9 NES games that we couldn’t stop playing

In the mid-1980s, the gaming landscape was forever changed with the arrival of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) across the world.

This groundbreaking console revitalised the video game industry after the infamous crash of 1983, and introduced countless players to an entirely new world of gaming at an affordable price point and with some brilliant games and gameplay.

The NES featured a diverse library of games, ranging from platformers and action-adventures to puzzlers and shoot-’em-ups, offering endless entertainment for gamers of all ages and became a huge hit from America and Japan to the UK and Europe.

The innovative gameplay mechanics, memorable characters, and captivating stories found within these games would leave a lasting impact on the medium, setting the foundation for future generations of consoles (such as the Super Nintendo) and titles and franchises that would grow and grow until today.

In this list, we take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about nine NES games that we couldn’t stop playing, celebrating their influence on the gaming landscape and their enduring appeal to fans around the world.

Ready players? Let’s press start!

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. revolutionised the platforming genre with its charming characters, tight controls, and memorable levels. This iconic game captured the hearts of players around the world and cemented Mario’s status as a gaming legend. There would be many, many more Mario games to come with exciting gameplay and graphics – but the simple charm of this game will stay with us forever.

The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda introduced gamers to the magical world of Hyrule, featuring an expansive overworld, challenging dungeons, and a vast array of items and secrets to discover. This groundbreaking action-adventure game set the standard for future titles in the series – a future that would grow and grow into one of the mighty gaming franchises.


Metroid’s atmospheric sci-fi world and non-linear exploration made it a standout title on the NES. Players took on the role of bounty hunter Samus Aran, delving into the depths of planet Zebes to uncover its mysteries and thwart the sinister plans of the Space Pirates. This was a seriously fun and addictive title.

Mega Man 2

Regarded as one of the best entries in the Mega Man series, Mega Man 2 refined the gameplay of its predecessor and introduced new Robot Masters, weapons, and stages. Its challenging platforming and strategic boss battles made it an instant classic. A true classic of its genre, this is a game that people would go back to time and again.


Castlevania invited players to battle the forces of darkness as vampire hunter Simon Belmont. With its gothic setting, whip-based combat, and challenging gameplay, Castlevania became a staple of the action-platforming genre and would be an influence on many of the great games that would develop from this era on many different platforms.


Contra’s intense run-and-gun action made it a favoruite among co-op players. With its arsenal of powerful weapons, relentless enemies, and memorable boss battles, this game provided a thrilling challenge that kept players coming back for more. This is a game that we will always have in our memories.

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Featuring a colourful cast of opponents, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! challenged players to rise through the ranks and claim the title of World Video Boxing Association champion. This addictive boxing game combined reflex-based gameplay with pattern recognition to create a unique and satisfying experience. It may not be the most sophisticated sports game, but it set development on a path to create more brilliant games in this genre.

Duck Hunt

Duck Hunt showcased the capabilities of the NES Zapper light gun, tasking players with shooting down ducks as they flew across the screen. This simple yet addictive game became a staple of the NES library and a fond memory for many gamers – and it was certainly a feather in the cap of any gamer to own this cool accessory.


Excitebike offered an exhilarating motocross experience with its fast-paced racing and track-building feature. Players could create their own custom tracks and race against the clock, making it a highly replayable and engaging title. Setting the early standard for racing, this would be an influential title in its field.