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10 Best NES Games of All Time

Introduction to NES games

As a gamer, I've always had a soft spot for the classics. And when it comes to classic gaming, nothing quite compares to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Released in the 1980s, the NES revolutionized the gaming industry and introduced us to some of the most iconic and beloved games of all time. In this article, I will uncover the retro gems that have stood the test of time and discuss the 10 best NES games of all time.

The impact of NES on the gaming industry

Before the NES, video games were primarily seen as a novelty or a passing fad. But with the release of the NES, gaming became a mainstream form of entertainment. The NES brought gaming into the living rooms of millions of households and introduced a whole new generation to the joys of gaming. Its success paved the way for future consoles and laid the foundation for the modern gaming industry we know today.

Factors to consider when ranking NES games

When ranking the best NES games of all time, several factors come into play. First and foremost, we must consider the game's impact and influence on the gaming industry. Did it introduce new gameplay mechanics or push the boundaries of what was possible at the time? Secondly, we must consider the game's lasting appeal. Does it still hold up today, even in the face of modern gaming technology? Finally, we must consider the game's overall fun factor. After all, the best games are the ones that keep us coming back for more, no matter how many years have passed.

The best NES games of all time

Super Mario Bros.

No list of the best NES games would be complete without mentioning Super Mario Bros. This iconic platformer introduced us to the lovable plumber Mario and his sidekick Luigi. With its innovative level design, tight controls, and memorable soundtrack, Super Mario Bros. remains a timeless classic that is still enjoyed by gamers of all ages today.

The Legend of Zelda

Another must-play NES game is The Legend of Zelda. This action-adventure game took players on an epic quest to rescue Princess Zelda and defeat the evil Ganon. With its open-world exploration, challenging puzzles, and immersive gameplay, The Legend of Zelda set the standard for future adventure games and is still regarded as one of the greatest games of all time.


Metroid, a sci-fi action game, introduced us to the iconic bounty hunter Samus Aran. With its non-linear gameplay and atmospheric soundtrack, Metroid pushed the boundaries of what was possible on the NES. Its exploration-based gameplay and hidden secrets made it a game that players could sink countless hours into, and its influence can still be felt in modern games today.

Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2 is widely regarded as one of the best entries in the long-running Mega Man series. This action-platformer introduced us to the Blue Bomber and pitted him against a variety of challenging robot masters. With its tight controls, memorable boss battles, and catchy soundtrack, Mega Man 2 remains a fan-favorite and a shining example of the NES era.

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is a classic action-platformer that took the series to new heights. With its multiple playable characters, branching paths, and challenging gameplay, Castlevania III offered a level of depth and replayability that was rarely seen in NES games. Its gothic atmosphere and haunting music make it a standout title in the NES library.


Contra is a run-and-gun shooter that became synonymous with challenging gameplay and cooperative multiplayer. With its intense action, memorable boss battles, and iconic "Konami Code," Contra provided countless hours of fun and frustration for players. Its difficulty level and memorable moments have made it a staple of NES gaming.

Final Fantasy

The NES was also home to the first installment of the long-running Final Fantasy series. This turn-based RPG introduced players to a vast world filled with memorable characters, epic battles, and a deep and engaging storyline. Final Fantasy laid the foundation for the RPG genre and remains a beloved classic to this day.


Punch-Out!! is a unique boxing game that introduced players to the charismatic underdog Little Mac. With its colorful characters, tight gameplay mechanics, and strategic battles, Punch-Out!! provided a fun and challenging experience for players. Its memorable opponents and satisfying victories make it one of the best NES games of all time.

Tecmo Super Bowl

Sports fans were not left out in the NES era, thanks to Tecmo Super Bowl. This football game offered a level of depth and realism that was unprecedented at the time. With its licensed NFL teams, stat-tracking, and addictive gameplay, Tecmo Super Bowl became a favorite among sports enthusiasts and remains a beloved title in the NES library.

Conclusion and honorable mentions

In conclusion, the NES era gave us some of the greatest games of all time. From the iconic plumbers of Super Mario Bros. to the epic quests of The Legend of Zelda, these games have left a lasting impact on the gaming industry and continue to be enjoyed by gamers of all ages. While these 10 games have stood out as the best of the best, there are many other honorable mentions that deserve recognition, such as DuckTales, Mega Man 3, and Ninja Gaiden. So dust off your NES console, grab a controller, and dive into the retro gems that have shaped the gaming landscape we know today.


Experience the magic of these retro gems for yourself by dusting off your NES console or exploring the wide range of NES games available on virtual consoles and emulators. Relive the nostalgia and discover why these games are still regarded as some of the best of all time. Happy gaming!


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