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The 22 Best Nintendo NES Games from the 80s & 90s That Shaped Our Childhood

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Best Classic NES Nintendo Games of the 80s & 90s of All TIme

Right now as we speak my Nintendo games are in a Nintendo toy box in my parents basement.  I refuse to let them throw it out. I’m not a scientist, but I’m pretty sure part of me would die.  There was nothing like renting a new Nintendo tape for the weekend and begging your parents to let you stay up for one more hour because you were just about to beat the board and would never be able to do that again.  Ever.  Here’s our ranking of the 22 best Nintendo games of all time.

22.  Baseball Stars:  Because we spent most of the time hitting the batters to see how the fell to the ground even when my sister was pissed that all the girl ball players would cry.

Baseball Stars Nintendo NES


21.  Popeye:  Because catching hearts and eating spinach was surprisingly fun.  Plus, it took us 1 full year to figure out why it said “Olive” on the right side of the screen.

Popeye Nintendo NES


20.  Excite Bike:  Because building your own race track was everything.

ExciteBike Nintendo NES


19.  Yo! Noid:  Because Dominos pizza and video games went hand in hand.

Yo! Noid Nintendo NES


18.  Pro Wrestling:  Because who didn’t want to be that weird half fish/half human wrestler?!

Pro Wrestling Nintendo NES


17.  Rad Racer:  Because, at the time, this car went sooooo fast it was hard to follow along.  Bonus points for every car you passed halfway blanked out.  NES couldn’t handle the speed.  So rad.  So 80’s.

Rad Racer Nintendo NES


16.  Ice Climber:  Because no one besides me and my sister had this game.  We fought over who would be Po-Po and who would be Na-Na and we really just wanted to make it to the top of the mountain to see which vegetables and fruit we’d be playing for. This is basically the original Emoji.

Ice Climber Nintendo NES


15.  Super Mario Brothers 2:  Because you could pick things up and throw them!  Plus the graphics were so much better than regular Super Mario Brothers.  We didn’t know if this was technically 3D.

Super Mario Brothers 2 Nintendo NES


14.  Castlevania:  Because whipping bats had never been more fun…and kinda scary.

Castlevania Nintendo NES


13.  Kid Icarus:  Because you could play for, literally, days at a time….but as soon as someone threw and eggplant on your head you might as well have never played at all.  Or been born, for that matter.

Kid Icarus Nintendo NES


12.  Mega Man 2:  Because changing the color of Mega Man as the levels went on really made all the difference.

Mega Man 2 Nintendo NES


11.  Double Dragon 2:  Because we went to Catholic school and weren’t allowed to fight, but here, here, we could.  And here we did.  All the live-long-day.

Double Dragon 2 Nintendo NES


10.  Ghost ‘N Goblins:  Because we can’t recall if we ever beat this game, but we know we played it for months….that turned into years.

Ghost n Goblins Nintendo NES


9.  Rygar:  Because what the hell was this game about?  And why was it so addicting?  And, most importantly, why wouldn’t you save the game?!

Rygar Nintendo NES


8.  Metroid:  Because this really was so graphically forward in nature and we still played on the regular even after Nintendo Power Magazine ruined that at the end you learn that under that helmet….was a girl.  THE WHOLE TIME!

Metroid Nintendo NES


7.  The Goonies:  Because The Goonies were good enough for me. Plus, I just liked punching the guy who sat in this room over and over again until he would say, “Ouch.  What do you do?”  #SimplerTimes

Goonies Nintendo NES


6.  Mike Tyson’s Punch Out:  Because Don Flamenco gave us more trouble than we’d care to admit, but King Hippo always made us laugh when his shorts fell down.  We never beat Mike Tyson….without cheat-codes, that is.

Mike Tyson's Punch Out Nintendo NES


5.  Maniac Mansion:  Because it was oddly addictive and we thought we really were solving some kind of mystery even though, in retrospect, this game was one giant acid trip.

Maniac Mansion Nintendo NES


4.  Contra:  Because “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right B, A” forever.  FOREVER.

Contra Nintendo NES


3.  Super Mario Brothers:  Because coming off of our Atari 2600 this was like “the future.”

Super Mario Brothers Nintendo NES


2.  Super Mario Brothers 3:  Because Mario had a tail.  A TAIL!  And he could kinda almost fly.

Super Mario Brothers 3 Nintendo NES


1.  The Legend of Zelda:  Because if my Nintendo still worked today I would be playing this regularly.  No game has ever come close.  And no game ever will.

The Legend of Zelda Nintendo NES