The 15 Worst NES Games (And 15 That Are Worth A Second Look)

The NES was home to tons of games, many of which should have never seen the light of day. Here are 15 terrible NES games and 15 that are great!

Nintendo has some pretty fantastic games on its list. But what sets the NES apart from the rest of the gaming systems and consoles is that it started so many of the most popular franchises in the world that are still raging today. The NES was the first system for many of the older gamers who exist in the world, but that's not to say that every game was good, just a whole lot of them.

There are some bad games. And with the years passing and graphics in video games becoming hyper-realistic, some of these older games are pretty ridiculous to look at. The pixelated stories are something that a lot of people aren't really interested in anymore. And even the classics, the greats, now have updated versions that are better than the originals. It's going to be difficult to get all of our kids to appreciate the original mission of Samus when Zero Mission is just as amazing with graphics from this millennium.

We've narrowed the list down to a group of games that you'll either recognize whether you've played them or not, or you'll see some of these games as recognizable names but not in the form of a video game. Don't worry if you haven't played all the great classics of the NES, just respect that they exist and that your life is better because of them. Here are the best and the worst things that the NES has to offer.

30 Good: Double Dragon

via: instant-gaming.com

When you have a problem and a bunch of bad guys to beat up, it's best to have your bro help you out fist for fist, kick for kick. And that's what this game was all about. Beating up fools for fun.

It was one of the very first beat em up style games and one of the few NES titles that actually holds up in current times. It's one of those games you can drop in with a friend and enjoy bashing dudes for a while. The genre only improved the graphics.

29 Bad: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

via: youtube.com

What a peculiar game this was. You start out as Dr. Jekyll, walking through town trying to avoid enemies. Enemies that no one really understands. And these enemies eventually got the good doctor super angry and he raged out.

But then, you would turn into Mr. Hyde and freak out all over town, trying to rage your way back to where you came from at the beginning of the level. It doesn't really make sense and it's one of the most frustrating games in the universe.

28 Good: Kirby

via: awesomegameswiki.com

When this cute little pink guy made the scene, it was in the form of a game that may be the very best of those released on the NES. It had a style that has yet to really be improved upon. Kirby is pretty much the same.

The first game in the series had it all. There wasn't much to improve on. Except for graphics. And even then, the newer installments were fun, but this game was probably the best of the series and will remain that way for eternity.

27 Bad: Athena

via: youtube.com

Pretty weird game here. You run around as Athena and are trying to save somebody. It's never really clear because the game is so glitchy and the pixels mash so often it doesn't feel like a complete game.

The fighting style and items you use are so basic and boring it really doesn't feel much like a game at all. It feels like something you'd play in a course about how to create video games and this is the most basic level.

26 Good: Final Fantasy

via: finalfantasywiki.com

A lot of people hate on this series because it's got the word final in the title, but yet there are 15 installments of the main series. But they're not connected. Not really. And they all sort of started with this one.

To choose your battle team and set off on an adventure across the world fighting demons has a lot of appeals. You play as heroes. This is the game that sparked the flame of fantasy in many young people's souls.

25 Bad: Bible Adventures

via: youtube.com

There's nothing wrong with the good book. It's a great read and tons of people totally dig it. So it makes sense that it should be put into a video game. After all, it does have some pretty interesting characters in it.

But this game was garbage. Probably for two reasons. Reason one: people who like the good book probably don't want to see it in video game form. It's maybe disrespectful. Or reason two: It seems like it'd be a taboo to enjoy. Did the big guy approve it?

24 Good: Tetris

via: youtube.com

If there was ever a game that never got old, it was this one. Whether you were on a long car ride, traveling by plane, or going number two in the bathroom, this was the game. And it will remain the game forever.

But since technology has taken over the planet, people have every type of game tailored to their desires right on their phone. Not everyone has the capacity to stack blocks anymore. And those people are terrible at organizing.

23 Bad: Super Pitfall

via: youtube.com

For some reason, this is considered to be one of the worst games ever to be created. It's probably because it feels ridiculous and looks ridiculous. The people who made this game might have been underpaid or just had a boss who didn't know anything.

This a game that has no real standing in the realm of NES classics. But that's fine. Games are enjoyed by whoever enjoys them. Some games released today cost twenty times what this did and are just as bad.

22 Good: Mega Man 2

via: ringsandcoins.com

Something similar about Kirby and Mega Man is that they steal the powers of their enemies and use it against more of their enemies. But Kirby does it organically while Mega Man is a robot boy with lines of code.

