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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Jun 22, 2014
Headline for Play for Hours: 5 of the Most Beloved NES Games We Grew Up With
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Play for Hours: 5 of the Most Beloved NES Games We Grew Up With

Flashes of these games exist in our memories as significant parts of our childhoods. We played in the worlds, became attached to the characters, and fused long term friendships within the battles we won together.

Super Mario Bros 3

Sometimes considered the best video game of all time, Super Mario Bros 3 was the 8 world (9 if you count the warp zone) voyage that no gamer ever forgets. Flying with the p-wing, hopping in the frog suit, and spinning in the raccoon suit had Mario saving the day in style. The secret whistles hidden throughout the game had us trading SMB 3 tips in the playground. We couldn’t wait for the school bell to ring to spend the rest of the afternoon climbing ships and warping worlds to save Princess Toadstool. This occurred all in one sitting of course, because there was no save option. These days that would earn you some video game street cred

Kirby’s Adventure

It’s like waking up in a pastel heaven when playing Kirby’s Adventure. Easily one of the cutest characters in history, Kirby had us helping him find the Star Rod in order to fix the Fountain of Dreams. The seven worlds of Dream Land were packed with excellent graphics because it was part of the last generation. Kirby floated into our hearts as one of the most recognizable and beautifully crafted games on the NES. While inhaling the enemies powers and spitting out blocks our soft pink hero promised us sweet dreams by night’s end.

Little Nemo: The Dream Master

From comic strip, to movie, to game, Little Nemo: The Dream Master had a prolific cultural background. Our hero, Nemo, is invited to “Slumberland” as the princess’ playmate. The sweet kid in his pajamas works his way through this world of pure whimsy looking for keys and riding animals. He’s protecting Slumberland from nightmares, while scaling large mushrooms and saving a King. I was captivated by this game when I was young. The old world and the flying bed were perfect visions of what I wanted to explore.


This game was difficult but well worth the time. Rash, Pimple, and Zit are three toads who buttkick through 13 levels of space landscape. They have to defeat the Dark Queen to save Princess Angelica. This game was so challenging I often found myself pausing it just for the hilarious (and semi-famous) music. We kept coming back and tackling each level while taking part in the obvious humor of the story. BattleToads was the Saturday morning, day- after- sleepover game that my bestie and I bonded over.

The Legend of Zelda

I think at some point in every gamer’s existence they spend a chunk of life playing in the Zelda world. Once they do, they always leave a piece of themselves in the fantasy. Link explores the lands, finds hidden caves, and pieces together the Tri-Force of Wisdom. Princess Zelda is being held by the wizard Ganon while Link seeks to save her. The early days of this game started the base for the phenomenon it would eventually become.