Super Mario Bros (NES)
If the Nintendo Entertainment System was the console that saved the home video game market, then Super Mario Bros. was the game that saved all games. Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, Though these are not the first adventures from Mario and Luigi they were the entryway for those who didn't play the original Donkey Kong or the Mario Bros. arcade. And face it, you read the name and now you want to play it.
The horror-of-sorts series from Konami started in 1986 with this very game, where you played as Simon Belmont battling Count Dracula and a series of horror monsters. Launched first in Japan as Akumajō Dracula, it's release coincided with the 90th anniversary of the original publishing of Bram Stoker's Dracula.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
Though this was the third Zelda game launched, and the first game for the Super Nintendo, A Link to the Past is the first time the series launched a prequel within their complicated timed. Link has to travel back in time to save Hyrule, while he defeats Ganon and also rescues maidens related to the Sages.
Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
In a time where Sony was about to release PlayStation to dispute Sega's 32-bit console, Saturn, Nintendo opted to wait until they develop their new console. By the same time, they were pushing the Super Nintendo to its full potential. Developed by the British company Rare, Donkey Kong Country was not only the return to the franchise that landed Nintendo in the USA, it was the living proof that their 16-bit console was powerful enough to render 3D-like graphics. And it was the game that tipped the scale in favor of Nintendo in their ongoing "Console War" with Sega.
Tetris (Game Boy)
In a time where cell phones where basically huge bricks, gaming was restricted to home consoles, personal computers, and arcade places. And though Nintendo had their Game & Watch series of LCD handheld electronic game, they developed the first handheld console: the Game Boy. After several issues with copyright infringement with several companies, Nintendo secured the rights to Tetris, the Soviet game sensation of the 80s. Thanks to that, millions of Gameboys were sold and casual gaming in video games was invented.
GoldenEye 007 (N64)
Nintendo 64 was launched in 1996 to compete with Sony's PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Though Nintendo usually launched family-oriented games, they took a risk with this FPS (First Person Shooter). GoldenEye 007 was based on 1995's James Bond film starring Pierce Brosnan. The game was developed by rare, the same company that pushed the limits of 3D for SNES Donkey Kong Country, the gameplay was so amazing at that time that it's considered one of the best video games of all times.
Star Fox 64 (N64)
Launched as a reboot of the original Star Fox, released in 1993 for Super Nintendo, Star Fox 64 is a 3D shooting game where you control the ships from Fox McCloud and the rest of the Star Fox team. Though it was originally sold in a bundle with the Rumble Pak (a controller add-on who acts as a vibrating device), the game was a big success and it was re-released for Nintendo 3DS in 2011 as an autostereoscopic remake named Star Fox 64 3D.
Super Mario Bros 3 (NES)
Everybody loved the first Super Mario Bros. while Super Mario Bros. 2 had (and still has nowadays) quite a few detractors. But it's probable that most of the people that played Super Mario Bros. 3 will tell you that this is the definitive Mario game. They might even tell you that is the best NES game released. And they might be right.
Before 1987, the term "Contra" was recognized as the Nicaraguan organization funded by the US government through illegal gun sales to Iran. Luckily, the NES gave the name a whole new meaning as we can now associate it to commandos in the future that go to an island in order to destroy an alien-controlled enemy force.
Chrono Trigger (SNES)
RPGs (Role Playing Games) were widely popular though Nintendo users, and Chrono Trigger is considered one of their favorites. Using a time-travel story that goes through several eras from an Earth-like planet, the beauty of Chrono Trigger was that there were multiple endings depending on your choices through the game.
Super Mario Kart (SNES)
Several characters from the Super Mario series compete in their own personal Wacky Races' style competition. It's scientifically proven that you could spend hours playing this game and never get tired. Well, not quite scientifically proven, but more as a personal experience-proven.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Game Boy)
Link's Awakening was the first RPG programmed for a handheld console. Originally thought as a ported version of A Link to the Past, the project grew to become an original game of its own, where Link has a rare adventure outside the Hyrule Kingdom. The game contents several easter eggs from other Nintendo franchises, including cameos from Yoshi and Kirby among others.
