Since the NES has turned 35 and is almost lost in the crowd of tons of flashy consoles, we decided to do something very special by building a list of the best classic Nintendo games that we were fond of and that we can still easily buy, play and enjoy. For decades, the Nintendo consoles have evolved so do the games. On the contrary, if you are one of the few who grew up back then and played these games, you’d love them. This list contains the most popular, classic old Nintendo games and all of these were really a rage back then, now and shall remain Nintendo classics in the future.
#20 Super Sprint
if you were lucky enough to grow up in the arcades in the late 80s, you without a doubt played super sprint. It was developed by Tenjin in 1986 ported in 89 top-down stationary camera films developed for NES. The entire track was laced with amazing features including:
- Trying obstacles
- Great sound effects
- Amazing retro music
All these features were rare to find in a single game in just the right places.
#19 Metal Storm
A little gem from Irem released in 1994 developed by Tamtex and published by Irem for the Nintendo Entertainment System. There are few chances that many people have been playing this for now. Honestly from a Nintendo fan perspective, this is a very interesting platformer where gravity is your friend. You can launch your mech from the bottom to the top with a touch of a button. While your enemies then react in the same fashion.
A unique platformer that requires quick thinking, a bit of puzzle solving and just enough action made this game so memorable. All these awesome game features make it deserve the number 19 spot on our list of best old Nintendo games.
Some of its amazing features include:
- Great background music
- Quick actions
- A very unique platform that was rare during the early 90s
#18 Batman NES System
How can it be that the first time we saw Batman in a video game. It turned out to be one of hundreds of gamers’ all-time favorites. Batman NES Cartridge only was released in 89 by Sunsoft.
Some of the best gaming details include:
- Amazing graphics
- Excellent cutscenes
- Powerful controls
- Great physics
- Unlimited weaponry
It was the first time ever on this console that Batman has a whole host of weapons to choose from as well as the ability to jump off of walls. A game that truly blew our minds in 1989. We placed at the number 18th spot and is a gem for any Batman fan to have this game in his kit.
#17 DuckTales Nintendo
So can you answer this: what do you get when you mix classic 90s Disney cartoons with the platforming Giants at Capcom? You find yourself sitting on the couch and saying to yourself “this is the most fun I’ve ever had” with Scrooge McDuck and don’t think this is the only Capcom classic we have? There were Chippendales Rescue Rangers tailspin and tons of others. We mean the list goes on all done by Capcom.
It was the fact that everybody just absolutely loved this cartoon and it is still very popular. Even now if you ask around you’ll find that everybody loves this game whoever has played it a few times. You can’t tell from the cartoon many never would have guessed but man for an old geezer who needs a cane to walk around this duck is badass.
#16 Blaster Master
Do we see a trend here in our list of retro Nintendo games from our good friends at Sunsoft. We sure do. Blaster Master was released in 1988. This is the famous blaster master featuring the most screwed up intro on a game you’d have ever seen before in a long time. But made up for it with the amazing gameplay.
Some of the best features of blaster master are featuring multiple elements of gameplay. You can easily do side-scrolling in a vehicle while shooting. The dude can hop out of the vehicle then go on foot then it becomes a top-down shooter. Where you have to solve puzzles, find items and kill enemies. Did we not mention how good the music is? It has tons of replay value. This game is incredible, rounding out my number 16 spot on our list of retro games.
#15 Adventure Island
Who doesn’t love the big fat half-naked Islander wearing a baseball hat? He throws hammers, his feet move faster than lightning, his jump would piss off any basketball player and what not. What an amazing gaming experience with this popular arcade game.
To cut it short, Adventure Island is awesome and without a doubt this game is highly addictive. Its controls are spot on and the music does a great job of reeling you in and keeping you intact with the whole island. Many would remember that the ladder levels proved to be extremely difficult for them as kids where they’d have found themselves spending hours trying to beat it. So big thank you adventure island for all the memories.
