30. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers (NES)
A classic co-op romp that looked and sounded incredible, Capcom made a habit of surpassing expectations on the NES — not too difficult considering the general standard of licenced tie-ins (have you tried playing Bart vs. the Space Mutants recently?) — but Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers really is a title worthy of standing alongside the console's finest platformers. The chipmunks' ability to pick up and throw items gave the game a unique flavour, and we personally rate it right up there with Ducktales.
29. Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)
Super Mario Bros. 2 (or Super Mario USA when its plumberised form made its way back to Japan), was the follow-up to the original Bros., a famously reskinned version of the Mario-less Japan-only title Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic, with platforming mechanics quite different to the original Mario game. It introduced the ability to lift and throw objects and a screen that scrolled left and right and up and down.
The verticality of levels was a profound change from the first game, but despite being the odd one out in its homeland, Super Mario Bros. 2 ended up having an enormous influence on the iconography of the series as a whole. The game is definitely worth revisiting — Nintendo Switch Online is the easiest place to find it these days — if only to remind yourself just how different it is from what came before and after. With four playable (and very different) characters to choose from, we highly recommend a playthrough.
28. 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.
27. Bionic Commando (NES)
Capcom's Bionic Commando gave players a grappling hook to help negotiate its side-on platforming levels by athletically swinging across gaps and scrambling around with a bionic arm that gave a fresh take on the 2D platforming genre. It might not be top-tier title, but its style and game design ambition made it an admirable addition in any NES library.
26. Life Force (NES)
If you're itching for some cooperative old-school space shooter action, Life Force will scratch your itch like a kind old friend you've known for years. It's a fairly standard side-scrolling shooter with enough twists on the formula – alternating vertical/horizontal levels, a unique stacking item system and some trippy level designs – to make it stand out in the crowd, a natural step up for veterans of the original Gradius. Life Force doesn't have the immediate name recognition of some of its peers, but it's well worth the time for any fan of the genre.
25. Ninja Gaiden (NES)
Known as Shadow Warriors in Europe (because the word 'ninja' was considered far too violent and controversial at the time), this is the game that inspired modern classics like The Messenger. Ryu Hayabusa, the titular ninja, feels as acrobatic and responsive as he did over three decades ago, and if you're interested in finding out about the inspiration behind dozens of today's indie platformers, you owe it to yourself to give Ninja Gaiden a try.
24. Dr. Mario (NES)
Mario's first outing as a healthcare professional, this block-falling puzzler might not have the following or cache of the mighty Tetris, but its colour-matching gameplay caught on with puzzle fans. Despite not being able to compete on the level of Alexey Pajitnov's puzzling titan, there's a reason Dr. Mario has stuck around in some form for over thirty years: it's simple and addictive.
23. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES)
As the name suggests, this was a NES port of the arcade TMNT game given sequel status on console thanks to Konami's existing 8-bit Turtles title. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game was a fine 8-bit port with extra levels and new bosses thrown in for good measure, not to mention plenty of Pizza Hut product placement for that authentic early '90s feel.
16-bits of processing power would enable the SNES to more closely replicate the look, feel and sound of the arcade experience, but this NES port was pretty remarkable in its day and sticks in the memory as one of Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo's finest console brawlers.
22. Bubble Bobble (NES)
With Bubble Bobble’s simultaneous two-player gameplay, a hundred stages of increasing difficulty, and manic platform gameplay, Taito's arcade classic is one of the NES' top-tier titles. The bust-a-move gameplay is fun to pick up and play for a quick session, and the password system lets you make steady progress with Bub and Bob. Bubble Bobble has been released on multiple platforms over the years, and the NES version is still a fine one.
21. 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 make the action sections more fun. Sadly, its overworld and characters are disappointingly unimaginative in comparison to the first, leaving us with an adventure that's mechanically improved but creatively lacking. We still think it's definitely worth checking out, and perhaps by any other name we'd have even been less harsh, but any entry in the StarTropics franchise has some rather big and charmingly silly shoes to fill. Let's be honest here; it just isn't the same without the yo-yo!
The Tiny Toons NES game was great, as was TMNT2.
So does this mean Eliminator Boat Duel is better than Ducktales according to this list? lol
Meh, I saw Pro Wrestling at #47 and checked out.
I wouldn't put that game in my top 200.
I was very late to the party with the NES, I was not that much interested in video games back then, this console just looked great with the robot on T.V.
I got bought the console by my mum and had Teenage turtles. Batman, and Metal gear for it, got the bug right there and then, and remember going in to my local newsagents, they used to get a lot of U.S imported magazines, I picked up a copy of Gamepro with Sonic the hedgehog on the cover, so I had bought an 8 bit console when 16 bit had been released.
