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360 Sunday Games Top 10: N.E.S. Games

15 March 2009 by: Alex St-Amour 9 Comments

  NES Top 10

  Remember the ’80’s? Odds are if you’re a gamer just hearing that makes you think of the good old Nintendo Entertainment System. The big N’s first console to ship to North America, the N.E.S. was one of, if not the, most important game console of all time. It single handedly rejuvenated the video game market after the crash of 1983. It also was the birth console of some of the biggest names in gaming today. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Contra, Mega Man, Final Fantasy, they all started on Nintendo’s gray box.

So here it is, the countdown of the top 10 the old Nintendo had to offer.

Now you’re playing with power!

10 – Star Tropics

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo IRD
  • Year Released: 1990
  • Genre: Action/Adventure

  Clones are usually a bad thing. Just ask Obi-Wan. But what happens when one of the worlds top video game developpers makes a clone of one of it’s best series? Well what happens is Star Tropics. A Zelda clone made by Nintendo, Star Tropics takes many of the elements that make Link’s adventures so famous, like overworld exploration, meeting interesting people in towns, collecting various items and completing dungeons, it has all of that, and adds to that an interesting story, (here’s a taste, you use a yo-yo, you’re a baseball star, you’re on a tropical island and there are aliens. Now how can that not be interesting?) imaginative setting and a well integrated inventory system. Do yourself a favor and dust off that N.E.S. in your garage (yes we all have at least one) and find yourself a copy of this gem. Or better yet, for only 500 Wii points download this title and it’s sequel for the Wii Virtual Console.

9 – R.C. Pro-Am

R.C. Pro-Am

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Rare
  • Year Released: 1988
  • Genre: Racing

  Do you like Mario Kart? If you answered yes you have Rare (developers of Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye, Banjo-Kazooie) to thank. R.C. Pro-Am is an arcade racer that paved the way for games like Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing (also made by Rare… I see a pattern.). With innovations like weapons to take down the competition, upgradable vehicles, collectible power ups and “32 Tracks of Racing Thrills” this game was the best racing game the N.E.S. could offer. It spawned a sequel imaginitively titled R.C. Pro-Am II, as well as a Game Boy version and also an upgraded port to the Sega Genesis.

8 – Mega Man 3

Mega Man 3

  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Year Released: 1990
  • Genre: Action / Platformer

  With six main Mega Man games on the N.E.S. alone, it might be hard to choose the best. In the end it came to a showdown between number 2 and 3. Both have excellent gameplay, great music and still stand up great to this day. (Mega Man 9 is living proof). So why does Mega Man 3 end up on this list and not Mega Man 2? Maybe I was tired of failing to beat Mega Man 2 and gave it to 3 out of spite? Nah I’m not that petty. In the end, its the little differences that make Mega Man 3 a great game, the ability to slide, Mega Man’s best friend (pathetic pun intended) Rush and of course Proto Man.

7 -Kid Icarus

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo R&D 1
  • Year Released: 1987
  • Genre: Action / Adventure

  You know that guy from Super Smash Bros. Brawl? The one with the wings? No that’s Meta Knight, the angel looking one. Ya Pit, do you know what game he’s originally from? No? How come you don’t know? It came out on the same day as Metroid, you know that game right? Ya? Then how come you dont know Kid Icarus? It was made by the same team, launched on the same day and had very similar gameplay. For some reason that only the gods know, Metroid went on to spawn sequel after sequel and Kid Icarus was stuck with a Game Boy version. Despite this, Kid Icarus is still a great game that manages to distinguish itself from Metroid with its varying level design, R.P.G. style level-up system and brutal difficulty.This is a game that like Star Tropics Nintendo seems to have forgotten, but with the thousands of rumors going around the net about Kid Icarus Wii, maybe Nintendo does still care about it’s little angel.

6 -The Legend Of Zelda

The Legend Of Zelda

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo R&D 4
  • Year Released: 1987
  • Genre: Action / Adventure

  Arguably the greatest game franchise of all time. The Legend of Zelda series features some of Nintendo’s greatest games, some of which regularly finish near or at the top of best games of all time countdowns. The game that started it all, 1987’s The Legend Of Zelda is no exception. A great game through and through, providing some of the best gameplay, exploration and challenge that the N.E.S. had to offer. The game has stood the test of time and at 500 Wii points on the Virtual Console it’s a steal. Get this game.

5 – Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros.

