Retro Gaming: Top 10 Old School NES Games.

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Look at that family! Look how happy they are! I saw that picture and decided to break out the old Nintendo and play some of my old games.  Did it make me happy…sure it did… it also made me see red and reminded me of the countless times I had punched myself in the leg, swore at my mom and spazzed out like a maniac because my game froze or I paid 50 hard earned dollars for an unplayable pile of shit. Anywho I’ve been doing a good amount of retro gaming lately, rediscovering my love for all my favorite games while reminding myself how maddening NES games could be.  I decided to come up with my top ten favorite games to play for the NES.  I’m not saying these are the 10 best definitive games for the NES because it wasn’t possible for me to play every game, etc… But rather these are the games I poured the most time into and got something out of it rather than fits of blind rage.

Honorable Mention: Pro-Wrestling, Metriod, Kid Icarus, Star Tropics, Deje Vu, Ducktales, Rygar, Metal Gear, Dragon Warrior 3, Maniac Mansion.

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10. Baseball Stars: Baseball Stars was one of (if not) the first sports game with an abundance of data memory which allowed you to create a team, players, track stats, and standings.  It also added an RPG element to it by having you gain money for winning thus upgrading players.  If you remember, data storing in a Nintendo cartridge was an inexact science. I can remember a specific time when I was deep into a season with a created team of all my friends at the time and the whole thing got erased mid-season.  To say I threw a shit fit would be an understatement as this may have been one of those times in my childhood where I threw a perfect standing dropkick to my Nintendo.  Needless to say this was the greatest baseball and maybe sports game of my childhood.  You could say SNK hit a homerun with Baseball Stars…amitrite!?

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9. MegaMan 2: To be honest I don’t even think I played the first Mega-Man, I may have skipped straight to part 2. Evereyone I knew who played Nintendo had Mega-Man 2 and this was also when we all started to develop ulcer  as young children.  Mega-Man 2 was an incredibly difficult game I did eventually beat and I was damn proud of that.  Everyone has played MegaMan 2 at some point in their life and if you ask me you always start with Bubble Man.

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8. Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest: When I think about this game my mind immediately bee-lines to an image I couldn’t scrub from my 10 year old mind.  That image is of some dickhole dressed up as Simon Belmont on the cover of Nintendo Power holding Dracula’s f*cking head.  It was equal parts awesome and frightening and no way would that cover fly today. This game was popular due to a non-linear explorative world, which has been compared to Nintendo’s famous Metroid series.  This game had it’s flaws but was damn addictive and paved the way for a game that would capture people’s brains down the road in Castlevania Symphony of the Night.

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7. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!: Never forget the exclamation points are part of the title.  Everything about this game was awesome; graphics, tight game play, fun characters, cheat codes.  Much like the Konami Code, 0073735963 has been etched into my brain until the end of time. Other fun things about this game were the nuances of the fighters like being able to take down Bald Bull during his charge or King Hippo lossing his short with a shot to gut, etc.  It’s amazing how before the internet things like the Tyson Code and how to beat certain characters just got around by word of mouth. To really make it in this game you had to have razor sharp reflexes and I remember beating Tyson in “The Dream Match” was very rewarding back in the day.

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6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game:  I couldn’t afford to run the table on the arcade cabinet of this game so when this game finally got ported to the NES in 1990, I was a happy boy.  Obviously the graphics didn’t translate but I didn’t care, especially if you remember how disappointing the first ninja turtles game was.  This was a classic beat em up but with the added elements of the Ninja Turtles and their various villians, this was a staple of my childhood.

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5. River City Ransom: Why this game hasn’t been updated by the new consoles like X-Box and PS3 is beyond me.  This was a beat em up in the vain of Double Dragon but with an RPG element that made it so much more fun.  It was also one of the first open world games that let you explore, collect items, etc that was also a beat em up.  You roamed around River City beating up gangs, reading books, gaining fighting skills, taking showers, eating sushi, who knew i’d be so much fun to grind in a beat em game.  BARF!

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4. The Legend of Zelda: Arguably the best video game franchise of all time, and this game here kicked it all off.  Everyone remembers the golden cartridge, typing in Zelda for the second quest, bombing secret caves, Gannon, everything about this game sticks with you.  This was also the first game to use battery backed memory which gave you the ultimate gift of saving your game and not having to start all the way at the beginning. That really was a huge appeal of this game at the time, being able to pick up where you left off.  All the elements of this game were perfect, open world, tight game play, a challenge but a playable one that didn’t send your arms flailing around embarrassingly every time you died.

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3. Ninja Gaiden 2: These games were damn near impossible to beat but damnit I….I came close so many times.  Before the advent of game genie (which by the way in retrospect looked like your Nintendo games were wearing a golden thong), you had no choice but to grind it out and if you died you started back at the beginning and just tried again.  What stuck out most of about the Ninja Gaiden games were the cinematics that played between levels.  The cinematics looked great for the time and it was an interesting story I was totally invested in as a kid.  The Dragon Sword of Chaos improved on the first Ninja Gaiden game and was a staple of my childhood for many years.

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2. Contra: Equally as popular as Contra is the Contra Code (Specifically known as the Konami Code) and if someone told you they beat the game without the code that person is a dirty liar and never to be trusted.  Contra was the first run and gun action game that I ever played and it set the bar for so many games to come.  After beating the game with the konami code it then became a matter of how quickly could I beat the game.

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1. Super Mario Brothers 3:  I played through this game recently and was blown away by how good it still is.  (Although I was pretty pist when I got up to the giant level, went to save and realized there was no such function) No game when I was a kid had as much buzz as this game and not only did it meet the hype, it surpassed it.  The original super Mario brothers game was famous because it came with the Nintendo and everyone had it, but it was a repetitive and aggravating mess at times.  The second game was an import of a Japanese game called Doki Doki Panic and really doesn’t count as a sequel because it was never intended to be, they just plastered the Super Mario moniker on the game for a cash grab.  The third game is where they got it right and it’s near perfect.

So that’s my list, I’m sure you read it and think I’m an idiot because I didn’t include bubble bobble…well F*ck Bubble Bobble and make your own list. Just kidding, Bubble Bobble was cool.

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~ by ATOM on February 21, 2013.

One Response to “Retro Gaming: Top 10 Old School NES Games.”

  1. Mega Man 2 gave me nightmares!

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