NES games from the Old School

I wanted to start the week off right with a trip back to my childhood. I was a Nintendo kid since owning my first NES when I was 11 back in 1988, and have never really deviated to any other systems. Outside of handhelds, I owned every system Nintendo put out with the exception of the N64 and am constantly barking at people who choose an XBox or PS3 over the Wii. Sorry gang, but “better graphics” is simply not a valid argument. :)

So, shown here are a bunch of NES game covers. I do love all of these designs, but that’s not the reason I chose to showcase these covers. I have some very fond memories tied to all of these games. Staying up late with other kids playing Blades of Steel until our thumbs were sprained, getting yelled at by mom to go outside while playing Bionic Commando, amping up my team in Baseball Stars, yelling at my television every time Tyson knocked me down. So many memories.

If you were a video game kid (or still are), you know what I’m talkin’ about. Feel free to comment on your own favorites from back in the day, I’d love to read your stories.

25 Comments

  1. I remember finding out about the 52-In-1 cartridge and nearly having a chips-and-soda pop induced coronary. This was before I knew that bootleggers would eventually use technology to topple all the systems but still, $120 bucks seems like a good price for fifty-two average games. Remember when Tengen wasn’t allowed to produce games with the Nintendo “Seal of Approval”? The Tengen vision of Tetris is still the best.

  2. I’m born in 1988, so I haven’t played that many NES games.. but I’ve played almost all of the games listed.

    Great collection.

    So.. where’s Mega Man? :D I used to LOVE the blue bomber.. the games had such an unique soundtrack and gameplay.

    This post brings back memories.. :) Thanks, James.

  3. james (Author)

    No kidding, I had the 42-In-1 when they came out an it blew my mind. It was that cartridge that really introduced me to the first generation NES games, like Pinball, Tennis, Baseball and others. Yes, totally remember Tengen. I owned Rolling Thunder and played my fair share of Gauntlet and After Burner. Those were the days.

  4. Haha, “Bad Dudes” and “Bandit Kings of Ancient China” – what awesome and original titles. I sort of wish cover art was done in this style still…

  5. I had a NES but with only two tapes, Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda. And as I loved playing Zelda! Even today I am a fan of the Zelda series :D

  6. Yes James, I had that 42 in 1 cartridge too!!! This and Mario Bros are basically the beginning of my childhood… I love these games!!!!

  7. Love the artwork on Contra – blatant rip off Arnie in Predator & Stallone in Rambo but still awesome! It was called Super Probotector in the UK and they were robots not muscle bound yankees. Something to do with laws on selling violent games to youths in Europe.

    I never played Bad Dudes but I always remember it from the movie Parenthood where Gil (Steve Martin) offers his son the sage advice “Oh, well. They’re bad dudes. That’s why they call the game ‘Bad Dudes’!”

  8. Great collection. I have most of these titles stored at my parent’s place back in South Porcupine Ontario :P

    Basewars was one of those amazing titles that I never owned but a friend did and to this day I still wish I could play it one more time ha ha

  9. I was but a wee lad around the NES generation. SNES was the real beginning of my gaming world. Although, who can forget having to blow into the cartridges to get them to work? And if that didn’t work, you blew inside the system. Priceless.

    BTW, Wii does have its share of good games, but its only the classic brands that are really good (Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc.), everything else is pretty craptacular. Unless you have little kids running around, 360 and PS3 just pwns Wii. Sorry James, had to say it. I would know since I sold my Wii!

  10. Nothing better than some SMB3 or Mega Man 2. I love the NES, is my favorite console and i have the fondest memories of those games.

    The only thing that sucked about the first Double Dragon is the lack of co-op, but they fixed that in the sequel!.

    I kinda miss the covers of the 80’s-90’s, they had something special that’s missing today, if you like the subject here’s a great article:

    http://bit.ly/cEYvQO

  11. Dude! You totally forgot to put the box for the first Ninja Gaiden! It’s one of the rare examples of American box artwork being better than the original Japanese. The name in English was actually better than the Japanese, too. 忍者外伝 (ninjagaiden – the supplemental/outside story of the ninja) vs 忍者竜険伝 (ninjaryuukenden – the ninja dragon sword story).