Castlevania 3 Dracula's Curse NOT on the list?
How about you delete this list and pretend it never existed?
Dr. Mario in the top 10? Can't tell if serious.
Also, Adventures of Lolo should be within the top 25.
Several other games on this list have me wondering what type of criteria people use to judge "old" games these days.
I'm missing Duck Tales, Duck Tales2 or Little Nemo. Those were gems...
I'm sorry, Nintendo Life fans, but no Castlevania II or III, no Contra games, no MEGA MAN 3, no Mega Man 4-6, no Faxanadu, no Earthbound Beginnings, no Sweet Home, no Batman, none of the TMNTs, no DuckTales, no Chip 'n' Dale, no Snow Bros., no Battletoads, no Strider, none of them?!?!
Sorry, but any top 50 list of NES games that leaves out Faxanadu is critically flawed.
Faxanadu needs to be on this list.
@dartmonkey Where's Faxanadu? We've rated it as a 7.3 but it's been left out entirely.
@LavaTwilight yes it is actually one of the best games ever created!
Ninja Gaiden II >>> Ninja Gaiden
But where is Kid Dracula???
should have built the voting up a bit more before making the list- it only has switch online and virtual console games
@LavaTwilight Games need a minimum of 50 user ratings to become eligible, otherwise a couple of 10/10s could see any old rubbish in the top spot.
The list will evolve over time, and we can add games to the database, too — just leave a comment and we'll see what we can do.
This list is garbage, and here's why:
Almost every game on this list is available either on NSO or the NES Classic (with the exception of Final Fantasy II, which is a unanimously hated game in the series), which tells me that most of the people who voted blindly cast their vote.
-The exclusion of games that belong in any top 50 NES list. First off, what business does Solomon's Key have on this list? Why is Ice Hockey here when Blades of Steel is the more widely-loved hockey game? Where is Shadowgate? Uninvited? Why is Ninja Gaiden on this list but the vastly superior Ninja Gaiden II nowhere to be seen? How about Bionic Commando? Dragon Warrior IV? Double Dribble? Little Nemo? Duck Tales? Did Contra even make the list? Why do these lists pretend that Faxanadu never happened?
And even though Mario 3 is a great game, is it really the best game on the platform?
As voted but definitely not definitive. Many games like Castlevania 3 and the Contra Series was left off, while games that don't age well like Mario Bros and Ice Climber make the list. Why isn't TMNT - The Arcade game available? The curated list is better than these supposedly voted one which I doubt many voted on...
Probably the worst list of the nintendolife best of series...
@nukatha It was excluded from the running, but I just de-blocked it. It's at number 11 at the time of writing.
@BanjoPickles @MasterGraveheart No Dragon Warrior games on the list at all as of this date. Try telling a Japanese gamer from that era that no DQ game, not even III, makes a Top 50 list in the West...
That was the first thing that caught my attention.
Punch out is my favourite nes game
Who made this list!
@dartmonkey I skee I skee, if that was included at the intro I would have understood... which is a shame because it's an epic game! We need more people rating it.
These top 50 lists are getting realy boring after 3 decades.
damn guy's, think of something new.
I am shocked that
Mega Man 3
At least one Dragon Warrior game
TMNT 2: The Arcade Game
Ninja Gaiden II
didn't make the list. Must be a lot of people younger than me voting who haven't played these yet. These were and are all essential NES games to me.
The Guardian Legend was and still is my favorite NES game. Not only is it not on the list, but no one in the comments has mentioned it yet either, so it must be criminally slept on.
Edit: it's not in the database either. Can you guys add it?
Games need a minimum of 50 user ratings to become eligible, otherwise a couple of 10/10s could see any old rubbish in the top spot.
@dartmonkey Sir, I must point out that I am unable to add Dragon Warrior/Quest II or III on the NES in my user profile. (Those are the versions I've actually played!) How then can I rate them?
This... is a serious problem.
Where the living hell is Contra?!!? Baseball Stars?! Lordy...
Can people please rate ducktales, Contra, Castlevania III and Bubble Bobble accordingly.
9/10 on all of these please!
I have fond memories of the NES. This was the system I waited months for before I finally got it under the Christmas tree back in the 80's. I've been a Nintendo fan ever since. "The greatest Christmas gift I had ever received, or would ever receive."
Quite interesting. It really says a lot about how the library has aged when a 5/10 game can still make the top 50.
Also, everyone should purchase a permanent version of Punch Out on some platform (ie not NSO) before the outrage Karens at ResetEra get it cancelled. You know it's coming.
No Bucky O'Hare ? O_o
So was this a secret poll? I come to this site every day and saw nothing about a NES poll. Anyway, the list is pretty bad. It's obvious the voters have only played 5% of the NES library at the most.
