While it might be chic to express displeasure at Nintendo nowadays, we’ve got good reason to this time.
The exciting release of the NES Classic Edition (aka the NES-mini) will soon be upon us. Click the link for more details and a full list of the 30 games that will be included in the release. November 11th will soon be here. 30 games for $60. I found out today that there’s a little something called the PS4 Pro launching the day before on Nov. 10th… What’s a cash-strapped Mage to do?
But as thrilling as the product will be with so many classic games on one compact console that can easily attach to modern tv’s, I can’t help but feel there’s something missing. The fact that no future games can be added to the NES-mini compounds that feeling. So, Nintendo, if you’re reading this (fat chance in Hades) then here are this well-red fan’s top 20 picks for titles that ought to have made it onto the NES Classic Edition.
I get that they shot for 30 games, considering the NES came out in North America roughly 30 years ago. But why not add these 20 as well? There’s probably enough space. Make it an even 50 and save time for the 50th anniversary.
My top picks for games that should’ve made the cut are based on my own personal experiences with the NES. The console had such a great library but there are several great titles for the system I’ve never played. If you think of one that should be on the NES-mini, let me know in the comments below!
-The Well-Red Mage
Not the best game of the console, but it’s not like the NES mini doesn’t have some officially rubbish games on it. I’m looking at you, Zelda II! The significance of Wario’s Woods is it was the last officially licensed game released for the NES. It came out in 1994, four years after the SNES had already been out. It came so late it was the only NES game to receive an ESRB rating! A piece of history, like it or not. I had fun playing it, at least.
Unlike Wario’s Woods, DuckTales was an amazing game. The only reason it doesn’t come in higher on this list is two-fold: 1) it’s already seen a perfect re-release in the recent DuckTales: Remastered, and 2) this list isn’t organized in order of amazingness. Not necessarily.
#18. Mega Man IV
Why not include the first Mega Man on the NES mini? Because it’s too hard! It’s unrefined! Mega Man II is a much better game but Mega Man IV is must more accessible. Slightly easier and more accommodating to players, MMIV allowed you to play around with Rush and charge up the Mega Buster for the first time. It’s just a friendlier introduction for new players to the classic Mega Man series than either of the first two games.
#17. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: the Arcade Game
Widely considered to be the best of the Ninja Turtle games, this arcade port didn’t have four-player support but it didn’t suffer too much without it. A fun example of the beat ’em up genre that has faded into obscurity over time. “Cowabunga” and other outdated phrases!
#16. Dragon Warrior IV
So I have never played a single Dragon Warrior game. Why is this title on my list then? Because I would like to play a Dragon Warrior game. And DWIV was suggested to me by a wealth of internet info lauding it as the best and “most modern” of the NES Dragon Warrior games. I can get down with a good RPG.
#15. Super Dodge Ball
Hardly anybody talks about this game but boy is it a fun multiplayer classic. I’ve only played it a handful of times, which is why I’d love to see it make an expanded cut. Besides, it couldn’t hurt to have more “sporty” games other than Tecmo Bowl and Excitebike.
#14. Batman: Return of the Joker
Others may have suggested Batman: The Video Game but, you see, I haven’t played that one. I remember enjoying Return of the Joker a lot, with its pumping 8-bit music and awesome bat-gadgets. It’s pretty hard though. Not sure if I ever made it to the Joker. Gimme!
#13. Dig Dug
I may be breaking the rules a bit here because Dig Dug was never released for the NES. It came out on the Famicom in Japan. Considering how many times it’s been ported, though, I cannot imagine why we couldn’t get a NA version for the NES mini! Who doesn’t love this arcade classic? If that’s you, you can get out.
#12. Maniac Mansion
This is what the NES mini needs: more point-and-click adventures! I remember adoring Maniac Mansion, a go-to weekend rental for me as a child. I even hunted down the floppy disk somewheres and bought it with nothing to play it on, just so I could have it. I scoured that mansion for secrets and never, ever figured out how to beat it. Nintendo, fulfill the dreams of one little child and give us Maniac Mansion!
