Everyone loves to talk about the best games for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). If you cross check the top 25 NES games of all time, you’ll find a lot of similarities. Contra, Mega Man, Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, and Super Mario Bros 3 will always be on that list. Some of those titles vary in ranking depending on who’s writing the article, but no list would be complete without those games. While they are great games, the NES has 709 licensed titles and 113 unlicensed titles. With 800 games to choose from, you’re bound to have a couple of titles fly under the radar that aren’t as popular, but are still really fun to play and won’t break the bank. I’ve taken a look at my 100 titles and picked the five gems I think everyone should play at least once:
Bad News Baseball – When you ask for a good baseball game for the NES, a lot of people will tell you to play R.B.I. Baseball. While that game is a lot of fun (it has an MLBPA license to use real player’s names like Andre Dawson, Roger Clemons), the game is a pretty barebones baseball game. Bad News Baseball has animations for close calls at the plate and home runs. Also you can dive and knock out other players. On top of that, you can change your roster and batting order to increase the likelihood that you’ll win the game. Some of those features were added to later iterations of R.B.I. baseball, but compared to the original; you should be playing Bad News Baseball instead. You can find it on Amazon for as low as $5.70 dollars.
Marble Madness – originally an arcade game by Atari, Marble Madness is an interesting puzzle game that has seen a number of ports, but the NES version still holds up as a fun game that you can play with another person simultaneously. The game only has six levels but the game design was ahead of its time. There’s also a Sega Genesis version, but the music isn’t that great. You can pick the NES version on Amazon starting at $1.80
Snake Rattle N Roll – Two snakes Rattle and Roll go around eating up Nibbly Pibbleys and fighting toilet seats in an isometric 3D platformer. This game has the same styling as Marble Madness, but the gameplay is a bit more complex. You need to eat enough pellets (Nibbly Pibbleys) to have your snake large enough to ring the bell at the end of the stage. If that wasn’t enough pressure, you also have a time limit. What’s also great is that this is only on the NES and doesn’t look like it will see a new release anytime soon. Definitely worth the buy. You can find it on Amazon starting at $4.50
Barker Bill’s Trick Shooting – This game requires a Zapper which means that you’ll need a CRT or older TV. Trick shooting is exactly what it sounds like: you use the Zapper to play mini games that involve shooting plates and balloons. It’s in the same vein as Duck Hunt, only the levels are a bit more robust and you don’t have a lame dog laughing at you if you miss. The NES had some really crappy shooting games, but this is one of the greats. You can find it on Amazon starting at $3.50
StarTropics – This is a true underrated NES title. Made in 1990, the gameplay is very similar to Legend of Zelda and the story line is weird like Earthbound. This is actually made by Nintendo which is surprising considering that it’s not a popular title. Maybe that’s because none of the characters are in Super Smash Brothers. This was also only released stateside. Nintendo loves to experiment and this is evidence of that chance taking. While this does show up on the eshop, nothing beats the nostalgia of playing it on the original NES. Find it on Amazon starting at $4.75