I know it’s not exactly tough to go back to NES games. Virtual Console is running rampant with them across two different systems, emulators have never been more popular thanks to smartphones, and if all that comes tumbling down, your original machine might still work. However, the NES Classic Edition represents something more than just playing games. It’s a bundle that celebrates 30 years of history and takes you down a memory lane that might extend back to your toddler days.
When you relive Nintendomania this coming Friday, which games are you going to burn through first? I’m getting mine on Christmas morning from Santa, and I can’t wait to be sitting in my parents’ house in my pajamas and playing an NES. That’s going to be a little too much for me.
Mega Man 2
I’ve played video games for as long as I can remember, but Mega Man 2 is the first time I remember putting effort into actually beating one. Every morning, my mother would house-sit some children up the street before work, and we would play Mega Man 2 from the very beginning on their NES before school. Quick Man’s level and Wood Man gave us the most trouble, but we eventually got there after weeks of practice.
True, Mega Man 2 can be played all over the place thanks to the excellent Mega Man Legacy Collection, but with that controller… that’s going to feel really special.
The Legend of Zelda
This game hasn’t aged a day since it was first released. I burned through it once in the last year, and it’s just as epic as I remember. The Legend of Zelda is a model for open-world design and minimal developer interference. Other Legend of Zelda games might have improved on this basic formula, but none of them let you dig through their worlds with such freedom.
In fact, I’m going to be playing this game with a pencil and a pad of graph paper next to me, ready to make those killer maps all over again. Who needs the Internet?
Of course Ron is going to pick Final Fantasy! Truth be told, I’ve never beaten the NES version of the original. All of my experience with this game comes through the PlayStation’s Final Fantasy Origins and Game Boy Advance’s Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls. It’s just one of those experiences that I want to have and a huge reason other than nostalgia to pick up the console.
Bubble Bobble is the best co-op video game on the NES Classic Edition, and if your family wants to join in on the fun, this is the game to fire up. It’s one of those “easy to learn, difficult to master” games, a perfect difficulty curve from beginning to end. The NES was so special because anybody could pick it up and get something from the games, and short of the original Super Mario Bros, Bubble Bobble is the very best way to introduce family members to the 8-bit era.
And plus, Bubble Bobble is just adorable! I love Bub and Bob!
I live under a constant cloud of nostalgia for Contra, but Konami seems to have it tied up in some kind of legal fix. The NES version has only ever been ported to another console once, and that was as a bonus in the Nintendo DS game, Contra 4. By all accounts, Super C is actually a better game with superior level design and more explosive bosses. However, the nostalgia just isn’t there… and I can’t beat it on a single life.
I’m going to force my way through Super C on Christmas morning and see if it can overcome the hurdle of not being a childhood favorite.
Super Mario Bros.
My parents own home videos of me as a toddler from 1987, jumping and running with Mario as I’m playing this game. Little did they know just how far this hobby was going to take me in life. This is where it all began, where the seeds were first planted. Maybe we’ll make a remaster of that video in HD this year starring a 31-year-old man.
This is another one of those games I need to properly beat. I burned through it as an adult using warps, but I’ve never run the gauntlet and beat the game from start to finish without the aid of skipping levels. That’s going to change over my winter vacation.
And if all else fails, what’s a better NES game to show off to family members than the original Super Mario Bros? I have a nephew who is getting his first gaming experience through Pokémon GO, and while I don’t disapprove of that, I need to get in and teach him where it all began while the iron is hot. “Here you go, buddy. Play this!”
If Bubble Bobble is the best co-op game on the NES Classic Edition, then Balloon Fight is the best competitive game. Take to the skies and bring down your family members to prove your 8-bit dominance! Plus, this game has a whole new meaning to the gaming world as a love letter from the late Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. If there are any games that Nintendo fans should play on here, they are Balloon Fight and Kirby’s Adventure, just for a reflective “Thank you” for all that man did for video games.
Plus, who can resist that little jingle? It’s not the best NES song by a mile, but it’s the best example I can think of from the pre-Super Mario Bros. days of Nintendo.
No motivation here other than to finally beat my mother at this game. She’s not a gamer in any sense of the word, but the two games she excels at are Tetris and Dr. Mario. I’ve talked before about how it’s become a holiday past time for my whole family to compete at these two games, and with the NES Classic Edition, it will be a tradition that carries deep into 2016! That’s a whole 30 years after the original Tetris became a staple of our holiday lives.
Tetris is not on the NES Classic Edition, but I’ve always preferred Dr. Mario. Again, it’s the music and the characters inside that make it special.