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Top 20 Favorite Nintendo NES Games by Mike Matei

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Top 20 Favorite Nintendo NES Games by Mike Matei

Mike Matei chooses his top 20 personal favorite Nintendo NES games!

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Would you even believe that at this point in time I have not done a top favorite NES games video that's probably because the NES has one of the most widely talked about biggest libraries in retro gaming history there's no way that most of these pics aren't going to be obvious to a lot of viewers but people often ask me what my favorites are so I figure I might as well and to be perfectly clear these are just my personal favorites so if you're interested in trying out the NES these are games that I would personally consider to be essential number twenty palamidi z' immediately I'm starting off with something that's probably a surprising pick but I absolutely want a batch for this game because it's a fantastic little puzzler I only recently played this game for the first time and I was taken back by how good it is as a longtime veteran of the NES console finding a gem like this nowadays is a rare treat for me you've probably never heard of it before because well the title sucks hey marketing is important pala metis just isn't a good name for a puzzle game the concept is really simple and it deserves a place alongside classic puzzle games like dr. Mario and Tetris the fact that not a lot of people know about it makes me especially fond of it I can totally understand if you choose dr. Mario over this one but I just like that it's a hidden secret little game that only you and your friends know about and all the people watching this video now - I guess oops number 19 bucky o'hare anybody who lived through the 90s knows that many things were heavily inspired or just straight-up knockoffs of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one of the good ones was bucky o'hare and it got a great game for the NES you're on a rescue mission and as you free or capture friends you build an ensemble cast of playable characters that are fun to use blinky can hover jenny has an energy ball Willy has a charged shot and dead I ducked and climbed walls similar to grant in Castlevania 3 the game has an awesome soundtrack flawless gameplay and plenty of challenge which keeps me revisiting it over I've never found it easy and I've never found it anything less than a satisfying experience the fact that this is a really good game based on a very obscure cult franchise makes it very special to me number eighteen crazy creatures it's another obscure but fantastic puzzler this game cracks me up the screen is constantly filling with animals and you're frantically trying to clear them it is a ridiculous mayhem it is fast-paced and it's addictive it's also really satisfying when you complete a long row of symbols as you get to the later levels you'll need full concentration to stay alive unlike a beat-em-up where you can talk to your friends this co-op mode will have you so deeply engaged you won't be able to do anything other than focus on the game itself one thing I have to note is that you have to play this game with another person for it to reach its full potential when the game gets really intense there's something funny about two people getting intensely serious about matching up cat icons crazy creature serves as a reminder that just because some games had to bear the mark of shame of being an unlicensed NES game that doesn't mean that there weren't some really good ones number 17 kung fu I don't subscribe to the notion that games need to be long in order to be good there's absolutely room in your life for a fun brief and tightly paced game now and then and kung fu is a great example this game is programmed really well the hit detection is perfect and defeating enemies just feels really satisfying one nice thing about making a short game is you can cram in a lot of variety and kung Fu's definitely got it if you really want to pour yourself into kung fu the game loops after you beat the final boss and gets harder every time so you can play it as a score attack game if you're so inclined number 16 is Tetris a game that has more versions across more platforms than any other game in history but what makes the NES game worth playing over the other ones if you've ever had the desire to play Tetris and looked around for a bit to find which one to play you've likely encountered a lot of terrible versions a lot of them have promi graphics or controls or the music and sound effects suck or they introduce gimmicks that don't make the game I'm not against mobile games but there's no way you can possibly make a good Tetris game with a phone touchscreen anything besides a good d-pad is really not suitable to play Tetris with NES Tetris alongside the gameboy version are what you want to reach out for when you want a pure perfect Tetris experience you're playing it on an NES so you have a perfect controller to use for this kind of game the graphics are good the sound is good everything about it is solid one common feature in modern tetris games is the ability to hold a piece and save it for later this game doesn't have that and if you're used to peace holding you might think this version sucks on the other hand let's face it peace holding is a crutch it's designed to make the game easier NES Tetris is a rock it's always gonna be a good game no matter how times change or how many versions of Tetris come out this is the version of Tetris that will stand the test of time number 15 Kirby's Adventure I don't think there is a more feel-good game than this one it was made by Hal laboratories and they knew exactly the market they were catering to this is an easygoing soothing game aimed towards players that were most likely turned off by ninja gaiden what makes the game great is being able to absorb the powers of your enemies and experience new ways to play Kirby's Adventure is less about trying