The Games of the NES Classic Edition

For the longest time I was kind of sad I never got the NES Classic Edition.  But when Nintendo restocked them last, I was finally able to get one!  So here is a blog about all the games you can play on it.

Now, I wasn’t TOO sad that I wasn’t able to get one at first.  Mainly because while I had a NES as a kid and enjoyed it a lot, I generally played third party games that were not on this collection.   Mostly Capcom’s Mega Man and Disney titles.  In fact I was more excited about The Disney Afternoon Collection than I was the NES Classic Edition.  But I still wanted one anyway.

Really the only problem I have with the NES Classic Edition outside of the selection of games is the controller.  One of my unpopular opinions is that I never really liked the NES controller.  In fact, when I first got my NES, one of the first things I got for it was the NES Advantage joystick.  I liked that much better.  But the biggest problem isn’t the controller itself, but the cord!  It’s so short on the NES Classic Edition.  Normally I wouldn’t complain about that, but it’s REALLY bad here.  Like, if I have my NES Classic Edition on the ground and hold the controller and stand up, I would end up pulling the whole console up with me!  It’s pretty bad.  And they didn’t include two controllers, which is dumb since many of the games on this collection are best played with two players simultaneously.

One other thing I noticed is that some of the games play slower than I remember.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m used to playing faster games now or if the emulation isn’t perfect or my memory is just not as good.  But yeah, some games felt a little slower.

But anyway, here are some pictures of the NES Classic Edition.  Here’s the front of the box.

And the back of the box.

And here it is in my hand so you can see how small it is.

OK enough of that, let’s get on to the games!

Super Mario Bros.

I actually first played this game in the arcade, not on the NES.  It’s a pretty good game for the time, but it’s actually not the game that made me want a NES.  I just don’t like this game as much as most people think I would.  I read that in Japan, they had planned for this to be the last hurrah for the Famicom before they went onto make games for the Disk System.

Super Mario Bros. 2

So we all know the story about how our Mario 2 is not Japan’s Mario 2.  I’m actually kind of glad we never got the TRUE Mario 2, as I consider that more of a harder expansion pack than a sequel.  Later on in Japan, they ported our Mario 2 back to Japan under the title Super Mario USA.  And it’s pretty much the same game as what we got.  I figured they lost the license to the characters who were originally in Doki Doki Panic, what would become our Mario 2, as they were from a TV channel festival in Japan.

Super Mario Bros. 3

I’m about to say something that’ll make everyone hate me.  I actually like Mario 2 (USA) more than Mario 3.  Don’t get me wrong, I still think Mario 3 is a very creative and influential game.  I just prefer playing 2.  Did you know that our Mario 3 is significantly easier than Japan’s, because when you’d get hit while having a power-up or a suit on their game, you’d turn into small Mario, whereas in our version, you just go back to being Big Mario.

Mario Bros.

Probably the only Mario game where he actually does some plumbing, although it’s really more like pest control.  It’s an all right game, but it’s been done to death on the Mario Advance titles.  Again, but with only one controller included, you really can’t enjoy the two player mode here.

Donkey Kong

I read somewhere that the Famicom was originally designed to play a near arcade perfect version of Donkey Kong.  And yet they still omitted the cement factory level.  But then, for 1983, when the Famicom was released in Japan, it’s still a pretty darn good arcade port.

Ice Climber

I think the only reason why people remember this game is the characters were in Super Smash Bros.  The game itself isn’t that good, thanks to clunky jumping controls.  They changed some of the characters in the US version so that you hammer little furry snow monsters instead of seals, like in the Japan version.


I remember this game being fairly popular when I was a kid.  Although I think I mostly just enjoyed making my own tracks.  I played it at friends’ houses and even saw it in arcades a few times.  But I never owned it.  When my brother Jeff was old enough to enjoy games, he played Excitebike on GameCube Animal Crossing and LOVED it.  It’s one of his favorite retro games!

Balloon Fight

This is pretty much Nintendo’s answer to Joust, except you’re flying on balloons instead of ostriches.  I know people say this was one of Satoru Iwata’s early masterpieces, but honestly I don’t remember playing it much and I didn’t know anyone who had it back then.  Plus I just like Joust better.  Sorry Iwata.

Dr. Mario

This puzzle game has always been pretty popular.  Ever since the NES it’s been ported to nearly every other Nintendo system in some form or fashion.  Up until a few years ago, I didn’t know there was an arcade version of Dr. Mario, but once I found out, I saw it everywhere.  How did I miss that?  Dr. Mario is also one of my mom’s favorite games.

Kirby’s Adventure

This game is a masterpiece and one of the NES’ crowning achievements.  Believe it or not, I didn’t play it when it first came out on the NES.  I was too into SNES games and I wasn’t a Kirby fan yet.  The game that made me a Kirby fan was actually Kirby’s Dream Course on the SNES.  But once I was a Kirby fan, I did go back and play this one when I got the chance.

The Legend of Zelda

The first Zelda title was the game that made me want a NES, not Super Mario Bros.  I was so enthralled with the fact that you could save your game!  To this day, the original NES Zelda is probably in my top three favorite Zelda games, right after Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening.  In Japan, the game first came out on the Disk System, and that version was on the Famicom Classic Edition that I have as well, so it was neat to play one of my favorite Zelda games in a different way.

Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link

Sorry fans, but Zelda 2 is probably one of my least favorite Zelda titles.  At least it’s better than the Disk System version of the same game.


I played the game a few times when my friends would rent it and I’d go over to visit.  But I didn’t really get into Metroid games until Super Metroid on the SNES.


