Happy 30th Anniversary Nintendo! Here's A Look-Back At 30 Of The Best NES Titles To Celebrate


For the computer gaming industry in the United States of America (U.S.A.), 1985 was a great year as Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was launched on Oct. 18, and we all know what that means. Yes, Happy 30th Anniversary in the U.S.A., Nintendo!

Nintendo may have been circulating and enjoyed in Japan as the Family Computer (Famicom) since 1983 but it wasn't until 1985 when it came out with a new look which most people recognize until today, especially for those who remember having to blow on game cartridges when their 8-bit NES games stall or do not start. Of course, NES ventured into developing games for a variety of other platforms, including arcade, and many of their games were well-received. Other than the Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong, which most people agree are awesome games, player favorites vary but, if anything, game sales would reveal which among the games released for NES people all over the world went for.

30. Top 30 in our list is a 4-player multiplayer game that not everyone understands but enjoys watching anyway because 4 Player Mahjong takes the spot. This game is actually the second mahjong game developed for the NES and, while it was only released in Japanese language and in Japan, it still sold 1.45 million copies. Gameplay is the same as how players normally play mahjong.

29. This is immediately followed by a shuriken-throwing little ninja who also goes by Ninja Hattori-kun who sneaks its way to the 29th place. This 1986 side-scrolling video game was released by Hudson Soft and is based on a manga bearing the same name. Its plot centers around a young ninja who goes on adventures in search of a master.

28. The game which frustrated yet taught many people to be careful and strategize because they might dig their own grave, Lode Runner takes the 28th spot. This puzzle game forced players to think and move quickly or risk death; whether by getting caught by one of the guards or getting trapped in a hole the player dug, and watch as the hole gets filled while the player is inside.

27. Dragon Warrior, an action-adventure game, comes in 27th place. In this Square Enix-published game, a player had to travel through towns to buy weapons, armors, and other items and fight monsters, much like how most quest games go. If you're curious as to why it has a place in this list, you don't have to wait long because a new addition to the series will be available for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo 3DS in 2016.

26. A popular character and a game which has passed from console to console, Megaman 2 stands at 26. This Capcom game hit the stores of Japan in under the title Rockman 2: The Mystery of Dr. Wily, and the game takes place after the original Megaman game. The game has eight stages in which Megaman has to defeat the bosses Metal Man, Air Man, Bubble Man, Quick Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, Heat Man and Wood Man, and the final stage which requires Megaman to defeat Dr. Wily in his fortress.

Adrenaline rush and strategy are high for the next two games on the list as F-1 Race and Soccer takes the 25th and 24th spots, respectively.

25. F-1 Race is just like any racing game in which a player has to reach the finish line first, but this game can accommodate up to four players at a time.

24. Soccer is part of Nintendo's Sports series that was released in 1985. It can be played with one or two players and the objective is to score a goal and prevent your opponent from getting a goal.

23. Mario, the adventuring Italian-American plumber we all love gets a promotion in the game on the 23rd spot because, in this game, Mario is a doctor. Dr. Mario is a Tetris-like game but with Mario dropping capsules to defeat viruses. It is a falling-block matching game in which a player has to manipulate the position of the capsules and match the colors to eradicate the viruses.

Excitebike careens its way to the 22nd spot as it attempts to chase after the Italian-American plumber duo, Mario Bros., which is number 21 in the list.

22. Excitebike is a timed racing game in which a player has to reach the finish line first and jump ramps of varying height. A player can accelerate at will but a temperature gauge will show when the bike is about to overheat. When it does, the player sits out the race for a period of time until the temperature is safe again.

21. In this Mario game, plumber brothers Mario and Luigi venture into the sewers of New York to exterminate some enemies. The gameplay, unlike Super Mario Bros., only involves running and jumping and the objective is to flip enemies on their backs and kick them away. The four enemies in this game are Shellcreeper, Sidestepper, Fighter Fly and Slipice.

From a creepy place to creepy things, Ghosts and Goblins follows the Italian-American brothers as it nestles in at the 20th spot, with DuckTales ahead of it firmly holding the 19th place before the list gets taken over by sports once again.

20. Ghosts 'n Goblins don't just involve ghosts and goblins. The gameplay requires players to take the character of Sir Arthur, the knight tasked to save Princess Prin-Prin. In the process, the gallant knight must defeat zombies, demons, dragons and other monsters, as well as the final boss, Satan, and could have been a source of frustration for many players because the first time the final boss is defeated, players are informed that the battle was a trap, much like how the princess is always in another castle. Players are then forced to play the entire game again at a higher difficulty level before they can finally win.

