Best NES Games – Happy 32nd birthday NES! We are not just celebrating various nostalgic moments that might have been spent by many “old” gamers along with this one old console.
As gamers as a whole, we celebrate a product that is a manifestation of dreams and the courage to enter into a strange and strange market at that time.
The first step for Nintendo to build a path for entry of the gaming industry, part of the mainstream entertainment business as we know it today.
We celebrate a product that is also one of the sources of inspiration for many developers who finally grew up and decided to create more cool ending games that we enjoy on platforms with hundreds of times the performance. We don’t just say happy birthday to a product.
For me personally, NES even feels more personal. When I was in elementary school, I was a father – a person who had always associated me with technology stutter and did not understand much about trends outside who introduced this console.
Still struggling with the “1001 in 1” cartridge that contains a lot of games with taste but different forms, NES makes me personal, falls in love with the game industry.
Just like millions of other people, NES opens up a world that has never been known to exist, a pleasant world with infinite probabilities. An opportunity to play a role as a hero who tries to save the world from destruction.
The experience that ultimately made many of us, survive to become gamers regardless of the aging age.
To celebrate the release of NES on the American market which ended up being the same console that we continue to play, let us throw a top list article containing NES games that we think are personal, the best of all time.
Table of Contents
Best NES Games of All the Time in 2023
1. Batman: The Video Game
It has become a dream for all young children, it seems, to be able to act as superheroes, eradicate crime, and return to save the city from any chaos that almost happens. NES really made that happen.
Being one of the most favorite characters in our childhood, it’s no wonder how excited we were when the cartridge rental in those days contained Batman: The Video Game. Hit every villain you meet on the screen while jumping from one platformer to another, Batman:
The Video Game might look “junk” now compared to the variations that Batman can do in the Arkham series, for example. 20 years ago, this dark knight’s action could no longer be more perfect.
Most NES games can be enjoyed with other friends. Some carry this multiplayer system in turn. So instead of playing together directly on one screen, Player 2 must wait until Player 1 kills before being able to plunge into action.
Therefore, it is not surprising that multiplayer games, especially competitive ones, are quite popular at that time. One of the best? Of course Bomberman. Caught in one room with so many walls to destroy, Bomberman always invites laughter.
Especially if death occurs not because of your friend’s smart actions, but because of your own ignorance. When you casually put a bomb with full power in front of your face then forget to think of a way out. 1 second full of regret.
Kick rotating kicks, somersaults in the air, until the attacks of the balls glow in two directions, this is what you might think about when talking about fighting games. In the past, especially in the NES era, games with martial arts themes like this were far simpler in different formats.
That’s right, we are talking about Karateka! Iconic music will accompany the action of your main character who must fight to defeat every enemy who faces a super simple Karate action.
There is no absurd cool movement like the current fighting game. You can only rely on ordinary punches and kicks, for upper and lower body parts, while trying to keep your distance. Simple? Most gamers who had tasted this game never seemed to finish it.
4. Sky Destroyer
1942? Most NES gamers seem to have definitely tasted the NES game that took you to the battle of the second world war with the memorable iconic music. But for us personally, the best and coolest airplane game in the NES era seems to still deserve to be carried by one name – Sky Destroyer.
In the midst of a weak 8 bit NES limitation, Sky Destroyer comes with a three-dimensional perspective – where you have to shoot down planes that fly close to the screen. Cool again? There is a shift day to night, complete with boss battles and the action of throwing torpedoes into the ship in this game.
One that you might not realize, you actually act as “bad guy” in the Sky Destroyer. So true, the plane you are using is a plane belonging to Japanese soldiers who are trying to “clean up” the air and sea from allied forces – who are always protagonists. A perspective that is very rarely found in the gaming industry today.
All your childhood memories seem ready to come back when you play the Excitebike. No need to wait until you taste these two-dimensional racing with its various obstacles, you just need to spend a little time tasting the opening music that is so iconic and not easily forgotten.
