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My top 20 NES games of all time - Destructoid




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My top 20 NES games of all time:

While many consider the Nintendo Entertainment System their first home console, or the NES as most of you know it, it was not my first console that title can only go to the Atari 2600, but it was the one I desired the most in my younger years. Enclosed in this document are 20 prime examples of why I wanted this console above all others, and some interesting personal tidbits about each of them.

#20. Battletoads, this blatant TMNT rip off was Rare Software’s first real Blip on the radar for most gamers, and it is difficult as nails; I could never get past the rocket slide part in the third level, though it never stopped me or my brother from trying or from getting a kick out of the toad’s wacky cartoon based animations

#19. Pac-Man (Tengen Version), the Best version of Pac-Man to come out in the 8bit generation of gaming on the home consoles, this was the game that was my first entry into gaming now finally nearly perfected for the home consoles. As most of the other versions of Pac-Man were no where near as authentic as they needed to be, including the version released by Nintendo. My mom made it a point to share her love of this game with me, and while I may not have shared her enthusiasm for Pac-Man, I still enjoyed love this classic among classics

#18. Donkey Kong Classics, Two classic games Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr combined on one pack. If Donkey Kong is Perfection, then so must also Donkey Kong Jr. be. At least in my mind anyway because I spent so much cash on both in the arcades back in the day.

#17. StarTropics, is another underrated game from Nintendo’s 8bit era that I feel needs a sequel much as many think of Kid Icaris deserves one. StarTropics is an action adventure that is as clever as it is challenging, and reminded me of Legend of Zelda, with the arsenal of Ness from Earthbound, and played more like Legend of Gaea on the SNES. I would spend hours on this game killing snakes with a yo-yo, figure the physics of that one but I still find plenty to enjoy in this game and hope that somewhere down the line Nintendo will see fit to visit C island again

#16. Mega Man 2, Many consider Mega Man 2 the pinnacle of what all mega man games should be measured by, while I beg to differ, there is no doubt that this is one of the greatest games ever made, and easily has some of the most memorable music of the entire 8 bit generation. To be honest the real reason why Mega Man’s second adventure slipped this far though is because I played and enjoyed his third and fourth adventures first.

#15. Gradius, The Side Scrolling shooter that made me pay attention to the genre. Well this and Life Force, but I like Gradius better like the system, then again I did have the pattern memorized at one point…… cant beat it without loosing a life any more like I used to sadly, and even though there were other good shooters out there like R*type, Gradius was the one I always returned too.

#14, Contra, the most fun with a friend or a brother that you could have on the NES, sadly my mom wouldn’t let me have it originally as she thought it too violent I think, but eventually she broke down and I got to enjoy this gem, any one who played this game back in the day will tell you that this was as close as many would get to getting to have balls to the walls fast paced action, and in some cases still is.

#13. Metroid, Samus Aran's First game appearance, sadly another game that like other games on this list I didn’t get the point of until much later in my life, but I played it and loved it, while spending many hours exploring the caverns of the game world. Just trying to find power-ups to see what crazy effects they would have on me, had the toughest time with Ridley, and is it me or was beating Kraid harder than In any other game he has appeared in?

#12. River City Ransom, one of the best side scrolling beat‘em ups in history and, hilariously fun too boot, what made this fun was there were many different ways to approach the game, which required patience, and persistence to access the multiple endings. My mom didn’t appreciate the violence, but what she did like the fact that my brother and could play it together and seemed to get the most of it, even chuckled when my bro accidentally figured how to beat me up when we were trying to work together

#11. Metal Gear, Snake's First appearance and the precursor for the rest of the Metal Gear series, featuring a far less convoluted storyline. I could never figure out what to do you know just kept dying over and over again, it wasn’t until I had a friend show me how to play that I could really appreciate Metal Gear for what it was, a stealth game, not the regular run and gun game I was used to at the time.

#10. Mega Man 3, My Favorite Mega Man Game, this was my first real exposure to the series, and I loved every minute of it. There was this cheat that if someone manning the second controller just so you could jump out of pits, and I can remember my brother sitting there and holding the button as I rolled through the whole game. Thanks for helping Dave! Couldn’t have done it with out you or your patience!

