For today’s “Top Five Week” entry, I’ll take a look back to the glory days of video games: The era of the Nintendo Entertainment System. I’ve never really been much of a “gamer,” so the NES was the last console I was really into.
While there were many classic games released for the NES, these are the five I enjoyed playing the most.
5. Tecmo Super Bowl
Some people prefer the original Tecmo Bowl – and while it does have its charm – the sequel is clearly superior. They made the game slightly more realistic, while maintaining the easy and fun game play that made the original so popular.
They also got an official NFL license so unlike the original, all of the NFL teams were included. This was important because it allowed you to play as one of the greatest video game athletes of all time: QB Eagles.
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game
Adaptations of arcade games to home consoles have been hit or miss over the years. (Check out Atari’s version of Pac-Man if you don’t believe me.) Considering how awesome the Ninja Turtle arcade game was, the NES version had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, they came through, and turned an incredible arcade game into a very fun version for the NES.
The original TMNT game for the NES had major flaws, and this game was a huge improvement. The graphics were fun, game play was easy, and back when it was released I was super into anything involving the Ninja Turtles. I remember spending many afternoons with my friends playing this game while listening to Vanilla Ice. (Ah, the early 90’s!)
3. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out
Punch-Out might be my favorite arcade game of all time. The NES wasn’t a direct adaptation – there were several differences in game play – but it was still a great game.
Despite Mike Tyson being the headliner, I consider Mr. Sandman to be the toughest opponent in the game. Tyson is obviously tough, but he’s actually pretty beatable once you figure out his patterns. For some reason, I could never get the timing down for Mr. Sandman, and even when I beat him, it was always a close call.
I downloaded this game onto my Wii, and found Sandman even tougher to beat. I’m not sure if it’s a delay caused by the HDTV or the Wii remote, but getting past Sandman is near impossible.
2. Baseball Stars
This was easily the best baseball game for the NES. I know there are fans of RBI Baseball out there, but this game is superior.
One of the reasons it was so great was because you could build custom teams. I spent a lot of time creating a replica of the 1991 Philadelphia Phillies and building up their stats. The real life 1991 Phillies might not have been a powerhouse, but their video game counterparts were awesome. I think about six players in their lineup had 40 home run power.
Some of my fondest memories involve beating my sister’s boyfriend repeatedly at this game. And I’d even let him play with the special “Hall of Fame” team.
1. Super Mario Bros.
This game was the main reason why I – and many other people – wanted to get a Nintendo in the first place. In some ways, Super Mario Bros. 3 is superior (but definitely not SMB2 – that game kind of sucks), but I still prefer the original.
I’m not sure what makes it so much fun. It’s just a plumber running around smashing bricks and stomping on turtles. But it’s near impossible to play it and not have a good time. Heck, I played it just a couple of weeks ago, and it’s still a lot of fun.