Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 4, 2014

Email: top 30 NES

The tier rankings are based on what I would most prefer to play today, not the ones I enjoyed most at time of release.
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Tier 1
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Castlevania 3
SMB3
SMB2
Double Dragon 2
Legend of Zelda
Shadowgate
Blaster Master
Legacy of the Wizard
Maniac Mansion
Lifeforce
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Tier 2
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Final Fantasy
Batman
Adventure of Link
Castlevania
Contra
Punch-Out
Bionic Commando
Metroid
Metal Gear
Gargoyle’s Quest 2
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Tier 3
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G.I. Joe
Mega Man 2
Clash at Demonhead
A Boy and His Blob
Willow
TMNT 2
Ninja Gaiden 2
Baseball Stars
Faxanadu
Double Dragon
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Tiers 1 and 2 are very, very close. Adventure of Link, Metroid, and Bionic Commando could easily slot in among the Tier 1 games, maybe Contra as well, but I haven’t played it since it was released. Ninja Gaiden 2 and TMNT 2 are almost Tier 2 material.
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Note the absence of Ducktales, which I didn’t find interesting then, and it was news to me when I recently found out that it’s considered a classic NES game; I never heard anyone talk about it back then. Also note Mega Man 2 in tier 3; another overrated series to me. I always hated MM’s jump and the small boss arenas, but that music…
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30 is not nearly enough to list all the NES games I consider significant. Some I wanted ot find a spot for, but they were games I only played briefly, such as DQ4, Super Dodgeball, Battle of Olympus, GunNac, Tecmo Bowl, Little Nemo. Recent reading leads me to believe that DQ3 and 4 may be better NES RPGs than Final Fantasy, but I’ll have to play them seriously to see whether they deserve to replace it in Tier 2.But your recent NES kick has me wanting to go back and dig into stuff I skipped or only spent a little bit of time on.. Magic of Scheherazade looks very interesting. I always liked the name ‘Shatterhand,’ so I’ll have to investigate that one. This will be good because I’m sick of current Industry bloat and sloppy,
kitchen-sink design.  Your point about beiing able to play multiple NES carts in a few hours and be satisfied is spot on. Now it’s sit through updates, installs, loading, cinematics, exposition dumps, tutorials, traveling across maps, pressing forward while listening to conversations you’ve heard in a hundred movies and TV shows.  Do people not have anything else to do with their time besides sit in front of one game for hours (only acceptible for deep strategy games like Alpha Centauri)?
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I do not understand the Modern Gamer in that context. At times, NES games can be too stubbornly challenging and short. There are times I do not want the frustration during my gaming session. I find SNES to be a good ‘other coin’ in that respect. To me, an epic game experience is something like Final Fantasy 6. The game takes 30 hours to do everything which is long enough. Anything longer than that is just…. ugh. I began to become disenchanted with console gaming during the 16-bit era (I wasn’t digging the Nintendo 16-bit games. They all felt like disappointments and ‘repeats’ from their 8-bit years). The move to ‘omg 3d’ and Game Industry gaming just pushed me out completely.
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I can say that Ducktales was legitimately considered amazing back then as was Rescue Rangers. They both sold well enough for Capcom to make sequels.
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Contra is commanding at least $40 which is pretty high for a NES game. I knew the game was popular back then so there is a large supply of Contras out there, but I think the demand is just eating it up. From some collectors who actually play their games, they keep saying Contra is the best one to keep replaying over the many years because it is so hard and loops over after you win.
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Everyone keeps putting G.I. Joe so I’ll have to check that one out. A Boy and his Blob? Really?

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