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Year Released: 1985
  • Genre: Platformer

  You have played this game. Don’t try to tell me you haven’t I know you have. This is without a doubt the most important video game of all time. This is the game that saved gaming, that made video games popular, that made it so we are still playing video games today in 2009. And on top of that, the game is still a blast to play 24 years after its release. Which is good, because theres always a princess in another castle.

4 – Zelda II: The Adventure Of Link

Zelda II: The Adventure Of Link

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Year Released: 1988
  • Genre: Action / Adventure / R.P.G.

  Like this title I’m probably an outcast, a black sheep for suggesting that it deserves a higher spot in this countdown then both The Legend Of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. but before you find my house with pitch forks and torches in tow, let me tell you why I chose the unpopular opinion. Zelda II might not play like future Zelda titles, it might be harder then future Zelda titles, but without it we might not have those games at all. The Adventure Of Link brought with it the human aspect. Zelda II has the most towns of any Zelda game, each filled with a bunch of villagers that will either heal Link, fill his magic meter, give him hints, items or just pointlessly talk. This is the game that made Hyrule a living breathing place while still keeping that feeling of the lonely hero that the prequel gave us. It may not have it in its title, but this game is all legend.

3 – Metroid


  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo R&D 1
  • Year Released: 1987
  • Genre: Action / Adventure

  You’re on an alien world, you’re alone, you have a cannon for an arm, your suit can perform amazing jumps and survive the most extreme temperatures, you’re a girl,.. wait what? In 1987 Gunpey Yokoi and his team at Nintendo performed one of the greatest switch-a-roos in gaming history by making you think you were playing as a gruff male bounty hunter (see instruction manual). Once gamers finally got to the end and stopped Mother Brain’s nefarious schemes they were treated to a waving bunch of pixels in a bikini. Not only were you playing as a girl the whole time, it was also a blast to play. The feeling of being a mouse in a maze was never done better then in the original Metroid, add to that amazing music, great controls and (gasp) the ability to go left and you’re left with the 3rd best N.E.S. game of all time.

2 – The Guardian Legend

The Guardian Legend

  • Publisher: Broderbund
  • Developer: Compile
  • Year Released: 1989
  • Genre: Action / Adventure /Vertical Scrolling Shooter

  So here we are, the number 2 title on this list and odds are you haven’t heard of it. The Guardian Legend is mish-mash of several game types. You’ll explore like Link, in a story and setting similar to Metroid and for certain boss battles fly like a Raiden game. Now you might think that combining an action/adventure game with a vertical scrolling shooter might be trying to do too many things at once but The Guardian Legend mixes it all up perfectly. Add some slight R.P.G. elements like level-ups and upgradable weapons, and you have the best N.E.S. game no ones heard about.

1 – Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo R&D 4
  • Year Released: 1990
  • Genre: Platformer

  I would like to apologize to those waiting for a big twist at the end of this countdown. But theres just no denying the fact. Super Mario Bros. 3 is the best game on the N.E.S., maybe all-time, (stay tuned for future countdowns). A perfect balance of challenge, skill, gameplay and variety, it also introduced a ton of new elements that are now Mario series standards. An overworld map, the ability to fly, crazy power ups, the koopalings (Nintendo, bring these guys back). Theres just nothing holding this game back. it’s as close to perfection as you can get.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  • TheGarnett said:

    Good list.

  • Top 10: N.E.S. Games | 360 BLOG | Console Gaming said:

    […] post by Alex St-Amour […]

  • narijima said:

    Super mario bros 3 is #1.

    I greatly Concur <3

  • iggmoe said:

    The list is pretty good, but I cant believe Star Tropics can beat awesome games like Final Fantasy, Contra, Ninja Gaiden or even the super fun but easy to beat Kirby's Adventure! And what about the super cool Mike Tyson's Punch-Out that became popular enough for Nintendo to come out with the “Power-glove”?

  • Kris said:

    Ottawa U once compilated a similar list but for Sega. Their top prize went to NHL '94, which was a pretty awesome game.

  • Grammar Police said:

    Nice list, but would it be too much to ask for you to figure out the difference between your and you're? Or there and their? Seriously.

  • rastaman666 said:

    u guys obviously never played N.A.R.C.

    kudos on picking startropics tho, that game is EPIC

  • jeff said:

    Um…hello…Did you even own a Nintendo?

    Look youngin' You have failed to add the most important game that was ever produced on the Nintendo Entertainment System

    Super Tecmo Bowl….it's only the father of the modern day video game football game.

    Do some research before you make a fake list like this.

  • Bobby said:

    Actually, it's Tecmo Super Bowl. Super Tecmo Bowl was for the SNES. Know your games before you whine, loser.

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