@Yorumi I guess we have a personal responsibility to introduce the great games that aren't on NSO or the mini consoles.
@COVIDberry As I said, leave a comment mentioning any games you love that aren’t in the database and we’ll add them.
Serious problem solved!
@TheWingedAvenger We’ve just included the ‘poll’ in the main article this time.
I was born too late to experience the NES in its prime but my favorite games for the system were always Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Zelda, Metroid, Kirby’s Adventure, Ice Climber, and Punch Out.
Very disappointed in the voters. This might be one of the worst lists I have ever seen. Castlevania III (arguably the of the series), TNMT, Double Dribble, Mega Man III (again, arguably the best in the series), Duck Tales, Life Force, Contra (perfect game), Spy vs. Spy, Skate Or Die, Blades of Steel.
Also, ignore the captions. For example, Ice Hockey is a great game regardless of whether you are a hockey fan. The epitome of less is more.
Arh this brings back memories of bringing back my NES console from Toys R Us way back in 1992 and playing SMB for the first time (on a games console)! Happy days 1) SMB 2) Star wars and 3) Bart vs The Space Mutants, oh and obviously SMB 3!
@holygeez03 The time shall come. When the Gate of Darkness is cast open. All men shall knell before me. All shall hail me, Ashtar, as their new master.
Super Mario Bros 3 absolutely blew my mind.
Back in the days games usually did not have any easy mode. I died so many times in that desert level with that sun lol.
So many great games and great memories. I agree with the top game on the system. My second fav was actually Kirby tbf but a sound top 25 there even if I'd place them a little differently personally
As I said, leave a comment mentioning any games you love that aren’t in the database and we’ll add them.
@dartmonkey Thank you! All of the following are NES games:
The King claims his crown. 😎
Castlevania III needs just one more rating to get into the Top 10!
EDIT: Now at #4!
I have no idea what the consensus is on Kickle Cubicle (I enjoyed it a lot as a kid), but it's not even in the database!
Was the Bimmy name intentional for Double Dragon II?
I'm okay with the list for the most part, but does NL HAVE to make some back-handed comment for every game that's not in the top ten?!
For once i am in total agreement with you.
I like Super Mario Bros 2 (Super Mario Bros USA) more than the original Super Mario Bros. It's a more varied and interesting game for me...
It was only through Mario 35 (RIP) I got some enjoyment from the original game. Always found it too basic and dated otherwise. Maybe because my first Nintendo console was the SNES and Super Mario World my first Mario.
I actually didn't play any NES games until I got a NES in Animal Crossing on GameCube! I remember playing a lot of Balloon Fight.
No Faxanadu? I am doin a sad.
Castlevania III is one of those games that I just don't like nearly as much as everyone else. Its level design is brutally, unfairly difficult, particularly in the last third or so.
Love the original Castlevania though.
I'm surprised the other Mega Man games didn't rank in the Top 50. MM4, 5 and 6 aren't amazing but they're consistently enjoyable.
TMNT II: The Arcade Game
Tecmo Super Bowl
Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers
It's a shame Mr Gimmick! Didn't get a wide release, that would have been a top 5 game if more people knew about it.
So many good games mentioned in the comments, particularly Chip n Dale, Duck Tales and Bucky O'Hare.
Tmnt II didn't even make the cut 😩. LoZ1 and SMB3 are tied for #1 for me. What's with Mr dream being featured over Tysons version?! It's a travesty! Duck hunt should be up there, bionic commando should be up there, darkwing duck too! Maybe I'm just a grumpy old man but my list is a little different lol
That’s because whoever came up with this list created it in a weird way. You could eliminate the garbage by including:
-Ninja Gaiden II
-Blades of Steel
-Wizards and Warriors
-Dragon Warrior 1,3, 4
-Mega Man 3, 4
This list is a joke.
The games that need to be added for voting are
TMNT 1-3 + tournament fighters
batman return of the joker
Chip N Dale 1-2
the Dragon Warrior Games
Power Blade 1-2
Tiny Toon Adventures 1-2
Little Nemo in Slumberland
Flintsones Rescue of Dino and Hoppy
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
Monster in my Pocket
Not having it.
I’ve been back and played the NES and honestly I think I made the right decision as a kid buying a master system. Sega for life!
@PALversusNTSC So are you a PAL or an NTSC guy/gal?
That is a weird list with some very notable omissions. I wonder if the list is being skewed based on the limited titles available on the Switch NES app?
@LavaTwilight @Zuljaras @MasterGraveheart @Magician @NintendoByNature @BanjoPickles
As to these comments~~~ esp as lavatwilight Points out ~~~ did NL perhaps have a cutoff of minimum number of users ranking them?
