The Definitive Ranking of All 30 Mini NES Games

Not all games are created equal.

Business Wire 

It might be months away, but Nintendo’s already revealed the games that will be available on its miniature NES Class Edition that’s set to come out on November 11. The question is: which of those included on the little console should you play first? Thankfully, we’ve answered that question.

30. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Look, there are going to be people angry about this being at the bottom, and that’s okay. This is still where it belongs.

29. Balloon Fight

Yes, it’s true, Adventure of Link belongs below Balloon Fight.

28. Bubble Bobble

Bubble Bobble is cute and mostly forgettable, but it’s still a nice little game.

27. Ice Climber

Ice Climber is most notable for bringing the most annoying fighter to the Super Smash Bros. franchise. Second most notable aspect? Climbing ice.

26. Kid Icarus

The game’s a classic, but it’s basically just vertical Zelda and so it belongs all the way down here.

25. StarTropics

There is perhaps no single sentence in existence to best describe StarTropics, so hopefully the video above will suffice.

24. Super C

Super C is actually short for Super Contra and that’s what it is: more Contra.

23. Donkey Kong Jr.

Donkey Kong Jr. is basically just Donkey Kong with the roles reversed.

22. Pac-Man

I mean, it’s Pac-Man. He eats ghosts and little blips and people love him.

21. Mario Bros.

Why play this one when there’s several “super” versions available? And yet, here it is.

20. Gradius

Classic side-scrolling action as a fighter jet or sorts. Nothing to complain about, but also nothing to write home about.

19. Ghosts n Goblins

This game is basically Dark Souls before Dark Souls was Dark Souls. In short: it is hard.

18. Tecmo Bowl

The best football game on the NES.

17. Galaga

A favorite at arcades, Galaga’s simple formula of dodge and shoot has withstood the test of time.

16. Donkey Kong

Nothing like a little nostalgia to put a game firmly in the middle of the pack.

15. Dr. Mario

A fine little game that’s outclassed by nearly all the other Mario titles on the miniature NES.

14. Double Dragon II: The Revenge

A solid, straightforward beat ‘em up. Sold!

13. Castlevania II: Simons Quest

Castlevania II is basically just more Castlevania. Still good, though.

12. Ninja Gaiden

Never been a Ninja Gaiden fan, personally, but even I recognize greatness when I see it.

11. Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream

Just don’t mention Mike Tyson.

10. Kirby’s Adventure

Nothing like a little early Kirby to get going in the morning. It’s certainly not the best game available, but it’s a far cry from the worst.

9. Super Mario Bros.

There’s a reason this game has survived all the years and remains in the public’s mind.

8. Castlevania

Video games like Bloodborne owe a debt to the original Castlevania that cannot be repaid.

7. Final Fantasy

There’s nothing terribly exciting about the original Final Fantasy, but it’s a staple for a reason. It’s like regular bread — nobody’s thrilled, but good bread is good bread.

6. Excitebike

Even now, years, later, bikes remain exciting.

5. Super Mario Bros. 2

The weird, cool cousin to all the other Mario games deserves a place in the top five.

4. Metroid

The original outing of Samus Aran is just as much fun now as it was then, and another excuse to play Metroid is most welcome.

3. Mega Man 2

Though I personally prefer Mega Man 3, Mega Man 2 is the people’s choice out of the NES iterations. They’re wrong, but, yeah. It’s popular for a reason.

2. The Legend of Zelda

Sure, fans could play this in a dozen different ways, but it’s always tempting when put right in front of you.

1. Super Mario Bros. 3

The last four or five here are pretty close together, but Super Mario Bros. 3 easily secures the top spot by virtue of being the best Super Mario Bros. on the NES. That’s just a fact.

Notable Snubs!

Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers

Really just for my own pleasure is this included.


Sure, there’s Super C, but where’s the plain old C?

Mega Man 3

The best Mega Man on the console.


Because seriously, how could this not have Tetris?

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