19. DuckTales is a video game based on the Disney cartoon of the same name. The players take the character of Scrooge McDuck who goes on a trip around the world to collect as much gold as he can in an effort to become the world's richest duck. Scrooge can use his cane as a pogo stick or a weapon to defeat enemies he encounters as he searches of the five treasures.

Players eagerly await to receive the opponent's powerful spike with Volleyball at number 18 but quickly dodge the strong jab coming at them with Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! knocking out the opponent at number 17.

18. Volleyball is also part of the sports series and the goal is just the same as the actual game and players have to control six players. If you're curious on how to play it, the game was re-released for the Wii console.

17. Punch-Out!! Is the original title of the game but for the North American distribution, Nintendo opted to make it more relatable and what better way to do that than having the player compete with the computer as boxing champ Mike Tyson. Players can do left and right jabs and body blows as well as an uppercut when a star is earned. Of course, a player can dodge, duck and block blows coming from the opponent too.

16. Family Stadium doesn't quite hit the home run but it sits comfortably in 16th place among all game releases. If you're curious as to what this game is, imagine a packed stadium with a diamond in the field. Yes, you guessed correctly. Family Stadium is a baseball game developed by Namco.

15. It then gets strategic and somewhat intense if you're into Mahjong because it sits on the 15th spot. If you're wondering why there's another Mahjong game in the list, it's because this game is a single-player one and this is the first mahjong game developed and was released in 1983. You probably guessed it and you're right. This game is more popular in the Japanese market.

14. Revving in at number 14 is R.C. Pro-Am, which is a game version of the popular radio-controlled cars. This game is like the predecessor of Mario Kart because you can use missiles and bombs to stall other players all for the goal of winning.

13. Another game in the diamond makes it closer to the top 10 as Baseball hits a fly ball straight into the top 13. This game can be played with two players or versus the computer and the objective is just the same as an actual baseball game. Baseball was also launched alongside Nintendo in 1985 and has been credited as one of the keys to the NES's success in the American market.

12. The Dragon warrior sets off for another quest but gives players the ability to control more than one character with Dragon Warrior II at number 12. This time around, the player takes the character of the Prince of Midenhall in a quest to stop the evil wizard Hargon. If you want to try your hand at playing this game, an iOS and Android compatible version was created and made available in 2014.

11. Fore! Swing that club and increase your precision with Golf at number 11. You have three choices for this game: play in single-player mode with a single-stroke play or in two-player mode with a choice to select either a double-stroke or a match play.

10. Metroid holds the number 10 spot as it offers a science fiction adventure that is literally out of this world because players take the action to the planet Zebes. Known as one of the first games with a female main character, this game's objective is to follow space pirates and retrieve stolen parasitic Metroid organisms that can be used to create biological weapons.

8-9. If you thought your quests were finished, think again because Dragon Warrior IV and Dragon Warrior III come in at 9th and 8th place, respectively. It's the same warrior but with a different quest. Dragon Warrior IV follows the same hero from Dragon Warrior III known as "the hero," who is actually the ancestor of our hero in Dragon Warrior II, but while the third installment is turn-based, the fourth installment is more of an adventure Role Playing Game (RPG). This warrior family just doesn't rest, do they?

Order a box of pizza as you play the game in 7th place because they might just love you for it. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) takes the seventh spot closely followed by Link in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and The Legend of Zelda taking the 6th and 5th spots.

7. TMNT is a side-scrolling, single-player action game in which one of the turtles has to go on a mission to find a device that could turn Master Splinter back into his human form.

5-6. Both Legend of Zelda games are connected in that it follows the hero, Link, as he goes on an adventure in Hyrule. In the first game, Link's objective is to find the pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom to rescue Princess Zelda from Ganon. In its direct sequel, Link must rescue Princess Zelda from a sleeping spell cast upon her.

4. Whoever thought that in the age of 8-bit adventure and action games, a game with falling bricks is a competent rival made a smart move because Tetris, the 1989-released game, sits comfortably in 4th place with only one rival. This is a tile-matching puzzle game based on the original game designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov in 1984.

Hold on, we just reached 4th place but why does Tetris have only one rival? It's because the game towering above all others has taken all three spots with its different adventures.

1-3. You got that right, the Italian-American plumber brothers are the true kings of NES as their games Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3 and the original Super Mario Bros. remain undefeated at the top, even if the princess is in another castle most of the time.

If you're feeling nostalgic after going over the list, watch the 30th Anniversary interview shown just for added emotions.

Photos: Emilio J. Rodriguez-Posada | Flickr  Chris Gladis | Flickr

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