On November 11th, the good people at the Nintendo Corporation will be serving up their latest hit of nostalgia, the NES Classic Edition. This novel console is a miniature version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System released in 1985 that plugs right into your HDMI port. Pre-loaded with a collection of 30 games, the NES Classic Edition has many grown-ups very excited for this upcoming holiday season. One can be certain that thousands (if not millions) of lifelong gamers will be super excited to relive their childhood on Christmas morning, opening up a brand new Nintendo and playing through some classic games from years past.
With the suggested retail price at $59.99, and a collection of 30 games, that works out to about just less than $2 a game. Really, a hell of a deal for the frugal, nostalgic gamer. But still, only 30 games? In 2016, a time when one could easily, in less than 30 seconds, store all 678 original Nintendo games released in North America onto a flash drive, for some reason Nintendo decided only to store 30 games onto this old-new console. While the core collection of games included on the console, such as the Super Mario Bros. series, The Legend of Zelda, Punch-Out! and Metroid are certainly must-haves, there are many, many more games that would please many a Nintendomaniac if they were included on the console.
And so, the following is a list of 15 additional games we wish were also included on the NES Classic Edition. Mind you, this list is definitely a dream list. While certain games may be absent from the console due to licensing issues, or companies refusing to let Nintendo use their intellectual property for one reason or another, some of these games are still owned by Nintendo and there is no good reason for their absence. Here’s our wish list of games that should have been included on Nintendo’s blast from the past.
15. River City Ransom (1989)
River City Ransom was a game ahead of its time. RCR is a side-scrolling, 2 player, open world, beat ‘em up, role-playing game. The player takes control of two high school students, as they venture through the River City beating up thugs and goons in a quest to rescue one of their girlfriends from the evil boss named “Slick.” This is a punch-kick type beat ‘em up, but the player can also use weapons such as brass knuckles and baseball bats, and the player also has the ability to hurl these weapons at their enemies. All the while, the player can stop into shops to eat sushi, and train at dojos to learn new, more powerful moves along the way. The game’s legacy even lives on today, with independent game developers Conatus Creative, successfully funding a Kickstarter campaign to develop an officially licensed sequel River City Ransom: Underground. Indeed, with different difficulty settings, the RPG system, the combat, the story, and the simultaneous 2 player co-op, River City Ransom has an impressive amount of replayability for a beat ‘em up, and is arguably better than Double Dragon II, which will be included on the NES Classic Edition.
14. Battletoads (1991)
Another beat ‘em up, Battletoads became a cult hit and a meme with this generation of gamers. A super difficult game, as many Nintendo games were, this game sees two toads or toadmen who travel through levels beating up space mutants until they finally take down The Dark Queen. The franchise was a success in its day, and even spawned a crossover game with Double Dragon, another game that could have been included on the NES Classic Edition. However, the main point of this, in today’s sick world there exists a legion of trolls who prank call various game stores and pawnshops asking they have Battletoads in stock. If this game were released on the NES Classic Edition, the recipients of these calls could answer, “Yes! Battletoads is included in the NES Classic Edition! Should I set aside a console for you?” What fools these trolls would feel like then.
13. Golf (1985)
One thing the NES Classic Edition is missing is a good chunk of sports games. While the NES was not considered a sports powerhouse in its day like the Sega Genesis was, the Nintendo still had a decent selection of sports games. The console will be including Tecmo Bowl, which is probably the best sports game on the console, and that in itself is impressive. However, the original NES had a little launch title named Golf. Golf is a simple, serviceable golf game that still kind of holds up. Playing as a mustachioed man who may or may not be Mario, no one knows for sure, the player journeys through 18 holes of glory. All your favorite clubs are included too: 3 wood, 9 iron, you name it. If you’re scoffing at the idea of including Golf on the NES Classic Edition, remember that the 9 holes of golf included on the best-selling game Wii Sports are three-dimensional versions of the first 9 holes of Golf, thus demonstrating that the game’s design was still influential over 20 years after its release.