Moving from one bump, the challenge, the overflow of sand to other obstacles while trying to stay on the motorbike is just a little attraction of this game. Who still remembers how you have to press a certain button so you can quickly climb onto the motor when it falls?
Or when you have to deal with a hot motor when trying to increase speed a little? Or when you start experimenting and creating your own difficult tracks while asking other friends to test them? It’s pretty amazing how a game as old as Excitebike is able to offer the sensation of racing games that you might no longer find at this time.
Punch-Out is a super simple game. There are opponents before your eyes, and you have only one goal – making sure your two fists are effective enough to subdue each of them. Cool again?
It cannot be reached by simply pressing the button as quickly as possible and hoping that each one of them produces certain damage. Punch-Out is a game about strategy, timing, and observation.
That you have to read the pattern of enemy movements, avoid, take the gap to attack, and then refrain from doing anything outside the plan. A strategy that will be enough to get you to complete this one game. Yes at least, until you meet Mike Tyson.
7. Metal Gear
Metal Gear is in this low position? You might confuse. One of the best stealth action game franchises ever in the gaming industry is not even able to break the top 20 on our list this time. For a moment, before you start taking torches and axes, we have our own explanation.
The only thing we remember from Metal Gear first at the NES is just a matter of gameplay. Where in a two-dimensional format, you can act, hide, and run from one screen to another. So, where are the drawbacks? Because of the gameplay side, this classic series is not something that can be considered fantastic.
That Kojima’s power is in the story and plot twist that indeed became the basis for the subsequent Metal Gear Solid games. But for an innocent child in elementary school who hasn’t even been able to pee properly and correctly at that time, Metal Gear feels like a half-hearted action game that is not as exciting as Contra. At least in our minds at that time. Damn, I think I should replay this game.
8. Master Fighter II
Oh, don’t imagine the first Street Fighter in the past like the Street Fighter V that Capcom is currently planning. Don’t imagine you will meet with a myriad of characters to choose from, complex mechanics with bars here and there, super skills, to smooth motion animations.
Street Fighter at that time, still felt very, very simple. What made him special at that time was only the fact that he was not as brave as Karateka, for example. Each character has their own special attack, foot or hand, complete with character designs that seem ready to crush you without any difficulty at all. Being able to do Hadouken with a rigid NES controller can be a special achievement.
But it must be admitted, fighting with other friends on Street Fighter is indeed an exciting experience that can’t be forgotten just like that.
After researching this game further? How surprised we were after learning that Capcom had never officially released this game for NES. That’s right, what we are playing is Master Fighter II – a bootleg product from China. Still, ABUGETTTT !!
9. Yi-Ar Kungfu
Not as complex as Street Fighter II, and not as simple as Karateka, we meet with another single-player fighting game genre that seems to have been tested by many NES gamers in Indonesia at that time.
Why? Because Yi-Ar Kungfu, regardless of whatever name he is carrying, is always a game available in the pirated compilation “XXXX in 1” which became the standard format at the time.
Playing as a Shaolin fighter with limited movements, including just jumping, you have to fight with enemy variants who all have different weapons, movements, and range of attacks.
It feels a little unfair at first to see the main character present empty-handed. But with a little extra practice, this Yi-Ar Kungfu and its iconic sound effects are a childhood part that is hard to forget.
10. Ghost n Goblins
We have never finished this game, you might never finish it. Just like what happened to us, you may have given up and no longer want to continue Ghost and Goblins after tasting this game for a few minutes. For small children who at that time intend to look for “fun” action games, Ghost and Goblins is the saddest nightmare you can imagine.
Solid gameplay mechanics with a variety of cool weapons, armor systems that can break, unique monsters, and music at that time will probably make gamers fall in love.
The problem? This Capcom concoction game is one of the hardest games of all time. The level of difficulty is enough to make many gamers have to give up at least on Stage 2.
11. Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest
Best NES Games – We might be able to argue about the Castlevania series which deserves to be called the best series throughout the franchise that seems, indeed no longer intends to be turned on by Konami. For those of us who know him from the second series, Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest is an NES game that you should try.
