Random Notes


  • There were 709 official NES games, about 30 of which weren’t released in North America, as well as an additional 133 unofficial games (plus waaaaaay more bootlegs and homebrews) released for the Nintendo Entertainment System .  The six source lists that comprise this aggregate list mention 213 of those games (plus a few more Famicom – Japan only – games I removed).
  • As I mention in the introduction, most of the games that appear on this list are 1-Player only titles.  Check out the Top 2-Player Games section for some of the best co-op games.
  • Pretty much every style of game is represented in the Top 100.  The most common game type is Platformer while the least common is Sports.  Most likely the shun of Sports games is a combination of the tastes of athletically challenged dudes who made the source lists, coupled with the fact that there is little to distinguish between one sports game and the next.  Baseball is baseball on the NES and although some games like Baseball Stars do a very good job of making a solid baseball game, it’s gameplay is still almost identical to say Little League Baseball or Legends of the Diamond. I’d rather play Little League Baseball than the tedious Dragon Warrior, but DW is a much more original game and thus is probably more deserving to be in the Top 100.
  • There is however only one football game worth a damn: Tecmo Super Bowl.  Even today it’s one of the most fun sports games EVER.
  • In the source lists Mega Man 2, Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Bros 3 appear in every top 5.
  • 28 of the top 100 games mentioned in this aggregate list are mentioned by every one of the source lists.
  • The top 20 are mentioned in every one of the 6 source lists.
  • When looking at the Top 100 NES Games, certain individual lists fared better in terms of how many games they mentioned that made my final list.  For the most part they’re pretty close although Satoshi Matrix, which mentioned tons of Japanese and obscure games, did not fare as well as the others.  Here’s the breakdown:
    • Sydlexia – 71/100
    • IGN – 80/100
    • Gamefaqs – 82/100
    • Retro Sanctuary – 71/100
    • Complex – 84/100
    • Satoshi Matrix – 53/100
  • Some games would have ranked higher if not for the existence of their sequels or prequels.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II pretty much replaced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III on every list except Satoshi Matrix, which doesn’t mention the 2nd installment at all.  R.C. Pro-Am would have ranked much higher except that Retro Sanctuary only mentions it’s sequel, R.C. Pro-Am 2.
  • Nintendo had a notoriously strict developer agreement that limited the number of games a company could make for release on the NES.  Although Nintendo had it’s own in-house development which produced classics like Super Mario Bros, Metroid, and Legend of Zelda, several other notable companies produced a ton of excellent games.  Here’s a quick ranking of how those companies fared in terms of how many of their games appeared on the top 100 list:
  1. Nintendo – 16 games
  2. Capcom and Konami – 15 games each
  3. Rare – 6 games
  4. Tecmo – 5 games
  5. Technos Japan – 4 games
  6. Natsume / SNK / HAL Laboratory / Chunsoft – 3 games each
  7. Atari / Compile / Sunsoft / Hudson Soft / Taito / Irem – 2 games each
  8. Everybody else – 1 game

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