Top 5 NES Classic Edition Games to Introduce to Kids

Generation to Generation


So you are one of the lucky few who are getting an NES Classic Edition (aka NES Mini) to scratch that nostalgic itch! 30 strategically hand-picked games are about to take you away to a time where phrases like “TPS reports” and “cutbacks” didn’t even have a spot in your vocabulary.  You are in for a wealth of entertainment and fun that modern game consoles just can’t provide anymore. In just a matter of time you’re going to be jumping on goombas, defeating Ganon, whipping Dracula, and foiling Dr. Wily’s plans to conquer the world. Unfortunately, I have a bit of bad news my retro-gaming friend. If you haven’t played a Nintendo NES since the day you packed it up and stuffed it in your attic or traded it in at the local video game store for the glorious Super Nintendo, you may find out that the video games from “back-in-the-day” are a lot tougher than you remember. Gone are the days that you could spend an entire summer mastering the one game that you got for Christmas or wasting away a spring break conquering a game that you rented from Blockbuster. You now have responsibilities that will constantly get in the way of your quest to destroy Mother Brain, but fear not, the NES Classic Edition grants players the ability to use save states, but that still doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

After a few weeks with the Classic Edition you’re most likely going to regain your abilities to withstand the difficulty that is NES gaming. Your kids will look on in amazement as you press buttons and maneuver your character with a flow so smooth it’s reminiscent of Will Hunting calculating a math problem. They will shout “ooooh” and they will shout “ahhhh”, and eventually they will ask you to pass them the controller so they can have a turn.   Here’s your new dilemma – Which games out of the 30 do you introduce them to so they don’t get frustrated, considering they’re used to the hand-holding and baby-sitting that is the standard of today’s games? I had this dilemma a few short years ago when I dug my Nintendo out of the basement to introduce my child to gaming. I knew that Castlevania was going to be way too hard and there was no way she could play The Legend of Zelda since she was still unable to read. We eventually settled on “The Little Mermaid” since that’s the character she knew and the game was fairly easy.  She fell in love with gaming immediately and hasn’t looked back since. I felt we both made a good choice and I now could share a hobby that I love with a person that I love. Win, win!

So I’m guessing you might have not thought of this yet, and I totally understand! You’re ready to play the classics you know and love, but I’m just here to tell you to be prepared to hand over that controller to the young one. I went through each and every game that is included on the NES Classic Edition and have handpicked the top 5 games that you should introduce to a budding retro gamer.

5.  Super C (1990, Konami)

What better way to introduce newcomers to the NES than to play a co-op multiplayer game! Super C is the epitome of team work and NES fun. In this game you play as the returning Contra (yes Super C is Contra 2) characters Bill and Lance, and are tasked with destroying the evil Red Falcon organization who have taken over an allied military base. Both players work together simultaneously in side-scrolling levels with a few top down missions thrown in the mix.  Weapon power-ups are obtainable, and yes, the spread gun is present in full-force. This is also a good game to introduce kids to the amazing music that the NES can output since Super C’s chiptunes are some of the best out there.


Now, you may be saying, “This game is too difficult for kids”, but like Contra, Super C does have a code to give you extra lives. Unfortunately for those of us living in the United States, it’s not a 30 lives code like the Japanese got in their version, but we do at least get 10, which is a pretty big leap over the standard 3.

If you would like to utilize the code please follow the steps below:

At the title menu highlight the number of players you’ll be starting the game with and press:
Right, Left, Down, Up, A, B, Start.

Mike Vito has been a slave to gaming ever since playing his grandfather's Atari 2600. A collector of all things retro, his main focus is obtaining a full NES collection. Being a father has rekindled his spirit for Nintendo and he now spends most of his time teaching his daughter about the games of yesteryear. Check out his other work in Pat Contri’s Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the SNES Library. Follow him @veryevilash on Twitter Current favorite games: Air Zonk, NHL Hitz 2003, Castlevania Symphony of the Night, & Super Dodgeball.

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