#9. Dr. Mario, Mario’s first Puzzle game, and the second game that really hooked my mom, it was this game that earned me the nickname the comeback kid, as I could always find a way out of an seemingly impossible situations. This game still remains a family favorite, and we still have family tournaments with this one

#8. Tetris, this was the game that made my mom not regret purchasing the NES, her personal favorite on the NES, but it was also mine. I can remember the hours me and my mom would sit there and try to beat each others score, she always won, though that has changed has we have gotten older, but we still like to play from time to time but just for fun.

#7. Final Fantasy, The RPG that changed the way most people think about Console Role Playing Games..... But not me, to be honest it wasn’t until Final Fantasy 6 (3 in the USA) that I was really attracted to the genre, and it was because of Final Fantasy 6 that I decided to go back to check this game. More to the point, it would be the first time I would do this with games, and I do have to say that I was deeply impressed. So impressed that I bought my friends copy that lent it to me

#6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game, All right let me level with you folks, at the time that this game was released the arcade was still a viable gaming arena, this was my favorite, so when it came home I had to have it, somewhat lame extra stages and all.

#5. Tecmo Super Bowl, OMG my Detroit Lions are a good team here!! This was one of the main games that helped me survive when I had broken my back, and was in a body cast for 6 months, an injury I suffered while playing Football. Tecmo Super Bowl in my opinion is still one of the best football games ever made, blending the enjoyable arcade style with a near full roster of players for each team, a level of realism that was almost unheard of at that time on a console let alone on the NES.

#4. Castlevania, what always set this game if not the series apart was the setting, dark and foreboding while fighting classic villains of lore, and celluloid. I always surprise my self when I play this game when I find something new that I have missed before or forgot about, even now as an adult. The game play was always great, and there was always a feeling of accomplishment when you completed a stage of your journey to rid the world of the accursed Vampire Dracula

#3. The Legend of Zelda, an amazing game, though at a younger age I could never figure out the point. So it should come as no surprise then that I still haven’t beat it. Though I did sit by and watch my best friend sit down and play through the whole game a few years ago... probably the closest I will get. For now that is someday I will just shut up and do it. still I would spend hours playing around in the over world map for giggles, especially at the local Sears store there in Flint Township in the Genesee Valley Mall, didn’t really matter that I could only play 15 minutes or so I played it a lot, and loved every minute of it. see then beating a game wasn’t everything, especially for those of us born in the Atari Generation, as there usually was never an ending, so a game with no ending wasn't a bother to me, and at the time I thought there wasn’t a ending, now I know better but I still remember just fiddling around in the game for hours, and killing the weird creatures not really accomplishing anything but having the time of my life doing it.

#2. Super Mario Bros. 3, I can remember playing this game to death with my little bro when I was young to the point that the music really bugged my mom, of course it didn’t help that my favorite movies were Transformers the Movie, and The Wizard, and my desire to play anything Nintendo at that age was a driving force in my life at that time, wait who am I kidding the drive to play any game seems to be there now.......

#1. Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt, the game that came with the system was also the game was that easily the reason to own the system. Why you ask? Super Mario Bros. alone was a system selling game back in the day as it was a launch title for the NES, and that came shortly after a brief stint in the Arcades. but for me it was the only game I really wanted to play, sure I had an Atari 2600, but I wanted a NES, I really wanted Super Mario Brothers, I wanted it so bad I could taste it, I would go to friends houses just so I could play Super Mario Brothers. I can remember my parents buying Mario Bros. for the Atari 2600, and that keeping me pacified until I got my brother to talk them into getting an NES as a reward for a surgery, not really realizing that it was going to be my real savior for when I broke my back playing football a few years later simplicity of sitting there an. As for Duck Hunt how can you beat the simplicity of shooting ducks for hours on end? I still recall making my family crack up with laughter as I was playing while doing an Elmer Fudd impression, too bad that every one else in the house was a better shot than me.

Honorable mentions

Each of the following titles are excellent games and I had a hard time leaving them off of the list, but there are only 20 spots, and too many great games on this console to just have 20 in all honesty, so here are some other great games that deserve some recognition, if not a spot on a revised listing in the future.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: the Manhattan project
R.C. Pro Am
Ninja Gaiden Series
Mega Man 1,4,5,6
The Punisher
Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
Crystalis
Double Dragon series
Super Mario 2
Tiny Toon Adventures
Ultima Exadus
Castlevania 2 and 3
Dragon Warrior 1 - 3
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