Best NES Games: Which One Do You Like The Most?

best nes games

The NES or Nintendo Entertainment System is a home console previously known as Famicom or Family Computer. It was a hit in the country where it originated, Japan. It sold more than 2.5 million units just one year after it was available for sale. It was Nintendo who had the idea of creating the console. From a collectible card company, they tried to increase brand presence globally.

However, they also faced the reality that the western markets were hard to penetrate because the gaming industry at that time was in a slump with the shutdown of many companies. Toy stores also decided to not want to take part in the mess by stopping the distribution of video games.


“Just like dreaming of some girl you meet in High School, well Summer School, and then a couple years later your paths cross and you get to experience something you wanted to but didn’t get to”, that’s what a man says about playing retro games. Visit online retro game store for more interesting stuff!


They thought that the industry was a fad and would come to an end imminently. However, this didn’t stop Nintendo from trying. The company made a proper plan to gain back trust of consumers. They came up with a few brilliant ideas.

First, they negotiated with the stores in relation to unsold consoles. The stores were interested in the idea of selling unsold items back to the company. Second, they created R.O.B., a peripheral that could be used together with 2 of the games.

Later on, the company changed name to NES and released their first console with super Mario Bros. which would become one of the most important games in history because it saved the industry from total collapse. What are the best NES games? Everyone have their favorites, but here are our top picks:

Best NES Games: Still Fun To Play Today


1. Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros

Super Mario means a lot to video game development because it was introduced back when the industry was on the verge of crashing down. It has become part of our cultural lexicon. Even those who didn’t grow up in the 90s have heard about this game. It might not have the best graphics, but they were great for the period when it made its appearance. Super Mario made its debut on 13th September 1985.

Following the success of consoles like Atari, the industry began to face challenges associated with the large number of consoles released at that time. People had way too many choices for playing games, which led to over saturation.

Those consoles also had their own collection of games, which reduced the fun in playing with others. Imagine buying an expensive console only to find out that your friends buy others with games you have never played before.

It will be hard to keep up, right? It’s not a stretch to say that Super Mario Bros revived the interest people had in games after the trend of bad games almost killed the industry. This game is fun to play with its easy-to-understand storyline. It also has multiple worlds to explore. And the character can get stronger by eating mushrooms he finds along the way while bouncing on the enemies.

2. The Legend of Zelda

best old nintendo games

The Legend of Zelda was a massive success during its release. It was first launched on the Famicom, and followed the same path as Super Mario Bros. It made its way to the Nintendo Entertainment System just one year later.

The game took place in the fictional kingdom of Hyrule. Link as the main protagonist had a mission to save Princess Zelda who was held captive by Ganon. The game is fun because it combines some interesting elements, like exploration and adventure. The graphics are somewhat simplistic especially by today’s standards, but back then, they were considered awesome.

The player has the opportunity to go in any direction and explore the world that seems to have no end. The success of the original prompted the company to release a sequel known as Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The game caught people off guard with its side-scrolling platforming.

The good news is Nintendo listened to what fans wanted and brought back the original gameplay with the legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past, which to this day remains one of the best games of the franchise.

3. Kirby’s Dream Land

Kirby as a character can give Mario a run for his money. It’s not drowned out by other famous NES characters. But instead, they’ve been growing together to be what they are today. The endearing pink puffball is easily recognizable through its round shape and cute appearance. One of the biggest aspects of the game that’s not present in the original was the power to copy.

On this game, the character could inhale enemies and then spit them out as a means for attacking others. He could also swallow them, but it wouldn’t give him new abilities. The original Kirby was a masterpiece that laid the groundwork for his appearance in other games in the following years.

Kirby is portrayed as a lighthearted character although his cravings for dead enemies’ power make him look somewhat creepy. The pink color and round shape really have an impact on the impression of this character. People love him for his overload cuteness. Even the enemies in the game were approached in a sweet way rather than scary.

The graphics are reminiscent of what was popular back then. With the limitation of Game Boy’s monochromatic screen, the developer still managed to make him and the settings colorful.

4. Tetris

Tetris is among the most recognizable games ever. The simple layout and rules don’t make it any less challenging. The player needs to line up the blocks falling from above. Every horizontal line created after the blocks falling into place will instantly disappear. The more rows you can clear, the longer it takes to lose the game. But if you keep filling up to the top, it will be game over in no time.

This game looks easy, but it’s in fact not. You have to think how to line the blocks perfectly to fill the empty spaces. Tetris is more than just a game. It’s a tool for boosting cognitive skills. Playing this game on a regular basis might have an impact on cognitive learning.