Mega Man is a series that sort of got outshone by other similar characters. Samus is extremley similar. But they are very different. Mega Man has a lot of popularity to mine from this world. Better than Robocop or The Terminator.

21 Bad: Hudson Hawk

via: youtube.com

This wasn't even that good of a film. Bruce Willis was in it, and if you've ever seen it, you'll understand what we mean. It's fun to watch, but it's just awful. So why did they make a game out of this thing?

We'll tell you why. Because when they made the game and the movie, they didn't realize how bad they were going to be. Good thing Bruce went on to keep making awesome movies. Followed by some garbage ones.

20 Good: Metroid

via: primagames.com

One of the most iconic video game series in the world. Another awesome thing about this game is that the character of Samus is always played by the same Samus. She's fought more aliens than maybe even the Master Chief.

Probably not though. But Master Chief and Samus would make awesome babies. This is a game that may not hold up to the amazing sequels and other games in the series. But it started it off and made the earth a better spot to chill.

19 Bad: Where's Waldo

via: youtube.com

Take a moment to try and find Waldo in this picture. We'll wait. Seriously, try and find this fool. Can you? We think he's directly in the center of the picture. Yeah. Are you starting to get why this game is on the list?

If that's him there then what is going on with this thing. If that's not him, then where is he? It's just angering, this type of nonsense. There are people out there with actual great ideas that got passed up so we could try and find some nerd.

18 Good: Castlevania

via: retrogameman.com

Of all the side-scrolling games to cross the NES platform, this and the rest of the series are a league above the rest. The number of secrets, enemies, weapons, and bosses this game had was incredible.

Not to mention it was fun to just travel and fight. You were on a mission to destroy monsters alone in a castle. No team. No backup. Just a dude in a sleeveless shirt with a whip and a list of bodies to bury.

17 Bad: Mighty Bomb Jack

via: emulatoronline.com

This is a game that you watch gameplay for and can't really figure out whether it's the most difficult or easiest game to ever exist. Either way, it's Pokémon soundtrack is almost enough to make you think it's good.

But it's not in the top percentile of games in the world. With so many awesome stories and people creating games for over 20 years, some things are seen as the worst. This game is apparently one of those on the negative list.

16 Good: Ninja Gaiden

via: youtube.com

Perhaps the very reason that so many people in the states want to be ninjas is because of this game right here and its protagonist, Ryu Hayabusa. Just look at that opening image. It really puts the hero in your blood.

Imagine being a real ninja, we know you've done it. Imagine that you're trying to find the evil lair hidden in the forest. You've searched for days, running low on food and resorted to foraging and trapping, only to wake in the orange glows of morning to stand upon a rock overlooking your evil destination.

15 Bad: Renegade

via: youtube.com

So if you ever want to play a game where you get to be an earthworm that dresses in cheap leather, buy this game. Or don't. But you're probably already a worm who dresses in cheap leather so whatever. We love you anyway.

Another game that tried to mirror or imitate Double Dragon's beat em up style and didn't do as well. A little more puzzle solving went into this game than better versions in the genre, but if we come to fight, we don't want to be hearing riddles.

14 Good: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

via: retrogameman.com

If you've never played this game then we don't even understand why you clicked this article. Or better yet, what are you doing in this country and on this planet. You belong in the ocean or on the moon with the rest of the dinosaurs.

This game still makes money. Because it happens to be one of the greatest NES games on arcade ever to have existed. You can play with only two friends on NES, but at the arcade, you could get all four. What a gem.

13 Bad: Total Recall

via: youtube.com

Another stab at the making of a video game based off a movie. Except this movie was pretty good. Way better than the previously mentioned Hudson Hawk movie. When you have The Arnold involved, it's gonna be tough.

But this game was sort of dumb and only really made the plot of the movie stand out as dull and a bit outstretched and vague. Still, it must have been awesome to be Arnold playing as himself in a video game.

12 Good: Dr. Mario

via: nintendo.com

We're not sure, but we think that there are at least 10,000 doctors on this continent who became doctors because of this game. So you're welcome, non-gamers. We all are a part of the healing of a nation or three.

Just old Mario as a doctor tossing pills into a container or something. Trying to get the right pills together but not trying too hard. Really, matching only one half of a pill's color is not a safe way to store medication.