Super Mario 64 (N64)
With the exception of the GameCube, Nintendo's home consoles always have at least one Mario game. When N64 was released, it was only logical that the first game launched was Super Mario 64, which gave the Italian plumber and his friends a whole new dimension (pun intended) to its gameplay.
Perfect Dark (N64)
Launched in 2000, the cornerstone of the Perfect Dark series was one of the last FPS to be released in this console as it would be discontinued two years later. It was one of the games produced by Rare, and it's considered by many as a spiritual follow up to GoldenEye 007.
Boxing never felt so good while being played in an 80s console. Punch-Out!! was an over-the-top game where you would box several opponents until you became the world champion. It was one of Nintendo's arcade that was ported to the home console. There was a second version of this game called Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! where the then Heavyweight World Champion was the final boss.
The Legend of Zelda (NES)
The one that launched the franchise that continues until today. Shigeru Miyamoto's story of Link trying to save Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon. The game was originally released in 1986 as the launch title for the Family Computer Disk System, a peripheral that allowed floppy disks to be read by the Famicom in Japan. Though this hardware didn't prosper, the game was ported to cartridge the next year and it became a huge success worldwide.
Final Fantasy VI (SNES)
The Final Fantasy started as an NES game, several titles were released through the years. Though it was the last one to use 2D graphics, fans from the series recognize this as one of the best entries. It was also the last Final Fantasy to be published exclusively for Nintendo, as Square would develop the seventh entry for the Sony PlayStation.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES)
The early 90s were a good time for fighting games. You could choose either the animated Street Fighter II or the real-like bloody Mortal Kombat. Nintendo chose at first to port the first one as they didn't require to animate any blood effect that was opposite to the family-oriented games that Nintendo accepted in their consoles. And it was an excellent port from the arcade game.
Pokémon Red and Blue (Game Boy)
Designed in order to promote Game Boy's Game Link Cable, which allowed two handheld consoles to share information, the idea of this game was to users to collect all the Pokémons they could and exchange the ones they didn't have with their friends. Little did they know that the game series would expand into a multimillion-dollar franchise.
Super Smash Bros (N64)
One of the best achievement of the Nintendo 64 was that you could connect four joysticks at once. Super Smash Bros. was designed as "party game" where you could play different mini-games with different rules. You could pick as your player a large range of popular Nintendo characters such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Kirby, Fox McCloud, Pikachu, Luigi, Captain Falcon, Ness, or Jigglypuff.
WWF Wrestlemania 2000 (N64)
3D graphics, outstanding gameplay and the possibility of fighting as one of the 50 characters available from the now-defunct wrestling franchise. You could either pick playing a combat against the console, with a second player or you could also pick a store mode where your player had to become the most popular fighter in the WWF.
Many young gamers today think that real-life graphics are essential to a satisfactory experience in a video game, and that's because they never played Excitebike for hours. This NES game let you to race dirt bikes in several scenarios and you could really get addicted just for playing a couple of hours.
Duck Hunt (NES)
When the Nintendo Entertainment System was launched in the United States, a series of peripherals were heavily promoted in order to lure kids into convincing their parent to buy it for them. The NES Zapper (or Beam Gun in Japan) was designed for a couple of games where you had to shoot targets. In Duck Hunt, as the name indicates, you had to shoot at ducks in several scenarios. The game was included as a double feature with Super Mario Bros. in the "Nintendo Action Set", a bundle that contained the NES console and the Zapper.
Super Mario World (SNES)
Nintendo had to top themselves in the Mario game for the Super Nintendo for two reasons: First, because the Mario series was (and still is) so popular that the faith of their games might determine the success of the console. And second, because Super Mario Bros. 3 was an incredible success. Fortunately for them, Super Mario World delivered. With 96 levels and the introduction of Yoshi, it was one of the best-selling game on the SNES.
