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Back in around 1990-1991, I had just moved to a new school and apparently I was talking about NES/Famicom games all the time because one of my new classmates asked me how many actual NES/famicom games I had finished. So I sat down and made a list in one of my notebooks and I got a list of NES/Famicom games that I had finished at that time. That notebook is no longer around, but I found out that I merged into a later list of "List of Completed Console Games" that I had on my old website. So here are 29 NES/Famicom games I finished back in the day!


  • We had an actual NES, but since we live in SEA, most of the systems and cartridges available locally were actually for the Famicom. But we could still play Famicom cartridges via an popular adapter branded "Honeybee". I will note below where I actually finished a game on a NES cartridge or Famicom cartridge. Also, since a lot of the famicom cartridges were in Japanese, at the time we didn't know the actual name of some of the games!
  • Also at the time, we were only allowed one hour of playtime each on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays, not a lot of time. I remember being disappointed that the count for the original list was not as high as I'd hoped but actually it's surprising how many I was actually able to finish!
  • The timeline implies I was around the ages of 8 to 11 when I played through these.

1. Castlevania (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

The original Castlevania was very challenging and the jumps were often awkward and I'm sure it took me a while to finish. I always enjoyed getting to the Grim Reaper boss of level 5 and stunlocking him with Holy Water.

2. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

This was the first Metroidvania I ever played (although the term didn't exist back then!) and I loved the intersection of platformer and RPG elements.

3. "Castlevania III" / Kid Dracula (Famicom)


We referred to this cartridge as "Castlevania III", but it was actually Akumajō Special: Boku Dracula-kun, which starred a cartoony vampire kid and had a much more lighthearted tone.

4. Rockman (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

Since we had a Famicom cartridge for this one (borrowed from my cousin), he's Rockman and not Megaman! This game was brutally hard with no way to save/restore your progress so if you got to the final areas with few lives left you were out of luck. It's a miracle we were eventually able to finish this despite our limited gaming hours. I replayed this one a few years ago via the Megaman Legacy Collection and you can watch me struggle against the Cyclops boss on YT.

5. Megaman 2 (NES)

Image source: Wikipedia

We were able to borrow a NES cart for this one with the above box art! (That version of Megaman would later go on to be immortalized in SFxTekken!) This game featured a password system to save your progress: after finishing each stage, you are given a password which is just a grid with some cells marked with dots. You can continue your run by inputting this password. At some point I had memorized the password which started you out at the final stage with max lives and energy tanks; I think it was in the shape of Dr Wily's W logo?

This was my favorite Megaman of the NES trilogy: not especially hard or easy, some great stages and bosses. I remember having so much trouble with the Quickman stage and when we were in the province my Tita showed me how to get through it quickly. This one had one of my favorite Wily stage bosses, that giant dragon that chases you across several screens! And that goofy alien final boss!

6. Rockman 3 (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

While I am sure I finished this one (I remember the final battle quite well), I can't take the credit too seriously because this game had an exploit where if you dropped into a bottomless pit while holding something like Up+A on the second controller, Megaman jumps back out of the pit and is invincible for the rest of the stage. Made the game much easier to finish obviously. I think for that reason it's not as memorable as Megaman 2 for me. My favorite things from this installment were the Top Spin weapon, the introduction of the slide move, and the Protoman music!

7. Double Dragon 2 (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

That box art is intense, gives me Jojo feels.

Unsurprisingly, the first Double Dragon is not on this list, that was very hard and I think we were only able to borrow that cart for a short while. This was a run of the mill beat 'em up, but the advantage of this version over the first Double Dragon is that this can be played coop with two players. Having my actual brother back me up as my video game brother made it easier to finish the game! Also, we loved that Cyclone Kick!

8. Double Dragon 3 (Famicom)


This one expanded on the Double Dragon formula by adding two new playable characters: a chubby martial artist named Chin and a clawed ninja named Yagyu. It was fun and same as the previous one, I believe we finished it in 2P mode.

9. Mickey Mousecapade (NES)

Image source: Wikipedia

While I do believe we finished this game, I have very little memory of it, though I do remembering borrowing the NES cartridge from a friend of our mom.

10. Ducktales (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

I loved the original show and I loved this adaptation too. Hopping around as Scrooge was fun!

(I found out I already have Ducktales Remastered on Steam. As is typical, I have yet to play it.)

11. Batman (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

I think this was a tie-in release to promote the 1989 Tim Burton film and even features Jack Nicholson's likeness for the final boss fight. I remember it being a bit challenging but also not too long so we were able to manage to finish it. At the time I knew very little about Batman lore other than what was in the movie; apparently the enemy in the screenshot above is supposed to be Heat Wave!

12. Super Mario Bros. (NES)

I'm not going to put a screenshot here, you know what this is!

