NES Classic Mini: Your Free Guide to its 5 Grooviest Games

NES Classic Mini Review
It’s the NES!

Okay, so we briefly covered how we picked up the Nintendo Classic Mini: NES (somehow, given the evident stock crisis) back in early November.

Hurrah! It’s glorious and, for the rest of you, be patient as your time will come. Until then, if you’re picking one up after not gaming very much, here’s a brief guide. 

Nintendo Mini Classic: NES

The mini NES is wonderful, we think it’s safe to say. There have been a few minor grumbles about there being no option to download extra games, but for £50 ($60) you get a most glorious slice of gaming heaven.

The games are so charming, but this is no nostalgia exercise. Retro gaming is big business for a reason and more and more gamers are discovering the modern industry’s offering of hyper-realistic graphics don’t match the gameplay thrills of games created during the NES and SNES era.

Indeed, from here Nintendo may decide to do a SNES Classic Mini or Nintendo 64, or it may do a Mini NES 2. We’re hoping it chooses the SNES option, as that thing is the best games console of all time (in our opinion)!

For now, the NES is more than welcome, so here’s a bit about NES gaming in order to prepare yourself for the challenges ahead. Brace yourself—we do mean challenges.

NES Gaming

This is important: NES gaming is largely massively different to how most modern games play (unless you’re a fan of indie games on Steam, which often aim to replicate the NES/SNES era).

If you own a PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, or PC, you’ll be used to sprawling adventures with relatively straightforward challenges.

NES gaming is the antithesis of that—it’s brutal, harsh, unforgiving, and at times pure evil. We’ve discussed it in the past on Professional Moron, but due to technological limitations the developers of the time had to justify the smaller gaming worlds.

The best option? Ramp up the difficulty to make the games last longer.

You’ll see for yourself the result of this tactic in games such as Ghosts’N Goblins (detailed further below), Super C, Mega Man 2, Ninja Gaiden, and just about every single one of the 30 games on there. It’s a challenge, but steel your soul and be patient as it can take a bit of getting used to, but it’s ultimately hugely rewarding.

Thankfully, the NES Mini features a suspend option. At any point whilst playing, simply hit the reset button on the console and it’ll take you back to the central screen. Here, you can save any game at specific points to ensure you can replay difficult sections and quickly overcome them. Cheating? No! It’s a lifesaver.

The NES Mini Classic Controller

This has been a problem from the get-go – Nintendo has designed the NES Mini with an idiotically small cord on the controller.

Quite why they decided to do this we don’t know. We’ve gotten around it simply be positioning the NES Mini as close to us as possible when playing. Problem solved. However, it may not be as simple for others.

The solution to this has arrived in the form of a wireless controller. The Verge covered the best NES Classic Edition wireless controller the other day and we’ll be picking one up to take this awesome little package near to levels of perfect.

If you’re getting the NES Mini, ensure you pick one of those to go with Nintendo’s controller for “ease of gaming” (a term we’ve coined).

Our 5 Favourite NES Mini Games

When you boot up your NES Classic Mini there will be 30 shiny, lovely games waiting for you. Where do you go first? What should you play? So many sights to see!

1. Super Mario Bros 3.

No surprise, really, as Super Mario Bros 3. is a bloody masterpiece of the first magnitude.

You see all those AAA blockbuster games being released on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC, such as Titanfall 2 and whatnot? They’re not as good as a game first released in 1988 – such is the power of gameplay. It’s worth buying the NES Mini for this alone.

2. Mega Man 2

We covered Mega Man 2 recently and completely fell in love with it. It’s as difficult as they come but it also innovated enormously at the time—you can pick any stage you want to from the off and work your way to the end boss.

It’s 2D platforming at its finest and provides one hell of a rush thanks to the amazing soundtrack.

3. The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda kickstarted arguably the finest game series of them all. Regarded by most gamers as a masterpiece, it was revolutionary and almighty all in one neat little package.

As the game starts up, simply head off and explore the world and familiarise yourself with Link and his habit of lifting stuff into the air.

4. Metroid

Revolutionary upon its release, the first Metroid set the scene for the unstoppable perfection of Super Metroid and the Metroid Prime trilogy.

This is quite a brooding and adult game, too, which was inspired by Alien and, shock horror, protagonist Samus Aran has a bit of a revelation in store!

5. Super C

We had to throw in a bit of Contra as it’s run and gun type action at its most strident and fun.

The game is unrelentingly difficult from the word go, but with a two player co-operative mode option you’re all set for awesome times.

Special Mention: Ghosts’N Goblins

We’re quite fascinated with this goddamn game, even though most people will likely stick it far down the list of their NES recommendations for one simple reason—the difficulty.

Everything about it is tough. It’s even difficult to describe without giving it a go, but my word. My goddamn word! The Angry Video Game Nerd had a very good go at explaining the noteriety of NES games like that.

But what is all the fuss about? Can a game really be this difficult?

Ghosts’N Goblins is notorious for its inconceivable difficulty. Capcom went way overboard with this one, but the result is it’s been turned from what would have been a forgettable title into a legend.

We can recommend you take it on simply so you can add it your CV: “I completed Ghosts’N Goblins”. That will land you any job you desire.


  1. I managed to pick up a NES Mini a few weeks ago. I love it and wish there were more hours in the day to play it. I have even started a let’s play series where I take on all of the 30 games it has to offer. I have done 13 so far and each video is about 10 minutes long.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good on you! I can’t believe how difficult they are to get. I pre-ordered mine and it turned up several days early.

      It’s a marvellous little thing, there’s no denying it. So much joy in one tiny little bundle.

      Liked by 1 person

Dispense with some gibberish!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.