The 10 Best Mini-NES Games


The Mini-NES is not out for a few weeks, so while we wait for the NX to come out, we can catch up on some classic titles, since the miniature console features 30 titles, some of which are the best-selling games of all time. But which ones are essential NES games you have to play as soon as you get this new system? I compiled a list with some of my personal favorites, but feel free to disagree and share your personal list in the comments below. By the way, the Mini-NES connects to the TV via HDMI, comes with a classic controller (a second controller can be bought for $9.99,) the system costs $59.99. and comes out this November 11th.

Balloon Fight


In this game, you’re a balloon fighter and you have to balloons attached to your helmet. By pressing either the A or B button, you flap your wings and rise into the air which allows you to hit other enemies. Apart from the single-player campaign, there’s a cooperative mode that you can play with a friend, but you can pop their balloons as well, so you need to be extremely careful. Finally, there’s an insanely difficult bonus stage where you need to avoid electrical discharges.



Castlevaniamust be one of the most challenging 8-bit games, but despite its high difficulty, this action platformer spawned a franchise that’s still popular and relevant to this day. To me, the game has aged well enough: it has great replay value, the music is outstanding and the visual aspect is really attractive. It can be extremely challenging, but if you’re up to the task, Castlevania can offer hours and hours of platforming.



In Excitebike, you race against the clock, but anyone who played the game knows that the real enemies are all the other racers who stubbornly get in your way while you’re trying to get to the finish line in time. Also, the simplistic control scheme and three modes of gameplay are enough to keep you entertained for a long time. There are hundreds of other racing games out there, but to this day, Excitebike is one of the few I keep coming back to.

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. (NES)

The Mini-NES features all three Super Mario Bros, but the one I always keep coming back to is the original. Super Mario Bros. To be fair, Super Mario Bros. 2 is an oddity we were lucky enough to get in America and Super Mario Bros. 3 is an improvement to the original in pretty much every department. That said, Super Mario Bros. is irresistible to me and I think everyone interested in 8-bit platformers should play this game today.



Metroid was ahead of its time in several departments: it was one of the first games to feature a female protagonist, the game’s focus on exploration allowed you to unlock previously inaccessible areas and it had several endings, making the game was an obvious choice for speed-runners. Luckily, the game holds up remarkably well in this day and age, so if you want to know what the first half of “Metroidvania” means, this is your chance.

Punch Out!!! Featuring Mr. Dream


This version of Punch Out might have Mr. Dream instead of Mike Tyson, but this is still a title that you have to play every now and then. This game is varied, has an entertaining control scheme, the bosses are colorful and unique and few games offer this level of challenge. It may not be realistic, but this still one of the best boxing games ever made.

Super Contra


I would have preferred to play the first Contra over Super Contra, since I have fond memories of the original, but Super Contra is still a terrific choice. Konami’s run-and-gun franchise has always been about annihilating the alien invaders before they take over out planet and Super Contra is no exception. This side-scrolling action game has fast action, cooperative play, big bosses and amazing soundtrack. So what else can you expect from a run-and-gun game?

The Legend of Zelda


This action adventure game was ahead of its time: it had action, puzzle-solving, and exploration, and most people consider it one of the first role-playing games ever made on console. But that’s not all, the gigantic map, great world design and timeless visuals make The Legend of Zelda a true classic that you’ll want to play every once in a while.

Mega Man 2


It’s difficult to talk about Mega Man 2 without using the word challenging but there’s more to this action platformer that its high difficulty. That said, it’s worth mentioning that Mega Man 2 is an improvement over its predecessor in almost every aspect, including its difficulty. Additionally, the sequel had better graphics, new power-ups, a password system, a variety of weapons, items and bosses. If you’re up to the challenge, Mega Man 2 is your game.

Ice Climber


I’ve always thought that Ice Climber is a fantastic platformer with some truly unique and innovative ideas. For those unfamiliar, you control a couple of Eskimos with wooden mallets that are trying to reach the top of a mountain from the inside by carving openings in the ice above them while trying to avoid hazards like seals, icicles, conveyor belts and so on. Once you reach the top, you need to grab onto a flying pterodactyl to complete the level successfully.