NES Games I played when they were NEW

James / September 13th, 2014

In the AVGN series, I often bring up past memories of video games I’ve played as a kid. Usually NES. I was curious, so I’ve made a list, as accurate as possible to my memory, of all the NES games I played while they were current. Most of the games I owned were from birthdays and Christmases, over the span of 7 years (roughly 1988-1995).




Bubble Bobble November 1988 Taito
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest December 1988 Konami
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse September 1990 Konami
Contra February 1988 Konami Probotector in Europe
Donkey Kong Jr. June 1986 Nintendo
Double Dragon June 1988 Tradewest
Dr. Mario October 1990 Nintendo
Excitebike October 1985 Nintendo
Ghostbusters October 1988 Activision
Ghosts ‘n Goblins November 1986 Capcom
Golf October 1985 Nintendo
Jaws November 1987 LJN
The Karate Kid November 1987 LJN

Kung Fu October 1985 Nintendo
The Legend of Zelda July 1987 Nintendo
Metroid August 1987 Nintendo
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! October 1987 Nintendo
Super C April 1990 Konami

Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt November 1988 Nintendo
Super Mario Bros. 2 October 1988 Nintendo (“Doki Doki Panic” in Japan)
Super Mario Bros. 3 February 1990 Nintendo
Super Pitfall November 1987 Activision
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles June 1989 Ultra/Konami Gekikame Ninja Den in Japan
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game December 1990 Ultra/Konami
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project February 1992 Konami
Top Gun November 1987 Konami
World Class Track Meet August 1988


1942 November 1986 Capcom
3-D WorldRunner September 1987 Acclaim
Adventure Island September 1988 Hudson Soft
The Adventures of Bayou Billy June 1989 Konami
American Gladiators October 1991 Gametek
Back to the Future September 1989 LJN
Back to the Future Part II & III September 1990 LJN
Bad Dudes July 1990 Data East
Batman February 1990 Sunsoft
Battletoads June 1991 Tradewest
Battletoads & Double Dragon June 1993 Tradewest
Blaster Master November 1988 Sunsoft
Boy and His Blob, A January 1990 Absolute Entertainment
Castlevania May 1987 Konami
Clash at Demonhead January 1990 Vic Tokai
Dick Tracy August 1990 Bandai
Double Dragon II: The Revenge January 1990 Acclaim
Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones February 1991 Acclaim
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde April 1989 Bandai
DuckTales September 1989 Capcom
Fester’s Quest September 1989 Sunsoft

Friday the 13th February 1989 LJN
Gauntlet 1985 Tengen Unlicensed
Ghostbusters II April 1990 Activision
Gremlins 2: The New Batch October 1990 Sunsoft
Gyromite October 1985 Nintendo
Home Alone October 1991 THQ
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York October 1992 THQ
Ice Hockey March 1988 Nintendo
Ikari Warriors May 1987 SNK
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1988 Tengen Unlicensed
Karate Champ November 1986 Data East
Kid Icarus July 1987 Nintendo Hikari Shinwa: Parutena no Kagami in Japan
Kung Fu Heroes March 1989 Culture Brain

Life Force August 1988 Konami Salamander in Japan
The Little Mermaid July 1991 Capcom
Marble Madness March 1989 Milton Bradley Company
Mario Bros. June 1986 Nintendo
Marvel’s X-Men December 1989 LJN
Mega Man December 1987 Capcom Rockman in Japan
Mega Man 2 June 1989 Capcom Rockman 2 in Japan
Mega Man 3 November 1990 Capcom Rockman 3 In Japan
Metal Gear June 1988 Konami
Milon’s Secret Castle September 1988 Hudson Soft
A Nightmare on Elm Street October 1990 LJN
Ninja Gaiden March 1989 Tecmo Ninja Ryuukenden in Japan
Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos May 1990 Tecmo Ninja Ryuukenden 2 in Japan
P.O.W.: Prisoners of War September 1989 SNK
Paperboy December 1988 Mindscape
Popeye June 1986 Nintendo
R.C. Pro-Am February 1988 Nintendo
Rad Racer October 1987 Nintendo Released as Highway Star in Japan
Rambo May 1988 Acclaim
Ring King September 1987 Data East Family Boxing in Japan

Robocop December 1989 Data East
The Rocketeer May 1991 Bandai
Rygar July 1987 Tecmo Argos no Senshi: Hachamecha Daishingeki in Japan

