Tasha's Top 20 Best NES Games of All Time
Published: 10 April 2021, 8:57 am
Welcome back to another installment of "Tasha's Top 20." As before, this is mainly opinion-based, so try not to get your knickers in a twist if I miss one of your favorites. Just let us know below and show them your love. This time I'm going to flip the list and run from bottom to top. So let's get started.
Kicking things off, coming in at the 20 slots is Paper Boy. Paper Boy is one of my weirder (at least in my opinion) amusements. The game's premise is to drive down the road on your bike and deliver newspapers without causing property damage. Of course, you can also cause all the damage you want to. I used to like to vandalize my non-customers houses sometimes, but that's no way to get more customers.
While riding your bike down the street to deliver newspapers may sound easy enough, there are plenty of obstacles to prevent you from doing this successfully. There are kids on bikes, weird people working out in their driveway for some reason, skateboards, and many other things to keep an eye out for. You also need to be on the lookout for newspaper stacks to refill your stock, or else you won't have enough for all of your customers. I always liked that this was a pretty straightforward game and rather amusing should you get knocked off your bike. I've played many of the iterations of this game over the years. This one is still up there high in my favorites.
Next up, we've got classic beach volleyball gameplay with Kings of the Beach. Now, I have moved away from sports games in later years, but this is one I actually really enjoyed in its heyday.
Kings of the Beach features real volleyball players (from the time) plus fun characters from other games. There are five beaches on which you can play to try to crown yourself king of the beach. Teams get more challenging as you progress through the game, but you do have the option to argue with referee calls. But be careful, or he may just slap you with a penalty card. You also have the chance to practice, play a match, or take part in a tournament. Teams are set up in true Top Gun fashion with two against two, so you can play out that iconic scene with impunity. NES controls are pretty straightforward, so it's not too difficult to wrap your head around how to play.
Gradius is one of those games right up there with R-Type for me. I love a well-done side-scrolling shooter. Now, the point is to pilot your ship through space and take out enemy vessels until you reach the big boss.
Enemy vessels come in an assortment of shapes and sizes, as well as different flight patterns. You must dodge enemy ships, weapons, and certain obstacles scattered around the levels. Destroyed enemy ships also drop different types of power-ups that can beef up your firepower or add additional tiny gunships to eliminate opposition. Gradius is one of those games that I can just pick up and play again and again. It's easy to pick up, and it's a great way to kill some time.
17. The Black Onyx (aka Super Black Onyx)
I initially thought this one's title was redundant, but I have since learned that onyx can come in multiple colors, including pink. Anyway, the Black Onyx is an RPG that tasks you with finding, you guessed it, The Black Onyx. This particular stone is essential because it is the only thing that can break the curse that currently holds your town hostage in eternal darkness (I love that game).
You can have a party of up to 5 members that you either create yourself or gather along the way. Using a Doom-like way of moving around the environment, you will have random battles with enemies as you explore. You have your choice of armor, shields, and melee weapons to equip your party. The Black Onyx is pretty significant because it was the first RPG to achieve commercial success in Japan and represents the genre strongly. Literal history, as well as classic.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I know you sang that in your head) is one of my favorites. My sister and I used to love TMNT, which we would play together a lot. I also still play it on this handheld thing I got off Amazon for like $15, but that's off point. Once the game starts, you can switch to whichever turtle you want to take on Shredder and his foot clan goons.
TMNT plays like a side-scrolling platformer, but there are parts where you can be in the city from a top-down view and still kill enemies that roam the streets. You also get to use your inherent turtle abilities to swim underwater. The game has familiar faces such as April O'Neil, Rocksteady, Bebop, and others. One of the more exciting aspects of this game is that failure results in your turtles getting captured, which allows you to switch to a new turtle to keep going. Of course, if all the turtles are caught, it's game over, man. A love of TMNT, in general, is not really required to enjoy this game.