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10 Best Nintendo Games of All Time

It’s time to turn back the clock to a simpler time. A time when all that mattered in a young man’s life was Nintendo. Yes, we are going back to the days of Robbie the Robot, blowing on the bottom of a game to clean it off and sticking quarters in your Nintendo system to prevent premature shut offs. Without further ado here are the 10 best Nintendo games of all time.

10. RBI Baseball

RBI was the first really good baseball game ever invented. To this day RBI Baseball stands the test of time and can still be played for hours. An added bonus is that the Red Sox had one of the most potent lineups in the game, anchored by Tony Armas and Don Baylor. But maybe the best lineup belonged to the ultra fast Cardinals who had about six guys who couldn’t be thrown out on ground balls to short stop. The Cards were led by Vince Coleman in his prime before he got run over by the tarp machine. My team of choice used to be the Giants. There was something about Candy Maldanado, Jose Uribe and Jeffrey “flaps down” Leonard that was attractive to me. A couple things that still stick out in my mind regarding RBI was the fact that if you tried to throw before fielding a ground ball the ball would bounce off you like a pinball machine and you could hit HR’s clean out of the stadium. And of course the knuckleball which was virtually impossible to lay off.

9. Duck Hunt

This is the only game I ever played that needed a prop. Though I never once engaged in a competitive game of Duck Hunt, it is still on the list. Everybody played Duck Hunt. It came with the system in the early days so everybody had it. I’m not quite sure there was a point to the game either. I think you just shot the ducks, watched the dog go fetch them out of the high grass and moved onto the next round. Again, I don’t think people really loved Duck Hunt but it touched basically everybody’s life one way or another. I used to stand super close to the TV and just destroy the ducks before they had a second to breathe.

8. Excitebike

Excitebike easily could have been the best game of all time if not for one fatal flaw. For some reason only one guy could play at a time. However, despite this obvious programming mistake, Excitebike still had tons to offer. There was something gratifying about making your own Excitebike course to dominate. And I’m not sure any game ever offered such a risk/reward scenario as Excitebike did when you teetered on the line between flooring it and overheating. I still can hear the revving sound of Excitebike echoing in my head as I write this paragraph.

7. Paperboy

To this day I think it is a mystery how Paperboy captivated a nation. It seemed like such an innocent game didn’t it? I mean what are the odds that a game centered around delivering a newspaper to somebody’s front door could generate so much excitement? But it did. Everybody who was somebody owned paperboy. People spent countless hours delivering to the white houses, avoiding the red houses, getting attacked by dogs, and avoiding parked cars. And when the frustration became too much to handle, even the strongest paperboy player would turn evil. Yes, the inevitable round of intentionally breaking windows and delivering to the red houses who didn’t subscribe.

6. Double Dribble

It may not be the best game of all time, but the introduction may be the most famous. Any NES player worth his salt can hear the “Double Dribble” introduction voice ringing in their ears right now. Double Dribble was the first playable basketball game ever invented. However, the one thing that still bothers me to this day is how when you went up for a dunk they cut away from the actual game and did a close up of some random figure slamming it home.

5. Ice Hockey

Much like RBI Baseball, the original Ice Hockey is still a game that can be played and enjoyed in modern times. Ice Hockey also featured one of the great debates of our generation: what lineup to choose. I always went with 3 fat guys and 1 skinny guy. The skinny guy’s only responsibility was to bring the puck up. To this day I don’t understand why anybody would ever start a medium guy. They just brought nothing to the table. I’m also a fan of any game in which you can pit the Red Army vs. the United States. And there was nothing quite like an Ice Hockey melee in which virtually everybody on the ice gets involved with people getting knocked out of the pile every few seconds.

