codemasters had Micro Machines 64!
Gamecube: Hmm, this one's a toughie, since the GCN actually had good third-party support... Namco had some crazy breadth, from Donkey Konga to Soul Calibur to Star Fox Assault to Tales of Symphonia, etc. Sega had Super Monkey Ball, the outstanding F-Zero GX, and a bunch of other stuff. Even Lucasarts put their best foot forward. But Capcom still takes the prize, with the Resident Evil games, the Viewtiful Joes, Mega Man Network Transmission...
Hey, it was good! Capcom was on fire that gen, with a ton of amazing stuff on every platform.
Wii: EA came out swinging with Boom Blox, and Sega had some interesting stuff, too. But Monster Hunter Tri, so Capcom.
Wii U: Slim pickings! Lots of decent one-offs. Tekken Tag, Sonic Racing Transformed... But Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, so Capcom.
Switch: Hmm... Third-party support on this platform has been mostly defined by indies, for me, and those devs don't exactly churn out games. Thinking of the traditional guys, NIS and Square have had good support, Bethesda has put forth a respectable effort, Mario and Rabbids is awesome, and Sega and Capcom have some decent stuff... But I'm gonna cheat a bit and give this one to Nicalis!
Let's do handheld, too!
GB/GBC: Konami had some good stuff, LJN had some good... psych! Multiple Bionic Commando games, so Capcom.
GBA: A hidden treasure trove of 2D goodness, man. Namco had the Klonoas, Sega was Sega-ing it up, and Capcom had some great ports and tons of Mega Man action and RPG love, but I'm going to have to give it to Konami. Weird shit like Wai Wai Racing and tons of delicious original 2D action goodness, from Castlevania to Ninja 5-0 to the Shaman Master games to Boktai. That's my jam!
DS: Atlus had a lot of interesting stuff, including the Trauma Center games and Etrian Odyssey. Sega was still Sega-ing. More Castlevania vs. more Mega Man. Hmm... Contra 4 tips it in favor of Konami (even though it's a WayForward game).
3DS: Atlus and Squeenix came out swinging, but RPGs... Sega had some strong early support... But I'm gonna go with Capcom.
Bonus: Virtual Boy: Atlus finally wins one! Go Atlus!
NES My fave game that wasn't Nintendo is Castlequest, so, uh, ASCII Entertainment, I guess?
SNES Yeah yeah, it's unoriginal, but it has to be Squaresoft. Can't really top that run of Final Fantasy III, Chrono Trigger, and Super Mario RPG.
N64 It kind of feels like cheating to choose Rare since I thought this was supposed to focus more on third-parties. But since individual companies didn't put out very many N64 games, my fave third-party ones are pretty spread out.
GameCube I didn't play very many games on this system which weren't from Nintendo. I guess I'll say Namco, for Tales of Symphonia.
Wii This is another toughie since the third-party games are pretty spread out. I guess I'll just say Neverland for now, for Rune Factory Frontier and Tides of Destiny, but this wold probably change on a whim.
Wii U Pretty slim pickin's. I'll probably say Tt Games, for Lego City Undercover, if that counts.
Game Boy Squaresoft again, for Final Fantasy Adventure
Game Boy Color Uh, um, did I even play a third-party game on this? Can I say CapCom for the Zelda titles?
Game Boy Advance Same problem here. Can I say Intelligent Systems for Advance Wars?
DS Lots of good choices here, but I think I'll say Atlus for Etrian Odyssey.
3DS I haven't yet played as many third-party games for this, so maybe I'll just say Spike Chunsoft for Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon...
Switch Since my second-fave game is still Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle at the moment, I'll have to say Ubisoft for now.
NES:Capcom or Konami. I'll give the edge to Capcom for some great license games on top of stellar original IPs (namely Mega Man). Konami was no slouch though.
SNES:Squaresoft. Their RPGs were second-to-none, and they still resonate with many fans today for a reason.
N64: Rareware. Their output on the system was great, and consistent.
GameCube: Sega. For me, it wins just because of Phantasy Star Online Episodes I & II alone, but also Skies of Arcadia Legends and Super Monkey Ball. That and they also did some pretty cool stuff with the GBA link cable. Them going third party kind of worked out for us Nintendo fans...
