The Nintendo Entertainment System, in all its 8-bit glory, began my exciting love affair with the great indoors. The video games on this list kept me company through many an elementary-school sleepover at friends' houses, provided endless fodder for recess playground conversation and even inspired a few short stories from yours truly (each plot revolving around the fantasy of getting sucked inside a video game). In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I dedicate this list and to Shigeru Miyamoto and all the other folks at Nintendo who made all that fun possible...oh, and of course my beloved aunt Jean who sent me and my siblings our first NES console.
10. Gradius [Konami] - 1986
Collecting the power-up pellets and pimping out your little spaceship provided the irresistible hook. Once you got three rows of lasers firing, your robotic foes stood little chance.
9. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse [Konami] - 1990
The Belmont clan had a frustrating existence with Dracula continually springing back to life after getting killed in the previous installment. Players, however, were more than happy to go vampire hunting again and again. The third installment pulled different playable characters into the mix and breathed new life into a popular young franchise.
8. R.C. Pro AM [Rare] - 1988
Skidding around corners and blasting cars ahead of you with little missiles provided hours of enjoyment. Way more fun than real remote-control cars, which never seemed to be equipped with missile capabilities.
7. Mega Man 2 [Capcom] - 1989
Despite sporting some of the most notoriously awful box art in NES history (see above), the Mega Man series was a revelation to everyone who played it. Defeating Robot Masters and absorbing their unique super powers—why didn’t somebody come up with this idea sooner?
6. Bionic Commando [Capcom] - 1988
I loved the bionic arm with built-in grappling gun. I loved swinging across pits and shooting Nazis with little green pellets. Also, the hero’s name was Radd Spencer, which may be the name of my first son, if I can talk my wife into getting onboard.