I never was into Castlevania, but I knew a lot of people who had this game on the NES.  It was very popular, and still is to this day.  The game has even had two animated series: Captain N and the new adult cartoon on Netflix.  I wonder if I would’ve been more into Metroid and Castlevania on the NES if I could save my game like Zelda?  You could do it on the Disk System!

Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest

This game is exclusive to the US NES Classic Edition and has more adventure elements.  A lot of people complain about it because of that, but when my friend rented it back in the day and we played it and beat it, I don’t remember it being TOO bad.  But I certainly don’t like it now.  Getting knocked back into insta-death pits is incredibly frustrating.  Too bad they didn’t get Castlevania 3 on here, too.

Mega Man 2

Speaking of third-party games, I’m glad they put a good number of them on this Classic Edition because back on the NES, I mostly played third-party games over Nintendo’s own.  And most of those were from Capcom, especially their Mega Man and Disney games.  That’s why I was more excited when Capcom announced The Disney Afternoon Collection than I was when Nintendo announced the NES Classic.  And I was way more into Mega Man than Mario.  While my favorite is Mega Man 3, I can see why most people like 2 the best.  It is pretty darn good.  Aside from the title change, not much difference from this and the Japan version.  We got a difficulty selection, but they didn’t.  It was always set on ‘difficult’ for them, but aside from some enemies being tougher and bosses taking more hits, it’s not really that much different.

Ghosts N Goblins

Another Capcom NES game.  It’s not a very good port, though, and I was never that much into the series anyway.  One of my friends had it so we did play it quite a bit for a while.


Konami was another king of third-party games in the US.  In fact, they made so many games they had to form a second company called Ultra in order to get around Nintendo’s rules about limiting how many games a company can release in a year.  I guess Gradius is a pretty good port of the arcade game, but I was more into Life Force as a kid.  Too bad we never got Gradius 2 on the NES, that was a pretty impressive 8-bit port!

Super C

I’m not sure why the NES Classic Ediiton has Super C but not the original Contra.  I do remember both games being pretty popular, though.  I played both quite a bit at my friend’s house.  They’re tough as nails run and gun games, but still somewhat fun with a friend and the Konami code.  Impressive graphics and music, too.


Namco was one of Nintendo’s big third-party developers on the Famicom at first, but got frustrated with Nintendo’s rules on limiting third-party releases.  So that’s why you saw a lot of their later titles on the TG-16 and the Genesis.  This really isn’t a very good port of the arcade game, but I guess when it was released on the Famicom in 1984, it was pretty decent.  We never got it in the US until 1988 under the Tengen label and later in 1993 under the Namco brand.  So by then it was showing its age.


Aside from some missing colors, I guess this is a pretty decent port of the arcade game.  Interestingly enough, Galaga was published in the US by Bandai, which would be foretelling since Namco and Bandai have now merged.

Double Dragon 2

Back in the day, Double Dragon was HUGE!  Normally I’d question why we got the sequel on this collection instead of the first game, but I think most people preferred the second game on the NES anyway.  I was never much into Double Dragon myself.  I was more into Final Fight back then.

Ninja Gaiden

This game was super popular on the NES.  My friends and I rented it and the sequels a few times.  This was one of the first games to really implement cut scenes frequently.  There was nothing like it at the time so it was really innovative.

Punch Out!

The next five games are on the NES Classic Edition, but not the Famicom one.  Punch Out was always more appealing to Americans anyway.  It was super popular when I was a kid, at least the Mike Tyson version (not on here).  I never was a big fan of Punch Out, though.  The bigger kids hogged it in the arcade, and it just didn’t appeal to me on the NES.  My little brother Jeff loves that game, though.


This was another game that was designed to appeal to an American audience.  I rented it once back in the day and hated it, so I’m glad it’s on here so I can give it a second chance.  So far I don’t like it now either, though.  It just feels slow and clunky, and I’d rather just go and play The Legend of Zelda, which this game is trying to imitate.

Tecmo Bowl

“Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut!”  I’ve never been much into sports games but I do know this was super huge on the NES.  I mostly remember the arcade version, which had a extra wide screen (or two screens) so you could see more of the field.  After trying it on the NES Classic Edition, I can see why it was so popular, as it’s very approachable and fun.  Although I do much better running than passing.  My friend had another football game when we were kids called NES Play Action Football.  He got it because it came with a four player adapter, but I kind of wish he would’ve gotten Tecmo Bowl instead.

Bubble Bobble

This is one of my favorite games, but I don’t remember seeing it in arcades much back then.  I think I first heard of the game from the NES version.  Which is a pretty good port of the arcade game, all things considered.  Although it’s not as much fun here since it’s a better two player game and this only came with one controller.  When I was a kid I rented this game a ton of times and would take it to my friend’s house for us to play together.  And my friend would be like, “Ugh, not again!”  When the arcade version was ported to the PSOne, my brother Jeff and I played it a lot.

Final Fantasy

My friend had both Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy, and while I enjoyed playing them at his house, I didn’t feel compelled enough to buy them for myself.  I didn’t really get into RPGs until the SNES anyway.  But I certainly liked Final Fantasy better than Dragon Warrior, even though it’s a bit hard to go back to this game on the NES.  If you want to play the first FF game, I recommend the GBA or PSP versions.

And those are all the games.  It’s a neat console, but I certainly wouldn’t pay a scalper’s price for it. And I like the SNES Classic Edition much more, but then the SNES is my most favorite console ever.   Let me know what you think about all this.  Later!  –Cary

PS: Here are links to my other articles on Nintendo’s “Classic Editions” if you’d like to read those.

The Games of the SNES Classic Edition

The Games of the Famicom Classic Edition

One Response to “The Games of the NES Classic Edition”

  1. Best Buy has 10 foot extension cords for the controllers. The controllers for the SNES classic work on the NES classic for two player games.

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