We ourselves never finished it because the puzzle that could be said was so complex and almost without the clue that he stretched out. But we remember about memorable music and difficult gameplay mechanics. Using a whip to destroy the skull while not hesitating to eat chicken from the ruins of the building beam? Hell yeah!
12. Tiny Toons
NES is a great paradise for two gaming genres – action platformer and beat’em up. Most popular games at that time took these two formats, even though they offered different themes.
One of the best we’ve ever tasted? Tiny Toons. That’s right, this small version of the cartoon with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Tazmanian Devil turned out to be memorable and difficult to forget.
Not just moving from left to right while ensuring yourself to survive, the main character you use – Bugs Bunny can also turn into other characters with special abilities each via items that he found on the trip. Turning into a Tazmanian Devil, for example, allows you to become a small hurricane to destroy enemies instantly. Combined with iconic Looney Tunes music,
13. Mighty Final Fight
Most of you might know Double Dragon or Final Fight better when we talk about the most popular beat’em up games in the NES era. But for us? There is one other extra game that is cool, but it may often be missed by many people. That’s right, we are talking about Mighty Final Fight!
Simply put, you can call it a Final Fight – complete with three main characters: Guy, Cody, and Haggar but in super-deformed (SD) form. Each of these characters comes with a different move set of ordinary attacks and special moves. With a limited life, it takes an extra struggle to subdue this game, especially with all the unique bosses he offers.
14. Wild Gunman
Best NES Games – Zapper? Does this one name immediately trigger certain memory in your brain? That’s right, we are talking about enhancements that seem to be owned by NES gamers in the past for an extraordinarily revolutionary gaming experience at that time.
Without any additional sensors, Zapper functions like a “regular” gun that you aim at and shoots at your television screen. Some exclusive games that make full use of this device were released, such as Duck Hunt, for example. But for personal? The charm of the best Zapper game is still offered by Wild Gunman!
Acting like a cowboy who was involved in shooting action against various forms of bandits, Wild Gunman feels more difficult and dynamic than Duck Hunt because of their ability to “scout” you. Moreover, each enemy cowboy also comes with different characteristics. How fast can you shoot?
15. Legend of Zelda
The beginning of everything. The beginning of the franchise which ended up being one of Nintendo’s main strengths, even today. Legend of Zelda does offer one of the most complex action experiences at that time.
Not just hitting the enemy blindly, you are faced with a variety of items, puzzles, and various challenges that appear from one screen to another. Although he never finished this first series until the end, the unique sensations that he offered compared to the NES game at that time must be recognized, quite inherent to this day.
16. Ice Climber
Screwed, tense, and fun at the same time, these three words seem to describe the experience of playing the Ice Climber. As the name suggests, this game is actually simple – just asking you to destroy the existing ice pieces and reach the highest peak that is there. Difficulties arise from a variety of enemies and slippery roads that are ready to make you misstep if you don’t watch out.
Play it with other friends? This is where the new Ice Climber looks interesting! You can play this game cooperatively or competitively. The option to prevent your friends from reaching the top faster than you sometimes produce a pleasant atmosphere, but it also creates its own frustration.
Best NES Games – How many of you have completed Galaga? We are honest, never finishing this one shooter game until the end. Though rationally, there should be nothing difficult with a game that simply asks you to shoot straight and avoid the various attacks of this approaching alien ship. Typical gunshots seem to be the thing that makes Galaga memorable.
The other coolest moment? When you let the plane that you are using now kidnapped and saved the alien plane in the back row. And once you succeed in freeing him? BOOM! You always play two planes at the same time, which offers extra firepower that can be said to be quite significant. Um … why do many of us never finish this one game huh?
18. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project
In the NES era, most of the adaptation games of cartoons, series, or big screens ended up being projects that were quite interesting to enjoy. Many developers also handle this giant franchise well, giving birth to action games that are hard to ignore. Which one deserves the best category?
TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project. As one of the gamers who had tasted two previous series, the presence of this third series offers a more perfect experience. Animation of movement, enemy design, level design, and various appropriate actions make it one of the best cooperative multiplayer games in the NES era. The action of Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, and Michaelangelo is a classic series that cannot be ignored.