#14 Maniac Mansion
Those crazy sci-fi fanatics at LucasArts in 1990 brought a crazy game to the NES called maniac mansion. Maniac mansion was available on other consoles and even PC prior to this but getting it onto the NES hardware was not that easy. The game code had to be completely rewritten actually from the ground up. A modified version of the SCUMM scum engine had to be written which later helped the studio for new adventure games as well.
The battery backup was now available to save games. A point-and-click adventure game that is just so eerie and creepy; all the way around each player in the game has their own unique soundtrack song.
Nintendo’s strict policy on violence haltered so many awesome things about this game except for the microwaving of the hamster. However, at least for the first 250,000 copies released in the US, Nintendo freaked out after they finally found out something like this had slipped by them. They demanded this be changed now the second run of these being sold in the US this feature was then removed.
The very first time ever we saw the representation of a mouse pointer on the screen. So if you got a copy where you can microwave the hamster you really got yourself a rare deal. There this game rounds out by number 14 slot with its awesomeness among the best Nintendo games of all time.
#13 Code Masters – Micro Machines
In 1991 Code Masters blew up the top-notch racing genre with a little gem called Micro Machines. This unique game had awesome gameplay. It would allow you to race in multiple real-life avenues like swimming pools, work tables, backyards, picnic tables just to name a few. Each vehicle had its own unique handling characteristics as well as speeds and abilities that came at a very unique all completely gold cards – head opening on the back side in a switch that would enable it to be used on the Nintendo in America or be used on the European Nintendo systems. As kids growing up we couldn’t get enough of this game. Even today we are still playing this game. What an incredible franchise, a wonderful game definitely deserves a spot on our list.
#12 R.C. Pro-am
Growing up as a young boy in the late 80s and early 90s we all loved two things: remote-control cars and video games. Eventually when this game came out game-fans were totally floored with this amazing racing video game developed by Rare and was published by Nintendo for North America in February 1988, and then in Europe on April 15 of the same year.
When it was released it was a rage and everyone wanted this game with racing remote control cars around a track. It had a very unique top down but stationary third-person type of a camera collecting parts on the track. With an upgrade of your vehicle as well as going around and collecting letters to spell out the words Nintendo Rare would then go on and develop some of the most prolific games in our history. This was the introduction to them for many new fans as well, we loved them then we love them now.
#11 Final Fantasy
The year is 1987, Japanese video game developer Squaresoft is on the brink of bankruptcy. The lead developers in the company stating that they’re going to release one more title this will be their final game. It will also be a fantasy role-playing game–hence the title Final Fantasy for the Nintendo Entertainment System released December 18, 1987.
This is the game that allowed us all to have a Final Fantasy franchise.
This title pulled Squaresoft out of the hole back into the positive slot where they then continued to create one of the biggest video game franchises on the planet. Final Fantasy for the NES was the first role-playing game.
This game also introduced the newness to the domain of Nintendo Games. Some of its features were:
- The new characterization and uniqueness
- Absolutely fresh and new design
- Marvelous physics
- Mesmerizingly fantastic gameplay
- Amazing weaponry
- Kind of first RPG game of its kind
- The phenomenal music which was absolutely stunning all the way around
An RPG that set the standard for every single one to follow. Thank You Final Fantasy with your swords and your fire which later paved the way for many new games to follow in the footsteps.
Who doesn’t love smashing around in jeeps in the hot desert with 50 Cal. and your grenades taking out enemies barriers, blowing up homes to rescue POWs and of course the accidental roadkills. One of the best co-op experiences on the NES which was very rare back then. For the first time, we could all experience this in Jackal, released in 1986 by Konami. This game is unbelievably addicting with some incredible music, great gameplay and incorporating so many elements that we all just loved as kids in a vehicle shooting game. Download this NES game and play it on other consoles like DS, Wii and Switch etc.
The whole war desert comes to the landscape. Nintendo fans just fell in love with this title and still play to this day. So if you’re looking for a great two player co-op this title is the cream of the crop definitely look into it.
