NES Nintendo Entertainment System

10 Games you HAVE to play on the NES

With the new consoles coming out at the end of this year (2020), I decided it would be cool to do a run-down for each system and go over the 10 games that you need to go back and play if you haven’t already. Most gamers will have played these games and they may agree or disagree with them being on the list.

Whether you’re a big fan of retro games or the newer style with better graphics and more capabilities, I think its important to re-visit the roots from which the current generation of games came from. We’re starting off our journey with the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System).

The NES was introduced in 1985 to North America and was produced for 10 years until 1995. It was Nintendo’s first big entry into the computing and gaming world. With this, catapulted a new era of gaming that brought gamers from the arcade cabinets to their living room TV’s.

Here’s as list of the 10 games for NES that I believe you should play if you have not already! (They are in no specific order, all equally as important!)

  1. Final Fantasy

    Final Fantasy NES

    The start of one of the best and most-played, sought after, and enjoyed RPG series in history. The Final Fantasy series has blossomed into several editions on many consoles to the point at which it is hard to keep track at this point. The first 10 series were mostly the sought after and widely played with Final Fantasy 1-4 debuting on SNES.

    If you haven’t played these yet, it is hard to get started with the earlier versions but you will be handily rewarded when you get to the later versions, namely Final Fantasy 7, 8, and 9. These three are arguably the best from the series, and well worth the play.

  2. Dr. Mario (1990)

    Dr Mario NES

    A falling block puzzle game, the player’s objective is to destroy the viruses populating the on-screen playing field by using colored capsules that are tossed into the field by Mario, who assumes the role of a doctor. The player manipulates the capsules as they fall, with the goal being to align similar colors which removes the viruses. The player progresses through the game by eliminating all the viruses on the screen in each level. (Wikipedia)

    This was one of the first forays into the mario world, with a rather clever game of “Dr Mario”, it kept many busy while they worked towards finishing each puzzle game and moving on to the next round. Although mostly receiving positive criticism, some negativity surrounded the game due to the fact that they introduced “medicine” in a kids game. Obviously they took Mario to a different facet moving forward, but nonetheless this game is worth the play! You can purchase it here (if you get lucky!): Dr. Mario NES Game for sale.

  3. Dragon Warrior IV (1992)

    Dragon Warrior IV NES

    Dragon Warrior IV was localized in the America’s but was originally called Dragon Quest for the Famicon in Japan. It is an RPG-based video game which was comprised of 5 chapters each focusing on different main characters. To me, this keeps the chapters fresh and fun, with new stories at each turn. The gameplay is just that, fresh and fun for its time. The RPG feel is normal and typical for the time.

    This one is a special one in that it requires some patience and love of RPG’s however I still think it is an absolute must play game for the NES and you should try to play it if you have not already! Buy it here, if it’s in stock!

  4. Contra (1988)

    Contra NES

    Ahh, Contra. One of the first run and gun adventures back in the day. It was elusively hard to beat and continued generating interest in those trying to best it. You would put your feet in Bill Rizer and Lance Bean’s shoes, the two commandos sent to the island to defeat the enemy forces and save humanity. The evil Red Falcon organization will stop at nothing to continue world domination and it was a heck’uva lot of fun to play round and round!

    Likely you have played this game already, however if not.. Add it to your collection and buy it here!

  5. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (1987)

    Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! NES

    With Mike’s current comeback to the ring, to fight Roy Jone’s Jr., this is even more relevant! Mike was such an icon during this era with his remarkable skills in the ring and his knockout record. It was only fitting they created a game, literally based on what he did — Punch people out!

    Although repetitive, Punch Out follows the story of Little Mac as he fights his way up the ranks to get his shot as one of the best. The journey is fun and the era was the golden age for Tyson. This game is worth the peek for many reasons other than just gameplay!

    Not a sports or boxing fan? Don’t let that stop you from adding this to your collection. It’s iconic, just do it!

  6. Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)

    Super Mario Bros 3 NES

    Is there much to say about this one? If you have not heard of Super Mario you have been under a rock! One of the most iconic titles to ever hit the screens it is pretty obvious that you should play it from one of the first ever consoles to put it on our TV’s. With the NES you’ll get that retro feel and I recommend playing it on a CRT or Tube TV to boot!

    You can purchase this from multiple places online, but try Amazon or eBay. Just be careful of fake copies that are floating around!

  7. Duck Hunt (1984)

    Duck Hunt NES

    Whew, now we’re reaching back! Ahh the good ole’ classic Duck Hunt. Point and shoot first person at its infancy stages, even with the shotgun or regular gun attachment. This game was one that many could relate to since Duck hunting was super prevalent in the 80s and still is today in some areas. This game got the family together for something they could all enjoy and relate too.. even pops!

    Nothing more to say about this other than if you haven’t played you need to try it. The calibration may not be up to par with what you’re used to these days and you may have several misses that you just know are hits.. But be patient and try to remember it is almost 40 yrs old now! Buy Duck Hunt for the NES here.

  8. The Legend Of Zelda (1986)

    The Legend of Zelda NES

    The Man, the Myth, the Legend of Zelda. (or should I say, Link?) The poster-child of Nintendo, they have sold more than 6 Million copies of this game when it released, and millions more since. Zelda became the franchise game for Nintendo since and has never lost its spot, still with the same demand today.

    Link sets out to save Zelda from being kidnapped and held prisoner by Ganon, the price of Darkness. The story continues to unfold and gain traction but it begins here with NES. Play it, don’t walk, Run. Get it here!

  9. Mega Man 2 (1988)

    Mega Man NES

    The Mega Man franchise encapsulates robots and the future, when Mega Man is continually fighting against Dr Wily and his robots. Perhaps to his dismay, Mega Man spares Wily at the end once he realizes he is behind the projection of the space alien and the story continues!

    Mega Man 2 was the best selling Mega Man of the franchise, coming in at over 1 Million copies. This was huge for the franchise, but they never seemed to be able to gain traction after that. Either way, this one is one to enjoy, go get it here!

  10. Metroid (1986)

    Metroid NES

    Last but not least Metroid! Another Nintendo created franchise classic, Metroid takes place on a rogue planet with revolving doors and elevators that take you from place to place. You are main character Samus, fighting and hunting through caverns for Space Pirates!

    Metroid was a glaring success for Nintendo and it went on to be recreated for the N64 and other systems down the road. Worth a play indeed, buy it here!

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