Happy Birthday Nintendo Entertainment System! Top 10 NES Games

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When Nintendo launched its first home gaming console, the Family Computer, in 1983 it changed the gaming industry forever. In honor of its debut in North America two years later, on October 18th, we have compiled a list of our Top 10 games for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Our list will likely garner a lot of this 

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ 

and we are very well aware that strong opinions revolve around nostalgic consoles. That's why we'll put the question for the doobly do up top in case you are so mad that you have to stop reading lest an aneurysm occur. What are your favorite games for the NES? Let us know below.

Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any deaths/injuries due to rage caused by this post. Also, this post is not focused on what games had the greatest impact, but rather what we enjoyed the most. Games with multiple releases in the franchise for the NES can only be nominated once. Let's proceed.

10. Duck Hunt

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Many a summer afternoon was spent with the Nintendo Entertainment System with my friends competing for the high score. Unfortunately, I was never crowned the victor due to not being the owner of the console, myself. So not having a particularly large amount of time to practice. Also, admittedly, I was a terrible shot. Though this did not detract from the enjoyment in being able to play a shooter with an actual zapper, an experience that I previously had to go to my local Tilt for.

9. Tetris

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These iconic blocks would follow me from childhood, through high school, and even onto college. The challenge could be as easy or as difficult as one desired. What made it even better was that, though it could be difficult to master, anyone could sit down and begin playing.

8. Battletoads

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Developed by Rare, who gained much notoriety with the advent of the Super NES and Nintendo 64, this beat 'em up is still widely regarded today as one of the hardest games of all time. And don't get me started on the Dark QueenHeart Eyes Emoji.

7. The Legend of Zelda

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The start of one of the most memorable and beloved IP's of our time. While admittedly not the best one in the series (Ocarina of Time, Link to the Past, and Majora's Mask are arguably in a three-way tie for first), it did set the franchise in motion and is fun to play even now.

6. Super Mario Bros 2

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Personally, I always preferred our favorite psychotic plumber (unless you are a Luigi fan, which, if that is the case, I am sorry that I may have offended you) in his second outing with his brother. The new and improved gameplay that was introduced is now iconic to the series with the ability to pick up and toss objects as well as enemies being made a part of Mario's permanent repertoire.

5. Ninja Gaiden

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Ninja Gaiden was absolutely ruthless in the way that it treated each new challenger. It wasn't until much later while playing it on an emulator that I was able to beat the final stage of the game. Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos was even less forgiving with the introduction of environmental effects. Ice making the ground effectively a slip 'n slide of death and wind/rain throwing you halfway across the screen every other second (regularly landing you at the bottom of what was presumably a very long drop).

4. Contra

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Aside from the RPG's below, I have probably sunken more time into Contra trying to obtain a perfect, no death, run than any of the other games (save for maybe Castlevania) featured on this list. Contra is a game that made a lasting impact on my childhood, both on the NES as well as the many ports and iterations thereafter. No game like it came close until Metal Slug was released in the arcades in 1996.

3. Final Fantasy

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Released in 1987, this was the start of one of the greatest game franchises ever (though not the best game in the series by far). And because of this alone, it is definitely deserving of a spot in our top three (also, I am a sucker for RPG's as evidenced by the next selection). Setting the stage for each of its successors, the sounds of Final Fantasy are some of the most recognizable and beautiful in gaming. From the Prelude, to the Opening Theme (that would eventually become the Final Fantasy Theme), to the Victory Fanfare that everyone knows, I still regularly listen to the original soundtrack.

2. Dragon Warrior III

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Dragon Warrior III is, hands down, one of my favorite games of all time. The defeat of Zoma (and in the GBC remake, the Dragon Queen), was, and still is, one of my favorite moments in gaming during my childhood. Taking backseat only to the defeat of Dark Dragon in Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention and possibly beating Gary Oak after triumphing over the Elite Four. But those are for another list. The Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest series is one of my all-time favorites, and as such gets a well-deserved number 2 spot.

1. Castlevania


And finally, number 1. Castlevania. If there is a franchise that I fan boy over as much as I do Shining Force, it is none other than Castlevania. Admittedly, I even enjoyed Simon's Quest. Though needing to get picked up and dropped off by a tornado was certainly questionable game design as was the bombardment of text every few minutes telling me about the regular nightly curse. Castlevania is one of my favorite games of all time due to the challenging nature of the game, as well as the enjoyment of seeing all of your favorite horror movie monsters within the same game.

Simon Belmont might be a crazy….

But there is nothing crazy about loving such a wonderful series of games, that only got better as side scrolling platformers over time. Working toward the genious that would be the legendary and insanely talented Lord IGA (Koji Igarashi) and Michiru Yamane (Symphony of the Night, Order of Ecclesia, and Dawn of Sorrow).


And so concludes our list of the Top 10 Nes Games. Metroid didn't make it because reasons. Super Metroid fixed the most apparent issue of navigation with the automapping feature that was introduced. Without it though, the original Metroid had a lot of backtracking that took the player out of the game in frustration rather than further immersing them.

TL;DR: Duck Hunt, Tetris, Battletoads, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros 2, Ninja Gaiden, Contra, Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior III, anything Castlevania.

Disagree with our list? Leave a revised version in the doobly doo below or email us at metagamr@outlook.com. We love hate mail. It lets us know someone still reads us now and again 😛


About Matt Merlenbach

Matt Merlenbach is the founder of MetaGamr. He loves RPG's and fears no gazebo. Connect with him at the links below:

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