I was born in the 70’s, so I have fond memories of the Nintendo Entertainment System. From having to blow in the cartridge to get it to work, stacking cartridges inside the system and writing down codes because there was no save feature.
This is a list of my top 10 NES games of all time. These are the games that helped shape my childhood, allowed me to proudly wear my gamer tshirts and transformed me into the gamer that I am today.
- R.C. Pro-AM
R.C. Pro-Am was a quirky remote controlled car racing game. You could customize your car with better tires, a better motor and higher acceleration. The tracks varied and the A.I. grew tougher as you progressed through the tracks. You could collect weapons and blast your opponents off the track. This game was truly ahead of its time.
Memorable Moment: Shooting a missile at an opponent just before he passes the finish line, and you win the race.
- River City Ransom
This game took Double Dragon and added an RPG element to it by giving you the ability to use coins to learn new moves. The story really isn’t anything memorable, but who cares, I just wanted to beat some random kids’ heads in and learn some new fighting moves.
Memorable Moment: Learning Stone Hands and running through punching the heck out of guys.
Every gamer around the age of 30 knows what this is: UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, B, A, SELECT, START. That’s the code for 30 lives and without that you will not make it very far in this game. Contra is known for its difficulty, it’s also known for its fun co-op play and creative – interactive side scrolling levels. Basically you run and gun your way through levels, collecting new weapons and avoiding bullets. This game paved the way for difficulty in games.
Memorable moment: Getting the spread gun and blasting through a level with it.
- Ninja Gaiden
This game is another known for its difficulty. This game introduced the badass ninja Ryu. You slash and chuck ninja stars at enemies as you battle your way through various side scrolling stages. At the end of each stage is a boss that you must figure out how to defeat. After playing Ninja Gaiden I always felt like scaling walls and jumping out chucking ninja stars at someone.
Memorable Moment: Jumping from wall to wall and the way Ryu ran gripping his sword while in its case.
- Mike Tyson’s Punchout
This boxing game has character. As a matter of fact, the characters are what make this game so memorable. All your opponents have different personalities and tendencies you have to learn in order to counter them and knock them out. This game is about learning patterns and reflexes, I am yet to beat Mike Tyson. I think I will give this game another go in the next week!
Memorable Moment: Finally getting to Mike Tyson and being amazed at how much he actually looks like Mike Tyson.
This game was huge!!! Metroid was one of the first games to give the player the feeling of freedom in that he can take what path he wants through the game. You control Samus, a bounty hunter, and you make your way through a spacey world. Finding weapons and power moves open new areas of the world to explore.
Memorable Moment: Finding out Samus is a female.
- Duck Hunt/Super Mario Bros.
This cartridge came with the system, and the duo of Duck Hunt and Mario Bros was enough to keep any kid busy for months. Mario Bros was packed with secret warp zones, tricks to gain extra men and hidden coin rooms. Duck Hunt featured the laser gun. The player either shot flying ducks or clay pots out of the sky. And if you did bad, rest assure your own hunting dog will laugh at you.
Memorable Moment: Learning how to “rock the turtle” on Mario Bros in order to gain extra men galore.
- Final Fantasy
For older RPGers this is the game that started it all. When I got into this game I had no idea what an RPG was. We called games like these “fantasy games”. This game set the pace for future RPGs with its brilliant music, engaging story and customizable battle system. If you are a RPG lover this game is a must play.
Memorable Moment: Transforming to the “Light Warriors” and your kiddy sprites changing into more intimidating sprites.
- Super Mario Bros 3
In my opinion, this game is the king of all sidescrollers. The environments were gorgeous and exciting to play. The world was huge and it gave you an option at how you wanted to approach defeating the game. Also, many power ups were available, the frog suit and the raccoon suit were amongst those. Tons of secret spots and warp zones lay hidden in the world which keeps the player coming back for more side scrolling action.
Memorable Moment: Getting the raccoon suit for the first time, and flying across a stage.
The Gold Cartridge! This game has it all, great story, great music and addictive gameplay. Everyone knows the Zelda tunes, to this day if your humming a tune it’s guaranteed you will get others to join in on the tune. The puzzles were challenging yet not frustrating. Every magical weapon played a part in you defeating or opening the next dungeon. The characters are everlasting, from Zelda, to Link to Gannon. These characters are still spoken amongst the youth of today. This game is a classic amongst classics and tops off my list of top NES games of all times.
Memorable Moment: Opening the case to unveil the golden cartridge.