NES Classic Edition – Great Games That Didn’t Make the Cut

Ryan Aday
Games Nintendo
Games Nintendo

The Mini NES Classic Edition arrives November 11, and includes 30 retro games from the popular ’80s console. Legendary games with mass appeal like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Castlevania will be among the titles available.  There is sure to be some debate on which games are the best or an attempt to rank the games included with the system. However, with no cartridge capability and apparently no chance to add games, it seems appropriate to discuss what games are missing from this new system.


With a classic code and an array of weapons Contra was among the best NES had to offer
With a classic code and an array of weapons, Contra was among the best the NES had to offer.

“Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A” (now known simply as the “Konami Code“) might be the most legendary cheat in NES history.  Unless you lived under a bridge, you knew that this code garnered 30 lives in the jungle combat game Contra.  For a true Nintendo savant, the Contra sequel Super C (which is included with the NES Classic Edition) just doesn’t cut it. Originally a coin-operated stand-up game, Contra was ported to the NES in 1988.  It featured Bill and Lance, elite United States soldiers sent to an island near New Zealand to destroy the evil Red Falcon and the alien forces controlling them.


Tetris made the Game Boy but was super successful on the NES
Tetris may have made the Game Boy a must-own system, but the game was also super successful on the NES.

Really Nintendo, no Tetris?  The game may have been more popular on the Game Boy, but it also sold over 5.5 million copies on the NES. Tetris was created by Alexey Pajitnov, a Russian A.I. scientist. He was using games to test hardware compatibility for his research and discovered a fun and addictive slant on a game he enjoyed as a child. In doing so, he stumbled upon something that would become an international sensation. Next to the Mario series, Tetris is perhaps the most well-known game in Nintendo history.

Sports Games


A quick look at the list points to a couple of sports games – Tecmo Bowl and Punch-Out!! (three if you include Excitebike).  However, the majority of sports games that helped make the NES a success are not included. The NES had great games for baseball (Bases Loaded), basketball (Double Dribble), tennis (Racket Attack), golf (NES Open Tournament Golf), dodge ball (Super Dodge Ball), soccer (Nintendo World Cup), hockey (Blades of Steel), and volleyball (Super Spike V’ball).

Duck Hunt

Connect the Zapper and you have a true first person shooter
Connect the Zapper and you have a true first-person shooter

Pop quiz: Besides a Mario game, what is the most owned NES game of all time?  The answer, of course, is Duck Hunt. Most people owned Duck Hunt because it came packaged with the majority of the early NES systems sold.  The game utilized the NES Zapper light gun which allowed players to shoot targets by pointing the peripheral at their television screens.  Unfortunately, the technology that drove the Zapper does not work with modern televisions. It’s too bad, as offering an optional Zapper to purchase has immense profit potential.

On top of these NES Classic Edition game omissions, there are a couple more things I’m going to miss from the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Among them are blowing on cartridges that won’t work, stacking one game on top of another when the mechanism that holds them in place breaks, and using a spoon on the controller for ultimate speed in Track and Field.  That said, $60 is a small price to pay for this level of nostalgia.

Ryan Aday
Ryan is a former college athlete with a degree in Communication from Point Loma University. He is also a 5-time Game Show Contestant (Incl. Wheel of Fortune) and decorated fantasy football player (Fantasy Football Evolution National Champion Runner-Up). Mr. Aday is kind to animals.
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