My Top 50 Favorite NES Games (Late 2015 Edition)
August 08, 2015

A list of my favorite 50 games for a given platform will change often. By the time I finish typing this paragraph, it could change. And yet here I am, listing my top 50 NES games. The list currently looks like this:

01. Super Mario Bros. 3
02. The Legend of Zelda
03. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
04. Mega Man 2
05. Dragon Warrior III
06. Duck Tales
07. Dragon Warrior II
08. Final Fantasy
09. 1943: The Battle of Midway
10. Ultima: Quest of the Avatar
11. Super Mario Bros. 2
12. Mega Man 4
13. Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers
14. Mega Man 3
15. Mario Bros.
16. Little Samson
17. Dragon Warrior IV
18. Mega Man 5
19. Duck Tales 2
20. Gemfire
21. Paperboy
22. North and South
23. Pinball Quest
24. StarTropics
25. R.C. Pro-Am II
26. Donkey Kong Classics
27. Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt
28. Destiny of an Emperor
29. Dr. Mario
30. Kiwi Kraze
31. Little Nemo: The Dream Master
32. Mega Man 6
33. Zoda's Revenge: Star Tropics 2
34. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game
35. Vice: Project Doom
36. Willow
37. Captain Skyhawk
38. City Connection
39. Uncharted Waters
40. Battletoads
41. Mega Man
42. Astyanax
43. Blaster Master
44. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
45. Dragon Warrior
46. Legend of the Ghost Lion
47. Metroid
48. Bubble Bobble
49. The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino & Hoppy
50. Deja Vu: A Nightmare Comes True

As you might imagine, I haven't played every NES game ever produced. There are around 800 that were released in North America, after all. A person only has so much time!

But whatever. The above 50 games are 50 of my favorites, titles I can still go back to and enjoy playing, titles that I think you might also enjoy. Clearly, I like RPGs. Clearly, I think Capcom put out a lot of great games. And clearly, there are some "essential" titles missing from the list that you might rate higher. In fact, why don't you go ahead and tell me about your own top 50? If you have trouble assembling it, consult this page for easy reference. It's what I did!

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Masters Masters - August 11, 2015 (01:58 PM)
That's quite the undertaking, Venter. I don't know that I could make a Top 50 list for any system, and the NES would not be one of the easier ones for me to attempt. I agree with your top choice, but then, a lot of people would. I'm surprised that Castlevania III comes in so low, and that there are no Ninja Gaiden games on the list at all. Other surprises: 1943 being on the list, and Mario Bros ranking higher than Super Mario Bros. Interesting!
honestgamer honestgamer - August 11, 2015 (04:15 PM)
I'm not a huge fan of early Castlevania, but number three felt the most worthwhile. The Ninja Gaiden games didn't do a lot for me, either, though I took to the third installment enough back in the day that it would certainly make my top 100. And sadly, I haven't ever played the second one, which I vaguely recall being your favorite? Maybe I'm remembering wrong on that front. As for 1943, I really do love it, and Mario Bros. was the first Mario game I ever played, and the first to feature Nintendo characters. I played the Apple IIe version, and it's the main reason I got really invested in games and became a gamer. So yeah, it was bound to rank higher on my own list than it might on someone else's...
overdrive overdrive - August 12, 2015 (10:24 AM)
My youth is openly sobbing at Willow being ranked above Blaster Master and Castlevania III. And the utter lack of Faxanadu, which was my #1 for a good year or two. My youth does approve of three Dragon Warriors in the Top 20, although it would switch II and IV around solely due to the Cave to Rhone and all of its evil, evil invisible trap floors.
Masters Masters - August 12, 2015 (12:31 PM)
I love that Astyanax is on the list, that game is awesome. Ah TMNT2... the memories. Again, good on you for doing this. Couldn't have been easy.
honestgamer honestgamer - August 12, 2015 (02:31 PM)
Putting the list together is worth the trouble if people enjoy the result and it gets them talking, so thanks for helping with that! It's actually not as difficult as one might suppose, either. I just checked the page I mentioned at the end of my post, which listed every NES game available. Then I picked the titles from that list that were most essential to me. I wound up with more than 50, so from there I started chopping titles that were least painful to lose, until finally I was down to 50. And then I started shuffling my favorites up to the top, until I had them in an order that felt right. If I made the list on a different day, I'd wind up with most or maybe all of the same top 50, but the order within that list could change slightly.
pickhut pickhut - August 13, 2015 (09:50 PM)
Destiny of an Emperor is something that rung a distant bell in my head when I saw it on your list, and after doing a quick search for images, I remember it being a very early, if not the first, instance of seeing something related to RotTK. I never played it, but I remember having a "tips & tricks" book for some NES titles, and this amongst them. After reading overdrive's review, it does sound unique for an NES RPG, and a ballsy release for Capcom USA.

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