As I’ve mentioned a few times, I never had an NES (or any video game console) growing up. That meant that my favorite games were those that I could easily enjoy while playing for a few minutes at a friend’s house. Here are my top five of those.
I honestly believe that Tetris is the greatest video game ever made. It’s simple enough to be fun, even when playing against someone much better than yourself. Having played it at friends’ houses also helped me dominate the scoreboard when my family got our first PC, on which Tetris was the only game
2: Mega Man II
The great thing about all of the Mega Man games is the fact that any level could be the first level. This meant that, unlike most games, I got to see a lot of levels without ever playing for more than five minutes at a time. I couldn’t win most of those levels, but it was a lot of variety. It also helps that Mega Man II is often considered to be one of the best NES games by serious games as well.
I knew this first from the arcade before ever playing it on a console, and that alone was enough to make me a fan. Add to that the fact that I could play as Donatello, and I could play along side someone who knew what they were doing, and you have a game that was always fun. I barely remember anything beyond the first level, but I think that all of the levels were basically the same, so that’s not a big loss.
4: Duck Hunt
This was the first game I ever played that had an element of virtual reality to it, and it’s the only game with a gun-shaped controller that I’ve really enjoyed. It’s abstract enough to not make the laser-pistol feel out of place, but the technique of flashing the screen and reading that in the gun is implemented so well that it really does feel like you’re shooting that duck. The NES Zapper is one of the rare bits of video game technology that feels more impressive 20 years later.
I don’t think I’ve ever played past level 1.2 without going to the warp zone. Getting to level five in a matter of minutes never fails to feel like an accomplishment. Of course, I usually died soon after I arrive, but at least I wasn’t dying on the first level.