Best Original Nintendo (NES) Games

My picks for best NES games...It was a tough list to make, but here it is....

The Top Ten

1 Super Mario Bros 3

Even for an 8 bit system, there is a reason that the NES revitalized the gaming industry pretty much single-handedly. While I was born after the SNES had already been released, the NES is where I learned about video games from due to both my grandparents owning them. While I fondly remember the games of my youth like megaman, tetris, dr. mario, and duck hunt, there is one game the was the definitive game of my NES experience. Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda were close seconds, but neither of them managed to do what Super Mario Bros 3 did. This game pushed the system to the limits and took what the original did and multiplied it by 10. Everything felt so polished and complete that even by today's standards, this is still a great game and has stood the test of time very well. While games were still made for the system until 1994, I still consider this the game that showed the world what nintendo was capable of even back in 1990 and sent gamers across the world into the next ...more

This Basically took what made Super Mario Bros such a memorable and great game, and multiplied it 1000X over. I mean, it's considered the GREATEST NES game for a reason. There's just so much to it. The music, gameplay, power ups, level design, etc... It's 2D Mario at it's absolute finest.

This is probably the most amazing classic Mario game I ever played! There are awesome power ups like the super leaf and the tanooki suit. The boss fights are fun and its a big shame that they don't sell that and the nes anymore. If you want to play it get super Mario all stars on the wii or play it online when it's there.

IGN ranked it the best game of all time. - Ilikegames

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2 The Legend of Zelda

Zelda is one of the best games I HAVE ever played and should be on number one in my opinion. Its sandbox element is truly awesome. Honestly I think its sandbox element is better than Grand Theft Auto and that's very impressive for being one of the first sandbox game.

It isn't so much this game, than the fact that it spawned a series full of masterpieces. Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword are all MASTERPIECES. The fact that this game started it all is a good enough reason to vote for it.

Zelda on the NES was the reason that we have a game with such an amazing story and adventure-filled fun. I pick up a Zelda game over any Mario game when given the choice.

This game is Iconic

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3 Super Mario Bros.

I don't care much for 80's games, since they were all made long before I was born, but Super Mario Bros. is an exception; It's the first Mario game I ever played and one of the reasons I'm such a huge Mario fan today.

I vote this as the best Nintendo game. Kids today can thank this very game for a lot of the games that are out today. Atari started the video game craze when I was a youngster, but Nintendo made it take off like a rocket.

This would be my #1. This was the first one I played back in 1985, and is still my fav. - westofohio

This will always be the best Mario game!

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4 Mega Man 2

Best music on any NES, and had great gameplay plus a variety of bosses with weaknesses to keep it interesting. Plus, it continued into 2 series, Mega Man X and Mega Man. Why is this not top 5?

Great platforming, smooth controls, fantastic music, amazing level design, simple (but appealing) graphics, and the right amount of challenge that gave you a decent challenge, yet unlike the other NES Mega Man games, a sane person could beat.

I can't describe all the love I have for the franchise. For me it's a tie between 2 and 3

Loving the Dr. Wily theme. Simply has to be in the top 3. - LarryLarrington

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5 Mike Tyson's Punch Out

Granted, this game was borne out of the original arcade version (Upper cut! Right hook! ), at the time this game came out, Mike Tyson WAS THE MAN and this game was just a TON of fun to play.

I've wasted countless hours on the final boss. P.S who else thinks sandman is tougher than super macho man?

This is probably the first, and last GREAT game that was based around a celebrity. The soundtrack is super great, the characters are funny (but hard) and so on. - MUSHROOM

I like the Wii better, but this game is awesome.

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6 Contra

C'mon... Ya'll still remember the "Contra code"

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A, Start. Booyah! 30 lives!

Every video game that has secret codes to enter in owes their existence to this game's 30 lives feature.

Fun game. Really good, hard and a little bit short but so much fun. Great music, nice graphics, very good controls and gameplay, the sounds are also very good. The cooperative two player mode is just make it even better, it's great, when you play it with a friend.

Excellent NES game released in 1988. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone (Bill & Lance). They fight monsters in a clear spin-off of the films Aliens and Predator. Great game, I recommend to any gamer and/or fan of the 80's action superstars!

Love this game. - LarryLarrington

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7 Metroid

Not only was the gameplay and plot outstanding for it's time, but the music (BRINSTAR! ) was extremely well composed. Years ahead of it's time.

Yet another legendary game franchise that to this day, still inspires millions of gamers with its numerous sequels. And to find out Samus was a GIRL!? haha

Everything in this game is 10. Play it and find out yourself.


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8 Tetris

Both the official Nintendo version AND the rare Tengen version easily wasted countless number of hours of my life, and I loved every second of it. I can still school my kids at this game, despite their best efforts to beat their Dad.

The best selling game of all time! EVEN TODAY. come on, it causes people to see shapes after playing for so long. What's not to love? - John_Q_Normal

the reason we have puzzle games - bendanna

even now it's still in the tops

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9 Castlevania

Awesome music, great graphic and really smart game design. This game is one of those Jewels that took the basics of platformers and make it their own, shaping it on an entire experience, al based on design. It is really hard to create such a horror/action/adventure ambiance within the limitations of the Nes, but Castlevania nailed it. The whole experience indeed made you feel this brave warrior that got challenged again and again by relentless army of evil but you want to keep going at it one more time. An all time classic!

Haters... This is top 3 no matter what...

Ha! I don't know if I'd rank it that high, but it's certainly outstanding. - LarryLarrington

Castlevania is by far my most favourite game of all time. The story, characters and villains are much awesome. Literally the best franchise ever!

