When you add a console to your collection, the first thing you want to do is get a handful of games to keep you busy with your new toy. However, most of us can’t spend afford to spend fat pile of cash for a few games. This budget-friendly list should help you quickly find which games will start you off well without emptying your wallet. (Prices listed are an average eBay price for US games, including shipping)
Check out the other Cheapest Games Worth Your Time articles
Super Mario Bros. & Duck Hunt: $3
This has to be one of the most common game cartridges of all time. It is probably also one of the most loved cartridges of all time as well as it contains two essential NES classics. This game pack came with nearly every NES sold and use game stores were quickly littered with a number of copies. If you buy this online, you are essentially paying for only the shipping.
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Super Mario Bros 3: $5
Considered by some to be the best Super Mario game ever and one of the best selling games of the era, Super Mario Bros 3. is incredibly common, but is essential for any platformer fan.
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Super Mario Bros 2: $5
While the non-Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was quite a departure from the rest of the Mario series, it still holds a special place in the hearts of many NES fans.
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The beginning of one of Nintendo most epic franchises is an inexpensive piece of Nintendo history. Metroid provided one of the first highly nonlinear game experiences on a home console and gave adventure-filled, shooting platformer gameplay laid a solid foundation for the series.
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Castlevania Series: About $5 each
Much like Metroid, the Castlevania series is one of the deepest franchises to start on the NES. It is also one of the few to still have a long legacy of 2D descendants that still have showed up on modern gaming machines. Each installment of the NES Castlevania trilogy can be purchased for about $5 each (about $4, $5, and $7 respectively)
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The Legend of Zelda: $7
Not only was The Legend of Zelda one of Nintendo’s earth-shattering games of the 1980’s, but it also was released as that unforgettable gold cartridge.
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Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out: $9
Even though the gameplay is rather simplistic (but challenging) combination of pattern recognition, memorization, and quick reflexes, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out remains a iconic classic that is still loved decades after its release. Luckly, Punch-Out just squeezes under the $10 threshold.
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The grand-daddy of puzzle games in one of it’s purest forms. It may have been experienced more on the original Gameboy, but for a few dollars, you can’t go wrong with the NES version if you are building a collection.
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Bionic Commando: $5
If you need an action platformer that thinks outside the Metroid/Castlevania/Megaman formulas, check out Capcom’s wonderful Bionic Commando. You have a bionic arm that extends and contracts that allows you to grab on to fixed objects to swing around and climb up levels. This will become obviously valuable when you realize you can’t jump.
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In SNK’s Crystalis, the mechanics and story are best described as the precursor of SNES’s Zelda:A Link to the Past. Despite its high graphical and gameplay quality, Crystalis never became a runaway hit, although it is considered today a cult classic.
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Megaman 3: $8
The long-running Megaman series planted its roots on the NES, but the third installment is the only one to be easily obtained for less than $10.
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Kirby’s Adventure: $8
This inventive platformer showed off what the NES could do graphically and what the masterminds at HAL Laboratory could come up with to avoid becoming just another run-and-jump game.
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Rare filled this side-scrolling brawler with levels that have different play styles and impressive 8-bit graphics, resulting in a fun-filled game that avoids being repetitive. And while Battletoads was extremely challenging at times, the gameplay was top-notch as a great cooperative experience with friends.
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Blaster Master: $5
Blaster Master was a wonderful hybrid of side-scrolling action and overhead Zelda-like exploration. If you want a good gaming value that takes a step out of the most famous Nintendo games, Blaster Master is highly recommended.
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A perfect example of a simplistic game that actually requires some skill and strategy to really excel. Excitebike is one of the few 8-bit racers to still be relevant today.
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RC Pro Am: $6
Speaking of relevant 8-bit racers, RC Pro-Am would definately fall into that category as well. Rareware’s classic racer is full of vehicle upgrades, weapons, and all sorts of goodies that keep things entertaining. The animation is also quite impressive for the era.
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Other Cheap Favorites
- Bomberman: $9 – eBay
- Dragon Warrior: $5 – eBay
- Final Fantasy: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Ninja Gaiden : $3 – eBay / Amazon.com
- The Guardian Legend: $4 – eBay
- Clash at Demonhead: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Vice Project Doom: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Duck Tales: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Metal Gear: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Zanac: $4 – eBay / Amazon.com
My Starter Picks For $50 Budget
If I only had $50 to spend on starting out an NES collection, here would be my top picks (in order of priority):
- Super Mario Bros. & Duck Hunt: $3
- Super Mario Bros 3: $5
- Super Mario Bros 2: $5
- Tetris: $5
- Metroid: $6
- Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out: $9
- Legend of Zelda: $7
- Blaster Master: $5
- Battletoads: $5
- Total: $50