11 Bad: Muppet Adventure

via: pinterest.com

Why does anyone want to play as a muppet? Aren't they toys already? It's like playing a game where the main character of the game just plays chess. Rather than you just playing chess yourself. Well, maybe that's a stretch.

Still, this wasn't much better than the Waldo game. And to be honest, the movies involving the muppets weren't that cool either. Maybe the one with pirates. But this was just an expansion of a product that was unnecessary.

10 Good: Duck Hunt

via: youtube.com

Gun controller? Check. Okay, blast off into happiness and the smiting of ten million ducks. But whatever, right? Who cares about ducks? They're arguably less cool than geese and taste worse than chickens.

Okay, maybe geese aren't that cool either. But you get the point. Just having that arcade feeling at home with the special gun controller was a gift from video game Gods. This is a game that will be remembered for centuries.

9 Bad: Fist Of The North Star

via: youtube.com

This is a video game based on a manga. A manga that was turned into an anime. An anime that maybe one of the single greatest pieces of art history. Also, if you watched it in Japanese you definitely learned how to say the word "what" in the language.

This game didn't really work out well. It makes sense too. Kenshiro is a nearly unmatched martial artist. Everyone he fights literally explodes when he touches them. Not a real difficult game to defeat.

8 Good: Contra

via: unrealitymag.com

When you go back and play this game, it is the epitome of the saying: video games were so much easier when we were younger." This is a difficult game. But it was just too awesome to put down after a few Game Overs.

It had some pretty amazing multiplayer to boot, allowing you and a friend to tackle the difficult task of gunning through all your enemies together. Unfortunately, this did little to make the game easier. It's considered a badge of honor to make it through this crazy intense game, especially if you can do it without the aid of the famous Konami Code.

7 Bad: Barbie

via: youtube.com

How could this ever be a good game? What does Barbie even do with her life? We're sure there is a whole storyline and backstory for this lady that has to do with where she grew up or whatever. But how is that a video game?

This couldn't have sold well. Unless it did. We're thinking every guy who has a sister and had an NES growing up knows this game very well. Just look how beautiful Barbie looks on this cover art photo.

6 Good: Legend Of Zelda

via: pinterest.com

Good. GOOD? This game is amazing. Well, the series is. Talk about wonder. Link and his adventures saving the princess Zelda might very well be the greatest video game series ever. Especially with Breath Of The Wild being so darn amazing.

This is the game that started it all. The game that made little kids want to be heroes and carry swords. We know that without this game the world of video games would not be what it is today.

5 Bad: Gilligan's Island

via: emulroom.com

So what happens at the end of this game? Do they get off the island? Or does the stronger one decide it's too much and eats the rest of them? There should be an alternate ending where that happened.

And let us guess, these people on the island were able to wear clean beautiful clothes and have their hair done every day just like in the show. Have you ever seen a homeless person? That's what living on a deserted island is like.

4 Good: Paperboy

via: retrogameage.com

Who knew being a paperboy could be so much fun? Everyone who never actually had to deliver papers. It wasn't like in the game. And we're not talking about avoiding obstacles and defying gravity. We're talking about the actual job.

Delivering papers needs to be done at like 5 am and for a kid that's awful. Then you have to collect the money from these fools. They don't show that part in the game. The hours of wrapping papers and placing them on porches.

3 Bad: X-Men

via: emuparadise.com

While this may sound like an awesome start to a sweet mutant fighting game, it is not. It's a shoved out, rushed piece of wet paper that was supposed to make as much money as possible. But in the bad way.

Some games make millions because they are truly epic awesome greatness in plastic or on a disc. Those are the games that are nurtured and created pixel by pixel with a team with a mission and an image of success. This game is not that.

2 Good: Jackal

via: gamingrebellion.com

Talk about a simple concept. Friends rolling around in jeeps saving POWs and destroying enemy soldiers. Did we mention that it's in Jeeps? Sweet Jackal Jeeps. It's a game that surprisingly holds up at parties.

If your NES works and you've had a few beverages, this is one of the games that really passes the time well. You just have to keep driving up, or north, and after a while, after all of the enemies have been run over, you win.

1 Bad: Deadly Towers

via: youtube.com

While the artwork is awesome and the creepiness is only about as long as that dude's nose, it is not enough to carry the game. It usually never is. It's almost like when the game ends up horrible, the producers dump the surplus into attractive cover art.

So this might be one of the most monotonous games ever. You basically just climb a tower the entire time and fight enemies. We guess the goal is to get to the top and then... fight... buffalo lions?

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