When you think of earlier launched titles for the Nintendo you think about Mario but don’t for one second bypass or not think about Excitebike. That was the game that debuted on the original release of the Nintendo in Japan in 1985. This was the first game many of us ever played on the Nintendo that incorporated a motorized vehicle trying to race as fast as you can to the finish line while maintaining temperature on your engine. Incorporating A for gas and B for a Boost; trying to maintain the right speed to hit the jumps just right to fly the farthest.
This is a staple of the Nintendo franchise. An amazing game, highly addictive gameplay that it gave you a track editor and you can download it this amazing Nintendo game now.
Yes, you can create and race on your own custom made tracks. This game was ahead of its time and how can any of us forget the epic first place amazing music it had.
#8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II
This is another co-op giant by Konami–Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 the arcade game. We know you have a few choices of turtle games on this console but for most of us this one is the best on our list.
The game is also highly addictive ‘beat em up’ style of gameplay. This is modeled after the Turtles arcade game. It really just doesn’t get any better than this fighting as a ninja turtle Leonardo, Donatello Michelangelo or Raphael beating.
This is not at all those foot soldiers while we pause for a second. On the contrary, this game is so badass that even Pizza had its own ad in it.
#7 Punch Out
Thanks to the 1976 blockbuster Rocky featuring Sylvester Stallone. The whole boxing scene kind of took front-seat now watching Mike Tyson punch Paparazzi and take people’s ears out and put aside however you feel about them today. You have to admit that back in the day he was quite a force to be reckoned with. The boxing champion influenced Nintendo to create Mike Tyson’s punch-out featuring you as the boxing noob Little Mac going up against heavy heavy competition to fight your way all the way to Mike Tyson. We also see the pudgy Mario in there as the referee.
This game required memorization in order to detect at just the right time using the select button to do a power hit. It took most of us forever to figure that one out and some of the funniest one-liners in the game for its time. Let’s not forget about the direct ripoff of the epic scene of rocky running except little Matt Keyes he’s wearing pink.
How could we have a top Nintendo classic list of games and not have Zelda on it. Yes we’ve played Legend of Zelda all the way through to 90 and beyond. Many of us also completed Zelda 2 and the Adventures of Lincoln as well. Most of us would agree that Zelda 2 just really was a standout title. Back in the 80s and 90s, incorporating so many different elements you had top-down adventure maps’ then you had the 2d side-scrolling element. You can compare today’s elements and understand just being able to jump was such a huge thing that really stood out as a title that took our imagination to all new levels.
Just remembering those dark cave levels that we always loved exploring deserts, landscapes, wooded areas and even towns. One of the games you know you can just walk right up to a checkpoint and she offers you a bow bow well they’re called women of the night in more PG terms.
This one is another co-op classic. This one was also developed by Rare in 1991. We think everyone can agree Battletoads was one of the hardest games on the planet. This game is a dream for any beat-em-up lover. As you are able to grab weapons and attack opponents with those weapons that you pick up. It incorporated some incredible gameplay features like ram horns punching them til you smack them so hard with your mega fist. It’s a wonderful game. It’s highly addictive.
But just be prepared to eat crap most of the time because this game is brutal. First game ever played where the final boss is a busty bad chick. You’d not really want to beat her up, you know well at least not with the fists. Maybe she wants to get some food or something, maybe she wants to hang out. Besides, listen to the epic music it came with.
#4 Double Dragon II: The Revenge
A big fat acclaim blast in the past, this is Double Dragon 2. Of all the the Double Dragons this one is our absolute favorite. We have no problem admitting that for me just came out of the gameplay. Everything just worked so well, the buttons worked, the gameplay worked and the amazing knee-kicks also worked well. Many fans would remember how incredible its music was and well loved the sound effects.
