Hard to believe, but pioneer of the video game revolution, the original 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System, turns 30 years old today. 

YouTube via Adam Kodalik

There's something just a little unsettling about waking up and realizing that something you spent countless hours playing when you were a child is turning 30 years old. Yes, 30 years old. The original Nintendo Entertainment System raised the bar for how video games should be made and paved the way for the "video game culture" we live in today. The NES gave us 713 games and I'll do my best to justify why I picked these as my top 5:

1. SUPER MARIO BROS. 3

YouTube via IGN

There's some serious appreciation and nostalgia wrapped up in the original Super Mario Bros. for NES. There was beauty in simplicity with that game. But after Super Mario Bros 2 was the sequel we all didn't want, Nintendo came back strong with perhaps the greatest video game ever made. It had everything you'd ever want, new enemies, new power ups, a new design, new hidden levels and the ability to replay the game repeatedly with new challenges popping up. This was the first game I downloaded on my Wii virtual console because it never fails to impress.

2. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA

YouTube via DerSchmu

About 5 years ago, I dug my original Nintendo out of my parents attic just so I could play this version of Zelda that I had ordered on eBay. It's that good. One of the greatest parts about this selection in the series is all of the hidden stuff that you can come across. If you don't use cheats online, you could spend days playing Zelda and uncover various caves, shops and other goodies that would otherwise go missed. Go order it right now.

3. EXCITEBIKE 

YouTube via NESguide

When the winter gets harsh and you need to kill a few hours indoors with some friends, fire up Excitebike. It was the only game in NES history that allowed you to compose a custom racing course to challenge your friends on. Do you want to build an insane 15 minute long course that will annoy your buddies to wits end? Done. I'm still amazed to this day that another company somewhere hasn't been able to find and copy the magic that Excitebike brought to gamers lives. Simple concept, unlimited replayability.

4. MIKE TYSON'S PUNCH-OUT

YouTube via GnarBlast

Listen, I know Nintendo bailed on calling this game Mike Tyson's Punch-Out after Mike ran into some trouble in 90's but to me, it'll always be Mike Tyson's game. It's odd when you can take a classic arcade game and somehow make it even more fun on a console but that's exactly what happened here. I spent an insane amount of time playing as "Little Mac", so much so that I still remember to this day every single opponent in this game, the order they come in and their various special attacks. Let me ask you this, have YOU ever beaten Iron Mike?

5. MANIAC MANSION

YouTube via Let's Play With Brigand

This game was lauded by critics and gamers alike, but seems to fall through the cracks when it comes to "best-of" lists. There's immense brilliance in a game that takes hours to complete, mostly with a satisfying finish, that you can then reset and play again with a 100% different experience. That's Maniac Mansion, a chance for you to pick 3 main characters at the beginning of the game that will lead to a variable playing adventure with several different endings. While I'm writing this, all I'm thinking about is getting the meteor on a late night talk show! (yes, that's a real ending)

 

There's no doubt that I could list 15-20 more games that I truly enjoyed and still love from the NES. That why it's so classic and timeless. Do you have a favorite? Do you have a game that's a personal choice that doesn't get enough love?