In continuing with my ever-so-often Top Tens, here are my Top Ten favorite Nintendo Entertainment System Video Games. We're talking old school, 8-bit games here. Similar to my Top Ten bands, I'm going with whatever games gave me the most utility personally. A good indicator would be the number of times I skipped watching TGIF on ABC with Step by Step and Family Matters to instead play a particular video game. Anyway, here we go:
10. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link - A VERY underrated game. They use the top-down view from the first Zelda for traveling, but once you reach your destination it switches to side scrolling action (for fighting or talking to people, etc.) While the top-down view has become the standard for Zelda games, I actually enjoyed this game more than the original. I remember it taking forever (maybe a day or two) to beat my own shadow at the end of the game. The game is very entertaining and I'm putting it on this list because I had a lot of fun playing it, and I don't think it has gotten the credit it deserves.
9. Super Mario Brothers 2 - Another game that uses a completely different format from the rest of the series, SMB2 is original and very entertaining. The bad thing is that it is a one-player game where you can pick between Mario (average ability), Luigi (ridiculous jumping ability), Toad (very fast, no hops), and Princess (slow but can magically float). It definitely didn't lend itself to playing with another person, but overall the game provided so much entertainment that you didn't need friends! As a side note- I hated those weird floating masks that would chase you around when you needed to take a key to unlock a door. Those guys were ruthless hunters! What a stressful life I lived as a third grader!
8. Mike Tyson's Punch-Out! - Forget the later version with Mr. Dream, it's not legit unless Iron Mike himself is the final fighter in the game. I'm pretty sure I still remember the cheat code to get to Tyson (007-393-5963- something like that.) With characters like Soda Popinski, King Hippo, Super Macho Man (there is nothing macho about his vibrating pecs), and your trainer Doc, this game was filled with classic moments and great gameplay. Later in life, we had a Nintendo in our college apartment. One of my favorite college moments was coming home from the downtown bars and challenging Iron Mike to a fight. Some of my friends (could've been as many as 2-6) gathered round and watched me dominate Tyson. I later tried to beat him sober, and I couldn't do it. I don't think I'll ever be able to explain that phenomenon.
7. Super Mario Brothers - I spent HOURS playing this game. I may have taken the occasional Duck Hunt break, but this game was off the hook. Highlights include using the Warp Zones to go quickly to level 8, breaking bricks and jumping through the ceiling to breeze through levels (specifically 1-2), and trying to jump on a turtle shell over and over at the end of level 3-1 to get unlimited lives (that was DIFFICULT!) I've tried to beat this game without warping, and let me tell you- it is no small feat. Great gameplay, good replay value, and a classic at every level.
6. Baseball Stars - I will credit this game as the first game to use "franchise mode." It's the first game I can remember that would allow the player to develop a team and players all their own. The drawback was that they didn't have a major league baseball licence, but the gameplay was rock-solid, and I can't tell you how many games I played just to earn money and give my players stat points. Last note on this game was that it taught a very important lesson: Spectators would pay a lot of money to watch me mercy-rule a team of women that were throwing games worse than the 1919 Black Sox (based on me controlling them with the second controller.) If you've ever played the game, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
So there's the first 5- how am I doing so far? Any of the above belong in the Top 5? I'll be back with the rest...