12. Kung Fu (1985)
Kung Fu rules! There’s no two ways about it. Originally an arcade game called Kung Fu Master, the game was ported to Nintendo as Kung Fu and remains a favourite amongst many die hard Nintendo fans. The game’s pace is fun, fast, and solely consists of beating up a variety of grappling and knife-throwing jabronis. Plus, a gameplay feature that was revolutionary in its day, you can both jump and crouch while delivering strikes to devastate jabronis. The game was notably designed by Takashi Nishiyama, who later went on to develop the games Street Fighter and King of Fighters. While not necessarily a one-on-one 2D fighter, Kung Fu can be considered a predecessor to the genre, and is definitely worth a spot on the NES Classic Edition.
11. DuckTales (1989)
This is a game that probably did not make the collection due to licensing issues, but be sure this game is on wish lists everywhere. DuckTales holds up, so much so, that a remastered version of the game was released for modern consoles and PC in 2013. An action platformer starring Scrooge McDuck, the game’s terrific level design and use of the Disney property made it a smash hit and became Capcom’s best selling game on both the Nintendo and the Gameboy. The music alone is reason enough to include the game, as this game as a quality soundtrack in addition to the already excellent DuckTales theme.
10. M.C. Kids (1992)
Speaking of games not being included due to licensing, M.C. Kids is an evil gem in the vast library of Nintendo games with a legacy that should not be forgotten. Essentially, the game is one giant advertisement which tries to lure children into a McDonald’s. You get to play as a white kid or a black kid as you help Ronald McDonald find his magic bag. Stopping along the way to visit levels in the worlds of Birdie, Grimace and the gang, you eventually attempt to defeat the Hamburglar, who, spoiler alert, stole the magic bag. Before you decide that this entire list loses all of its credibility by the inclusion of this game, be aware that this game is a platformer in the style of Super Mario Bros. 2, where players pick up and hurl objects at poor creatures, and that this game is actually really fun. This game is a trip. The music is great, the levels are challenging, you’re forced to play with upside down gravity in some levels, and the characters are fun if you try to forget that McDonald’s a giant corporation trying to addict you to their food for life.
9. Rad Racer (1987)
Rad Racer is an intricately designed, challenging but fair, single player racing game. Players can select either a Ferrari or an F-1 car to race with. Instead of racing against other players to a finish, the player street races through a map of checkpoints to a finish, forced to restart if missing a checkpoint. It was also one of the first console racing games to place the camera’s view behind the car. The game features epic car crashes that can result from hitting another vehicle or a road sign, and you can even hit the select button and play the game with 3D glasses. Rad Racer is still fun today, arguably the best racing game for the Nintendo, and definitely deserves a spot on the NES Classic Edition roster.
8. Kings of the Beach (1988)
With all due respect to Dead or Alive fans, Kings of the Beach for the Nintendo Entertainment System is the only good volleyball game ever made. The pinnacle of 2-on-2 beach volleyball, 2 players can play as real life volleyball champions Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos, as they bump, set and spike their way to their respective beach thrones. The gameplay is tight, responsive and incredibly engaging, and is one of the most fun 2 player sports experiences on the console. All the volleyball action you need is here. You can even argue calls with the referee and try to get points overturned. The game also includes bonus characters from Nintendo games Skate or Die and Ski or Die. Still, forget those other “extreme” sports games, Kings of the Beach is the most x-treme and totally rad experience you wish you could have at the beach this holiday season. Don’t forget to bring a towel.
7. Pro Wrestling (1986)
The two best professional wrestling games of all time are WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64 and Pro Wrestling for the NES. A lot of Nintendo fans, not even wrestling fans, were genuinely surprised when this game was not announced as part of the 30 game lineup for the console. A predecessor for the Fire Pro series of wrestling games, Pro Wrestling features technically sound grappling action that definitely holds up. Moves off the top turnbuckle, Irish whips, throws over the top rope, and even finishing moves, this was a game that got pro wrestling right. In addition, the colourful roster of fictional characters such as Star Man, Kin Corn Karn, and the Amazon, help to provide the right amount of diversity and replayability. Unforgettably, the game features the classic Japanese to English translation error of “A winner is you!” Seriously, any wrestling fan who has never played this game is doing him or herself a disservice.