It’s one thing to disagree, but like Faxadu et al, Ufouria also has a much higher score (7.5) than many on the list. I wouldn’t expect these (ufouria etc) are popular- but mega man 3, castlevania iii, contra titles....
Anyone old enough to have an NES will, as a scientific fact have at least one of these.
Thanks for the writing but please explain?
Interesting! Good thought I had no idea NSO had 50 titles! (Or does it?)
That shouldn’t count ,of course, because NSO =/= NES ~~~~ they had a NSO ranked list before so .hmm.
Sure it is how many will play, but (for example) it makes sense for Ufouria, Recca (summer 94 shump thingy), and Murasame Castle to be excluded Bc they are VC exclusive to many and VC =/= NES.
Science Girl suspects April fools day came late.
I can't believe Dr Mario made it in there but Tetris didn't..?
@NintendoByNature TMNT2 (and 3) don't even seem to be in the database! I'm calling shenanigans on this whole thing.
this list makes the NES library seem worse than it was.
For me personally two of my favourite Nes/Famicom games are Over horizon and Crisis force. Both incredible shooters that push the system really hard, and both play amazing.
Mega Man II is terrible, one of reasons is that one boss in Wiley's Castle can only be defeated by the Crash Bomb and you need a full ammo bar to do it, use any before the fight or miss a shot or something and you have to start over. I enjoyed every Mega Man game afterward but II is my least favorite for many other reasons.
Also, Super Mario Bros. beat out Metroid? What???
@dustinprewitt Outside of a small handful of games there is basically no point in revisiting the NES today.
So Ducktales and Little Nemo aren't in the top 50 NES games lol teally?
@Tourtus stay in school, kid.
I wanted a NES so badly back in 1990. TMNT fever was at a peak and I really wanted the NES that came with it.
I got a Spectrum Sinclair ZX instead....
Contra, Baseball Stars, and Tecmo Super Bowl are serious omissions, but the ONE THING THAT MUST BE FIXED IMMEDIATELY IS: #6 Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! Yes, it matters! : )
Not sure how shooters like the original pop ‘n twin bee can be on the list but there are no sign of almost SNES quality titles such as Crisis Force.
Despite its flaws, Kid Icarus is worth playing.
The toughest part is the first three levels, since you are at your weakest. After that, you reach the first dungeon level and can grind and buy the health upgrades at the shop. You get upgraded weapons, too, over the course of the game.
Not a single dragon quest
No castlevania 2
@MasterGraveheart I feel like this list was heavily influenced by Nintendo Online. Like people have no memory... so they just went with what they saw on there. Or... People who were born later, after the NES' prime voted based on what they saw there. There are way too many gems missing here to take this list seriously.
This is a strange list there’s lots of games missing for my mind
Wizards and Warriors
Ninja Gaiden 2
Snake Rattle and Roll
Even Castlevania II: Simons quest was OK
EDIT: Ducktales!! Someone did mention this already
EDIT 2: was the TMNT arcade game on NES?? I thought it was SNES. Definitely deserves a mention. And don’t forget paperboy!!
I thought a few titles should be higher too. But yeah, just a really strange list.
Recently started playing Double Dragon and Double Dragon II. They’re so infuriating, but I can’t stop playing them. Worthy placements in the Top 50 overall.
Also love that Punch Out made the Top 10. It is probably the NES game that has aged the best.
where is Ducktales, TMNT 2, *******ng CONTRA!!? even Battle of Olympus or Willow are better than half of these.
So many more missing
I don't necessarily agree with this entire list but I'm shocked I've only played/finished 49 of them.
For those who are confused about the make-up of this list, here's why...
A game can only appear on this list if it has received at least 50 user ratings. This is why it is dominated by titles that have appeared on the Nintendo Switch Online service, which has previously been the subject of its own Nintendo Life list and thus those games have already received lots of ratings.
If you want to see your favourite on the list, then get rating! For example, Faxanadu has been mentioned by many people, and based on its current average score, it would be in the top 25. However, it has only received 16 ratings, hence it is a long way off from reaching the threshold of 50.
The good news is that there has already been a fair bit of movement since the list was first published. For example, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse was initially absent, but after it got 50 ratings, it went straight into the top ten. When I first checked the list, a game only needed an average score of 5.4 to make the top 50, but now it would need around 5.8. So the cream gradually is rising to the top, even if the competition here isn't as fierce for other consoles, where a game's average score might need to be in the upper 7s or 8s in order to get into the top 50 (see Nintendo Life's other system lists). Clearly many games from 30-odd years ago simply don't stand the test of time; to put a positive spin on it, though, it goes to show how brilliant the top titles are if they can still command high user scores all these years later!
Finally, Nintendo Life might want to consider lowering the threshold for entry to make the list more representative of the quality of the NES library. For the Game Boy list, they reduced the eligibility from 50 votes to 20, so why not also for the NES? Something to think about.