to find the most optimal strategy and more about choosing what powers you enjoy using the most the previous game in the series Kirby's Dreamland on the Gameboy didn't have the power copying feature so Kirby's Adventure was the sequel that drastically reinvented the game and made it immensely better if only more sequels could pull off what Kirby's Adventure did also the game is just beautiful to look at the backgrounds and sprite animation are all appealing and some of the best the system had to offer this isn't a very hard game especially considering that you can float over nearly everything if you want to I'm a type of gamer that's usually looking for a challenge but not everything has to be hard as nails for me to consider it a good game this is the type of game I play if I don't want to be stressed out but still have a really good time it's so colorful and happy it's really just impossible to play this and not have a smile come to your face another thing that made this game great was that by using your abilities you could also find hidden switches you have to get them all to unlock the true and boss and by doing so allows you to replay the game again with happier life meter making it more of a challenge that gives the game a bit more depth for more experienced players number fourteen Solomon's key Solomon's key is about a wizard named Dana that has to make it through a series of dungeons using a magic wand that can create and destroy blocks this is an incredibly difficult action puzzle game that's often overlooked and that's probably because of the difficulty level on each stage you're supposed to get a key which unlocks the door to the next room by creating blocks you can protect yourself or create a path the layout of each room is different and they gradually get harder and more intricate getting through each room requires some planning so this isn't a game you're gonna get far in quickly you can pause the game and the screen stays up unlike Tetris so that's one way you can get a lay of the land without the timer running down if you do try this game out when you get a game over be sure and hit up and be together to continue from where you left off you're gonna need it you basically have to figure out how to get through each room and gradually make it a little further each time even when you figure a room out you still need to be able to execute your plan which requires fast thinking and even faster reflexes this is without a doubt one of the harder games on the NES but the important thing is even if you aren't very good at this game it's still a lot of fun to figure out these logic puzzles anyway it had a follow-up called Fire and Ice in the US and Solomon's key to and the rest of the world which are also excellent number thirteen The Adventures of Lolo you know I love the puzzle genre and this has to be one of the absolute best puzzle games of all time the game has a mask to it of being really colorful and cutesy but let me tell you it's anything but that this game will gut you inside and out especially as you move to the later sections the game does require a small amount of reflexes but it's much more about your ability to figure out the correct way to complete the room honestly I think this is a game that should be used in schools to teach kids problem-solving low-low is good for the mind the same way crossword puzzles are it's an excellent title and even has a few sequels which are also just as good people talk a lot about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle trilogy for the NES but not so much the Lolo trilogy TMNT two and three required no thought I love them but you can be totally brain-dead and play those games the low-low games are just way better number twelve jackal this is a very well done game made by Konami where you drive around a jeep that can fire a machine gun or shoot grenades and like most Konami games at the time the music is very catchy as you go through the levels you blow up the little huts to rescue soldiers if you save a general you can get an upgrade to your weapons so that you can shoot missiles this is excellent because the burst goes out in all directions which helps kill enemies though usually when I'm planning I often stick to the grenades it may be a personal preference but I think they work better there are continues to the game but they're very limited so the game is tough but it's not impossible one of the funny things is besides shooting enemies you can run them over which actually comes in handy pretty often each level ends with some giant boss that you have to fight and they're all creatively designed with different weak points to figure out again this probably wouldn't make my list as a single-player game but as a co-op experience it doesn't get much better than this number 11 Castlevania of all the games that we've talked about on the channel this has to be something that we've probably discussed the most you take a game intended to be an homage to classic horror movies and monsters which lets you take control of an awesome badass with cool weapons throw in an amazing soundtrack and make the gameplay extremely difficult and it's almost like somebody made a game specifically for me Castlevania is another one of those games that I like because it's rewarding to beat something that's so challenging but on top of that the gameplay is fun I didn't include ghosts and goblins on this list which is also a horror side scroller and that's because I find that game to be more of a chore than anything else I'm able to beat it but I don't really consider it all that fun where Castlevania is hard but it's also fun to play at the same time the term NES hard gets tossed around a lot and I think if you want to introduce yourself to the concept Castlevania is a good place to start the game is very tough and you die a lot but it's very well designed it's not a punishing unfair experience like so many tough NES games like the first Ninja Gaiden I think some people skip the original because the graphics are admittedly a little bit ugly