NES- worth Rom-ing

I’m looking for a decent list of games from the NES(tticle) that is worth going back for anymore.

I think it’s a harder time to look back to now, because most games I imagine have been re-made even better and it was a time of growing pains.

Like my instinct would be to say Marios 1-3. But I’ll be damned if I don’t prefer the SNES all stars take. Kirby’s adventure is boring in a post Super Star world.

Metroid one hardly seems worth returning to, but I bet there’s a compelling argument.

The Zelda games I think are till unique enough.

But the more fun ones aren’t first party. I think Marble Madness holds up, and can still give you a blood clot. The Mega Man games, Castlevania. The TMNT games.

IDK what would you guys add?

faxanadu has great clunk and atmosphere. I beat it and a year or so later I still think about returning to it, seeing if I can try it again without guide help.

the famicom is a good boy who has never done wrong

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Play some late-period NES sidescrolling games.

  • Ninja Gaiden 3 (it’s harder in the US release)
  • Shatterhand
  • Batman
  • Vice: Project Doom
  • Street Fighter 2010

Seconding Shatterhand.

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Play Zelda Randomizer!


I’ve been playing the 25th Anniversary Hack of Mother. The hack makes the game much less of a pain in the ass to play. You gain more experience, there are far fewer random encounters, there’s a run button, and the translation is improved. So far, the game has had some really excellent moments, but they are few and far between. I’m glad I’m finally playing through it, but at times it does feel like more of an obligation than an entertainment. I’m planning a replay of Mother 2 and 3 after this though, and I think the time spent on Mother 1 will pay off with a new perspective on the much better sequels.

The Guardian Legend
Ninja Gaiden 1-3
Adventure Island (I like all of them)
Summer Carnival '92: Recca
Castlevania 1-3

idk the fami/nes is one of the best things going still


monster party
zombie nation
tom & jerry 3 depressing soviet
wario’s woods
kung fu

Here’s an oddball recommendation: Bible Buffet.

I recently set up a Raspberry Pi running Retropie, and equipped it with the full NES romset. I’ve been having a great time having friends over and scrolling through the endless list of games and picking ones with particularly noteworthy titles. We booted up Bible Buffet expecting to spend five minutes messing about with a shitty religious game. It turned into a three hour, four-player multiplayer marathon.

Bible Buffet is a Candy-Land style pass-the-controller video board game, where each space you land on demands you play a sort of weird isometric platforming game. Each space holds a different level, and the levels can be pretty varied. Some contain bizarre one-off gimmicks, like one that takes place in a burger joint that allows you to push giant coins into an outstretched palm to receive french fries… forever. The board is way too big, with a ton of worlds with names like “Potato Land,” “Snacks Land,” and “Liquid Land.” The game mechanics are just the right level of opaque. You can collect keys, but it’s not clear what they’re for. You can upgrade and acquire weapons, but it’s not entirely clear how. There are occasional Bible quiz segments that ask you to refer to an absent quiz book that came with the game, but there are no consequences to just guessing answers. This is a surprisingly mysterious game. It feels like there are deep and obscure secrets hidden in it.

It was a very weird experience. If you have some open-minded friends around I’d recommend making a night of it.


Weird recommendation that I only discovered a few years ago:

Holy Diver. It’s basically IREM does Castlevania, but with magic spells instead of whips. Japan only release. It’s also really difficult, but controls quite well (control jumps in mid air? yep!). I couldn’t imagine trying to finish it on a real cart, but with save states it’s excellent. For some reason this is the only NES ROM I’ve had on my PC for the past 2+ years. I actually go back to it semi-regularly too.

I’ve… never played Shatterhand. All the recommendations here have convinced me I need to give it a shot though!

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clash at demonhead is a-fun.

seconding gimmick!

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Super Mario Bros. has very different physics in the the All-Stars version.
It doesn’t look as good either.

I do kind of like All-Stars SMB3, but there are questionable choices in that one too. World 8 is better in the original.


Castlevania 1 and 3
Mega Man 1 and 2
Dragon Warrior 1-4
Final Fantasy
Low G Man
Metal Storm
Maybe Legacy of the Wizard if you use a walkthrough and have a map

Crystalis is a snappier Zelda-like by SNK with really good music. Never finished it, though I came close twice.

This thread also reminds me that Lagrange Point is translated and I should give it a spin. Was always curious about that one.



obvious but obligartory


I think the perspective on NES games has subtly but fundamentally changed over the last decade. In 2006 we could hold them up as classics that hadn’t been matched, but since then their good qualities have been thoroughly milked and polished by a small renaissance in game design, and their flaws are in sharper relief. IMO if we don’t grade on a curve, there aren’t really many NES games that hold a candle to Shovel Knight, for instance. NES games are starting to recede for real into the past, and they’re increasingly feeling like esteemed precursors to be kept in the right perspective, sort of like when we read Aristotle’s theories of natural philosophy.

Anyway, given that, there’s different ways you can approach the era that are being mixed in the recommendations. You can go for the intriguingly unique and quirky (with a particular interest to since-abandoned ideas and atmospheres and directions). You can go for influential or precursor-y. Or you can go for actually playable as measured by standards that we would put a newly released indie game to, which seems to be the question you’re asking, in which case my personal recommendation would pretty much just have two games, Mega Man 3 and Akumajou Densetsu (Castlevania 3j) – relatively late NES games that, like modern games, come after significant iteration and represent the best of a particular tradition.


i could not disagree with this more. just had to dissent from this as emphatically as possible