2011 has been a phenomenal year for Nintendo Life, with fantastic statistics and even better content. I wanted to round up what I think have been some of the highlights of the last 12 months.

How Japanese Folklore Inspired Mario’s Tanooki Suit – This year saw Mario’s betailed suit hit the headlines again, so it’s good to learn more about where it came from, courtesy of Chris Ingram.

The Development Process of Go! Go! Kokopolo – An in-depth take on one of DSiWare’s best games; full of character and quality, Zach’s article was a great look at how it all came together.

Nintendo Life Book Club: Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – Nobody slates awful games and books like Philip J. Reed. One of the most entertaining reads we’ve ever published.

A Peek Behind the BIT.TRIP Curtain – BIT.TRIP is the best series on WiiWare, and Jon’s feature on its development was superb. See also: The History of BIT.TRIP Part 1, The History of BIT.TRIP Part 2 and The History of BIT.TRIP Part 3.

Wii Controllers – What Could Have Been – There are some fascinating Wii Remote patents out there, so Tom Whitehead took a look at what the now-iconic controller could have become. Really interesting read.

10 Life Lessons Learned from Mega Man – Phil loves his Mega Man series and this list of important life lessons was even picked up by Capcom. Includes gems like “However Much You May Fight, Your Family Loves You”.

Re-Examining Zelda: Twilight Princess – Jacob Crites took a long, hard look at one of Link’s most divisive adventures and came up with one of my favourite lines of the year: “The dorky clowns in Lake Hylia didn’t have to transform into muscle-bound hunks for Midna to see their true personalities. Why did she have to transform into a big blue hottie for us to see hers?”

My Best Stuff

I’ve written quite a lot of news, features and reviews in 2011 – probably close to 1,500 I think – but here are some of my favourites.

The Sonic Games That Never Were – Beta and cancelled Sonic games that never saw the light of day.

Celebrating 10 Years of Animal Crossing – A look back at a decade of Bells and talking animals. I love this series and it’s good to say so.

Preview: Super Mario 3DS and a later Preview: Super Mario 3D Land – The latter preview is probably the hardest I’ve had to write, and now I look back at it it isn’t as good as I remember. Still, it’s a good sign of just how far we’ve come as a site.

A huge and heartfelt thanks to everyone who takes the time to contribute to Nintendo Life. I genuinely appreciate all your hard work and believe we have one of the best teams out there.

Here’s to an even more exciting and successful 2012.