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Published August 18, 2020

Below you will find the top 10 Must Have NES Games for the Nintendo Entertainment System!

This list is in no order what so ever but these are some of the best games the system has to offer.

Each one is worth having and playing the game!

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Super Mario Bros 3 

Must Have NES Games Super Mario Bros. 3

What really is there to say that hasn’t been said about Super Mario Bros. 3

It’s one of the best games ever made in my opinion. Everyone’s favorite mustached Plumber joins his brother in the attempt to save multiple worlds from Browser and All of his kids! 

Mario 3 has updated graphics and really pushes the limits of what the Original Nintendo can produce. This is pure 8-bit gold and this is why it makes it one of the must have nes games of all time. 


If you ask me this is the definitive version of the original Contra. The game came out on the arcades but the NES version in my opinion is far superior. I’m not really sure why the graphics and sound are great on the Arcade port. 

But the NES version just has the charm, the Konami Code, it really has it all.  


Kirby's Adventure for the NES

Kirby’s Adventure for the NES is a fantastic game. While I don’t think the overall game is difficult and is a great game for younger kids. It’s colorful the music and graphics are amazing. 

It’s just a fun game overall, you get all kinds of different power-ups and more. Not to mention some of the secrets.  

I highly suggest this game for an entry level for younger kids to get use to a controller. Easy for them to pick up and play and not die a lot of times. 

Final Fantasy 

NES Must have games

It’s really amazing how far this franchise has come. 

Final Fantasy started off as a last chance to make a successful video game and now they are on number 15. 

This version doesn’t hold up as well as some of the remastered version but it still has a unique feel and charm to it.  

Final Fantasy took the player-controlled players and showed them onscreen something that wasn’t normally done at the time. 

The music, the graphics, and the gameplay. It’s a great JRPG which sparked many more to come. 

Ninja Gaiden

Nina Gaiden NES Game

Ninja Gaiden is one of those games that gives the name NES Hard the true meaning. 

It pays to play this game fast as possible but the second a screw up happens you will be bouncing all over the screen and sometimes to the death of your character. 

While there is 3 Ninja Gaiden’s on the NES. I still think the 1st one is the best, it’s the most sought after and most remembered. 

Nothing is wrong with the other 2 just more improvements overall of the game and I don’t feel like they are as challenging. 

Ninja Gaiden also brings some of the first cut-scenes I’ve ever seen in a video game! They are GREAT too. 

Mike Tyson’s Punch Out

must have nes games

Even though they had to change the name to just Punch Out because of Mike Tyson’s real life mishaps. 

This is easily one of the best games on the NES. 

This might be a slight different twist on the arcade version but there is really something special about having Mario as the Ref and Mike Tyson being the main bad guy. 

Sports games back in the golden days of gaming normally aren’t “great” but this one is great and worth every second you play. 

Tons of Secrets, great music, and fun! Mike Tyson is a must have NES game for your collection or play through. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

must have NES games

The Original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES and part 2 the Arcade game are the most memorable games on the NES. 

But, let me just tell you.  

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 is one of the must-have NES games for the system.  

Not only is it better than both, it has better graphics and really pushed the NES to the limit. 

Grab you a large pizza, a second controller and a friend. Then prepare to have a great time that night trying to beat the game. 


Metroid NES Title Screen

Metroid confirmed a long time ago that it doesn’t make a difference at all to gamers if you are a male or female hero. 

Samus is a badass and always will be. 

This game has so much exploring to do. Combined with Castlevania in the modern-era they call games Metroidvania games for a reason. 

Backtracking to unlock levels with your new powers you’ve acquired around the map. Turn into a ball and drops bombs on enemies while saving the world.

Castlevania 3

Castlevania III Dracula's Curse

Don’t get me wrong the First Castlevania is amazing. Then, you can say whatever you want about Castlevania II Simon’s Quest… Honestly, I try to forget it exists. 

Castlevania III Dracula’s curse takes the series back to its roots. Then amplifies the game to a whole new level.

Everything that was wrong with II is gone, and everything that was right about the first Castlevania was amp-ed up.

Easily one of the most must have NES games for your collection or playtime.

The Legend of Zelda

Zelda NES Title Must have nes game

After years and years thinking Link was Named Zelda because of young age and never having a manual to tell me any different.

It’s clear that The Legend of Zelda is still one of the best games ever made. This game had so many secrets and was the first REAL adventure you could go on. 

They still use the original music to this day, and many of the sounds, items and more in the newer games.

Honorable Mentions 

  • Zelda II 
  • Mega Man 2 
  • Gradius 
  • Super Mario Bros. 

You might also enjoy this article: NES Collecting Guide

Must Have NES Games: Conclusion

I think if you add all these games, plus some of the Honorable mentions you end up with a great collection of games.

All these amazing games I’ve mentioned are worth plenty of your time and money. They are not the rarest of the rare but they are no doubt. 100% some of the most must have NES games to add to your collection or spend time playing. 

If you don’t agree with my list or think I should add one be sure to leave a comment or tweet me on Twitter.


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