40. Snake Rattle 'n' Roll (NES)

One of the most unique games on the NES, Snake Rattle 'n' Roll's isometric puzzle platforming is a delight to play even now. The balance of eating enemies to get bigger while avoiding bombs and navigating levels is addictive, and it's all tied together well with David Wise's excellent soundtrack and bright, colourful visuals for the time. If you're up for a challenge and a good time, you can't do much better than this underappreciated gem from Rare.

39. StarTropics (NES)

A game which stands apart in Nintendo's back catalogue, StarTropics melds elements of Zelda, the Mother series and classic RPGs to make something different. It isn't entirely successful and is let down by its controls, but it's well worth making a trip to C-Island via Nintendo Switch Online, if only to see a rare game from Nintendo which didn’t get a dozen follow-ups (although it did get a single sequel).

38. Gargoyle's Quest II: The Demon Darkness (NES)

Although Gargoyle's Quest II does have the advantage of being on a stronger system than its predecessor, it plays things relatively safe, making some minor improvements and keeping most of the gameplay exactly the same. This, of course, is not necessarily a bad thing — the first game was great, making the similarity in this entry something to be praised and enjoyed.

37. Mega Man 6 (NES)

Probably the worst thing you can say about Mega Man 6 is that it plays it safe. It follows the same basic idea of eight Robot Master stages followed by castle stages and doesn't really bring any big new gameplay features to the 8-bit Mega Man formula. The level design (save for Plant Man's stage), music and everything else are all pretty good, but if you've played all the previous entries, you can't help feeling that the sixth game is a bit by-the-numbers.

Capcom didn't really go out with a bang with this final NES Mega Man game, then, but it did create one final enjoyable entry on the console which birthed the series. And a 'just good' Mega Man is still better than most other video games, so mustn't grumble.

36. Blaster Master (NES)

Blaster Master is yet another example to prove that Sunsoft was at the very top of its game on NES. With tight controls and eight varied levels, Blaster Master still manages to satisfy in the 21st century (so much so that Inti Creates have brought the series back with two excellent sequels in recent years).

35. Tecmo Super Bowl (NES)

Tecmo Super Bowl is a game so good that it simply won't die. Modders put out updated rosters for this cult classic kicker from 1991 on a regular basis, meaning it's possible to play with modern NFL players and other tweaks, on top of the various improvements the base game made over the original Tecmo Bowl. If you're a fan of the American brand of football, some people insist that the digital game never got better than this.

34. Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom (NES)

It's another NES Ninja Gaiden game and just like the two before it, Ninja Gaiden III is tough but a lot of fun to play. The story is complete guff but impressive visuals and decent music compliment the excellent gameplay. Deciding to tweak, rather that fix what isn't broken, Tecmo provided a game quite similar to its predecessors but with the ability to swing up on to platforms and mix things up a little. Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom (and indeed the whole NES trilogy) is a challenging gaming experience worthy of your time.

33. EarthBound Beginnings (NES)

Much of the significance of EarthBound Beginnings — of Mother — lies in its spirit and the influence of such on subsequent games. It has to be said that EarthBound (its 16-bit sequel) is by far the overall better title, and those who have yet to play either should definitely start with that. If you do enjoy EarthBound, however, then Beginnings is well worth investigating. Sticking through its older style of play, with high difficulty and occasional fluctuations in balance, will reveal a fine story and a strangely transcendental sense of nostalgia, like a letter of love written to a child who hadn't even been born yet.

32. River City Ransom (NES)

River City Ransom mixes basic brawling with comedy to great effect, and its cute visuals still exude tons of character all these years later. Throw in a second player — plus a delicious frosty beverage or two — and you've got a great Saturday night ahead of you.

31. Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II (NES)

Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II is a sequel that could have been absolutely great, and almost did everything right by improving on a clunky control scheme to improve the action sections. Sadly, its overworld and characters are disappointingly unimaginative in comparison to the first game, leaving an adventure that's mechanically improved but creatively lacking. It's still worth checking out, but any entry in the StarTropics franchise has some rather big and charmingly silly shoes to fill and this sequel didn't quite manage it. If you missed out on the Wii (U) VC re-releases, you'll need a NES cartridge to play it in an official capacity.