Favorite Games: NES

The NES was the first gaming console that I really knew what I was doing compared to the Atari 2600. I got the NES when I was seven or eight for a Christmas present. It was for both my sister and I but I pretty much took it over.

Some of my favorite memories take place playing with others. My older cousins had the NES before I did and we would visit their house on Sunday. We would just take over the tv trying to get past level two of Ninja Gaiden before watching Sunday NIght Mania.

Another memory is that my local mall had a Nintendo kiosk where they had every game available to play on four TVs on either side. The best part was that there was no time limit to play as many games as a kid wanted. My mom would just drop me off, do her shopping and get me when she was done.  I’m not sure if all malls had this, but, I’m glad mine did.

My favorite games are just the ones I remember having a blast playing and stand out to me even now. The games where I think fondly of the memories and also makes me want to find an NES to play them again. 🙂

Solomon’s Key: I played this so much. I really enjoyed the puzzles and the fact that you had to use strategy to find the key or fairy. I would make it pretty far, but, never came close to beating it. It was hours of fun making blocks appear and trying to outweigh the monsters.

Rygar: Was one of the most challenging games I ever played. It was the first game where my cousin Ryan and I devoted an entire weekend to beat the game. We came close to taking out the final boss but we failed. Still, it’s a game that is dear to my heart.

Super Mario 3: I loved this game because of the Koopa Kids. They made the levels a joy as each one was geared toward the Koopa Kids personality. I remember writing in my diary when I beat level 3 because I was so proud of my gaming accomplishment.

Dragon Warrior: I got this for Chrismas and immediately became hooked on this series. It was so different from anything I played, yet, had familiar elements that still keep me drawn to this series. I still remember drawing slimes on my trapper keeper and on my notebooks.

Operation Wolf: This was always an instant favorite at the arcades and one where I would beg my dad to let me have more quarters so I could mow down the bad guys. This was a game I could play by myself or with my sister.

Ikari Warriors: A game that I was hooked on from the moment I got it as a gift. It created my love for shooters and it was a game where it didn’t matter how many times I died as I had so much fun playing.

What are your favorites NES games? Do you have any fun gaming memories?


  1. Great article! I’m sure you’ve already seen or heard some of my favorites before, but just for the sake of it:

    Super Mario Bros. 3 – My favorite game ever. I too loved the Koopa Kids, even IF the cartoon (which at the time I also loved) got their names wrong (because they weren’t named yet). I used to play this game so much that I was fairly amazing at it, I probably “speed-ran” it to some degree, before that was even a thing people talked about. But nowadays, while I still love it, it is DAMN hard, the hardest Mario for sure, and I am not nearly as good at it.

    Mega Man 2 – I experienced the Mega Man series kinda backwards. For some reason I rented MM3 first, and didn’t actually like it all that much, because it was pretty hard. Then I rented MM1, which is ok, but obviously also hard, and very rough around the edges being the first game. At some point I FINALLY rented MM2, and this game just clicked with me. I fell in love, and at some point was able to attain my own copy, which I played to death, second only to probably SMB1 and SMB3. Still my second fav. game of all time. That soundtrack is epic.

    Kirby’s Adventure – This game blew me away when I rented it in 1993. The fact that a game this high quality, this inventive, and THIS stuffed with content, could come out for the “outdated” NES in 1993, when the Super NES and Genesis were the big thing, was awesome. I didn’t get to have a 16-bit console until LATE 1995, so it was a godsend to me that games kept releasing for NES through 1994. Kirby’s Adventure was better than a lot of the SNES and Genesis games that were out at the time, and the concept of stealing enemies’ powers MID-level, and switching then out on the fly, and that there were 20 total powers. That along with the overall graphics and presentation (and the fact that the game played so well), I was just in love. The bittersweet part of my memory of this game as a kid, is that I rented it and adored it. But then I got in trouble with my grandmother over something stupid, which she predictably WAY overreacted to, and she grounded me for TWO months. To kid me, that was a nightmare. But to make matters worse, she made it clear that there was a game she had gotten me for my birthday, which she was now going to take and get her money back, as an additional part of my ridiculous punishment. And I could see through the blue Walmart bag enough, to see that it was in fact what WOULD have been my own copy of Kirby’s Adventure. A present I would have been 100% thrilled with. Even at almost 12 years old, as a boy, I almost cried. I may well have later on, alone.

    After she had passed away when I was nearly 14, and we had moved to a new town, I found a copy for like $5 (late 1995 or so) at Toys R Us, because they were probably trying to clear out the very last of their NES stock, so of course I jumped at it, and was thrilled to FINALLY own it. And then I was stupid enough to let a friend’s sister borrow it, along with a couple of other games like Dr. Mario and Yoshi, and one of HER trashy friends basically stole and sold them. I eventually got a permanent copy again in my 20s, but god damn. I had a bittersweet history with that game as a youth. It’s still one of my all time favorites though.

    Star Tropics – I don’t quite remember when I first played this, but I’m going to ballpark 1992 or 1993. I don’t remember if I rented it first, or if I just got it. There were two specific sales that happened, like “going out of business” clearance sales, in the early 90s, which allowed me to get a bunch of games for cheap that my grandmother otherwise might not have bought. Star Tropics was one of those games, quite probably. And while it’s odd timing-based jumping took getting used to, I really loved the game right away. The sense of humor, the mystery plot of what happened to your uncle, everything about the game was cool and fun to me. When I first beat the game, it had a LONG and elaborate ending for the NES, which really blew me away. At the second of those clearance sales, I was able to snag a copy of Star Tropics 2 in 1994, and while it wasn’t QUITE as good in some ways, it was also really fun.

    1. Great list. 🙂 They are games that I missed on mine.

      I never liked the koopa kids in the cartoon because it made them more annoying. Well, for me anyway.

      I never really got far into Star Tropics which I wish I did. I do remember I got stuck and just got frustrated. And, I never really played a Mega Man game so I’m interested in trying one.

  2. Mega Man 2:
    I got this game after trading in Digger T. Rock, which, honestly, in hindsight was not a bad game, but this game blew my mind.

    Castlevania Simon’s Quest:
    Not necessarily the best Castlevania, but it was my introduction to the series, which is pretty close to my heart now. will never forget that I had to call the nintendo hotline twice for the piece of crap puzzles.

    Super Mario Bros 3:
    Very memorable christmas, probably the biggest NES game I had played.

    Adventure of Link:
    Was a game that dared to do stuff differently, to this day I still would like some sort of spiritual successor to it as they never tried this gamestyle again.

    Blue Shadow/Shadow of the Ninja:
    Was awesome to co-op with a friend, but like ninja gaiden, nearly impossible to beat for me at my age. one day I will get back to it.

    Rescue: The Embassy Mission:
    I always played this at a friends’ , was an odd game, but that damn BGM was so catchy.

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