@Tourtus Mega Man 2’s got the GOAT soundtrack though.
My top ten:
Super Mario 1-3
Mega Man 2
I must disagree. If anything, 50 is too low of a bar. Otherwise you can get wildly skewed results (like 3D World + Bowser’s Fury being the top Mario game because it has only 75 user reviews rather than thousands like the other games in the franchise).
@Spiders True, some of Mega Man's greatest tracks come from that game.
smb3, megaman 2 and zelda, absolutely expected to be top 3. first class, s-rank games right there
metroid below top ten (as of this comment) is a shocker
willow and faxanadu def need more love
Twinbee did come to the west. It was called Stinger
Tecmo Super Bowl.
Fixed it for ya.
@dartmonkey Please add Dragon Warrior II, III, and IV. There are other important games missing from the database, too. How come a feature wasn't run in advance with everyone able to vote down the list, like was done for GBA?
@Chrysologus All of those have been added already. Unlike some of the other consoles, we already had a sizeable chunk of the NES library with ratings, so we decided to experiment with running the ‘vote’ in the main feature itself this time.
I can't even find the TMNT Arcade game on the search. No wonder it's not on this list. Couldn't find Strider or Code Name: Viper either.
Yeah dude where in the heck is Turtles III?
Same. I check out this site on a daily basis and never saw a chance to vote
I was hoping Smash TV might have made the cut. I loved that game so much.
Air Fortress is deserving a spot IMO
The NES library is just so huge and varied, this was destined (doomed?) to be one of the most subjective ever.
its a wrong top 50, thumbs up guys and girls
Very nice list. There's a bunch of titles there I want to try out now after being reminded. These past few days I've been playing Kirby's Adventure on my original NES and it really is a great looking and feeling game.
Punch-Out!! Featuring mike tyson was better then mr dream
@Panagiotis same both mr.dream and mike tyson version
Ufouria is one of the best NES games I've ever played. Ufouria is a cute and accessible metroidvania with great music and imaginative art style. It's a true hidden gem of a NES game.
Surprised not to see Ducktales or Little Nemo the Dream Master anywhere in a full top 50, but I'll live. ^^
Never understoond why people like Mega man 3. It has some of the most boring weapons with snake man and top man. A lot of the maps blink because there are too many things going on. Not saying its a bad game, just saying it doesnt come close to the 2 best megaman games, 2 and 4
Not too bad of a list, IMO, though there were some glaring omissions as mentioned above (Contra most of all). I definitely would put original SMB at #2 due to sheer importance.
Here’s the main thing I take from this list though: It’s easy to forget just how fantastic the NES was. So many games that hold up 30+ years later. So much fun to be had! After the Switch and SNES, the NES is the best Nintendo console of all time, and that’s still saying a lot!
That was a fun read. There are some surprising omissions, from my perspective. Of the top 10, only duck hunt doesn't belong IMO.
@MasterGraveheart I agree with this.
Is this an April Fool's joke? Did a bunch of trolls get together to compile it? Did you just pick a bunch of games at random and throw in a few well known ones? Sorry,I'll take Syd Lexia's Top 100 since they actually know what they're talking about.
@Tourtus Your full of bull
Was gonna blast this "best of" list for no Ducktales, Castlevania 3, TMNT 2, etc. but I can see I'm late to the party. Good job everyone.
This is more of a "Name 100 NES Games You Remember" list.
@dartmonkey I see you've added some more, like Tecmo Super Bowl! But these high-quality games are still missing:
Adventures of Lolo 3
Baseball Stars II
Best of the Best: Championship Karate
The Blue Marlin
Break Time: The National Pool Tour
Final Fantasy III
Formula One: Built to Win
Greg Norman's Golf Power
The Guardian Legend
The Lone Ranger
The Magic of Scheherazade
Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!
Ms. Pac-Man (Namco and Tengen versions)
Nobunaga's Ambition II
R.C. Pro-Am II
Rainbow Islands: Story of Bubble Bobble 2
Romance of the Three Kingdoms II
Super Spy Hunter
TMNT: Tournament Fighters
Tetris (Tengen version)
Track & Field II
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
R.C. Pro-Am and Smash T.V. are in the database, but can't be rated because they're listed as "announced."
Rainbow Islands was soooooo great! Nice add.
There are a bunch of games I'd remove to make room for the likes of Batman, Shatterhand, Power Blade, Power Blade 2, Ninja Gaiden 3(Japanese version), and some others. Batman and Shatterhand are among my favorite games on the system. Easily in my top five. Kind of surprised to see Vice: Project Doom and Shadow of the Ninja ranked higher. Those are very good, but not as high on my list among action platformers.
