Introducing: The Retro Gaming Project! [Nintendo Edition]

NES Cartridges

One thing I have learned from my ongoing 50 Movies Project is that I accomplish so much more when I have a set list to follow. As someone who has been wanting to dig deeper into older video games and play the many that I missed out on over the years, I have decided to create a retro gaming version of the project.

I grew up playing the NES, often having intense gaming sessions of Super C, Super Mario Brothers 1-3 and other classic titles with my older brother. When he moved out of the house, there was a gap in gaming until I later received a Sega Genesis as a Christmas present. From that point on, I grew with the consoles, eventually upgrading to a Playstation then PS2 then Xbox 360 and so on. While I loved the Genesis dearly, this transition meant that I missed out on the entire Super Nintendo system, aside from playing it at a friend’s house. I eventually bought a SNES during college, but it mostly gathered dust as we played the latest games instead.

SNES System

My Super Nintendo broke shortly after moving to Chicago a few years ago, so I bought a Retro Duo system to replace it. This nifty little console could play BOTH regular NES and SNES cartridges, and I caught up with a bunch of my old games. Unfortunately, it completely died out on me within a year of owning it. I opted to replace this with the FC Twin, a similar console but with slightly better reviews.

Between the FC Twin and my growing stack of cartridges, the modern disc collections of retro games, the various remakes and downloadable versions of these titles, and even *gasp* emulation, there is no excuse for me not to catch up on so many of the NES/SNES classics that I have missed. That is why I have started this project, as it will give me even more initiative to revisit the past. I have compiled a list of 50 games that have either received major critical acclaim or have been incredibly influential over the years. I do not have a set timeline for when I will finish this project, but I am confident that putting this list together will keep me motivated to get back to my gaming roots.

If you have any requests/suggestions, please let me know.

Bionic Commando
Bubble Bobble
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
Double Dragon
Double Dragon II: The Revenge
Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone
Duck Tales
Kid Icarus
Kirby’s Adventure
The Legend of Zelda
Maniac Mansion
Mega Man
Mega Man 2
Mega Man 3
Metal Gear
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
Ninja Gaiden
River City Ransom
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Chrono Trigger
Contra III: The Alien Wars
Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
Final Fantasy II (IV)
Final Fantasy III (VI)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Mega Man X
Secret of Mana
Soul Blazer
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Super Metroid
Super Punch-Out!
Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Thoughts? Suggestions? I left out quite a few classics that I have played to death already (NES Mario games, Super C, Dr. Mario, Tetris, etc.), but I am open to other ideas.

23 thoughts on “Introducing: The Retro Gaming Project! [Nintendo Edition]

  1. jsicktheslick says:

    This is super exciting, because after I saw your posts about the 50 movies project I totally thought of doing one just like this with games! I am happy to see that you’re deciding to play some classic older games, and from what I can tell you’ve already got a stellar list of titles lined up. Hmm… suggestions, you say? Well, here are some older games that I loved:
    – Mega Man 4, 5, and 6 are all worth it, don’t just stick with the first three (Though they’re undeniable better than the latter three)
    – Life Force is a fantastic side scrolling shooter for the NES
    – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES isn’t as great as Turtles 2: The Arcade game, or Turtle 3 the Manhattan Project. Play those, for sure!
    – Dragon Warrior for the NES is a solid first entry in the RPG series. And it’s quick
    – Kirby Superstar is perhaps the best Kirby game, and it’s for the SNES
    – Street Fighter II Turbo for the SNES is still considered one of the greatest fighting games ever made.
    Sorry for all the suggestions… I went on a nostalgia kick there. I’m looking forward to seeing this progress!

    • Eric says:

      Haha awesome, I appreciate the suggestions. I thought about just saying “screw it” and include Mega Man 1-7 and X, but that would have taken up a huge chunk of my list. I might just go ahead and play through the series anyway. It’s kind of embarrassing that I never really played much Mega Man over the years — I even own some of the cartridges!

      I own the first TMNT game but haven’t really messed with it beyond the first couple levels. I remember playing it a bit as a kid but I think it was too difficult for me at the time. I’m not sure, but it will be fun to re-visit it. I’ll look into the second and third games as well.

      I thought about including the NES Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy games but wasn’t sure how well they hold up today. I remember playing the first FF on the PSP but couldn’t really get into it. Maybe I’ll give both a shot.

      Thanks for the tip on Kirby. I only added the first NES game because I wasn’t sure what else to include in the series.

      This is going to be an awesome project! I wouldn’t be opposed to you doing a similar feature. 😀

      • Morgan R. Lewis says:

        Definitely look into the TMNT Arcade game. It’s only titled “II” for the NES because they’d already made a radically different one for the system… it’s not a sequel so much as it’s a totally different — and much better — game.

        • Eric says:

          So I just looked up TMNT Arcade and it looks pretty awesome… thanks for the tip, guys. Now I just need to figure out what to remove to make room for it, heh.

  2. mericslovaine says:

    Oooof. Good luck with Battletoads as it is regarded as the most frustratingly difficult game ever created.

    My advice is to not screw up (hint: play with a second person distinctly designed to get that stupid book) level 99 in Bubble Bobble as you’ll have to play every level over again.

