I enjoy retro gaming and regularly play games from my past, mostly for a nostalgia hit. I’m lucky to have been born in 1984, so I’ve had a front seat to the evolution of gaming from the 8bit era right through to the AAA behemoths we’re used to now.
I don’t always love retro gaming however. It’s all well and good highlighting how Donkey Kong is a classic game and an important precursor to the development of the platforming genre, but it’s repetitive and boring! The controls are sluggish! The walking sound is annoying! Is it really that fun to play? I also played Goldeneye to death on multiplayer, but after years of playing games like Call of Duty is it really possible to say that Goldeneye is a preferable multiplayer experience?
The truth is that most modern games are more fun and immersive experiences. Saying that however, there are games that absolutely hold up to today’s competition. The simple test is this – would I sit down and play the game for at least an hour? As a Nintendo fanboy I thought I would start with my top 5 NES games that I would happily play today.
Super Mario Bros 3
If you’ve never played Super Mario Bros 1, it’s worth it to see where the Mario series really got started. Super Mario Bros 2 is also a fun jaunt, although it’s a different kind of platform game. Super Mario Bros 3 however is a fantastic game that really pushes the NES capabilities in terms of graphics, level design and perfectly nuanced controls.
Captain Skyhawk was my first great rental discovery. It’s a highly playable shooter that moves fast and packs an action punch. Taking down enemies and bases is satisfying, and the upgrade system on your ship gives you great incentive to progress through the game.
To be honest, given the choice I would play Shovel Knight which is essentially a love letter to this very game. Disney have had some absolute winners across all consoles but Ducktales was the first to really stand out, with an innovative cane bouncing mechanic that means traversing the sprawling levels is bags of fun.
The Legend of Zelda
The gold cartridge was a nice touch, but what is contained within is even better. The Legend of Zelda is a seriously challenging action RPG, and you’re thrown into an open world with no real instructions. A pet hate of mine is when games hold your hand too much in the early stages of a game. With Zelda it’s adapt or die!
If there was ever a game that has been more criticized for its unforgiving difficulty it’s Battletoads. To this I say BRING IT ON! I was lucky to have a permanent Player Two in the form of my twin brother Mikey Glenister and while we never beat this game, we certainly got close! I love how varied the levels are, as well as how exaggerated and comical the action packed combat is.
Watch this space for any more NES gems I discover. What are your favourite NES games? Let me know :)