Not sure if they deserve to be in the top 50 but Paperboy and Top Gun 1+2 would be nice to have in the database. And if you one day want to have the Top 50 Worst Games one day, add To The Earth just for the hell of me giving it a 1 out of 10.
*top 50 NES games that are currently available on the Wii U or Nintendo Switch
there i fixed it for you
Yep this list is basically the games available on Switch or the NES classic. Not a lot of old skool heads voting here by the looks of it. Where is Marble Madness, Digger T Rock, California Games and RC Pro Am?
Nah, forget it. I'd mention Mega Man 3 just to start the list of gems that were left out, but better forget about it. When it comes to lists, we will never fully agree with them, but that's ok. No problem. But this one went over any and every limit possible. No way!
@Tempestryke Not sure which comment of mine you think is "bull" but these are my opinions, they're not facts.
Games on IGN's NES Top 50 that are currently missing from this list:
That's 27 missing titles...
@MontyCircus yes it is missing Lifeforce! Glad to see Gradius made it though. I have to see if I can vote for Lifeforce.
@MontyCircus As of about midnight UK time on 4 April, there are NO Dragon Quest games on this list whatsoever. People need to add the games to their profiles, and start rating! Unless this community is going to claim that Mario Bros. (minus the Super) and Pro Wrestling are better than Dragon Quest III...
I should mention, though, that "Dragon Warrior V" does not exist - Dragon Quest V was an SNES game, and no version of it was released outside Japan in the 20th century, let alone on the NES.
@COVIDberry "Dragon Warrior V" does not exist"
Yes, you're right. IGN mislabeled IV as V.
I have this game!!
Hum, the top ten is ok, but overall not a good list.
Also, where’s Mach Rider?
Come on, people! The TMNT games need a lot more reviews (at least, the 2nd and 3rd games do)!
Meanwhile, please add the NES version of "Darkwing Duck" to the database.
Excuse me, but where is BASEBALL STARS???
I feel like this gem of a game keeps getting ignored. The NES version had a “franchise” mode where you could manage rosters, improve players, and draft rookies or sign veterans. It was brilliant. First of its kind on a console.
The NEO•GEO version that’s been available on the eShop has so little to do with the original. It wouldn’t be until the mid-90s when EA started to include similar features in their sports games. Baseball Stars was so far ahead of its time.
@MontyCircus I didn’t even notice Contra was missing. That’s a top 10 for sure.
There's a relatively small selection of the overall NES/Famicom library currently in the database (fewer than 240 games, as far as I can tell), a bunch of which don't have 50+ user ratings to qualify.
You can truly see that what have sold more and mentioned more on Youtube in the last decade is clearly more in the upper Places^^
I never understood the appeal of Dr. Mario when there are plenty of better puzzlers.
The Legend of Zelda, as significant as the game is, really didn't age well, but I guess reputation alone can get you in top 10.
@dartmonkey A voting feature would revolutionize this list and make it epic! Several classics are languishing with less than 50 votes, like Battletoads, Blades of Steel, Bubble Bobble, Contra, Super C, Double Dragon III, Dragon Warrior, Duck Tales, Faxanadu, Galaga, Gargoyle's Quest II, Life Force, Mega Man 4, Mega Man 5, Mega Man 6, Mighty Final Fight, The Mysterious Murasame Castle, Ninja Gaiden II, Pac-Man, S.C.A.T., TMNT, & TMNT II.
I'm adding Air Fortress because Hal Bailman is missing his ride.
As others have mentioned, some of the omissions are breathtaking. No Contra game or Bionic Commando? Come on!
The lower 20 games I mostly wrote off as WTF.
Rapt to see Journey to Silius appear. That was a classic. Also from Sunsoft was Batman. That should get a nomination.
I don't understand the release dates. 2007 for Castlevania? Come on!
It seems an evolving list so it'll be interesting to see how it evolves.
@HalBailman In the early days of Nintendo Life, they used the Virtual Console release dates, because that's how and when the games were being put into the database in the first place.
I have a sneaking suspicion that many of the voters didn’t own an NES in the 80’s/early 90’s. That’s the only way I can make sense of this.
@Willmercade Only games available on modern hardware have more than 50 votes. Many important games weren't even in the database when the list went live. Needs a mass voting article! Mega Man 4 is just seven votes away from jumping into the top 10.
While trying to download a bunch of NES games to put on my SNES Mini, I realised just how varied and strong a library that system had, both first and third party.
With the exclusion of Contra, Blades of Steel, DuckTales, and Battletoads, there's no way this is an official top NES list.
We’ve added a bunch of games, and I’ll be adding everything suggested so far in the comments as soon as possible.
All time favourite NES game, Pirates!
