5 NES Retro Games to Play in 2023

5 NES Retro Games to Play in 2023

In the golden age of 8-bit glory, when pixelated characters were the epitome of cool and blowing into a cartridge was the universal fix-it trick, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) reigned supreme. Picture this: it's the 1980s, and the NES is the hottest ticket in town, transforming living rooms into digital battlegrounds and mystical kingdoms. It was the birthplace of legends like Mario and Link, and it set the gold standard for home gaming consoles.


Retro games are not just a nostalgic trip down memory lane; they're a vibrant part of the gaming scene. But here’s the twist: finding an original NES cartridge in 2023 is like finding a needle in a haystack. Why? Well, they aren't making them anymore, and those that have survived are now coveted collector's items, often hoarded like pirate treasure.


Let’s look at five NES retro games worth dusting off your old console for. Prepare to slash your way through foes in Ninja Gaiden NES, embark on a daring quest in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link NES, prescribe some fun in Dr. Mario NES, explore alien worlds in Metroid NES, and float through dreamy landscapes in Kirby's Adventure NES.

Dr. Mario


Ah, Dr. Mario NES—where you don't need a medical degree to toss around pills like a seasoned pro. Released in 1990, this game turned many of us into virtual pharmacists long before we knew what a pharmacist actually did. In this colorful and infectious (pun intended) puzzle game, you take on the role of Mario, who apparently decided that plumbing was just not cutting it and went to medical school instead. His mission? To eliminate pesky viruses by strategically dropping two-toned capsules into a bottle. It’s like Tetris, but with a medical degree.


Now, let’s break it down: In Dr. Mario NES, your screen is your battleground, and it’s infected with tiny, adorable viruses. They come in three vibrant colors: red, blue, and yellow. Mario, being the overachiever that he is, tosses pills of corresponding colors into the mix. Line up a pill with viruses of the same color. The goal is to clear the screen of all viruses before it overflows with pills, which is way harder than it sounds, especially as the levels progress and the speed intensifies.


Dr. Mario NES teaches you the art of quick thinking and strategy under pressure, all while jamming to a catchy, iconic soundtrack (which, by the way, you’ll find yourself humming in the shower, during class, and pretty much everywhere else).



Released in 1986, Metroid introduced us to Samus Aran, a space-faring bounty hunter with a killer suit and an even killer-er resolve. She’s not your typical hero; she’s a one-woman army on a mission to save the galaxy, and she’s got the laser cannon to prove it.


In Metroid, you’re navigating the eerie, alien-infested corridors of Planet Zebes. Your goal? To hunt down and put an end to the sinister Mother Brain and her army of space pirates who are bent on using dangerous creatures called Metroids for their evil plans.


Now, Samus isn’t just running and gunning. She’s a regular space detective, searching for clues and special upgrades for her suit that let her roll into a ball, jump super high, or fire missiles. Each new ability opens up new areas of Zebes to explore, turning the whole planet into a giant, interstellar puzzle.


Metroid NES is rare, it’s valuable, and it promises an adventure that’s out of this world while being a piece of gaming gold that’s survived the test of time, not just because it’s fun, but because it broke the mold. Samus, with her reveal as one of gaming’s first female protagonists, threw a power punch at stereotypes, showing that girls can save the galaxy, too.

Kirby’s Adventure


Meet Kirby, the adorable pink puffball who's more than just a cute face—he's a hero with an appetite! In Kirby's Adventure NES, released in 1993, you're not just jumping around; you're inhaling enemies like they're a stack of pancakes on Saturday morning. Kirby’s signature move? Sucking up foes and stealing their powers. Ever wanted to breathe fire or wield a sword just by eating a snack? Kirby lives that dream every day.


The mission is simple: Dream Land's been robbed of its dreams by the naughty King Dedede, and it’s up to Kirby to set things right. The mission is simple: Dream Land has been robbed of its dreams by the naughty King Dedede, and it is up to Kirby to set things right. Kirby can inhale enemies to copy their abilities, which he can then use to defeat other enemies or solve puzzles. The game is easy to learn but difficult to master, and it is sure to provide hours of fun for players of all ages.

Ninja Gaiden


In Ninja Gaiden NES, released in 1988, you step into the tabi boots of Ryu Hayabusa, a ninja on a mission that's as sharp as his sword. Forget sneaking around in the shadows—Ryu is all about action. He’s on a quest to avenge his father and prevent an evil villain from unleashing chaos upon the world. Think of it as the ultimate father-son bonding experience, just with more swordplay and less fishing.


This game is famous for its difficulty; it doesn't hold your hand so much as it throws you into a pit of spikes and says, "Good luck!" You’ll navigate through levels filled with enemies, traps, and obstacles that require the reflexes of a cat on an espresso binge.


Ninja Gaiden NES is a prized relic from a time when games challenged you to the core and made victory feel like the ultimate ninja triumph. So, if you're ready to test your mettle (and your patience), Ryu’s adventure awaits.

Zelda II The Adventure of Link


In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link NES, released in 1987, you're not just playing a game; you're stepping into the boots of Link, the iconic hero with a sword in hand and a kingdom to save. This sequel took a daring leap, swapping the top-down view of the original for a side-scrolling action and RPG mix. Imagine it as your typical high school day: you're navigating mazes (like the hallways), battling monsters (not unlike tackling surprise quizzes), and leveling up (hello, report card).


The mission? Rescue Princess Zelda, who’s taking the longest nap in history, thanks to a wicked curse. To wake her, Link needs to place six crystals in six palaces, guarded by foes who aren't keen on visitors.


In the world of NES retro gaming in 2023 we looked at five iconic games that defined a generation. From the strategic pill-popping action in Dr. Mario NES to the epic quests of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link NES, these classics are more than just games—they're timeless adventures that continue to captivate players. Discover the challenges of Ninja Gaiden NES, the cosmic exploration in Metroid NES, and the delightful escapades of Kirby's Adventure NES. In an era where original NES cartridges are rare treasures, these games remind us of the roots of gaming. Ready to relive the magic? Visit Retro Gaming of Denver to start your own retro gaming adventure today!

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