#11. Metal Gear
Don’t ask me how well this has held up. You don’t wanna know. The point is it was the launching pad for one of the most lauded and successful video game franchises in history and Metal Gear Solid owes this NES game for its big break…
#10. Adventures of Lolo
Lolo is a surprisingly addictive little top-down puzzle game. I enjoyed playing it through with my wife (two brains are better than one). A good challenge and good for problem solving skills. It should be Adventures of Lolo: How to get around Catch-22’s.
So much mindless fun can be had with Rampage. Run amok in a city, stomp on everything, smash windows, eat people as King Kong and Godzilla archetypes. It’s concept can wear thin after playing for extended periods and as I recall the game was quite long, but this could very well quality as a stress toy to vent out some steam. Nothing does that quite like destroying a city!
#8. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
Castlevania‘s first and second game made it on the mini, but where’s the love for Dracula’s Curse? Isn’t it considered to be the best of the original trilogy? As the Castlevania NES game I played the most (though never beat) I can at least vouch for some of its quality. Round it out and make it a trilogy, Nintendo, like you did with your cash-cow, Mario.
Combining RPG elements with the beat ’em up genre, River City Ransom represents some of the most fun I ever had on the NES with a buddy. Its over-the-top ultraviolence coupled with its cute chibi characters is a match made in 8-bit heaven. Beat the crap out of gangs and steal their lunch money. You’ve simply got to play this game someday with a friend.
Discovering this one for myself was a real treat. The ability to switch from normal view to red/cyan 3D at the touch of a button on this addicting, forward-scrolling, third-person platformer rail shooter made it a stand out title. Good luck finding it with those original 3D glasses, though!
#5. Final Fantasy III
Speaking of being brought overseas, I’m interested in playing the original FFIII on the Famicom translated into English for the NES. I want to see the 8-bit graphics for the job system, the Onion Knights, the crystals. I’m not interested in the remake for the DS. I don’t care about the “updated” graphics. The NES mini could be a great opportunity to allow the West to experience games that were never released outside of Japan, which now easily could be made in English and whatever it is they speak in England. I think it’s called “cockney”?
Along that same line of thinking, how about we get an original version of Mother in English? It was later released as EarthBound Beginnings for the Wii U Virtual Console, which explains why it was not on the NES mini, but c’mon. Who actually has a Wii U? Throw it in there on the NES Classic Edition and we’ve got a deal, Nintendo. I think it’d make the plot for EarthBound a little more sensible if we could easily access the first game in the series.
You wanna know about hidden gems on the NES? Look no further than Crystalis, a fast-paced, cinematic action-RPG that was way ahead of its time. It is what Zelda II should’ve been. I love this game. It’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Read my review on it if you aren’t convinced of its excellent quality. One of my favorite games for the NES and it’s a crime it isn’t on the mini!
If the absence of Crystalis is a crime, then the absence of Contra is a crime against humanity. I was recently talking excitedly with a friend about the upcoming NES mini and the first question he had for me was “Does it have Contra on it?” I had to let that poor man down. Thanks, Nintendo. Way to drop the ball, galactically, by not including one of the most iconic and remembered games of the 8-bit era on your NES mini.
Tetris isn’t on the NES Classic Edition? Let me check again… Yep, it’s still not there. Why? That’s an oversight of BIBLICAL proportions. Licensing/rights… blah blah blah… Tetris helped build gaming piece by piece. It was a phenomenon before Pokémon GO was! Before much anything in gaming was! It’s the grandfather of accessible gaming, the grandaddy of all puzzle games, the blueprint of thousands of rip offs to come. How is this not here?
Don’t let us down, Nintendo. We want to love you again. Oh, and all NES-minis should come with a box of these, complimentary: