History Behind Nintendo Purchase
Ah, yes. Who doesn't have fond memories of this system? Nintendo single-handedly revitalized a "dead" industry and easily monopolized it. For all of its questionable business practices, Nintendo was able to succeed in uniting players around the world. It seemed like everyone had this system. You can bet that no other TV game console will ever reach such a large market share (i.e., 85-90%) again, because, if nothing else, there forever will be competition to split market—unlike in the late 1980s.

I have foggy memories about when I got my NES. I think I got it in the early part of 1989, because that's when I started to subscribe to Nintendo Power. I believe that I purchased the system at a now-defunct discount department store chain called Zayre, but I cannot remember how much I paid for it. I do, however, remember that my first game purchase was Ghosts 'n Goblins from a Kay-Bee Toy Store. Looking back through my video game receipts, I can see that I started to save receipts with the purchase of Super Mario Bros. 3. I got that game from Sears' mail order on March 1, 1990, for the price of $54.89. I also quite vividly remember buying more cheap-o games (Burai Fighter, Robowarrior, and Magmax immediately come to mind) than I do now. And, oh yeah, I got a few accessories, too: the Light Gun, Power Pad, Four Score, NES Advantage, and NES Max.

Unfortunately, I started selling off all but six of my NES games in preparation for the Super NES. That means I have very few boxes or instruction booklets for my NES games; most of the games I have now are used. The six games I kept were Super Mario Bros. 3, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, Baseball Simulator 1.000, Final Fantasy, and The Legend of Zelda. My NES then sat up in the attic for about four years until it was awakened one day.

It was the fall of 1996. My guess it was the middle of September, still a few weeks before the release of the American N64. I went in a used video game store (Video Game Exchange, a.k.a. It's About Games) for the first time in a few years. All of a sudden, I saw a used NES game called Stinger for the low price of $2.95. This was a game I never owned—but one of my friends did. Stinger instantly brought back fond memories, and I decided to purchase it and a few others. From that point on, I decided to build an NES collection by buying back all of my old favorite games, getting some I always wanted, and adding some of the true classics, even if I didn't necessarily like the games. I've been purchasing NES games for anywhere from $2.95 to $7. Although my original NES collection reached about 35 games, my current collection is 2.5 times as large. Actually, my cartridge-based NES collection is complete. I would have to find quite a treasure to add anything else.
Quick Links
All-Time Favorite Nintendo Games
Nintendo (NES) Collection (91 games)
Random Notes & Thoughts
What lies below is a listing of my Nintendo (NES) collection along with some history behind the system's purchase. One thing to keep in mind is that these are all the games I currently own. I've actually had other games throughout the years. But I got rid of some of them for whatever reason. Please also note that all of the games listed below are actual cartridges. I am neither into getting emulators for the classics nor am I into pirating the latest games.
Nintendo 8-bit system, controller, and Zapper
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Tecmo Super Bowl screenshot
Super Mario Bros. screenshot
Contra screenshot
Ninja Gaiden screenshot
Super Mario Bros. 3 screenshot
Mega Man 2 screenshot
The Legend of Zelda screenshot
Dr. Mario screenshot
TMNT II: The Arcade Game screenshot
Baseball Simulator 1.000 screenshot
Ninja Gaiden II screenshot
Mega Man 3 screenshot
Metroid screenshot
Throughout the 8-bit and 16-bit era, platform games were my favorite genre. Super Mario Bros. 3 was light years beyond anything else -- due to the sheer size, variety, and balance of the game.  It is still the best Mario game of all-time, as it provided more challenge, more secrets, more power-ups, more diversity, and more fun.
Not only did Super Mario Bros. revolutionize gaming, but it also was a great game. Never before had a game included so many hidden easter eggs or secrets. Plus, it gave players a level of control never seen before in a video game. If you break out your copy of Super Mario Bros. right now, you'll probably still enjoy it. It's truly that good.