especially considering the rest of the franchises stand but this is definitely not the Castlevania game to skip number 10 Zelda 2 this is where I have to remind myself that this isn't a full-on review of each game I'm just talking about my favorites because I can talk about this game for hours as you probably already know this is a very controversial game many people hate it while others love it I personally love this game to death I remember the first time playing it being pissed off that it wasn't like the original they totally flipped the core gameplay of the first Zelda on its head and made something entirely different and I think that's what gives people a sour taste in their mouths that and the fact that this is a very tough game there's harder games on the system for sure but this is no walk in the park this game introduced so many awesome things that have remained staples of the Zelda franchise links down thrust and the palace music are things I couldn't imagine not being in Super Smash Brothers they took away the puzzle solving aspect which is the main aspect I loved about the original and Link to the Past and turned it into a side-scrolling action platformer you would think that that would just ruin everything but they did such a good job designing this that it actually works another thing I love about this game is how dark it is I don't think there's any other Zelda game as scary as this one this game is the polar opposite of the vibrant cartoony style that many of the later games lean towards this is basically Zelda in hell and I love it I still hold out hope that someday we'll get another side-scrolling Zelda game perhaps they could take the fun side-scrolling action we see in the Zelda 2 and add back in some of the traditional elements of the franchise such as puzzle solving and finding gadgets number 9 contra and super say you knew a contra game had to be on the list but the great debate is if I'm gonna pick contra or super C and honestly it's the same deal as how I feel about Star Wars how can you watch New Hope without watching Empire Strikes Back both of these games are amazing and I think they're equally is good they both provide an endless source of enjoyment because you can make the game harder on yourself by trying to beat it with less lives there's obviously the famous Konami code which allows you to get 30 lives but trying to beat the game on three lives or less is a totally different ballgame the controls in this game are / everything is as responsive as you could hope for jumping between bullets and having those near-death moments makes the experience exhilarating the designers were also smart enough to give the game variety with the perspective the levels change from side-scrolling to top-down and even a quasi 3d look this keeps everything fresh and keeps the player engaged throughout it should also be noted when the angle changes the game is just as good as it is on the side-scrolling stage you start out on they took care to make sure the gameplay was good no matter what mode you were currently in number 8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this is one that may be surprising to some people because there was an AV GN episode about it and that episode still rings true because it is a flawed game the biggest example being that awful sewer jump but flaws aside I think this game has way more going for it than it has negative aspects first of all the music this game has some of the most rockin tunes on the NES they really went above and beyond with the soundtrack the gameplay itself is fun and satisfying switching between Turtles and using their different abilities depending on what situation you're in at the moment was a novel concept for the time though it is missing a few characters like Krang honestly it does include most of the things that you'd want to see like shredder bebop Rocksteady and the Technodrome the game is also really hard which is something I admire they weren't afraid of giving kids a challenge and while it's tough it isn't totally impossible once you learn to collect the scrolls it becomes quite a bit easier TMNT the arcade game and the Manhattan Project are both games that get tiresome to me don't get me wrong I like them but this game is way more innovative than either of those number 7 Mega Man 2 there were six Mega Man games released for the NES but for me personally this is the one that belongs on my list Mega Man 2 is the game that we have to thank for the entire rest of the franchise because it was a stunning commercial success while the original one had some issues and it's easy to see why because this game is a masterpiece I feel like I should probably spend this segment arguing why it's Mega Man 2 on the list rather than why a Mega Man game which is hard because a lot of the things it does well several other NES Mega Man games do also the easiest argument to make is the music no Mega Man game can beat this game on the soundtrack even minor menu music and the password theme songs are some of the most beloved and revered songs in game history not a single song in this game is anything less than perfection Mega Man 2 had metal blade which is arguably the most powerful weapon in any Megaman game I'm sure that Capcom saw having one really useful weapon upgrade as a design flaw because they proceeded to make most weapons in subsequent games so weak you just go back to using the pea shooter for the entire game Metal Blade made the game fun and the game is still plenty challenging even if you're using it what's wrong with being powerful just compensate by making the levels harder other mega man games seemed more obsessed with trying to make their weapons fit a goofy theme instead of giving you something you actually want to use oh wow I have a gun that shoots a snake thanks sure I'm glad I'm playing Mega Man 3 instead of 2 and I can pop snakes out of my arm instead of tossing and possibly awesome saw blades everywhere Mega Man games often strive to design levels around the weapons that you collect but Mega Man 2 