This morning, Nintendo once again zigged when everybody expected them to zag, announcing the new NES Classic Edition, an adorable mini replica of the NES that comes with 30 8-bit classics pre-installed. It’s a surprising move, since these kind of all-in-one machines are usually the domain of sketchy kiosks in the mall, but it does look like a solid way for casual gamers to get their classic gaming fix. Expect the NES Classic Edition to be a popular stocking stuffer this Christmas.
It helps that the machine’s lineup of games is pretty solid – Mario, Zelda, Mega Man and Castlevania are all accounted for (you can check out the full list here). That said, there are also a few curious oversights. Here are 10 more classics Nintendo really ought to add to the NES Classic Edition’s lineup.
Note: This list doesn’t include any NES sports games, since they were already covered thoroughly here.
Oddly, the NES Classic includes Super C, but not the original Contra. Super C has its charms, but Contra is definitely the true classic, and all-round better game. I mean, how can you leave out the game that popularized the Konami code?
The NES game that kicked off the cult-classic Earthbound series went unreleased in the West for a quarter century until Nintendo unexpectedly released a fully-translated version on the Wii U last year. Unlike most of the games on this list, Earthbound Beginnings would be a totally fresh experience for most people picking up the NES Classic, and serve as a great introduction to an underappreciated series.
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
So, the NES Classic includes both Castlevania and Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, which is a somewhat questionable choice. Castlevania II breaks with 8-bit Castlevania tradition and is considered a bit of a black sheep, while the Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is a much more traditional (and entertaining) adventure. If Castlevania II makes the cut, then Castlevania III should, too.
Come on, what’s an NES collection without Battletoads? We have to teach today’s kids what Nintendo Hard was all about! Of course, Battletoads is now owned by Microsoft, but they’ve been willing to work with Nintendo in the past, and raising Battletoads‘ profile only benefits them.
Mega Man 3
The NES Classic includes Mega Man 2, which is a great choice, but if you’re going to trot out the second game, you really need to include Mega Man 3 as well. Mega Man 2 is probably the best game in the series, but Mega Man 3 is a very close runner up, and really, the two are kind of a package. Sister games, if you will. Playing through Mega Man 2 and not being able to immediately jump to 3 will be weird.
I’ve mostly avoided including licensed games on this list because it’s just not realistic. Nintendo doesn’t want to pay any heavy licensing fees for the games included in the NES Classic, so, for instance, the NES’ Batman and Ninja Turtles games are a no-go. That said, Disney has shown a willingness to play ball with DuckTales — a full remake of the game was released a couple years back, and I bet they’d bend to get the original game on Nintendo’s new machine.
River City Ransom
River City Ransom is still one of the most entertaining brawlers of all time, and holds up better than a good portion of the 30 games included with the NES Classic. It’s also a much-needed multiplayer addition to a list that’s mostly made up of single-player experiences.
No video game machine should be without Tetris. The official Nintendo version of Tetris wasn’t as good as the unlicensed Tengen-published version, but hey, Tetris is Tetris.
I’ve always loved the NES version of the classic LucasArts adventure game Maniac Mansion. It replicates all the puzzles and clever writing of the PC original, but features a more stylized, cartoony visual style that I actually prefer. NES games are mostly about action, but this is one for the thinkers.
Dragon Warrior IV
If you’re going to put Final Fantasy on the NES Classic, you also need a Dragon Warrior/Quest game. There were actually four Dragon Warrior games localized for the NES, and Dragon Warrior IV is easily the most modern and entertaining of the bunch.
One of the more unique platformers on the NES, Bionic Commando was all about swinging over chasms with a badass grappling hook. I have a feeling this one didn’t make Nintendo’s list because, well, it ends with you graphically blowing up Hitler’s head, but hey, this is my list and I can include all the bursting Hitler heads I want.
Super Dodge Ball
Hands down, the best competitive multiplayer game on the NES. My palms still get sweaty thinking about all the hours I spent playing Super Dodge Ball around a 20-inch TV screen with my brother. Also, River City Ransom and Super Dodge Ball are a set – if you have one, you have to have the other.
There you are, a dozen games Nintendo really ought to sneak onto the NES Classic Edition. Any favorite NES games that both Nintendo and myself missed? Give ’em a shout out, below.