Like Super Mario Bros., Zelda revolutionized gaming, but it did so in its own ways. With The Legend of Zelda, players had the opportunity to experience a completely new kind of adventure. Furthermore, the game introduced the ability to save your game to the console world. Who doesn't have fond memories of trying to find the next dungeon?
I loved this game because of the simulation aspect that was not seen in other NES baseball games. Despite the fact that Baseball Simulator 1.000 didn't have real teams or players, it offered so much more in the way of options and statistics that made it better than Bases Loaded in my book. I never played through as many seasons in a sports game as this.
No one can dispute the greatness of Tecmo Super Bowl. It took the great gameplay of the original and added real NFL teams and players. It was quite realistic for its day, and it still remains fun. In fact, during one of my college semesters, my roommates and I played many, many games of Tecmo Super Bowl. That's because it's easy to play and doesn't use too many buttons.
Ninja Gaiden ranks as my favorite action game on the NES because of the cut-scene story interface that it introduced. Surprisingly, the story was quite captivating. You wanted to keep playing the game, because you wanted to see what was going to happen next. Unfortunately, the game was quite difficult! I still remember being stuck on the last level!
For many years, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were my favorite cartoon. I never liked the first Ninja Turtles game for the NES, however. When this game first hit the arcades, though, I loved it. I spent a ton of money on it. I never imagined I would be able to play it at home. Then Konami shocked everyone with this incredible two-player port for the NES.
Mega Man 2 gets the nod as my favorite Mega Man game in the series. I feel this way for two reasons. One, I think it has the best and most creative boss "Man" characters in the series. Two, I thought it was the most balanced in terms of gameplay and difficulty. Also of note is that it introduced the password feature to the series, which was a lifesaver!
Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos was a true sequel in that the story was a continuation of the first game. How about that? It didn't just have new levels and updated gameplay; it continued the storyline. Why don't more games do this? Also, the main reason I like the first one better is that this sequel is insanely difficult!
As you can see, Mega Man 3 is almost on par with its predecessor. Since the levels and characters aren't as creative, though, it's not quite as awesome. At any rate, you gotta love the gameplay in the Mega Man series, since you had to figure out the best order to take out the bosses to use their abilities. The rest of the series becomes too unoriginal and redundant after this game, though.
Dr. Mario is one of my favorites, because I spent a lot of time playing it with my older brother. We enjoyed the game more than, say, Tetris, because you have to take into account matching colors when the clearing viruses—all the while trying to plan combos to send "garbage" to your opponent! A good Dr. Mario game can get quite heated and furious!
"Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start." I bet you remember entering that code combination as fast as you can on your Control Pad. I sure do. Although I can say that I never completed Contra without using the 30-man code, I still found the game a ton of fun to play through, especially with a second player. It was a blast to shoot everything.
Strangely, Metroid is one game that I didn't get into the first time I played it after it came out. But a few years later, I purchased the game and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The sci-fi emphasis was unique, and it was a perfect mix of action and adventure. It's surprising to me that this game never did well in Japan. We Americans love it!
I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out my 15th favorite NES game. After considering the possibilities, I realized that I couldn't go wrong with this classic: Super Dodge Ball. Many kids have fond memories of dodge ball from growing up. Well, this two-player rendition is done quite well, except there's too much flicker! Where's a 3D version?
