46. Journey To Silius (NES)

This run-and-gunner was originally a Terminator tie-in until Sunsoft ran into issues getting the licence. The developer retooled it and released it as Journey to Silius, although remnants of its former life are easy enough to pick out. It's a cracking game with excellent music that would be high on our personal lists of NES titles to check out. If you never got around to playing this in the past, there's no time like the present.

45. Vice: Project Doom (NES)

Vice: Project Doom is a good-looking action platformer from Aicom with overhead driving sections which feel more like a vertical shooter. If you haven't heard of it, we'd recommend checking it out; decent controls and a mix of projectile weapons with a melee 'laser whip' for close quarters combat make it an interesting, though not essential, 8-bit experience.

44. Ghosts 'n Goblins (NES)

Simply put, Ghosts 'n Goblins ain't no Ghouls 'n Ghosts. And Ghouls 'n Ghosts ain't no Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. What we're trying to say is that if you're jonesing for a challenging 2D platformer from Capcom, this NES entry in the series probably shouldn't be your first port of call. It's not bad by any means, just distinctly primitive and a tad more frustrating than it needed to be. If you're down for a tough time, though, this is one of 8-bit gaming's most famously difficult single-player experiences.

43. Rygar (NES)

Rygar for the NES bears little resemblance to the side-scrolling arcade original, but is an impressive action adventure game in its own right. With tight controls and a character that grows stronger as you play, it's a fine example of a quality third-party NES release and worth investigating if you're into non-linear, fantasy-style 8-bit games.

42. Shadow of the Ninja (NES)

Shadow of the Ninja is an underrated little title from Natsume which arguably deserves to be remembered alongside the likes of Ninja Gaiden. It's not without faults and it's certainly unforgiving, but with two playable ninjas (and 2-player co-op) that control beautifully and five good-looking worlds to fight through, this is something of a gem in the NES collection.

41. Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (NES)

The 'proper' Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan, this direct sequel was once ‘the grail’ for gamers in the West who had utterly exhausted the first Super Mario Bros. and wanted more of a challenge. The Lost Levels certainly provides that. In fact, Nintendo of America deemed it too difficult to release, and to an extent, you can see where they were coming from. It's a sequel in the truest sense of the word; difficulty-wise, it picks up where World 8-4 left off in the original game and is definitely best enjoyed by seasoned SMB veterans. Players new to the world of Mario (yes, they do exist) will likely find it bewilderingly, hilariously tough.

It wasn't until Super Mario All-Stars on the SNES that the wider world got to experience this game (which is where it picked up its 'Lost Levels' moniker). It's not bad by any means, but it's the sort of thing that would be a New Game+ mode in a modern game. It's incredibly unforgiving and lacks the careful, considered balance of risk and reward associated with Mario platformers. It's available on Switch for anyone with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, so test your mettle with it there if you dare.

40. Ice Hockey (NES)

Ice Hockey is far from the worst 8-bit sports offering on the NES, and it provides a solid, serviceable approximation of the game, although you'll need patience to put up with its quirks, especially when defending. Worth a look if you're a fan of the sport; non-fans aren't missing much (although that sentiment is arguably true for many sports games on the NES).

39. Mach Rider (NES)

Mach Rider might not be remembered as fondly (or as often) as other NES launch titles, but with its unique aesthetic, fun gameplay, and impressive sense of speed, it certainly deserves to be. Though the action can get repetitive, three distinct modes and a track editor make it easy to jump into a slightly different game each time, and score-chasers will find plenty of replay value in revisiting racetracks for better times and scores. Pop-up obstacles and the faux-3D perspective will date the presentation for gamers raised on modern (or even Mode 7) motorways, but retro-race enthusiasts will enjoy revving up this overlooked old-school experience.

38. Wario's Woods (NES)

Starring Mario's dastardly alter ego / doppelgänger / evil twin / [insert theory here], Wario's Woods is a B-tier NES puzzler probably best known for being the final official release for the console in 1994. That said, its unique gameplay hook combined with unusual boss battles makes it worth investigating if you're a puzzle fan who has exhausted the usual suspects.

37. TwinBee (NES)

A vertical-scrolling shoot 'em up that didn’t originally release in the West, Konami's Twinbee is worth checking out if only for that reason. It's a cute little Famicom shmup that spawned a successful series and fans will probably enjoy going back to the beginning more than newcomers. Still, it's worth a look.

36. Donkey Kong Jr. (NES)

Unique in the Mario canon for being the only game to make the plumber the antagonist, Donkey Kong Jr. can't measure up to the original game, but it's worth a play just to see Mario guarding a caged Donkey Kong. You'll need a hefty dose of nostalgia to get much more out of it, though.

35. Adventures of Lolo (NES)

Coming from a pre-Kirby HAL Laboratory, Adventures of Lolo is a rather unique action-puzzling artifact that's unlikely to knock your socks off, but still has an unconventional, homely sort of charm. It's certainly not a top-tier NES title, but like so many games in the NES library, it will reward your patience if you can just resist the temptation to switch to one of the console's stone-cold classics.

34. Balloon Fight (NES)

Balloon Fight was programmed by Satoru Iwata and is essentially Nintendo's version of Joust, and while it was very much a case of the company copying someone else's homework back in the day, the resulting game is a strong one. We like to blast through the Balloon Trip mode every so often, if only to listen to the cheery tune that plays. The game is starting to show its age, but that's no crime in itself — how many 8-bit games don't feel a little creaky by modern standards? Balloon Fight's definitely worth a smidgen of your time.

33. Mario Bros. (NES)

Known to a whole generation as the extra mode that came tacked on to the Game Boy Advance Super Mario Bros. series ports, Mario Bros. is a slight, flavourless offering that doesn't hold up too well these days. It's passingly diverting with two players, but you'll soon be wishing you were playing the one with 'Super' at the start.

32. Joy Mech Fight (NES)

A rarity in more ways than one, this Japan-only release is a first-party fighting game from Nintendo. A late arrival on the Famicom, it launched in 1993 and saw the platform holder dipping its toe into the fighting genre for the first since the decidedly poor Urban Champion. Including all variants, there are 36 robot characters to choose from, each with limbs and heads that float Rayman-style apart from their body — something which aided animation on the ageing hardware. It's never going to oust Smash Bros. in the Nintendo fighter stakes, but it's a combative curio nonetheless, and a welcome addition to the NSO lineup.

31. Tecmo Bowl (NES)

Tecmo Bowl strikes a lovely balance between pick-up-and-playability and depth of gameplay that characterises the best sports games (scratch that — video games in general). There's a chance that even non-football fans might enjoy this one, and it has aged far better than many sports titles in the NES catalogue. Hut!