Remember getting that old NES system for Christmas? Perhaps a birthday present back when you were 12 or so. The Nintendo Entertainment System came to America in the mid 1980′s and it took the nation by storm. Kids were amazed and parents were concerned it was rotting their brains. Grades plummeted in schools across the nation as we spent every possible waking hour playing or thinking about games like The Legend of Zelda or Super Mario Bros.
Chances are you had an NES or knew someone who did. We were all impacted by that little gray box and many of us to this day still enjoy popping in one of those iconic cartridges only to get the glitched out screen or the blinking red light of death. Blow in the cartridge or bang the thing around a bit and you might get it working. Once the game is up and running, the 8-bit tunes blaring, it’s time for those long lost memories to flood back in.
Steven and I (Mark) recently had the idea to build a comprehensive top 100 list of the best NES games. This was a bit of a daunting task as there are countless lists out there from individuals, magazines, and online sites. I started by plugging in the first list I came across, then added another, and another. The spreadsheet became a bit unwieldy but even so, Steve and I both added our own as it was our list and the more lists the better in my opinion. After all was said and done I had 9 total top 100 lists. Each game was given its appropriate ranking per list. Anything that was on List A but not on List B was given a score of 101. By the end I had an overall list of nearly 200 games. Then came the arduous task of deleting some of those from the list. Essentially I went through every game and looked to see how many lists it was on. If a game only appeared on one of the lists it got booted from contention. This greatly reduced the number of games from nearly 200 to 140.
There was one anomalous list of the bunch. Most lists contained a full 100 games. However the Nintendo Power Top 200 was a list comprising all Nintendo related games for most of the consoles up to the Nintendo DS and the Gamecube. I dug through this list and put in order the NES games. From the top 200 list there were 40 NES titles. Anything that was added to our comprehensive list that didn’t appear in the top 40 was given a score of 41. This skewed the list a bit, but only in the overall scoring.
The best possible score a game could receive was a 1 as it would be the top ranked game. All rankings were averaged out and a perfect 1 would be our #1. I think the worst score a game could receive using this algorithm was a 93.5. This essentially meant it would receive all 101′s, a 41, and then one ranking. This lowly ranking belonged to the game 1942.
One other thing we found was that most every list had the same games in their top 15. You would always find Super Mario Bros. 3 near the top of the list along with The Legend of Zelda. Metroid, Contra, and one of the Castlevania titles were generally near the top as well. However once you got past those first 15 or so, the list was a jumbled mess. So this list is a way to take everyone’s list and build from those a comprehensive list of the best games ever, thus creating the top 100 NES games of all time!
That list has been created and its awesome!
What to expect…
The idea behind the definitive list is to do a weekly blog post about the too 100 games starting from the bottom and working our way to the top. As we work our way through the list Steven and I will periodically do an update and breakdown the games recently added in our I, Geek Retrospective podcast. All of that being said, this was a project that took many more hours than I’m willing to admit. But I haven’t had that much fun doing math and building spreadsheets in my entire life.
We certainly hope you enjoy and stay tuned as we work our way through.
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