On a personal note, we loved the music and everything else about this title. We also noticed that for the very first time the physics in the game came with flying back and hitting walls and all that sort of things including throwing weapons at each other. All these effects made this game pretty awesome. You might also remember that if you could time your jumps right you do those amazing knee hits. Many gamers who mastered it tried so hard that most of the time they’d just go through the entire level with doing nothing but knee hits. If you did not try that before, try that now.
Besides, it also poses a big challenge for you as the Double Dragon franchise is one to be reckoned with in the beat’em up genre of games. It’s definitely a game that created our love for beta modes. So Double Dragon 2 you are number four on our list for being one of the all-time best Nintendo games ever created.
#3 Kirby’s Adventure
What do you get when you take that lovable little Pink Fluff ball and throw him into a platforming giant of a game -Kirby’s Adventure for the Nintendo Entertainment System. We are telling you this is one of our favorite platforming games. Imagine all the cool things Kirby can do: he can fly, he can spit air that kills people, he can take people and swallow them and take their ability to use it against them.
In most of the games you just kill him and move on. But this has so many cool things about it. You can easily tell this game was way ahead of its time with amazing happy-go-lucky music and all-around fun. There were minigames galore including the famous crane game you can’t go wrong with that Kirby’s Adventure.
#2 Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario Brothers 3 deserves this rank on our list for many reasons. Few of its never-been-before features included:
- revolutionary gameplay
- Awesome graphics
- Best sound effects
All these features come pretty advanced in the respective domains. We have nothing but good things to say about this game as this game was actually that good for its time and even still is. For us this is the best platforming game on this console. That game looked like it didn’t belong on the console when it came out.
It looked amazing by this point in the game Nintendo really figured out how to take every last bit and just push the hardware to its limits. If a big fanboy were to pick just one Mario title on this console as the favorite –this would be it.
We remember how Nintendo fans were buying this game when it was brand new in the stores that time, you’d keep staring at the cover art the entire time while driving home eyes wide.
Of all the retro classic, finest and best games released by Nintendo Contra is the top best Nintendo game of all time. Contra was released by that video game production powerhouse Konami in 1987. We all have spent more time playing this game than any other Nintendo classic game from our game libraries. This game is a pure side-scrolling gymnast. You got side-scrolling, power-ups, somersault jumps all wrapped up in an urban warfare setting. This is a pick up and play button mash running gun all the way to the very end.
We love the gameplay, the music, the sound, the weapons and the laser. There is no denying that this is a cult classic title, one of the best in Nintendo’s classic library. It definitely goes down as our top favorite NES game of all time.
Some of the Nintendo related FAQs:
Which one is the best Nintendo console?
We have ranked the best Nintendo consoles of all time since its first ever release:
- Super Nintendo – released in 1992
- Game Boy released in 1989
- Nintendo Entertainment System was released in 1986. Although not the best console, it was a rage back then and put the foundation for many to come.
- Nintendo 64 was released in 1996. It was a dream console as it was 64-bit and the 3D gaming experience was just pure gold.
- Wii – released in 2006- This is one good Nintendo console but not the best as it was advertised and many fans hoped for.
Which console is better: Nintendo Switch or PS5 or Xbox X?
Nintendo Switch comes quite cheaper with Nintendo exclusives which is great to save a lot of money. While PS5 and Xbox X are obviously better for many reasons, you can enjoy the same with Nintendo Switch or much of it. But still, the PS5 and Xbox X are on another superior level.
Can I Play NES games on other consoles?
Most of the games in the 80s were cartridge only. But now they are available in different formats that you can enjoy on later Nintendo consoles. You can even convert them. So download these retro Nintendo games and experience the fun and excitement like never before.
Is the Nintendo Switch worth buying in 2021?
You have a handheld console to keep around with you to play NES, SNES, Exclusives and tons of free games. Besides, Nintendo games also come in packages like 200 games in one. You can find these Games Multi Cartridge For Nintendo DS 2DS 3DS NDSi on eBay as well. They work with different Nintendo consoles with some tweaking. Nintendo Switch is a different console and a lot more adorable once you realize its potential.
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