Wait, the original TMNT got a 3 out of 10 by Nintendo Life? AVGN really did sway public opinion on this game, didn’t he.
@dartmonkey Could you add Mr Gimmick? It's a NES classic which didn't get a wide release.
Post update- okay, this is a bit more like it.... not perfect, but getting there
It's 6:30 PM in Loughborough. Do you know where your Dragon Quest games are? For, gentle reader, you will find nary a one of them on this list... a list which does feature Donkey Kong Jr. and Pac-Man...
The list is now updated properly
I love the 3 Castlevania games and TMNT.
But we still need Faxanadu and Shatterhand.
@NintendoLife Please add Mr Gimmick!!!!
Good to see Batman and Shatterhand added to the voting list. They are easily in the top level of NES games for me and I never tire of them. Shatterhand, especially, is one I return to very often.
@NintendoLife Thanks for adding!
Anyone who has played Mr Gimmick, please vote, it deserves to be in the top 50
@naxuu I literally just came to the comments section looking for the Guardian Legend comments so thanks for keeping it near the top. Someone should track down who owns the IP and get that game on Nintendo Switch Online NES. More people should have the chance to play it.
@NintendoLife Haven't we met somewhere? 😊
I do see that you've updated the database quite a bit, thank you!
Do you fellows have a policy against PC ports? Some of my very favourite games on the platform, or even of all time, originated on PC (or even Mac). To wit:
And there are also genuine console-based games missing, like:
Balloon Fight is way too low
@dartmonkey Is VS. Excitebike being deliberately excluded? It has enough votes to be in the top 50. Plus you even mention in the Excitebike entry that's it better!
So glad you lowered the threshold to 25 votes. The list is vastly improved now. Still needs Dragon Warrior games, though!
It's a better list now than it was before after the update, but still no Bucky O'Hare and even more egregiously no Base Wars! 😤
Most overrated NES game of all time is Battletoads. The ridiculously cheap difficulty (with limited continues, no save features and no password system), plus a bad two player mode, overwhelms anything positive the game has to offer. Not sure why it continues being held in high esteem, especially after that bad Xbox game that came out recently. Should have been a one and done, in my honest opinion.
@Ninten1 Technically, Vs Excitebike is a Famicom Disk System game, so it doesn’t qualify.
@COVIDberry Those are all on there now, it’s just taking time to add them all. More to come.
Top 10 is way more palatable now.
@dartmonkey I suppose that makes sense... Thank God the original Mother was released for the Famicom and not the FDS!
Gun Nac not even listed?
Track n Field
Could you lower the review requirement number on the other lists, as well?
Micro Machines doesn't show up in the search! It needs to be on this list.
TMNT 2 just needs one more rating to appear in the top 10!
@MatoFilipovic "The Legend of Zelda, as significant as the game is, really didn't age well, but I guess reputation alone can get you in top 10."
The original Zelda was like a Dorothy opening the door to Oz moment. It was the first home console video game with the ability to save your game. It changed a video game play session from something you could enjoy for minutes, to something you could enjoy for days.
In the realm of action adventures, try comparing it to something like "Venture" on ColecoVision, released a few years before, you can see the radically difference in depth of gameplay.
Just like we all have Donkey Kong to thank any time we have ever jumped in a video game, respect the classics!
6 votes so far for Mr Gimmick, 19 more needed for it to appear on the list! Current score is 8.8, which would put it at number 2!
Votes here if you've played it:-
I'm confused Tetris on 3 place.. Do people really think that Tetris is such a great game. I mean it's a good game and a real classic but is it really better than a game such as Dragon Quest 3 for instance that didn't even make it on the list?
If you could choose between Tetris and Zelda which one would you choose? I know I would choose Zelda.
the list and library is improving with every day
Zelda doesn't need distant, museum-like respect, though. It's just an all-time great.
Sure, it took me a little getting used to at first. Your movement is more limited than in A Link to the Past. And you need to read the instruction manual before playing.
But after that adjustment period, I just loved the difficulty, freedom, and sense of adventure, which aren't always there in later Zelda titles.
It benefits from the current renaissance of old-school sensibilities, though. The way you lose in The Legend of Zelda while retaining rupees (which function as experience points, since you need them to buy weapons and armor) leads to a very Dark Souls-style progression early on. And the dungeons are much like today's rogue-likes, with rooms of enemies you have to clear before progressing. I felt right at home after my 40 hours with Hades.
Wow the updated list is so much better!!!
Thanks for listening NL crew
List redeemed with Dragon Quest 3
Honestly yeah. Tetris NES is still really good today and a go to version in the competitive scene, the less forgiving ruleset holds a ton of value
@naxuu very underrated
Whelp! I did my part
List redeemed with Dragon Quest 3
@JonComms I'm glad we weren't alone in this. Aren't you, Jon? Does this make us opinion-holders, or opinion-makers?
