The 100 Best NES Games Ever
When I registered SydLexia.com in October 2004, I had several major projects in mind that I did not have the resources or time to complete at the site's launch. One such project was the Mortal Kombat Fatality Fest, which was eventually completed in April 2005. But the project I've really wanted to undertake since before I even had a website is a comprehensive list of the 100 best NES games ever made. I haven't seen this done anywhere, as most magazines and websites tend to favor doing "Best Video Games Ever" lists, where they have every video game ever made at their disposal. I'm not particularly interested in doing that and it's been done so many goddam times that there's no real point in doing it again. Besides, it's not very hard to come up with 100 really good video games when you have thousands to choose from. Actually, maybe it is; I've seen Halo on way too many of those lists. Still, I thought it would be more interesting to stick to one console, and there's really no better choice than the Nintendo Entertainment System. With the notable exception of the PlayStation 2, no game console has ever had both the game selection and the monopolistic strangehold on the market that NES had. With a total of 775 games (668 licensed and 87 unlicensed) released for it in North America, the NES certainly had no shortage of games, nor did it have any shortage of good ones. With that pool to choose from, I knew it wouldn't be too hard to find 100 decent games.
Unfortunately, I also knew that I couldn't undertake the project on my own. To come up with a list of that magnitude, I would need to form some sort of coalition. When the site launched. I simply did not have those sort of connections. But by the time site's first anniversary rolled around, I did. And so, in November of 2005, this Top 100 NES Games project began. And now, here it is a year later and the article is just launching. I don't know why you're not seeing until now. Part of it is laziness, part of it is coordination problems, and part of is just that project of this magnitude takes a long time to complete. Through out the course of this list, you will see comments from several people, let me introduce them to you:
greeneyedzeke of 2D-sprites and PlutoIsAPlanetDammit. His comments appear in green.
Rycona of Use-Bombs. His comments appear in cyan.
Valdronius of Valdronius.com. His comments appear in blue.
Dr. Jeebus of SydLexia.com His comments appear in purple.
Also joining us is DarkMaze of Dark Maze Studios and Press Start. His comments appear in red.
DarkMaze was invited to comment on the games, but he was not involved in the voting.
My comments appear in white.
The rules for voting were simple. Each player picked 100 games and ranked them from 1-100, with 1 being their top pick and 100 being their lowest. In order to be eligible for inclusion a game had to be available in North America and have received a commercial release. Therefore games such as Adventure Island IV, which was only released in Japan, and Earthbound Zero, which was never officially released, were not valid picks. Players were also required to vote on a game based on its merits as a Nintendo game. So classic games such as Donkey Kong and Pac-Man which debuted in the arcade and did not arrive on the NES until years later will not necessarily appear on this list.
This list also has some known limitations. None of us have played every single game released for the NES in North America, but I have come fairly close in recent years. Since we all voted for games they actually played, the list is somewhat biased in favor of the types of games that each of us personally favored. Here are some of the known biases:
Dr. Jeebus favors puzzle games.
Valdronius and Jeebus favor strategy games.
Jeebus, greeneyedzeke, and I all played a lot of games based on movie and TV licenses.
I heavily favor games published by Capcom, Konami, Nintendo, and Taito.
Being brothers, Dr. Jeebus and I had to share an NES. As a result, we have played most of the same games.
Everyone involved favors RPGs, but I seem to like them the most.
None of us are especially huge fans of sports games.
I imagine this list is likely to become a point of controversy; that's simply the nature of the beast. It is nigh impossible to come up with a Top 100 list that satisfies everyone's sensibilities. Consequently, I don't presume to claim that this list is anywhere near perfect. There are some omissions that disappoint me and some inclusions that disgust me. So if you think you can do better, go for it. Otherwise, shut the fuck up and enjoy this article for what it is: a look at 100 NES games that are worth your consideration.
- Syd Lexia
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