I love Castlevania. Absolute classic. - The8Bit

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10 Super Mario Bros 2

Don't care if it wasent original SMB2, it still was awesome.

Stop complaining about peach you haters..!

So underrated, it's great though - Keb

Sure it's not a true Mario game but that doesn't mean it;s not fun. It's so much fun. Thebest on the NES. - evoxpisces

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The Contenders

11 Kirby's Adventure

Yip! This games made me play it over and over again trying to use every power up I could use to beat a level. The animation is so lively, and let's face it, the graphics pushed the engine to the max. Simply love it!

This should at least be in the top ten.. I loved this game so much when I was a kid, I beat it over and over and its still better than most games today. The graphics were amazing for the console and movements were so smooth. I LOVE THIS GAME!

Sorry, but 26 is unacceptable. This game is awesome. The gameplay and soundtrack are still phenomenal and don't get me started on the remake. But as far as NES games are concerned, this is one of the greats.

Number one. Far better than the Mario games.

I disagree. It's fun don't get me wrong, but I don't like it as much as the Mario games. Either way, it probably still shouldn't be #1, clearly it's Castlevania III hands down. - LarryLarrington

12 Final Fantasy

Though Dragonwarrior 3 probably wins overall in pure game comparison, Final Fantasy was an awesome game with a great fold out map with monster list on the back and I probably played it more than any other game. Especially since it allowed access to high level monster grinding fairly early in the game.

The best Final Fantasy series is Kingdom Hearts.

I think there is about 125 Final Fantasy games now but the original is the best, in my opinion. I remember going to Hollywood video or blockbuster to rent VHS movies before the digital age killed all the brick and mortar video stores. aaah the good old days...

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13 Tecmo Super Bowl

The best sports game ever. A timeless classic that plays as well today as the day it came out. One of the FEW NES games that can say that.

14 Ninja Gaiden

Seriously, this game is a masterpiece. It was the first to include cut scenes, its music is highly memorable and the smoothness of its gameplay, as well as its high level of difficulty, should be really revisited by today's gamemakers.

I used to hate this game, until I realized how cool it is. Sure jumps can be difficult to time, and enemies will more often than not re-spawn. But I'm happy that they give you unlimited continues, and there are great graphics and music throughout he entire game.

greatest game ever.

awesome story, graphics, music, controls, difficulty, weapons, levels.

Very fun game

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15 Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

If it wasn't for stage 7 on Alucard's path, this would be a borderline perfect game for sure. Amazing level design that rewards careful planning. Catchy, but detailed music that shows the best that the NES can offer. The spirit helper system that gives the game an extra layer of depth. The colorful, detailed graphics that look good even today. And of course, the multiple paths. This is my favorite game on the system. - Zach808

I see that not many have played this. Easily a top 5 NES game. Castlevania 1 is also top 5. But really Catlevania 3 is THE BEST NES of all time

Great game and quite a challenging one. Remember the first time you beat grim. Mom I beat grim. Woops no I didn't!

Castlevania III went back to the roots of the series with classic platforming action game but it also included more adventure elements to make the game more interesting, so now you could gain allies (that you had to defeat/save first)and choose alternate paths through the cursed land of Transylvania.
Just like the original, the game is shaped entirely by clever game design, but the whole experience is more than ever shaped like you are part of the story in a movie, starting by the genius opening sequence.That was not something we were used to back then, it blew my mind when I was a kid. Of course the music was even better than in the original, so were the graphics and overall graphic design, all this transported you into this gritty, dark, horror setting were every challange is just wont let you catch a breath, so the new allies' help is most welcomed. The story was also given much more depth and significance, also not something that was a common fact at the time.
This game was ...more

I've seen people say "This > Contra", and for the most part it's wrong. This game however is actually better than Contra. - LarryLarrington

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16 Mega Man 3

Best one of the ENTIRE SERIES so why is everyone playing mega man 2 this one is better so play this one. 91% of the people in the world are playing this even I am so play mega man 3 please come on everyone listen

I haven't played NES in ages but when I did play as a kid, Mega Man 3 was my favorite game... I wasn't a big fan of the revisited stages, but once you had completed them, Dr Wiley's castle seemed easy. Also, the music was outstanding!

Mega man 3 is the best mega man game ever even better than Mega man 2

Mega Man 3> All Other Mega Man Games - Rafazelf

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17 Donkey Kong

Great port of the arcade game to the NES. Only missing one level though. Kinda hard to find too, $30 or over on eBay during 2015 or longer.

Great and all, but it's missing a level from the arcade version

Donkey Kong Country is my favorite video game of all time.
It is hard but fun.

18 Duck Hunt

Not a bad game, but not really one of the best NES games. It's fun though.

I know this didn't age too well, but I think it should be higher.

Great game with super Mario brothers on one cartridge. It's fun that you can use a gun and kill ducks. The game was good for it's time. It's good now if you have a new T.V. and a rerelease NES and rerelease duck hunt gun.

super fun - YOSHIA2121

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19 Mega Man

The original which spawned 5 sequel games (all of which were equally as cool) was simply a fun and yet frustrating game to play. 20 years later, I still love to get mad about having to start a level all over again when I die.

20 Dr. Mario
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List Stats

900 votes
165 listings
9 years, 188 days old

Top Remixes (29)

1. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
2. Mega Man 2
3. Mike Tyson's Punch Out
1. Mega Man 2
2. The Legend of Zelda
3. Super Mario Bros.
1. Godzilla: Monster of Monsters!
2. Super Mario Bros 3
3. Star Wars

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