Question: do staff, like yourself, get to vote?
People! Bionic Commando, Dragon Warrior IV, Gargoyle's Quest II, and Ninja Gaiden III are all just THREE votes away from revolutionizing this list yet again! Let's make it happennnnnnnn...
That's a pretty good looking list, now, even though Dragon Warrior III at the number 2 spot (currently) is a bit generous.
Excellent list, but where is The Guardian Legend?
@NintendoLife Clash at Demonhead is still missing
If only Megaman 2 could top Super Mario Bros 3 in a list like this...
Maniac Mansion seriously needs some votes for this list!
Even though NES sold a lot better, master was better system
@MontyCircus It is not really fair of me to compare Zelda to today's standards, but here I am doing it anyway xD
Joking aside, I do get the impact the game made, however, there are plenty of NES games I can play today and have a kick out of em: Mario Bros. Trilogy, Batman, Journe to Silius, Little Samson, Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu, Punch-Out... just to name a few.
Zelda is not one of those, unfortunately. But, I do appreciate the way it paved for other games in the genre
Holy crap, the list just changed a ton. Dragon Warrior III has fallen so far.
@Chrysologus Tetris has been downvoted quite a bit too, bit disappointing as both it and DQ3 deserve to be at the top
@JonComms At least they're on the list now, and DQ4 is #1 (though it will probably drop, too.
EDIT: Oh yeah, it collapsed within a few hours. Still in the top 20, though, and a few more votes on Gargoyle's Quest II and Life Force may give a DQ3 a chance to re-enter the top 10.
@Chrysologus @JonComms You are doing the Goddess' work, both of you. Well done.
TMNT III, Mighty Final Fight, Battletoads V Double Dragon and Chip n Dale are right there on the threshold of required votes from being included.... maybe reduce the required votes from 25 to 20 or 15?
@dustinprewitt Yeah, there are tons of games that got added to the database, but hardly anyone rated them so it didn't matter. The list is pretty good, though.
@chrysologus it's not perfect, but close enough!
I still can't believe Rescue Rangers hasn't made the cut! 😭
@Ziondood I guess you prompted someone to vote for it, because now it has 25 votes and is in the Top 10!
That Dragon Quest poll really crushed DW III's position.
Cool to see a bunch of new games in the list, though. All those weaker games at the bottom of the list have finally fallen off. You're next, Kid Icarus!
@Chrysologus its to the point where I would condone using multiple accounts, not so much to change the ranking of the games, but to get the game the sufficient number of votes to get a place at all in the ranking.
@dustinprewitt Which game, though? Just about all the big famous games are on it now.
@Chrysologus tecmo superbowl, fire & ice, final fantasy III (?!) and zodas revenge: startropics 2 seem to be the next games on the threshold of getting the required 25 votes to make the ranking
Two of my fondest NES gems were Battle of Olympus and Kabuki Quantum Fighter. Anyone else want to show these games some love please and give them a score?
Adventure Island III needs a review.
I’m glad people have voted for more games. Makes the list more fleshed out.
@dartmonkey Could you please add Nobunaga's Ambition II, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms II to the database? Thank you!
Yes! I was just thinking about this one! Also no Gradius or Gradius 2! Boo!
A few more popular games absent from the NL database are IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II, Cobra Triangle, Qix, and Legendary Wings!
❗️My Top 5️⃣ NES Games:
1️⃣Super Mario Bros. 1
2️⃣Super Mario Bros. 3
3️⃣Super Mario Bros. 2
5️⃣Double Dragon 2: The Revenge
From what I've seen of the currently included games in the top 50, as well as some classics that are not currently represented, there are not enough NES fans/players voting on all their favorite (and least favorite) games to allow all the serious contenders to qualify to be ranked (i.e., too many games don't yet have at least 25 votes). This also means that there is not yet a large enough sampling of players to make the rankings representative of the aggregate opinions of the greater community of NES players. Perhaps the top 10 or so wouldn't change much with a very large number of participants voting in the rankings, but the middle-to-lower part of the top 50 could have games inserted that currently have too few votes, and other games might shift around in the rankings.
The following games are missing from the NES database:
Here is my NES Top 25 (mostly unordered, and I decided not to include imported games, to make it more representative of the games I grew up with):
I think The Battle of Olympus should at least have an honorable mention.
I didn't see Kabuki Quantum Fighter on this list
Top 21 in my opinion is missing Adventure Island 3, Dr. Mario, Duck Hunt and Balloon Fight. Last 3 are such classics , good replay value, very fun to play with others and easy to pick up (still are games I'll pull out at Christmas time to play with even non gamers - non-gamers especially love Dr Mario I find!)
Little Somsom do the work
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