Alexey Pajitnov is the person behind the creation of this game. He had always had fascination with puzzle games before getting an idea to develop the game. Pentominoes inspired him a lot and they became a basis for Tetris. From pentominoes, he scaled them down to geometric shapes composed of 4 blocks known as tetrominoes. Next he learned how to arrange them in a playfield.

The pieces filled up the area in a matter of seconds, so he found a way to make the game last longer, which was to clear a row when a full line was made.

5. Super Contra

Super Contra was released as an arcade game back in 1988. The game features side-scrolling platforming and two main protagonists, Lance Bean and Bill Rizer. They were asked to save the world against foreign invaders.

Not long after, the game was ported onto the NES. This and the original both had a few rereleases for different platforms. Contra has a high level of difficulty, but the multiplayer mode makes it easier. Besides, it also features unlimited continues which really help your way of beating off the enemies.

It’s not the length of the game that contributes to its difficulty, but how easy for the characters to die. You must avoid shots fired by the enemies and they’re often very packed, so there’s little chance to escape. Well, you’ll figure out how to work around them by playing it more and more. 

6. Duck Hunt

A game doesn’t have to be sophisticated to be memorable. Duck Hunt is an example that simple can be fun. All you have to do is shoot down ducks flying up to the sky. The longer you wait, the more likely they would escape. Once you’ve shot enough birds, you can proceed to the next round.

The difficulty increases with each round. Higher rounds have birds moving faster, so it will be harder to lock the target. The number of ducks you’ve managed to kill is displayed at the bottom of the screen. If you fail to meet the number necessary to continue the game, it’s over.

There are 3 modes available. Game A is the easiest as it releases one duck at a time. Meanwhile, Game B launches 2 very close together. Game C is slightly different. There are no ducks on this mode, but instead, you must shot down flying clays. The modes that feature ducks are more challenging for an obvious reason, the movement is unpredictable.

Meanwhile, the clays on Mode C follow a trajectory. You can suspect where they will fly towards. Another thing that makes the game interesting is the special gun-styled control. You can point it at the screen and wait for the ducks to come out of the bush at any time.

FAQs – Most Popular NES Games


1. How to play NES games?

To play NES games, you should by an official console. There is no need to restore the broken NES you bought years ago. Nintendo has done the job for you by releasing the new NES Classic Edition. It’s a downsized version of the old console.

Design-wise, it looks a lot like the original except it appears smaller this time. And you don’t have to worry about cartridges because the games come preloaded onto the system.

2. Are they full games?

The new console has full games, not just trials. So if you can’t wait to revel in nostalgia with the games you played growing up, just buy the new console from Nintendo. It has people’s favorite classics like the Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. 3, and much more.

3. What are the best-selling NES games?

To no surprise, Super Mario Bros. snatch the first position. It has a huge impact in popular culture. It has also become a mainstay classic thanks to exciting gameplay and advanced graphics for the period it was released. It has been sold more than 40 million units around the world.

Duck Hunt has also sold a bunch. The game might feel outdated in today’s video game scene, but when it was released, it was such a hit. Players were thrilled to the idea of using the zapper extension to shoot down the flying ducks. Needles to say, the game is iconic. Tetris also makes an appearance on this list.

It’s not hard to see how this extremely popular game would rank high among other games. It’s not only popular on the NES, but also other platforms. It has sold over 170 copies to date. Other NES games that have sold millions include the Legend of Zelda, Super Mario 2, Super Mario 3, and Excitebike.

Summary – Best NES Games


When it comes to the best NES games, there are a few titles that you might have heard before. It’s not just the games, but the console is equally iconic, no wonder the company tried to revive it by releasing a new version of the console. The original NES was released when the graphics were still developing. Hence, the games are representative of what used to be popular. 8-bit games aren’t bad in any way.

There’s something special about them although the graphics are nothing like you see in modern games. Even with all the limitations, NES games have proven to be timeless. People still talk about them although they are decades old. Tetris, for instance, has been ported onto various platforms.

There’s nothing outdated about the game despite the fact that it was created in the mid 80s. The same goes for Super Mario. It has also received updated graphics with the release of Super Mario 3D Land. Seeing how our favorite retro games are ported onto modern devices with improved graphics is such a joyful experience, but pixelated graphics of the old NES games have their own charm that’s hard to replace.

By the way, we’ve just reviewed 6 favorite NES games. There are actually a lot more released on the system during its life span. You can find about 715 licensed games with 677 of which making it to North America.

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