did it best crash bomber opens up shortcuts leaf shield takes out swarms of enemies timestopper freezes the world for those inconvenient moments when the entire world is trying to kill you the bubble led easily lets you detect false platforms which by the way would have been really useful to have in Castlevania 2 and Metal Blade is your reliable bread and butter or you can play Mega Man 3 instead which I do love to I could go either way number 6 and Super Mario Brothers 3 I love the original Super Mario Brothers and could easily choose that for this list however Super Mario Brothers 3 added so much more to the experience that it really just took what the original game did and brought it to the next level I personally find Super Mario World to be quite a bit easier than this game and I really like that Mario 3 isn't afraid to test your skills especially throughout world 8 Mario 3 was the first truly huge platformer game if you know anything about the limitations of the NES hardware and the cartridges Mario 3 seems bigger than it should this cartridge is crammed full of levels and fun stuff to find the game was a tremendous value at the time with the amount of content and has and it's still a very robust title even by modern standards this is something that you're going to want to play through multiple times because you're not going to see everything the first time you run through it the definitive way that experience this game is with two players you don't play with the other player on the same screen you take turns playing levels this may seem like an outdated concept but I think that's just because games just happen to not really be doing this kind of co-op anymore it's still a good idea I think YouTube and twitch have proven that people are just fine watching somebody else play for a bit Super Mario Brothers 3 is the strongest example of why two players taking turns is fun because each player is completely untethered to the other one you're both moving around this board game type world getting into your own adventures you'll be stuck on an ice level while your friend is off on some completely different crazy world with giant monsters you'll be just as engrossed watching your friend play as you are worrying about your own progress the thing that really makes me want to revisit Mario 3 again and again is the challenge there are some pretty tough levels here that require several tries to get through but nothing ever gets too insane to make it for hardcore players only this game is sure to give you a good time number 5 Batman the Arkham series of games lets you live out everyone's fantasy of being Batman but the nes batman game is the only one that lets Batman live out his fantasy of being the best wall jumper in the universe son softs Batman is a really interesting anomaly in gaming when you play it the controls feel very precise and satisfying but they're also incredibly different from almost every platformer Batman does a short Crouch before he leaps into the air which you would think would be annoying but it actually just feels really nice because it makes the game feel like it has weight it just feels really nice you jump with a you push against the wall you press the a button again Batman pauses briefly to turn around and then he jumps off the wall in the opposite direction behold the greatest wall jumping mechanic in game history and this game has brilliant wall jumping puzzles because of it not enough games have utilized these same wall jumping mechanics in 30 years since this game was released the only game that really comes close is shovel knight specter of torment which is amazing I should add punching is really fun because you can wail on the button and obliterate enemies quickly batarangs are great because you have to use strategy of positioning Batman the right distance away from the target to hit them at the apex of its arc to score extra damage the point I'm trying to make is that when a game has excellent controls and then the levels are built to make use of those excellent controls it's really difficult at that point to have a bad game other highlights I think Sun softs Batman has the best color composition of any NES game that exists the entire game is bright vibrant colors of every hue against black backgrounds it's a rainbow of darkness and that is awesome the game is gorgeous and somehow simultaneously does both the movie it's based on and the comics justice at the same time also the music is insanely good and it's really challenging in good ways I need to cut myself off here because I could talk about this game for an hour number 4 Mike Tyson's punch-out Mike Tyson's punch-out is a game with pretty wide appeal and it's not difficult to understand why so many people like this game it's got fairly simple controls and it's trial and error gameplay is perfectly complemented by a masterfully designed learning curve punch-out succeeds because it makes almost no attempt to be a realistic boxing simulator it certainly has all the elements of an exciting boxing match throwing and dodging punches the teeth gritting struggle to whittle down your opponent's strengths and the breathless suspense of the knockdown count but at the end of the day this game is a straight-up cartoon version of boxing and that's what makes it fun it's a video game first each character is memorable not just because of their visual design or dialogue they live in your memory as a series of iconic attack patterns and signature moves this game is a wonderful example of how video games as an art form can create characters based on how they behave and how it feels to interact with that behavior everyone remembers ball Bulls charge just as much as they remember bald bull himself thirty years later being able to defeat my Tyson still one of the most widely respected video game achievements everyone who considers himself a gaming connoisseur should definitely have that notch on their belt number three DuckTales now it's probably not a surprise to you that I have this game on my list but it might be a