7 NES Games That Stand the Test of Time

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Super Dodge Ball

My fondness for this game can be described thusly: at my 11th birthday party, two games were played all night – Tecmo Bowl and Super Dodge Ball. Combining a deeply strategic (at the time) sports game, with the fun factor of everyone’s favorite P.E. activity, Super Dodge Ball ramped up the ridiculous factor by having power shots – such as the dreaded jump shot. The game reveled in its 80s-ness – you took control of Team USA, on a mission to defeat Team USSR.

Of all the games crazy antics, however, my favorites were two things that really stood out and set the ground for future games – stages with special terrain. The Icelandic team had a court on ice, where your characters would slide, and the Kenyan team played in a swamp, making it more difficult to run. Both really altered the way someone would play, and kept me coming back for more as a kid.



Though originally released as an arcade title in 1989, for many, their first exposure to Strider came from Marvel vs. Capcom, where he was included as one of the playable fighters. A force to be reckoned with, Strider hailed from one of the most difficult games ever released for the NES. Introducing – or at the very least, bringing to the main stream – such gameplay staples as wall jumps, areas of levels unlocked via abilities gained in later levels, and branching story lines.

While initially very simple, the games difficulty ramped up considerably as the player advanced through the title, making this one of the most difficult games I’ve played – both as a child, and an adult. With its re-release on 2006’s Capcom Classics: Mini-Mix for the GBA, it showed to an entirely new generation of gamers how great classics from the NES can be. And that combination high-top fade, Mohawk, mullet that the guy on the Transfer/Analyze/Password screen has working for him? Amazing.

UPDATE: Capcom Resurrects Long Dead Strider Series


River City Ransom

No game better encapsulates the excellence of the NES’s innovation and challenge than RCR. A classic side-scrolling beat-em-up, RCR exceled by including features like shops, teaching skill increases and selling food, as well as weapons and interactive environments the player could use to their advantage. River City Ransom was also one of the first games to feature an open world, allowing non-linear gameplay, which as a young lad of 10 BLEW MY MIND.

Equal parts challenging, violent, and hilarious, River City Ransom is frequently ranked near the top of gamers lists as to their favorite NES title. To see the impact it’s had on todays video games, you need to look no further than 2011’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, a love letter if there ever was one to the amazing and bizarre world of River City Ransom.

Jay Malone (@JCorduroy) is the co-host of the PushtoRegenPodcast, a fancast about  HeroClix. He also loves the world of GI Joe, and writes a (somewhat) regular column for TheTerrordrome. Jay once lived in a cupboard under the stairs like Harry Potter, has a dog that looks like Stitch, and his 3 year old son is named after the ruler of Latveria – but don’t tell his wife that. 

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