    Also, it is apparently possible to beat much of The Legend of Zelda without a sword: (note the 1 of 19 tag) If you’re an insane person, maybe go for that for an added, unwarranted challenge because the game isn’t nearly as ludicrously difficult as the sequel or any of the Mega Man games you listed. You might be able to hear me laughing maniacally like a lunatic from wherever you are.

    I agree with jslickthesick in that Turtles 2 is a better game than the predecessor if not just for the infuriating dam / bomb-diffusion level (which might drive you to actual homicide).

    River City Ransom is just freaking awesome. No other comments.

    Good luck. Your quest is admirable.

    • Eric says:

      Oh yeah, I have heard horror stories about Battletoads. I vaguely remember playing it as a kid but never getting too far.

      That Zelda clip looks a little too hardcore for me right now, haha. With all of the difficult games I already included, it will be good to play a relatively easy game without any added challenges.

      Another vote for Turtles 2? I will definitely have to give it a shot then. I will probably just play through the series chronologically.

      Heard nothing but great things about RCR. Can’t wait to play it.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Scott Lawlor says:

    Oh nice!!

    I think I still have the callus’ from playing Street Fighter for many many many hours as a teenager!!

    Sho Yu Ken!! Tiger Knee!! Tiger Uppercut….. YOGA FLAME!!


  4. gotounknown says:

    Looking forward to read your review of these classics! I’m also planning to play some old games of my own. Always dreaming of playing games like Baldur’s Gate, X-COM and the likes again. Of course, having the chance to play some NES and SNES games would have been nice; hope they release some big-game-pack for the WII-U (not worth buying for the WII…) 🙂

    I have a suggestion for a NES game: Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll. One of my favorites; a really crazy arcade / 3d-platformer with two snakes!

    • Eric says:

      I hear ya. As great as modern games are, sometimes it’s best to just go back to the classics! Good call on Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll. I remember one of my friends swearing by that game, but I never got the chance to check it out. I’ll see if I can squeeze it in on the list. 🙂

  5. Castor says:

    So many fond memories! I wish they would create some kind of software which would allow you to download and play all of these old NES/SEGA/SNES game from back in the days. It would probably get old pretty quickly but the shot of nostalgia would be worth it.

    Heck, sometimes, I pop (not so old) PC games like Half Life and Tribes 2 just for the trip down memory lane.

  6. Max says:

    That Super Nintendo list is really solid. I started collecting the carts for a lot of those games. I own SNES carts of Super Mario RPG, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and Final Fantasy VI. The only one I don’t have that I want is Earthbound. I just can’t get myself to pay 80$ for the cart though. I’ll be coming by to see how your doing.

    My favorites listed:
    Mega Man 2
    Ninja Gaiden (2) skip 1 imho
    Mario RPG
    Zelda LTTP
    Super Metroid

    • Eric says:

      Man. Yeah, Earthbound is just way too expensive. I’m holding out hope that it will be re-released digitally someday, but I might have to resort to emulation for that one. That’s pretty awesome that you own those other cartridges, though. Not easy to find.

      Can’t wait to play the games you listed. Thanks Max!

  7. John says:

    Awesome idea! I’m looking forward to the results. I’d second jsicktheslick’s suggestion of Kirby Super Star, I rented that game all the time as a kid and I loved it!

    I’d also suggest Guerrilla War for the NES. It’s a shooter based on Fidel Castro and Che Guevara and it controls super well. In that vein I’d also recommend Ikari Warriors for the NES, a similar game.

    You need to make graph paper maps whenever you can, especially for The Legend of Zelda!

    Soul Blazer, nice nod. All in all oodles of interesting games, looking forward to this.

    • Eric says:

      Thanks for the tips, John! I’ll keep Guerrilla War and Ikari Warriors in mind for another batch (I get the feeling already that I will want to do a part two). I’ll check out that Kirby game, too. It seems to be getting a lot of love in here!

    • Eric says:

      I always wondered about the Lufia series. Heard mostly good things, so I’ll have to check out Lufia 2. Thanks for the recommendation, Westen!

  8. Rocio says:

    all you have to do is download wats caleld an emulator so just google NES emulator, find one that u are comfortable downloading, the you just google NES emulator games and download the files of the games and when u run the emulator program u downloaded the games that you downloaded for the emulator are in the list under file option.

  9. danfishercan says:

    Hey Eric,
    I just got on WordPress and found your blog. I love the Retro Gaming Project idea. A lot of your list mirrors my own “best of” lists as well, and I would agree with the guy a few posts back who said that Battle Toads is ridiculously difficult. If you ever make it past the second level on that, I’d love to know what comes after…
    FYI, a bunch of friends and I are working on a game right now that attempts to reference all of our favourite games from each era (we’ve defined eras loosely by which console was out at the time). It’s a side scroller with a large dose of Mega Man…check us out if you get a sec:

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      Hi Dan, thanks for stopping by! I’ve kind of abandoned this project, unfortunately, but I hope to jump start it again here soon. There are still so many retro games I want to play, but my backlog just keeps growing and growing. Ahh, the dilemmas of being a gamer…

      Thanks for the heads up on your project. I’ll be sure to check it out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s