19. Ninja Gaiden
One of the hardest games of all time, this sentence that might go straight from your mouth when we talk about Ninja Gaiden. The modern version of Ninja Gaiden for the previous generation platform does position you in an action game that not only requires you to snatch a sword like a madman, but also survives, dodges, and utilizes a variety of weapons and attacks effectively.
The same thing can also conclude from the first series of Ninja Gaiden in the NES era first. The difference? He appeared with a very simple visual and a higher level of difficulty. That’s right, you don’t read it wrong, we call the difficulty level higher. The enemy continues to respawn, its position is almost impossible to avoid,
The game that asks you to act as a newspaper deliveryman? Have you ever imagined that in the modern era, can a concept like this be successful? In an era where video games are more focused on epic heroic stories where you act as a savior or just a character with a high level of popularity.
At Paperboy, you go around as a newspaper deliveryman who has to deliver newspapers to customers by trying to throw them right into their mailbox or door. Certainly not an easy trip, considering there are so many challenges that are ready to confront, from the Bulldogs that chase to the small hurricanes that either come from where. One of Nintendo’s iconic games, which, unfortunately, has never been tested in this modern era.
21. Double Dragon II
If we talk about one of the best beat-up games in the NES era, it’s almost impossible not to talk about Double Dragon at all. Acting as two martial arts experts who didn’t seem to hesitate to get past all the violent enemies to save a beautiful girl, there were many reasons that made Double Dragon look so attractive in those days.
Simple gameplay, okay multiplayer, and the opportunity to use weapons that you can take in the middle of the fight for extra damage is the main attraction. But the main reason is certainly more directed at the mere factor of pleasure. You just need to sit down and enjoy your full muscle journey in Double Dragon without the need to use the brain at all.
How many of you also gave up playing Megaman on the way? We are one of the gamers who point fingers. If there is one game that feels like it was made and formulated by Satan and perfected by the evil genie and then tested by bloodthirsty psychopaths who happen to still be living on earth, Megaman is that product!
This little blue robot is indeed fun to play, especially through the fact that you need to be quick to jump and shoot with high accuracy, even replace the right weapon to quickly destroy a variety of enemy variants. With extra challenges from existing design levels, Megaman tests you on every element. The problem? For those of us who were young at the time, this game was designed only for one thing in our eyes – making you dead.
23. Adventure Island
When the main character generally usually comes in cool, neat clothes, even with a little futuristic impression on it, Adventure Island might include a few of the games out there that actually come with contrasting character design.
You act as an overweight man who only wears underwear, throws an ax and tries to kill innocent animals for obscure purposes. Cool again? There are times when this fat man with only underwear ends up wearing a helmet and immediately riding on a skateboard for extra security. If this premise is still not enough to get your interest in tasting Adventure Island, we will have to raise our hands.
24. Guerrilla War
This is probably one of the most fun and memorable action games we’ve ever tasted at NES. Playing this game constantly every time we manage to rent it from an NES store in our small town, Guerrilla War which can also be played in multiplayer ends up being a super fun action game that will make your time pass by.
The concept is actually no different from most top-down shooter games, where you “only” have to kill every enemy you meet. But the cooperative multiplayer concept with a myriad of bullets that you have to watch out for complete with the enemy variants that you have to deal with become extra selling points of your own.
25. Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers
Chip & Dale also seems worthy of being included as one of the best television cartoon series adaptation games ever. The story of two squirrels with different personalities and various funny dialogues ends as one of the platformer games that will not only make you nervous but also curious. Why?
Because the unique gameplay concept centered on the implementation of the use of boxes as weapons and shelter shields actually really makes this game look possible to be solved. There are not too many enemies and a solid cooperative multiplayer concept also strengthens that impression.
But when you try to solve it? It always ends with one-two errors that really don’t need to happen, either because of your ignorance or just your fun friend who decides to throw the box at you for no good reason. One of the platformers we play most often first.
