The 10 Best Original NES Games

Not as in “good for their time,” but games I’ve returned to in the last decade and still liked.

The Legend of Zelda – Duh.

Metroid – The atmospherics still freak me out. Is there a good essay on how early video games require a player to bring his/her imagination to the game to make the little nonsense shapes into terrifying monsters? Surely someone beat me to it.

Ice Hockey – Choose from types of player: Skinny, average, or fat. Requires no knowledge of ice hockey except maybe “icing.”

Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle – Fun, challenging, great music.

Crystalis – If this had come out 2 years earlier, everyone would know about it.

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – Made a generation fear the night.

Dr. Mario – The only video game Liz and I have ever played together, I think.

Super Mario Bros. 3 – Tied for least controversial choice. Like the rest of my generation, I learned of this game’s existence in the climax of The Wizard. This is also the only game my sister and I went in on together.

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out – I once had a babysitter who could beat Mike Tyson. I’ve never seen anyone do it since.

Dragon Warrior – Rewards patience. I came to this one too early the first time. I didn’t understand what an RPG was. A red slime would appear enormous on the screen and I would always select “run away.”

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