  • Adventures of Lolo, The *
  • Adventures of Bayou Billy, The
  • Alien Syndrome
  • Arkanoid
  • Astyanax *
  • Balloon Fight *
  • Baseball Simulator 1.000 *
  • Battletoads
  • Bigfoot
  • Bionic Commando *
  • Blaster Master *
  • Bubble Bobble *
  • Burai Fighter
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest *
  • Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse *
  • Cobra Triangle *
  • Contra
  • Donkey Kong Classics
  • Double Dragon
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • Dragon Warrior *
  • Ducktales
  • Excitebike
  • Faxanadu *
  • Final Fantasy *
  • Gauntlet
  • Gauntlet II
  • Ghosts 'n Goblins
  • G.I. Joe
  • Golgo 13 *
  • Hogan's Alley
  • Hoops
  • Ice Climber
  • Ikari Warriors
  • Ironsword *
  • Jackal
  • Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu
  • Karnov
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby's Adventure
  • Legend of Zelda, The *
  • Life Force
  • Magic of Scheherazade, The
  • Magmax
  • Maniac Mansion
  • Marble Madness *
  • M.C. Kids *
  • Mega Man
  • Mega Man 2
  • Mega Man 3 *
  • Metal Gear *
  • Metroid *
  • Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! *
  • Mission: Impossible
  • N.A.R.C. *
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos
  • Paperboy
  • Popeye
  • Rampage *
  • R.C. Pro-Am
  • Rescue Rangers
  • Rescue: The Embassy Mission *
  • River City Ransom
  • Robowarrior
  • Rush 'n Attack
  • Shadow of the Ninja *
  • Shadowgate *
  • Skate or Die
  • Skate or Die 2: Search for Double Trouble
  • Spy vs. Spy *
  • StarTropics *
  • Stinger
  • Strider *
  • Super C
  • Super Dodge Ball *
  • Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt *
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 *
  • Super Sprint
  • Tecmo Super Bowl
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles *
  • TMNT II: The Arcade Game
  • TMNT III: The Manhattan Project
  • Track & Field II
  • Winter Games
  • Wizards & Warriors
  • World Class Track Meet
  • World Games
  • Wrath of the Black Manta
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link *
The following bulleted points are some random notes and thoughts about the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). In the list, you will find information about the system and games that I could not place anywhere else.
  • Perhaps someday I will make this game part of my permanent collection: Tetris (Tengen version).
  • Amazingly, I had quite a bit of fun with the Power Pad accessory and World Class Track Meet.
  • Why is it such a pain to get NES games to work properly? I think the "blow" technique (where you blow on the cartridge's chips before inserting the game into the system) is infamous.
  • Anybody else remember the "suggested" scene in Golgo 13?
Last Updated: November 14, 2016
Copyright © Scott McCall. All Rights Reserved.  ™ and © for all products, characters, and indicia related thereto which are contained herein are owned by the companies who market or license those products.
1. Super Mario Bros. 3
2. Super Mario Bros.
3. The Legend of Zelda
4. Baseball Simulator 1.000
5. Tecmo Super Bowl
6. Ninja Gaiden
8. TMNT II: The Arcade Game
9. Mega Man 2
10. Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos
11. Mega Man 3
12. Dr. Mario
13. Contra
14. Metroid
15. Super Dodge Ball
Much like Super Mario Bros. 3, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse got back to the series' roots after straying with the second game. What a tremendous comeback this game enjoyed. The long, challenging quest was helped by great graphics and a unique branching level concept. Remember when you found out that Alucard was Dracula spelled backwards?
7. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse screenshot
Super Dodge Ball screenshot
Honorable Mention: Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Strider, River City Ransom, Dragon Warrior, and Battletoads
Note: The games listed above are physical cartridges. Of course, I downloaded digital versions of some of those same games on Wii and Wii U. These six (6) additional NES games augment My Game Library through Nintendo's Virtual Console service for Wii:
  • Adventure Island
  • Blades of Steel
  • Double Dribble
  • Mario Bros.
  • Milon's Secret Castle
  • Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels
For me, a lot of my memories about the old 8-bit Nintendo are related to the many different places and avenues to play the games.  It really seemed like Nintendo owned the entire market.  Your friends had one.  Your cousins had one.  Your neighbors had one.  Your local movie rental store probably rented NES games.  Your arcade may have even had Nintendo "VS Arcade" machines.  It really was ubiquitous, and that contributed to my familarity with so many different games as a 10- and 11-year-old.

As far as those games go, it's apparent that most of them go against modern game design principles in so many different ways.  Can't beat the game in one setting?  Too bad (or pause the game until tomorrow).  Didn't see that bad guy when you made the jump?  That's part of the challenge.  Only get three lives?  Better hope there's a cheat code.  Doesn't that person/thing look like a copyright/trademark violation?  Yes, it probably is.  But I guess that's part of the nostagalia now.
* indicates instruction manual