26. Zen Ninja
Zen Ninja? It’s not surprising that many of you have never tasted and enjoyed this game at all. The Zen Ninja formulated by Konami is indeed never-ending to become a popular work that is enjoyed by many people. But for those who had tasted it, this is one of the best action games at NES.
What makes this blue ninja’s action so special? In addition to the level of difficulty he is carrying out, Zen Ninja also offers one of the best variations of challenges, enemies, levels, and bosses we’ve ever tasted.
On the one level, you have to fight on a mine train with a myriad of traps, on another level you have to climb buildings to fight bosses that continue to fly vertically, while other levels ask you to fight boss directly while finding out his weaknesses. Wow!
You cannot be called a gamer if you have never tasted Contra before. Not because the quality is arguably no longer commensurate with the current generation of games, but in its identity as one of the foundations of action platformer games with gameplay, stories, and a solid cooperative multiplayer concept.
Fighting with weapons, accompanied by iconic music, trying to avoid rainbow bullets that glide from enemy rifles, or just struggling to successfully jump to a higher platform makes this game feel very difficult. How difficult? Enough to make the famous Konami code: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A = born!
28. Balloon Fight
Gamers who grew up in the golden era of PlayStation will probably immediately crown Bishi Bashi Special as one of the most fun games they have ever tasted, especially through the mini-theme of the absurd and crazy game.
In the NES era, it was almost impossible to find games like this. But if it has to compare, then other games that are able to offer a competitive atmosphere that is equally fun and crazy are Balloon Fight.
The gameplay is simple, you just have to kill enemies on the screen while making sure the balloon that takes you flying doesn’t break. It can break because of trample by an enemy or your own friend!
There are many scenarios where instead you work together shoulder to shoulder to get past the existing level, You just have to fight with your friend either because he accidentally destroys your balloon or indeed intends to stab you in the back. Balloon Fight is one of the most fun multiplayer games on NES, one of the most recommended.
29. Nintendo World Cup
Hah? What game is this? Most of you probably never tasted it, but those who once seemed to agree that this one game indeed deserves the highest position. Some know this game as “Soccer Fight”. What is the Nintendo World Cup? As you can predict, this is a soccer game. The difference?
This is the most brutal and most enjoyable soccer game you can predict. Players from each country will have special abilities in the form of a unique kick, from kicks that can make the ball disappear, the wind, to turn the ball into a banana that is too slippery to be held by the keeper. Cool again?
Instead of playing smoothly, the method for grabbing the ball is only two in this game: elbowing the opponent’s face or kicking their feet like Street Fighter.
30. Super Mario Bros
It doesn’t need much explanation, it seems that Mario deserves to align as the best game at NES. It became the first game for many gamers out there, which made them feel challenged and fell in love with this industry.
Mario does feel absurd from the side of the story, but the classic level design is one of the best. The challenge of the platformer is enough to make your heartbeat fast, the enemy is ready to make panic, to the various unique levels of design that he offers – from platformers above the air to swimming in the water so the main attraction.
Combine with music that seems to be familiar to everyone, gamers or non-gamers, the story of the plumber who started a giant franchise that lasted for 30 years thereafter. An existence that exceeds the NES name itself.
The above are the 30 best NES games of all time in the NES era according to the TechMint version. Most of you may not agree, especially with the inclusion of so many popular names such as Metroid, Mother, or Final Fantasy, for example. Does it mean that games with such positive responses on the outside media are not included in our radar?
Not entering, but rather the fact that we ourselves never enjoyed it or missed it as a child. RPGs are a complex genre and it becomes unfair if we have to “lie” to ourselves that we enjoy it, when we at the age of 7 who still have difficulty speaking English alone are unable to digest simple words as commands.
The only RPG game we have ever enjoyed in the NES era is Saint Seiya, and we also don’t include it here. While Metroid? It seems that we missed the gaming radar which was still quite in the early ’90s.
How about you? Of all the games that were released in the NES era, which games do you think to deserve the best status? Feel free to comment and expand the list!