Top 10 NES Games

Before you read this top ten, there are a couple things I want you to know.

1. This list is my opinion not fact. If you disagree by all means, post your own top tens in the comments section below. Just try not to be a dick about it.

2. There are no two games from the same series in this list. I take the best game from each series to be represented. I think this is much more interesting than having five Mega Man,          three Super Mario Bros, and two Legend of Zelda games.

Now, let's get started!


10. Duck Hunt

Very fun arcade shooter with very accurate controller.


Accurate controls- Duck Hunt's gun controller works perfectly. Just try finding a Wii shooter that controls this well.


That damn dog- Just... just watch the video.

Duck Hunt Gameplay


9. Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando is one of many extremely hard game on the NES. Don't get me wrong, this game is great, but this one is a little too hard for my taste.


Grappling Hook- This is one of the few sidescrolling NES games where you could not jump. You were forced to use your grappling hook very strategically to dodge enemies and climb environments.


Extremely Hard- This may not be a bad thing to everyone, but this game is extremely punishing. That last boss battle with the helicopter still gives me nightmares.

Bionic Commando Gameplay by NextGenWalkthroughs


8. Mike Tyson's Punch Out!

This is the perfect two button game. Entirely about reaction time and pattern recognition, Mike Tyson's Punch Out is a knockout... sorry.


Perfect Controls- Punch and dodge, that's all there is to it. This game is proof that as far as controls are concerned, less is sometimes more.

Pattern Based Fighting- In Punch Out you have to look out for every little wink and glint to take advantage of the weaknesses of your enemies. You will be on the edge of your seat, especially on some of the later fights.


Almost Impossible to Beat- This isn't one of those NES games that kicks your ass from the start, but be warned, Iron Mike is really tough. I still haven't beaten him.

Mike Tyson's Punch Out Commercial



7. Metal Gear

Forget Solid for the PlayStation. This is the original Metal Gear game and it is awesome.


Awesome stealth action gameplay- This is the first game that I can think of where the goal is to sneak past your enemies and it works very well with the top down view. 


Repetitive Music- Music was a very important part of games in the 8-bit era and the music in Metal Gear just wasn't memorable at all.

Metal Gear Gameplay



6. Castlevania

Some of the best music in gaming history and solid sidescrolling action go hand in hand in this classic game.


Awesome Soundtrack- This music is fantastic. I really love how they were able to capture some almost creepy melodies in such an action oriented game.


Action can get repetitive- Don't get me wrong, this is a good sidescroller, just a little bit repetitive.

Castlevania Gameplay



5. Contra

As far as action is concerned, nothing on the NES could compete with Contra.


Sidescrolling Action- This game is nonstop action from second number one. It's like an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie on a 2-D plane.

Great Powerups- You switch between different guns constantly and except for the "R" powerup they are all fun to use.


Impossibly Hard- This is one of the hardest games ever made. It will kick your ass over and over again until you scream mercy and turn off the system.

Contra Gameplay: Here is a video of someone contradicting what I just said.


4. Metroid

One of the first sidescrollers to encourage exploration, Metroid gives you freedom without making you feel lost.


Exploration- One of the best parts of the game has to be wondering around the environments.

Amazing Score- Tones range from creepy to heroic and they are all fantastic.


Weak Enemies- For a game named after the evil alien race that make up it's enemies they don't seem to pose much of a threat.

Metroid in Five Seconds


3. Super Mario Bros. 3



What can I say? It's fucking Mario!


Platforming- This game holds up as one of the best Platformers in history. On a console dominated by platformers, Mario was king.../plumber.

World Map- This map set the stage for a lot of games to follow.


Very Easy- I know that I have complained a lot about difficulty on this top ten, but this game was just to easy for an era of incredibly challenging games.

Super Mario Bros. 3 Commercial



2. The Legend of Zelda

Something tells me this game might be the start of something good.


Exploration- This game gives you more freedom than any other game on the NES.

Weapons- There is a great selection of weapons. In fact, I'd say it is the 2nd best selection on the NES


Lack of direction- It is extremely easy to get lost in this game. More than Final Fantasy. While that is part of the fun of the game, it can be very frustrating when you don't know where to go.

Legend of Zelda Bosses




And the number one NES game is...






1. Mega Man 2



This game made the top of the list, because it is an absolutely superb game in all respects. Terrific music, challenging, but fair gameplay, well designed boss battles, and cool powers. Mega Man 2 is, was, and always will be my favorite game on Nintendo's first console


Level design- Incredibly varied, challanging, and fun levels with great bosses.

Weaponry- Remember how I said that The Legend of Zelda had the second best weapons in the NES era? This game is head and shoulders above that.

Fast Paced Music- This music is is absolutely incredible. The Bubble Man stage music is my personal favorite, but everyone knows the Wily's stage and Wood Man themes, which are all fantastic.


The Heat Man Stage- It's not bad, it just doesn't hold up to the level of the rest of the game.

Mega Man 2: Wily's Stage


That does it for another list. I think I will hold off on these for a while and try to do something else.

Josh Kowbel's picture

The first Final Fantasy is my favorite NES game. It saved a nearly-bankrupt Square Enix and spawned numerous sequels, some of which many people consider to be the best games of all time.

brodyitis's picture

I was strongly considering that one for this list. I just couldn't put it above anything that I had chosen already.

Johnny Lightning's picture

I actually HATE the original Legend of Zelda. It is crazy hard and crazy confusing. I needed to constantly refer to a guide in order to beat it. Ugh. But to be honest, I never played many NES games...SNES sure, but not NES. Solid list. I like the included videos. 

brodyitis's picture

@Johnny Lightning

It is crazy hard to figure out where to go, but it did spark one of the greatest franchises of all time.

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