Star Fox (SNES)
Star Fox 64 is a beloved game, but we mustn't forget where it all began. Star Fox for Super Nintendo was the first game of the console to make use acceleration coprocessor which promised Super FX graphics and could render a complex display of 3D models with polygons, which was rather new for 1993.
Dr. Mario (Game Boy)
It seems that Mario was a plumber by day and a doctor by night. In this Game Boy game, he had to eliminate viruses combining pills in a Columns-like gameplay. It was one of the console's most popular game and is remembered quite fondly by fans.
A witch tries to switch her ugliness with the beautiful bear Tooty, and her brother Banjo and Kazooie the bird will have to pass a series of puzzles, jump through obstacles and defeat opponents in order to save her. The family-oriented theme of the game didn't hurt the appeal the gamers might expect, as it was a huge success, both critical and in sales.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (N64)
Skater Tony Hawk wasn't too keen when he was told that his skating game would be ported from Playstation to Nintendo 64. Yet when he saw the final result, he was ecstatic. The graphics looked smoother, the joystick let the player to do a few more tricks and, most importantly, it made justice to the Tony Hawk brand.
Super Mario Bros 2 (NES)
Nintendo of Japan launched Super Mario Bros. 2 in 1986, but Nintendo of America rejected it because their feared the gamer would become frustrated by the difficulty of this game compared to its predecessor. Their solution was to adapt the japanese game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic and change their character to Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad. The gameplay differed significantly from the first one but ensured the game series to continue.
Mega Man (NES)
One of NES's platform classics, Mega Man was another game where the main character became significantly popular among players. In order to save the world from the six robots corrupted by evil Dr. Wily, Rock is reprogrammed by Dr. Light to be a fighting robot named Mega Man.
Secret of Mana (SNES)
This RPG was developed by Square, the same company behind Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. Its real-time battle system was highly praised by players and critics alike. Secret of Mana's original name is Seiken Densetsu 2. The first game of the series was a Game Boy game and was marketed in the USA as Final Fantasy Adventure.
Super Mario World was the first game launched for both the Super Famicom in Japan and the Super Nintendo in America, making F-Zero the second one. This futuristic racing game was developed to show the color processing of the new console and its speed capabilities, and it worked as smooth as they expected.
Kirby’s Dream Land (Game Boy)
Before it was known that this lovely creature was pink, we met him in this Game Boy exclusive game where he had to eat its enemies to recover Dream Land. Kirby's name is an homage to John Kirby, the american lawyer who defended Nintendo and won the lawsuit in 1984 when Universal Pictures claimed that Donkey Kong was derivative from King Kong.
International Superstar Soccer '98 (N64)
If you had a SNES you might have probably played any version of International Superstar Soccer. Konami's soccer game had an interesting gameplay but, as they didn't want to pay the royalties, the players had fantasy name. This version had an interesting gameplay that could compete easily with EA Sports' FIFA series. And the gamers were excited when they saw colombian star Carlos Valderrama on the cover of the game, but they found that players still had ridiculous names.
Excitebike 64 (N64)
When you upgrade your console, you expect that classic games are updated too. And Excitebike 64 gave the people what they wanted: dirt bikes in 3D doing jumps and sorting obstacles in the comfort of your living room. This long-delayed sequel to the 1984 classic was worth the wait.
In the future, Space Pirates are planning to destroy the Galactic Federation by using creatures called Metroid as a biological weapon. The only one who can destroy them is Samus Aran, which will infiltrate the planet Zebes to rescue prisoners and destroy the biomechanical creature known as Mother Brain. The big twist in Metroid is that once you defeated the final boss you learn that Samus Aran is a woman, and though is not something strange these days, it was revolutionary in 1986 when the game was originally launched.