Wii: Ugh, I don't know? XSEED probably for Rune Factory Frontier, Little King's Story, and Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon.
Wii U: Ubisoft I guess? They were one of the few that actually consistently supported the Wii U during its lifecycle.
Switch: At this point, I'd go with either Square Enix (lots of ports of old games, new collections, etc) or Devolver Digital (My Friend Pedro, Enter the Gungeon, Downwell, etc). Still too early to call this, but...those would be my choices.
NES: Konami - Pretty close call here. Basically it was between Konami and Capcom. And while I absolutely adore the house that Mega Man built...my true love is Castlevania. Particularly the third game in the series. Add in all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games, as well as Contra, Gladius, Tiny Toons, Life Force, Blades of Steel, Rush ‘n Attack, Skate or Die...even The Adventures of Bayou Billy! Yes, I enjoyed that game a lot, and gave me an excuse to use the Zapper for something other than Duck Hunt. So...yeah. Konami.
Gameboy: Capcom - Capcom wins this round, mostly for the Mega Man games. They are so good! Throw in some Bionic Commando and Gargoyle’s Quest, mix it around in all the various Disney games, and boom. Capcom wins it.
SNES: Squaresoft - Yeah, Square wins this for me, too. Capcom is a *very close* second, thanks to their Street Fighter II games...but nothing beats Chrono Trigger.
Gameboy Color: Capcom - Tough call, but Capcom’s Mega Man Xtreme games, Shantae and even Resident Evil Gaiden (make no mistake, it’s a bad game, but I kinda dig it regardless) makes Capcom a winner again. Shout out to Konami for the excellent Metal Gear Solid, though!
Nintendo 64: Midway - Yeah, you guys like your Banjos, and your Golden Eyes. Talk about how Perfect your Darks are. And that’s all well and good...but wow can we acknowledge the amount of output Midway put on the N64? There were precious few games from them that DIDN’T make an appearance on the system. Plus two of my personal favorite games from that generation; Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA and Mortal Kombat 4 were from that company. Even DOOM 64 was great, and I’m told that both Quake games were also good on 64. So yeah...obviously huge props go to Rare, but Midway is no joke.
Gameboy Advance: Konami - Easily Konami this time around. Castlevania. ‘Nuff said.
Gamecube: Ubisoft - Maybe an odd pick for some, but I really dig the Prince of Persia trilogy. Add in the Splinter Cell games, Rayman 3, Beyond Good & Evil, and even that weird FPS game XIII...yeah. Ubisoft wins! Close call for EA, though. I really like the SSX series!
Nintendo DS: Square-Enix - Could it be anyone else? There are like 7 Final Fantasy games (including the last Final Fantasy Tactics game...maybe ever?!) plus around 6 or so Dragon Quest games, a couple of Mana titles, a couple of Kingdom Hearts games, Valkyrie Profile, a fantastic Chrono Trigger remaster, and of course...The World Ends With You. Congrats, S-E. You win pretty easily this round.
Wii: Capcom - The best version of Resident Evil 4 ever makes this almost too easy to call. But add in the far better than they should be Umbrella/Darkside Chronicles, Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, as well as Okami...it’s pretty easily a Capcom win. But the real cherry on top is my favorite game on the system: Tatsunoko vs. Capcom! Winner is Capcom.
Nintendo 3DS: Capcom - Another win for Capcom! I’m still a little bitter about the fate of Mega Man Legends 3, but I cant argue with SUPER Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil Mercenaries/Revelations, Ace Attorney, and for finally getting me into the Monster Hunter series.
Wii U: Ubisoft - Yeah they kinda hosed Wii U a little bit with the delayed release of Rayman Legends, but ol’ Ubi was one of the few companies that stuck around with the U when pretty much everyone else jumped ship. Speaking of ships, Assassin’s Creed IV, y’all! And they did a pretty great job with Watch_Dogs, and Splinter Cell. So yeah, not a whole lot of competition here...but I gotta hand it to Ubisoft for this one.
Switch: ??? - A bit too early to tell just yet, IMO. Square is making a strong case for itself so far, though!