Top 10 NES games

So it has come to this… The top 10 games for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). This system is arguably the one of the best game system ever made. It is certainly is the most influential to us at least since this is our first experience playing video games and we have been playing ever since over 20 years ago. Let´s see what 10 games made the list and see if you agree. If you don’t then join the discussion and let us know who is your favorite NES game.

10. Contra (1988)

contra co-op list

Run and gun co-op goodness. This very difficult games barely makes the list but does so for a good reason. Tight controls, fun guns, great environment, nice tunes and great co-op action. Beating it without the Konami code is quite the feat and will take many tries making the game last while keeping it fun all the time. If you are feeling more casual you can enter the code but the game’s fun lies in its difficulty and pattern memorization.

9.  River City Ransom[USA]/Street Gangs[EU] (1989)


River City Ransom at number nine is also a co-op goodness, but this time it is a high school punk beat em’ up RPG. The premise of this game and everything you do in it is so fantastic. Beat up some no good punks who cry out “mamaaa!!” or “I’m history, dude!” and grab a bite of sushi afterwards to boost your stats or buy martial arts books to gain new moves. Going through this one with a pal is so much fun and it makes you want to play it over and over again.

8.  Bionic Commando (1988)


In number 8 is Bionic Commando. Bionic Commando is a single player platforming shooter that takes place in a world war sometime in the 80’s. In Japan the game is actually called”Hitler’s revival” so the bad guys’ goal is pretty obvious. It’s main gimmick is the grappling hook and the absence of a “jump” command. Swing around, shoot bad guys, fight cool bosses with very tight controls, great OST and great game feel. Just wish the game had a password feature.

Full review:

7. Batman (1989)


A buttload of Batman games have been released over the years, but this Batman game from Sunsoft on the NES is the real deal, rising from the pile of crap that are the rest of the Batman games and showing you how quality franchise games should be made.

Sunsoft did an excellent job here. The smooth, tight controlling gameplay is impeccable, the levels are great (but a few more levels would have been nice), the presentation is epic as the OST is insane and the visuals are very solid. The games’ difficulty will keep you engaged, and finally beating the game will feel extra good and rewarding. Just overall an awesome game

Full review:

6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (1990)


After Super Mario Bros this is probably the game i have played the most in my life. Again this is a beat em’ up co-op action that anyone will enjoy. Not too hard but not too easy either. I realize that we are a bit biased towards this game because of it’s nostalgic appeal and  towards co-op games in general but we cannot leave this one out, we have just played ittoo much to do so. Imagine if they would have used the four score and made it 4-player? yeah.. a man can dream… but the NES would not have handled it. But even as a 2 player game it excels for having good levels,  fun enemies, tight controls and just fun 2 player gameplay.

Full review:

5. Castlevania (1986)


Castlevania the horror action platformer takes number 5. The 1986 Konami game was only the beginning of what would become an immensely popular franchise. You begin the franchise as Simon Belmont by storming into the castle of Dracula himself armed only with courage and your trusty whip known as the Vampire Killer. There you encounter ghouls, ghosts, skeleton and many other horrifying creatures in a fighting platformer that tests your skills and patience to the fullest. And i mean that because this game is known for its extreme difficulty but that is just part of the fun. The controls are limited somewhat intentionally which adds to the games’ feel of difficulty and making you more helpless but that does not ruin the experience unless you are short tempered. The music from this game is so legendary, and the environment and gameplay is so cool you should never get bored.

Full review:

4. The Legend of Zelda (1986)


Yes, this one also has to be here. revolutionary, adventurous, huge and great fun is what describes the first Zelda game. Granted it may not have aged as well as many games since many similar games have come out later it is still today a fun adventure that will keep you engaged for a long long time. The world of Hyrule is huge so the places and dungeons you have to explore are vast and mystical and give you a sense of curiosity and wonder. This game is the start of one of the largest video game franchise ever. Again the wonder may have worn off with time otherwise this game would have placed higher in the rankings but i have to rank the games based on how fun they are right now in the present.

3. Megaman 2 (1988)


Holy hell, it’s Megaman 2. Just such an insanely well done game from top to bottom. Insane gameplay, environment, bosses, music game feel. This is a game that has it all. Of course there are 6 Megaman games on the NES but i think this one has to be the best. I have a particular fondness of the first Megaman and Megaman 3 is also extremely good and they could have easily made this list but maybe i gave other games a benefit of the doubt since i didn’t know which one to pick and that i already have a Megaman game on here. 4,5 and 6 and all inferior to their predecessors but also very fun. Megaman 2 is one of the more forgiving/easy Megaman games but it still has 2 difficulty settings, the more difficult setting being the better way of playing the game by far. Megaman 2 has reached legendary status in the gaming community and widely regarded as one of the best games of all time and i have to say that i am one of those guys. This one is the bomb.

2. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (1989)

C3 cover

I think this is the most polished NES Castlevania game and yes… the 2nd best NES game made. I know its the second Castlevania on the list but they deserve this. The multiple paths,  three companions that enhance the gameplay (Grant, Sypha and Alucard), level design, music are all top notch, and in this game they added a much needed password system so you won’t have to start from the beginning if you should give up. That password system for me justifies the hellish level of difficulty the game has. That being said this game is not for someone who considers himself a bad gamer. I would then refer him or her to the first Castlevania, since you should of course play first anyway since this is the 3rd one. But for us hardcore, never give up sadistic level of difficulty likers this is the ultimate game for that, you will love it and play it more than once or twice or thrice for that matter. The difficulty and the satisfaction i got from beating this game makes it so important to me, it was truly a unique experience.

Full review:

1. Super Mario Bros 3 (1988)


What can i say? i’m sorry for being obvious but i think Super Mario Bros 3 has to be the winner. I really wanted to make a unique list but after thinking about it for a long time there is no denying it. Super Mario Bros 3 has such rich gameplay, 8 huge worlds, awesome items, fun secrets and is just a great addition to what originally made the first Mario so great. Probably my 3rd most played game of all time. Everyone knows why this game is widely considered one of the best games of all time, even top 10 or 5. Such is the legendary status of this game.


That’s it! What do you think? Is the list what you expected? Not?

Tell us what you think and take part in the readers poll below!

Honorable mentions: Adventure of Link, Duck Tales, Final Fantasy, Batman: The Video Game, Megaman 3, Megaman 1, Power Blade, World Cup, Metroid

In the future i am sure that i will do a “the next 10” article or a “Top NES 11-20” article so stay tuned.

Thanks for reading 🙂

***We have not played ALL the NES games but most of them and certainly all games ever considered one of the best***

***I also reserve the right to just change my mind and change the list so it is not completely 100% written in stone***


2 thoughts on “Top 10 NES games”

  1. It’s a pretty solid list, I played the hell out of all those games. I played a lot of Rygar but I don’t think I would vote that to the list. I do however feel Metroid could make solid argument. Good Job!
    Honorable Mentions: Shmups


    1. Rygar is a classic i give you that but i think it lacks a bit in a few areas to make the list.
      You might be right about Metroid but i made a review on Metroid the other day which explains pretty well why it didnt make my top 10


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