6. Blades of Steel (1987)
A lot of people claim Ice Hockey to be the number one hockey experience on the Nintendo. Those people are wrong. Blades of Steel is the best ice hockey game on the Nintendo. With no official NHL license or anything, 4 Canadian teams and 4 American teams take to the ice with exciting, typically high scoring hockey, as the player must control their goalie while taking care of the rest of their team. The gameplay is easy to get into, and it is one of the first hockey games to include fighting. Like other games on this list, this game was also ahead of its time, but in a different way, as this game included in-game advertisements for other Konami games between periods, even providing a little Gradius mini-game.
5. Crystalis (1990)
Crystalis, released as God Slayer in Japan, is a lesser known Nintendo game but possibly one of the best experiences on the Nintendo. Crystalis is an action-RPG that is very, very similar to The Legend of Zelda but focuses more heavily on combat. The game’s world is very large and diverse, there’s a variety of weapons, and the enemies in the game can be quite challenging at times. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic, medieval world, as the player quests throughout the land to save it from total destruction. In addition to decent combat, the game features cut scenes, a developed enough story, and excellent graphics by NES standards. Nintendo fans should go out of their way to play at least once.
4. Metal Gear (1987)
An iconic game from the original Nintendo era, it is baffling that Metal Gear is not included on the list of 30 games for the NES Classic Edition. The pioneer in the stealth-action genre, players play as Solid Snake as he starts out in special forces group FOXHOUND taking missions from Big Boss. Yes, if you have not played through it, the Metal Gear Solid series characters can be found here, and the original 2-D Metal Gear is a part of that cannon. Crazy to think that the story from a Nintendo game is actually continuing in brand new releases 30 years later, making Metal Gear perhaps the most prolific story ever told in video games.
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
The NES Classic Edition is largely a vehicle to relive late-80’s early-90’s childhood nostalgia. Nothing embodies that era of nostalgia more so than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If Nintendo should pay for any third party license for nostalgic purposes, they should at least do it for The Turtles. Furthermore, on a console with a handful of good beat ‘em ups, Turtles II is definitely included in that conversation. Featuring a classic tale of saving April O’Neil from Shredder, this brawler features some nice combat, with each turtle having their own attack speed and range and signature weapon. While Turtle Power may not live on the NES Classic Edition, it will still live on in many of our hearts.
2. Tetris (1989)
Look at the list of the 30 classic edition games without asking yourself, “Where the hell is Tetris?” This is an impossible task. Not only did Tetris sell over 8 million copies on the NES, it was the best selling game on the Gameboy as well, for it was packaged with that console. If you’ve never played Tetris before you’ve probably also never played a video game before either. That’s how essential Tetris is to gaming, too Nintendo as well. This is perhaps the most baffling game not to be included with the new console. While versions of Tetris are accessible online and on phones, it’s sure that many Nintendo fans would love to relive the experience of playing the original Tetris for the Nintendo.
1. Duck Hunt (1985)
Next to Tetris, Duck Hunt is probably the most glaring omission from the 30 games packaged in the NES Classic Edition. Anyone who owned an original Nintendo fondly remembers clicking the trigger on the big, orange Zapper light-gun, pulverising duck after duck as your dog (who you cannot shoot, thank goodness) hoists them up in victory. Who can forget the satisfying sound of a crackle after successfully shooting a clay pigeon? Perhaps the game was not included as it is well known that the old Zapper gun technology is not compatible with modern television sets. However, in an era where cars drive themselves and virtual reality is a real thing, Nintendo could have set aside some money to develop a new Zapper that would be compatible with modern televisions to package with the NES Classic Edition. If Nintendo included a Zapper with Duck Hunt in the classic edition, Nintendo could mark up the price point to $89.99 and sell even more units. While many are still excited for the console, it is a definite shame that many parents will not experience sharing the joy of shooting 8-bit ducks with their children for the first time this holiday season.