The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants February 1991 Acclaim
The Simpsons: Bart VS. The World December 1991 Acclaim
Skate or Die! December 1988 Ultra
Snake Rattle n Roll July 1990 Nintendo
Spy Hunter September 1987 Sunsoft
Spy VS. Spy October 1988 Kemco
Tagin’ Dragon 1990 Bunch Games
Terminator 2: Judgment Day February 1992 Acclaim
Tetris November 1989 Nintendo
The Three Stooges October 1989 Activision
Tiny Toon Adventures December 1991 Konami
Total Recall August 1990 Acclaim
T&C Surf Designs (video game) February 1988 LJN
Where’s Waldo? September 1991 THQ
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? September 1989 LJN
Wizards & Warriors December 1987 Acclaim
Xenophobe December 1988 Sunsoft
Yoshi June 1992 Nintendo Released as Mario and Yoshi in Europe
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link December 1988 Nintendo The Legend of Zelda 2: Rinku no Bouken in Japan


  • Rick

    September 13, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Hm. Neat

    • September 14, 2014 at 1:51 am

      lame comment first commenter

      • Weldin Dunn

        September 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm

        Well at least he didn’t say first dilhole.

  • Kevin Jarrell

    September 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I remember back in the day, renting games every weekend and trading games with friends for a week or so. It’s all a blur as to which games I actually owned and which ones I rented/borrowed, for the most part anyways. There were some I played so frequently that I remember owning. And there are a very select few that I STILL have! Legend of Zelda for example. Found that fucker last year and it still had a saved game on it from like 1993! I can’t believe the battery inside the cartridge was still working!

    • September 18, 2014 at 7:40 am

      I still have my original Dragon Warrior cart – my mom picked up an old NES from a yard sale last year for my kids to play with – I threw in DW and voila – saved game right where I left it – max lvl with max xp (65536 i believe – all the mem it can handle lol)
      Those batteries are old badasses!

    • Glorious Gerbil

      September 18, 2014 at 10:45 am

      I have experienced the same with zelda II when my brother one day suddenly sat down with it and found saved games from when we were children. It was quite a fascinating little find it brought back so many memories with my brother they actually felt a bit dear to me. And yes it must be quality batteries in them.

  • Sniffie

    September 13, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Hey James, did you or anyone else notice back in the day that there was no gold at the end of the LJN rainbow?

  • AbareKiller

    September 13, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Great list! If I made my own list, there would be a lot of overlap. Surprised you didn’t own Zelda II and that there have been no videos on Robocop.

    • Weldin Dunn

      September 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      I agree, I hate Robocop on NES.

    • Don Skiver

      September 18, 2014 at 6:41 am

      Ohhh shit… I would *love* to see a Robocop AVGN video.
      While the original arcade game was alright, the NES port of said arcade game was extremely butchered and subsequently suffered.

  • Sam Wood

    September 13, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Hey James, I know this is off topic, but is there any news for Monster Madness 2014?

    • Satnav

      September 13, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      He mentioned somewhere that he’s been working on it…

    • Lukas Sprehn

      September 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      A promo is likely coming out at the end of Septemer like usual.

  • Lodmot

    September 13, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    You know what’s funny? Games that I used to play back in the 90’s still feel new and fresh today. The Sonic games, Twisted Metal, the original Wipeout for PlayStation 1, Mario Kart 64, etc. Anyone else have the same sort of feelings toward old games?

  • culwin

    September 13, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I never owned any NES games as a kid, except the one that came with the system. I would only ever rent them, and there were a few times my parents made me bring the game back and I had to pray that my save game would remain until next time I rented it (I think Legend of Zelda was that way)

  • September 13, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Man I don’t think I could make a list like that. I got my NES in 85-86 when it came out and while I didn’t own a lot of games the local video store would let you rent games for 1.50 for the weekend. So a different game per week for roughly 10 years. Dear god I played over 500 NES games on average.

  • September 13, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    So you’re saying we have a lot more ‘Memories’ videos to look forward to? I love those.

  • tabu

    September 14, 2014 at 4:47 am

    In my country original NES’s were really rare, when i was a kid i saw it only once and it was imported one. But clones of NES were really popular back then, i had my first one when i was about 6 years old.
    There was a ton of games on the markets, but most of them were XXin1 or cartridges like one from Nerd Room Tour (duck on the pagoda:), so buying games was a true lottery.
    I played a lot in first Contra, but i didnt know about Super C. The same with Mario sequels, and most of the kids didnt knew about games like Legend of Zelda, Metroid or Castlevania. We played mostly in Nintendo games (Balloon Fight, Pinball, Tetris, Dr. Mario etc.), with few exceptions. Ahh, good old times.