  12. My NES favorites were Strider, Russian Attack, the original TMNT, Operation Wolf, Friday the 13th, Ghouls N Ghosts, Wizards and Warriors and Adventure Island and Joe and Mac.

  13. gus

    How about getting some hot pixel action at leisure suit Larry?? :D

  14. james (Author)

    Look at all these awesome comments full of NES goodness. I love it.

    Kev, you just solved a mystery that was plaguing me for years. I couldn’t remember what movie Bad Dudes made an appearance in, and it was good ol’ Steve Martin. Awesome.

    Chris, no sir. The difference is Xbox and PS3’s main audience is adolescent guys, where Nintendo caters to a much wider demographic. My parents own a Wii, there’s proof right there. :)

    Mason, I was one of the few kids that never played Gaiden. I just never managed to be in the same place as the game for whatever reason. But you’re right, that box art kicked ass.

    Brandon, wow you really liked the tough games, huh? I couldn’t understand Friday the 13th at all, and Ghouls destroyed me every time. You must be some kind of wizard. :)

    Gus, awesome. Isn’t the first Larry game 160k or something? So funny.

  15. Wow the memories…

    I was born in 87, and double dragon used to be THE game to play with a good childhood friend of mine.

    Dr. Mario I remember playing too.

  16. Johannes

    I’m also born in 1988, so my first “big” gaming console was the SNES and I still love playing today. No offense against PS and XBOX, but in my opinion, Nintendo has the most memorable games of them all I fully agree with you James, graphics are often overrated. Many of todays games have stunning graphics but lack in gameplay.
    My favorite SNES titles are:
    Donkey Kong County 1-3
    Yoshi’s Island
    Super Mario World
    Super Mario Kart and
    Kirby Super Star / Kirby’s Fun Pak.

    Most favorite series of all time: Zelda – so many memories. Today they will give first details on the new Zelda for Wii – I#m so excited.

  17. The original TMNT was so frickin hard. I heard a lot of people had issues on the water dam level, but I always had a hard time at the airport when you’d have to “half-jump” over the blazing fire that would insta-kill you.

  18. I have great memories playing Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out! That final fight was hard as all hell. I also remember trying to beat Super Mario Bros. 3 as quickly as possible, using the warp flutes you find in World 1 to skip all the way to World 8. Nowadays, I still play all the classics on my Wii, and still remember all the secrets :)

  19. ScottieB

    Ha thanks for this! Looks like we’re more or less the same age (’77) and I STILL break out and dust off Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out from time to time. Probably my favorite game ever – so thanks for putting it there with those other classics… too many times it seems to be skipped over.

    Love the site – thanks for all of it!

  20. up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, A, B, A, B, select, start!

  21. Also, have you played the new Super Mario Bros for Nintendo Wii? It’s the very best of the first original three games. I was blown away.

  22. M. Brennan

    Snake, Rattle ‘N Roll was one of my favorites! Along with with a Pinball game (not the Mario one) with crazy mazes and time limits… I can’t remember the name. It was a hella difficult game! My ball would always fall off the sides of the path or fall into a hole… LOL

  23. really love! im from this generation!

  24. Naj

    Man…was born in 78′ so Intellivision was my first system :-) but NES was when i was coming of age so had or played all those games when they came out. Was hoping you had Commando’s cover or Double Drible…Rygar…so many.

    Someone said Mega Man 2…man i rented that game and beat it in one night…well 18hrs straight! lol

    Those were the days. Now im lucky if i get in 3 hrs of Modern Warfare.

  25. Mega Man 2 is still one of my favorites which also has some awesome Capcom surrealistic box art! you also can’t miss the incredible ninja gaiden games and the anti-hero in powerblade. Great stuff, i also remembered playing bad dudes with a friend when i was 8 or so Kicking a bald guy who lets flame farts out of its belly, the poor bastard

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