little shocking to you how high I ranked it and that's mainly because this is just a game that makes me happy from the second I popped this game ins at a time I beat it I'm enjoying the experience every single time I start this game I'm instantly transported back to the late 80s when the most important thing on my mind was the Disney Afternoon you could say that I'm wearing nostalgia goggles choosing this one but I'm gonna say I have on quality goggles because this game rocks the moon level music is regarded as one of the best tracks on the entire console and by the way for the record I think my favorite NES tune is actually the title music for the Goonies 2 game even though that game isn't very well received beyond the music being iconic the game itself is Capcom at its finest the Pogo jump at the time was groundbreaking so good in fact it inspired the primary move for shovel knight one of the most successful indie games from the past several years now I have to admit I am a huge fan of the scrooge mcduck character I grew up reading all the original stories by Carl Barks and by the way you should definitely go read those you'll be amazed by how good they are but I had to ask myself if that fact slanted my judgement on this being such a great game but with that said I know many others rank this game very highly as well so I can't be too off-base like most Capcom games from this era it was very well executed they were one of the best developers for the NES and this was one of their strongest titles number two Ninja Gaiden 3 I've always loved the Ninja Gaiden game since I was a kid when I was young I only own the original and I was never able to beat it regardless it was always one of my favorite games for the system and I think that's mainly due to the controls it has to have the most perfect feeling controls of any sized scrolling action game ever everything you do is satisfying wall jumping flipping through the air slashing at enemies and you magic attacks just feels perfect while I do love the first game it has a lot of flaws there was annoying sections where enemies would respawn too easily or just really poor enemy placement in certain areas also the last level of the game is infinitely harder than anything else so I feel like it was unbalanced the Ninja Gaiden series had the modest goal of letting 80s kids live out the fantasy of being a ninja and the third installment is where the stream was truly realized ninja gaiden 3 fixed all the issues of the previous installments and retained the same great gameplay it also has perfect enemy placement and level design when you get good at the game it just all feels seamless it's this high on my list because I have fun every single time I play it I find myself drawn to this game always wanting to play it over and over before we get to number one I do want to mention Metroid I loved Metroid and I would put it on the list except I prefer to play Metroid with a map so I always go for metroid zero mission which is on Gameboy Advance so that's why Metroid isn't on my list if you're wondering there are many other games that I love for the system Double Dragon startropics life force and many many others but that's the tough thing about making a list like this there's still plenty of great titles out there but let's get to my number one this will come as no surprise to anybody number one The Legend of Zelda I have talked about how The Legend of Zelda is my favorite game quite a bit it's pretty much part of my identity at this point and I'm perfectly fine with that because this is and will always be one of the most important video games ever made and I want you to consider zeldo with some historical context sword and sorcery games has certainly been attempted prior to this point but they really hadn't hit the mark in ways that audiences really craved something was always missing and something was always off when this game came out it was doing many things that no game had successfully executed before and things we hoped games eventually would our fantasies finally came true this is a game that tosses you into a vibrant unique world and lets you explore it any way you want and when you explore you get rewarded with things that you actually enjoy finding this was an adventure game where treasures aren't just useless trinkets that give you points they're new toys to play with that opened up new possibilities and make you more powerful the game introduced puzzle-solving to advance through dungeons and that's the aspect that I like the most I have a natural fondness for puzzle solving and that's the same reason I love adventure of lolo but putting puzzle solving into the context of an adventure game is like mixing peanut butter with chocolate they're better together than the sum of their parts this game is so brilliant that every generation of the game industry since looked back to it for inspiration and reference we've seen so many games since strive to capture Zelda's mechanics of finding upgrades that allow you to access new areas or solving puzzles to advance through a level even today developers are looking back to the Legend of Zelda again and finding more aspects to try to live up to such as the modern push for more open-ended exploration and letting the player get lost instead of holding their hand this little gold cartridge is the holy relic of video gaming also you have to consider my personal history prior to Zelda coming out I had only played arcade games and the Atari 2600 Atari games in particular trained me to make up my own story for the game in my head and Zelda was an entire world for me to do that in it blew my mind and it was the exact game I was looking for and it still is this game has stayed my number one throughout the years because of the additional challenges that are possible with it like doing a three heart only challenge or a swordless run and even more recently there's a Zelda randomizer so it seems that the fun that can be had with the original Zelda is endless

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