Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Nintendo’s NES Turns 38: A Look Back at the System’s Most Iconic Games

Nintendo’s NES Turns 38: A Look Back at the System’s Most Iconic Games

The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, was released in North America on October 18th, 1985. Fans everywhere took to the system right away, helping bring back the video game industry after an epic crash in 1983.

While it may seem like the Nintendo NES just hit store shelves a few decades ago, the system is already 38 years old. And though there are dozens and dozens of classic games we all remember fondly, these 4 are the best of the bunch.

Mega Man 2 (1988)

It took video game developers a second to really master the NES hardware. But once they did, they really mastered it, which is why you’ll see quite a few sequels on this list. One of the best is Mega Man 2, a platform action game that helped put the Mega Man franchise on the map.

It’s not all that different from the original, but there are a few changes, mainly the Energy Tank, that make it way better.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988)

You can’t talk about any Nintendo system’s gaming library without bringing up the two plumbers. And while Super Mario Bros. 2 isn’t the best Mario game on the console (spoiler alert), it’s the 4th best-selling Nintendo NES game for a reason.

Back in 1988, 20 different levels in one game was borderline unbelievable. But the fine folks at Nintendo somehow managed to squeeze all of that awesomeness onto one cartridge.

The Legend of Zelda (1986)

When it comes to Nintendo franchises, The Legend of Zelda is second only to Mario. Shigeru Miyamoto, the mastermind behind every game in the franchise, has yet to miss on a single entry.

While the OG Zelda might not be as good as some of its 3D sequels, it’s a must-play for any Nintendo fan regardless of age.

Super Mario Bros. 3 (1991)

Despite being on the same system as the previous two entries, Super Mario Bros. 3 completely reinvented everything we know about being a plumber without changing the things that we loved.

From new movements and abilities to fresh power-ups, this was a shot in the arm for a series that really didn’t even need one.

Super Mario Bros. 3 is the 3rd best-selling Nintendo NES game of all time—behind the original Mario Bros. game and Duck Hunt. And if you’re going to spend an afternoon playing NES games, you just can’t beat that trifecta.

The Best Nintendo NES Games

Thanks to emulators, and the NES Classic, we can still play awesome NES games today without the need for an original console. Plus, select NES games are even available on Nintendo Switch.

That level of accessibility makes it that much easier to keep those precious NES memories alive.