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (NES)
In this prequel of the original Castlevania, you have to enter once again the most famous vampire's lair. Placed centuries before the first game of the series, this time you have to play with Trevor C. Belmont, an ancestor of the original hero Simon Belmont who has to defeat several foes to have a final fight with Dracula.
Super Punch-Out!! (SNES)
Though its name suggests this to be a port from the original game, Super Punch-Out!! was highly praised for its cartoon-like style and the improved controls who gave the player more resources than its predecessor.
Mega Man X (SNES)
Set 100 years after the events from the original game, a new Mega Man will have to fight evil duplicates from him named Reploids. This new entry in what was becoming a successful franchise within Nintendo was the opportunity for series artist Keiji Inafune to redesign the main character and give a more mature storyline to the game.
Donkey Kong (Game Boy)
Loosely based on the arcade game, in this Game Boy version you had to control Mario in order to rescue Pauline (the princess on the original Donkey Kong). The gameplay elements resembled not only on the first of this series but also Donkey Kong Jr. and Super Mario Bros 2.
Mario Kart 64 (N64)
Though the phrase says "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", Nintendo preferred to do a Mario Kart for Nintendo 64. And good thing they did it because it's as fun as the original and the improved graphics from the console make it an extremely enjoyable experience.
Blast Corps (N64)
Rare's first entry for Nintendo 64 was Blast Corps, an action game where you have to destroy buildings that come in the path of a runaway nuclear missile carrier. One of the early examples of Nintendo 64's power as a console, the concept of a constantly moving object was something that wasn't fully explored in other games.
Dragon Quest (NES)
Originally marketed in the US as Dragon Warrior, it was the first entry of this game series and it's considered as the template where other RPGs would mold its gameplay. Unfortunately, this kind of game wasn't as successful in America as in Japan so the english version flopped.
Life is like a hurricane here in the Nintendo Entertainment System, and the Disney show-based game is one of the best examples of it. Produced by a team that included most of the key personnel from the Mega Man series, you had to control Scrooge McDuck while he travels around the world searching for treasures that help him outwit his rival Flintheart Glomgold in becoming the world's richest duck.
Super Mario All-Stars (SNES)
You might say that this is a bundle that includes the three original Super Mario Bros. games, and you would be right. But they're a remastered version that offers best sound quality and colors to this classic games. It also includes the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 under the title "The Lost Levels". So we'll leave it here because we love it.
The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse (SNES)
Disney's Magical Quest series of games started with this one. In this Super Nintendo game, you have to control Mickey Mouse while he tries to find Pluto and defeat Peg-Leg Pete. The graphics on this game looked like a cartoon and were highly praised, however, the gamers weren't satisfied by its short gameplay.
Yoshi (Game Boy)
Though is a block falling game, similar to Tetris, Yoshi is an example of a casual gaming hit. It also has the possibility of cooperative gaming through the Game Link Cable. It wasn't a particularly well-received game when release, as they used the popular character as the face of a different kind of game, there were people that actually enjoyed it.
Pokemon Snap (N64)
This game in the Pokémon series is not an RPG where you have to fight other ones. In this case, you have to capture pictures of the creatures around an island and collect them. Once you have several of them you get better equipment to get better photos. It sounds a little dull but is actually very fun to play.
Star Wars Episode I Racer (N64)
When The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, Lucasfilm licensed several merchandising products, including an arcade where you could pilot a podracer from the film. This port for Nintendo 64 was highly popular and contributed to the game's Guinness record for the best-selling sci-fi racing game, with its massive 3.12 million sales.
Ninja Gaiden (NES)
A ninja goes to America in order to avenge his dead father by defeating the Jaquio, who plans control of the world by unleashing an ancient demon contained in two statues. With a gameplay similar to Castlevania, it was infamous for the difficulty in later stages of the game. Nevertheless, it's remembered as one of the best side-scrolling from this console.