4. Mario Brothers

From this point on in the list I’d say we are at a different level in terms of all time games. Now we are talking about the best of the best. It’s like the difference between The Iron Sheik and Hulk Hogan getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Both were great, but still in very different leagues. Mario Brothers was probably the most widely played game in the history of Nintendo. It didn’t matter whether you were an adventure guy or a sports guy; everybody had Mario Brothers because it came with the system. The greatest compliment I could give Mario Brothers is that it mastered the art of making a game difficult, but not impossible to beat. There was always a light at the end of the tunnel with Mario Brothers. There were always more secrets and tricks of the trade to be learned. If you didn’t save the Princess in your adolescence then you didn’t live. To this day Mario Brothers games are the only adventure games I ever purchased.

3. Mike Tyson’s Punchout

15 years from now I could picture myself giving a speech that goes something like this: The three greatest days in my life were the day my child was born, the day I got married and the day I beat Tyson for the first time.” Beating Tyson was that big of a deal. I played this game so much growing up that I firmly believe I could knock out Tyson right now in my first try and I haven't played the game in years. (007-373-5693) Anyway, here is who I always thought were the best fighters.
Mr. Sandman - I just couldn't figure out those roll punches.
Tyson - 1 minute and 30 seconds of hell in the first round
Bald Bull 2 - The Bull Charge was probably the most devastating combo in the game. Your timing had to be perfect to get the gut shot in.
Super Macho Man - Don't be fooled by his graying hair. His super punch sometimes got the best of me.
Piston Honda 1 - Anybody who claims they beat Piston Honda One in the first 20 times they fought him are lying.
Flamingo - Just a total farce.
Magic Tiger - Totally confused when you cover up against his magic assault.
Piston Honda II - I just expected more out of him the 2nd time around after having such a difficult time the first go of it.
Soda Popinski - I don't think I ever lost to Popinski except on purpose to see how he'd react and after watching him flex his pecks at me and drink his soda pop I never lost to him again.
King Hippo - Was incapable of throwing a punch as long as Little Mac was active.

2. Tecmo Bowl

Arguably the greatest football game ever made. The thing that Tecmo Bowl has that no other football game has ever been able to repeat is the ability to play a full game in twenty minutes. While EA Sports makes great games, I still think they take way too long to finish. The beauty of Tecmo was that while it was simple to play it was also extremely complex. The outcome of a Tecmo game was equally determined by brains and raw thumb speed. Tecmo Bowl was also responsible for the advent of a medical condition called “Nintendo thumb.” This of course is a legitimate hand injury that can occur from playing too much Nintendo. I played so much Tecmo Bowl growing up that I still wake up in cold sweats from time to time with the Tecmo fumble noise ringing in my head. I personally prefer Tecmo II as opposed to Tecmo I, but they were both great. However, the fact that Tecmo II had all the teams in it pushed it over the edge. Ironically, the Pats and the Colts were by far the worst two teams in Tecmo II.

1. Baseball Stars

When Isn’t It? When it is. This is the question and answer that changed lives. This is the code that propelled Baseball Stars from being a good game to the greatest baseball game ever made and arguably the best video game of all time. If we were stuck playing with the Lovely Ladies vs. the Ghastly Monsters I highly doubt we’d be talking about Stars almost 20 years after it hit the street. But the Down, Right, Left, Down, Down, Right Up code made Baseball Stars a way of life back in the late 80’s. No matter where I went as a kid, Baseball Stars followed. It was the first game where you could keep stats and create yourself as a player. The game was the perfect length and was simple to play. The equivalent of winning the lottery as a kid was creating a new team and getting a 99,999,999 guy. Of course if you did get one of these rare gems, friendships were often destroyed by guys who intentionally erased the leagues. I also credit Baseball Stars with the advent of the quarter in the Nintendo system to prevent any power on and power off issues. I honestly don’t know how to express just how popular Baseball Stars was in words. It’s like how do you explain Woodstock to somebody who wasn’t there?

So there you have it. The ten greatest games in the history of Nintendo. I can already see the adventure freaks lining up at my door to argue about the exclusion of Zelda and Metroid, but I will not be swayed. The aforementioned games are the ones that shaped my childhood and made me the man that I am today.