Our NES of course came bundled with the Mario/Duck Hunt twin cart, so we played a heck of a lot out of SMB1. That being said it took me a while to finish because there was this jump in I think world 8-2 were you had to land on a single tile and for some reason as a kid I was super scared of even trying that jump (also the stage had so many hammer bros!). I didn't finish the game until one of my cousins came over and showed me how to beat the stage and chided me over how silly I was for being anxious about that jump. Also since this was our cart, we had an English manual for it which of course I read cover to cover many times and for that reason I had memorized the names of all the enemies before I was 10.

13. Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)

Image source: Wikipedia

Since this is the NES cart, this is the US SMB2 with the Shyguys and Birdos and vegetables and such. We only borrowed it so it wasn't with us for too long but we did manage to finish it. It was really fun and had some unique enemies and bosses. I was always a bit anxious and panicky when I picked up a key and a Phanto would come out to chase me! We were also able to borrow the manual with the cart which is how I knew the enemy names back then!

I think at some point we were also able to borrow a Famicom cart of Japanese Super Mario 2 (aka The Lost Levels), but never had too much time with it so we never finished it.

14. Super Mario Bros. 3 (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

Easily one of my top two games on this list. The amount of content in this game is insane. Comparing to other platformers of the era: Megaman games have something like 12-13 levels each, Batman has I think 5 or 6, I believe Ducktales only had 5? SMB1 had 32 levels, SMB2 had 20 levels, SMB3 has around 90 levels!! WTH. Nintendo squeezed so much into this cart. Needless to say we played a lot out of this, it was likely our most played game of that generation.

The sheer amount of content means it was challenging to complete the game within the limited time we had on weekends. It was easy enough to finish the game quickly using the warp whistles, but I always dreamed of doing what modern speedrunners call a 100% run - finishing every single level in the game. I remember finally making an attempt while on vacation in the province and getting caught and reprimanded right around world 7, maybe a bit past the 2 hour mark. (The current world record for the 100% speedrun is a bit over an hour, so I was not breaking any records!)

15. Legend of Zelda (NES)

Image source: Wikipedia

This is the only other game that would be on my top two games for this list. I played this so much I believe I was able to map the entirety of the game on paper. And I remember spending my time using the bomb and candle weapons on every single possible tile in the game trying to find secrets. To this day, I am still a fan of this series, and waiting on the latest game in the series to be delivered as I am writing this post!

It took a while to finish this game, not just due to the game's length but due to the limited play time. Supposedly LoZ carts came with a battery that let you save your progress, but the first copy of the game we borrowed was a Famicom cart that was probably pirated and either had a faulty battery or didn't have one at all. We were eventually able to borrow a NES cart with working saves - the NES cart was so fancy, a thing of beauty, with a gold color casing and I remember being all "WHOA!" when we first borrowed it.

16. "Kage 2" (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

We called this one "Kage 2" because there was another game actually called Legend of Kage, but it was actually a Japanese game called Yami no Shigotonin Kage, unrelated to that other game. This was a fun coop platformer where you play ninjas that can use swords, shuriken and kusarigama. I don't know where I learned the term "kusarigama", as I don't think it would have been mentioned in-game, but that was easily our favorite weapon in the game.

17. Contra (Famicom)


18. Super Contra (Famicom)


Tackling Contra and Super Contra together because honestly these two games kind of blend together in my head, they're not very distinct from each other. In fact I'm not sure if the above screenshots are from the correct corresponding games!

These are action/shooting run-and-gun-platformers that can be played coop, and I'm sure we finished them coop. The coop runs can be challenging if your partner is annoyed at you because you could "steal" powerups from each other, or even extra lives if you were out, and there were vertically scrolling stages like the waterfall where one player could kill the other simply by jumping up the stage too quickly. Fun times!

They also had these "forward-scrolling" (for lack of a better term) stages where you went through rooms one at a time; I'm not sure if I've seen that kind of format in any other games since.

While I'm sure we finished both games, it's also highly likely we only finished them using the 30 lives from the infamous "Konami Code". We loved getting that Spread Gun!

19. Snake's Revenge (Famicom)


I remember two things about this game, the sequel to the original Metal Gear. One: there was an ad that appeared in comic books that showed a big list of all the weapons you could use in this game and that ad really made me want to play the game. Two: The final action sequence involved having to guide a remote-controlled missile down some hallways to strike the actual Metal Gear itself.

20. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

This was a classic mixed-perspective game where you played as the entire team of Turtles, swapping out characters as needed. You only ever had the four Turtles, and if all them die it's game over. But you could rescue "dead" Turtles at certain points. Each Turtle has their signature weapon and each weapon has different range and attack speed. (Raphael's sai had the fastest attack but the least range, etc).

There is a top-down overworld map that leads to side-scrolling platformer stages. The thing I remember most about the top-down map is your Turtle can instantly die by getting run over by enemy vehicles! The platformer stages were often very challenging with lots of enemies to fight. Then there is the notorious underwater dam stage where you have to disarm several bombs in a limited time, that was always challenging.

