7 NES Games That Stand the Test of Time

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by Jay Malone

When it was announced that the HD remake of DuckTales from WayForward would be hitting consoles and PC, it got me reminiscing about the great games from the past that I loved – ones that were innovative, challenging, and fun.

I loved DuckTales (still do, in fact!) and while it would be easy enough to wax nostalgic about it, I decided to go with 7 other games that are deserving of our adoration – and, hopefully, will one day be remastered for the HD generation.



While on the surface Shatterhand looks to be just another beat-em-up sidescroller, it’s so much more. Shatterhand – before we get too far, can we just pause and reflect on how amazing that damn name is? Seriously, his hand shatters.

Anyway – Shatterhand IS just a sidescroller, but there are so many subtle nuances and innovations that it makes that it’s difficult to ignore. Customizable power ups (that you alter by punching), the ability to climb chain link fences to punch enemies on higher elevations, and a slick soundtrack make this one of the unsung heroes of the NES era.


Blaster Master

Combining side-scrolling, Metroidvania type gameplay, as well as classic isometric third person action-adventure, Blaster Master is equal parts innovative and ball-bustingly difficult. A sprawling underground world paired with enemies with a bad case of don’t-give-a-fuck-that-you-lost-your-frog-ism make this one of the NES’s finest titles, and one that holds up to the scrutiny of 30+ year old eyes.

Of all the things I loved about this game, though, I still remember how amazing it was to my 9 year old brain that you could get out of the vehicle.


Little Nemo: The Dream Master

Based on the comic strip Little Nemo In Slumberland which debuted in 1905(!!), Little Nemo is a lesson in perfecting a blend between two loved titles: Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man. Coupling both horizontal and vertical level scrolling, as well as super-powered suits Nemo could wear to proceed through levels, Little Nemo offers a quasi-Alice In Wonderland level of psychedelic adventure to an equally difficult game.

Of special note, here, and one that should not be overlooked in any of the games listed, is the amazing soundtrack that Junko Tamiya composed for the game. Though the clown still makes me uncomfortable.


Star Tropics

StarTropics holds the honor of being the first and only, time I ever called the Nintendo Help Line – and it also holds the honor of being one of the first games I ever beat. Combining an overworld map akin to Final Fantasy, as well as a dungeon crawl like Zelda, StarTropics reveled in its bizarre concept and execution.

Playing the role of Mike, you land on C-Island intent on finding your uncle. Armed with only a Yo-Yo, you fight creatures, ghosts, and aliens, all while having a robot, helping dolphins, and cross-dressing. However, the thing I think most will remember fondly about StarTropics was the letter. With each copy of the game, there was a letter from your uncle. At a particular time in the game, the player was prompted to dip the letter in water to reveal a secret code. Talk about innovation and breaking the fourth wall!

NEXT PAGE: the NES sports game that holds up better than Tecmo Bowl, and Capcom resurrects a game on this list! –>

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