Over the last couple of weeks, I've been playing the NES Classic Edition, a new, $60 console from Nintendo that delivers all the nostalgia and love of gaming I was hoping it could.
It comes with 30 classic games, ranging from Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong to Castlevania and Punch-Out!!. Which titles hold up? We've ranked them all from best to worst. Here's what you should play on the NES Classic — if you've managed to find one — and what to avoid.
There's little debating Super Mario Bros. 3 is one of the best games ever made. And on the NES Classic, it holds up well, delivering all of the Mario fun you'd expect. Start with this game when you're ready to sit down and play.
Another classic, Castlevania puts you into an 8-bit horror game that doesn't disappoint. The game performs well on the NES Classic and its story is still among the best from that generation.
Super Mario Bros. was the game that got so many excited about playing Mario. And although I've played it countless times since the old NES days, it was still fun to play on the NES Classic. Better yet, it didn't experience any frame rate issues on Nintendo's console.
Maybe this is nostalgia talking, but I had a lot of fun with Tecmo Bowl. Yes, the frame rate is iffy at times and watching the characters try to tackle is funny, but who cares? For a nearly 30-year-old football game, Tecmo Bowl is outstanding.
Sorry if this is becoming obvious, but Super Mario Bros. 2 also earns its spot in the top five. The game is fun to play after all these years, it introduces some characters we now know well, and it works well on the NES Classic.
Metroid is a classic from the NES days, and still earns its place in this top five after nearly 30 years on store shelves. The game is far simpler than the Metroid we know today, but still comes with outstanding gun activity, difficult puzzles, and fun gameplay. It's a real winner.
The Legend of Zelda isn't as good as some of its successors, like the SNES classic A Link to the Past, but it's still quite good. You'll be put through the paces in difficult levels and take on everything from simple-to-beat bad guys to awfully difficult bosses. Either way, it's a treat to play.