I don't actually remember finishing this game - I remember getting to the Technodrome stage already was very challenging (had to do it all in one run as there is no way to save progress) but I don't remember the final boss battle at all.

21. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

This one was a simpler side-scrolling beat-em-up, similar to the Double Dragon games. As always, we finished it in 2 player coop mode, each player picks a Turtle and each Turtle has a different unique attack I think? Not sure if I'm confusing it with some later TMNT games, they had a few in this format. The final bosses here were Krang and Shredder.

22. Gradius (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

This was an iconic side-scrolling shooter back in the day, not sure where the franchise is now. I remember the Moai statues stage shown in the image above. I don't remember the stage bosses too well. I do remember my favorite part of this game is when you manage to acquire all the ship upgrades and it feels like you are an absolute beast just tearing through all the enemies on the stage!

23. Sky Shark (NES)


This was a simple vertically-scrolling military-themed shooter. Not sure why my parents bought it for us as I'd never heard of it before, but since we owned the cart I played a lot of it. It also had a powerup/upgrade system, though nothing as elaborate as Gradius. I think each upgrade just made your plane fire more shots in one volley, and the max upgrade you fired bullets per shot in a wide swath like a shotgun?

24. Goonies (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

Even after watching a playthrough as a refresher I have no memory of this game. I guess it's one of those we borrowed for just a short time but somehow we finished it so I assume it's not too long.

25. Dragon Spirit (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

I think I borrowed this cart from my cousin who lived upstairs from us. It's another vertically-scrolling shooter, but this time you are playing a Dragon! I don't remember much from the game, except that it had some colorful backgrounds (unfortunately not reflected in the above screenshot from Wikipedia!)

26. "Firebird" (Famicom)


This was a weird little platformer where I think the protag could create blocks in thin air? Unsure of the details. What I do know is (a) it wasn't too long or challenging; and (b) it was in Japanese so we had no idea what it was actually titled, but there were some imagery of a bird on fire so we called it "Firebird". Apparently the word "Phoenix" had not yet entered my vocab at that age. Took me a bit to track down, but it turned out to be a game called Hi no Tori Hououhen: Gaou no Bouken.

27. Chip n'Dale Rescue Rangers (Famicom)


This is another platformer based on a cartoon I loved as a kid, though not as much as Ducktales. I think this one wasn't too long either, and unlike Ducktales it could be played in 2-player coop. Would have been weird to not be able to play as both Chip AND Dale! The combat mechanics mostly involved picking things up and tossing them at baddies, and the smaller scale (since they are chipmunks!) was kind of interesting.

28. Breakthrough (Famicom)


Was surprisingly hard to find info about this one, it doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry! In this game you play a blue car (or a person in a blue car at least), driving around and shooting at things and trying not to die. I have no idea what the flavor/story behind this was. I think the game was mostly a horizontal side-scroller, though it might have had other modes as well. And it was probably a bit short.

29. G.I.Joe (Famicom)

Image source: Wikipedia

Oh wow, I had blocked out any memory of this game until I saw the screenshot above from Wikipedia. Now I remember really liking this game because there were a whole bunch of playable characters with cool names. It was one of those run-and-gun shooter types like Contra I believe, and there weren't too many stages.

End of Post

Whew, that's it! This post took a while to write and ended up super long! I was originally just going to list the games but then I decided to add screenshots and commentary and even watch YT videos of some of the more obscure ones! I did enjoy putting this together though, as it was a nice walk down memory lane for me.

These were just the games I played to an "ending", though that wasn't actually super common back in the day. I played a lot of other games in that era that just didn't have an ending or maybe went on forever, perhaps a topic for some other future post!

Sat, May 13, 2023, 7:38 a.m. / / blog / #gaming #games / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 3043 words

Last modified at: May 13, 2023, 1:06 p.m. Source file

Referenced by
Reviews in this post
games Castlevania (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (Famicom)' Jan 01 1990 -
games "Castlevania III" / Kid Dracula (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Rockman (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Megaman 2 (NES) Jan 01 1990 -
games Rockman 3 (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Double Dragon 2 (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Double Dragon 3 (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Mickey Mousecapade (NES) Jan 01 1990 -
games Ducktales (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Batman (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Super Mario Bros. (NES) Jan 01 1990 -
games Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES) Jan 01 1990 -
games Super Mario Bros. 3 (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Legend of Zelda (NES) Jan 01 1990 -
games "Kage 2" (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Contra (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Super Contra (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Snake's Revenge (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Gradius (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Sky Shark (NES) Jan 01 1990 -
games Goonies (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Dragon Spirit (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games "Firebird" (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Chip n'Dale Rescue Rangers (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games Breakthrough (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -
games G.I.Joe (Famicom) Jan 01 1990 -