  • Weldin Dunn

    September 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm


  • Warrax

    September 14, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I only owned 3 NES games total, SMB3, Chip and Dale and Super C…I was looking for Contra at the time when Super C was released but I couldn’t find it anywhere, I was too late in the NES life span so I got Super C instead. Soon after I was a pro at Super C and could do the game without dying once. A couple of years later sold my NES + the 3 games for a SNES without games 🙂

    It was all rental for me, I rented one game (sometimes 2) a week until the end of the SNES era. I remember renting Contra 3 for the first time (my first SNES rental) and I was VERY impressed by the visual and sound/music.

  • September 14, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    LJN can hold my nutsack

  • Nick Keller

    September 15, 2014 at 6:56 am

    This made me want to post a list of the NES and SNES games i owned and rented. I didnt start renting games until i got a SNES.

    NES games I owned:
    Super Mario/Duck Hunt
    Super Mario Bros. 2
    Super Mario Bros. 3
    Legend Of Zelda
    Nightmare On Elm Street
    Double Dragon 2: The Revenge
    Terminator 2: Judgement Day
    Mickey Mousecapade
    Legacy Of The Wizard
    Kirbys Adventures
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

    SNES Games I owned:
    Donkey Kong Country 2
    Donkey Kong Country 3
    Super Mario World
    Robocop Vs. Terminator
    Home Alone
    Mortal Kombat 2
    Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
    Judge Dredd
    Jurassic Park
    Jurassic Park 2
    Revolution X
    Suzuka 8 Hours

  • Nintendomaniac

    September 15, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Ouch…you owned Ghostbusters and Karate Kid on the NES when you were young, James? That would suck to get a bad game for your birthday…one of only two times a year you got a new game, wasted on a turd.

    • tabu

      September 15, 2014 at 9:01 am

      There is 27 games on his list, not 14.

      • tabu

        September 15, 2014 at 9:03 am

        Which means 2 games per birthday/christmas. Maybe he got Ghostsbusters with SMB3 and Karate Kid with Metroid 😉

      • tabu

        September 15, 2014 at 9:08 am

        Of course except last christmas when, im guessing, James was naughty all year i he got only one game.

      • Nintendomaniac

        September 16, 2014 at 1:45 am

        Well he said those were all the NES games he owned by 1995. You have to remember that by 1994 and 1995…video rental stores were really trying to get rid of all their NES games, and you could pick them up for $5.00 or $10.00 a piece. By that point, James was probably getting NES games on more occasions than just birthdays and Christmases. Back in 1989 or 1990 though…it was probably just one NES game per birthday or Christmas.

      • tabu

        September 16, 2014 at 7:14 am

        You are probably right, but i couldnt remember that because i dont live in the US.
        Anyway, his collection was fairly big for a young kid, i never had so many games at the same time 🙂

  • sanchokobe

    September 15, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I remember my very first trip to the Toys-R-Us to get my first NES game besides Mario/Duck Hunt (as well as the previous trip to get the NES in the first place). I saw the gold cartridges of the two Zelda games, but I could only choose one. I hadn’t played or even heard of Zelda before, so I chose Zelda II. It has to be the better one because it’s newer, right? Worst decision I’ve ever made. Luckily I was able to find a gold Zelda 1 cart being sold (with the original box and manual in perfect condition!) by a Blockbuster several years later. I bought it for five bucks.

  • Mike Hann

    September 16, 2014 at 12:09 am

    How do you remember all that shit?!

    • Mike Hann

      September 16, 2014 at 12:14 am

      The one and only NES cart I bought new in-box was “Mega Man 6” and that was $5.99 closeout at Toys R Us back in ’95/’96….The rest were all Thrift store loose carts after the fact.


    September 16, 2014 at 2:23 am

    Sweet. Hey James you should do one for SNES list. I think it be really cool if you played Fire Emblem on NES. You probably would enjoy it.

  • diegowar

    September 16, 2014 at 10:53 am

    You’ve played more NES Games when they were new than I’ve played total. Impressive.

  • September 16, 2014 at 10:59 am

    While they weren’t new when I had them the games I owned were. The Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt combination Cartridge, Tetris, Double Dragon II, Super Mario Bros 2, Super Mario Bros 3 and Tetris. The ones I either rented, borrowed or played at a friends house were usually Punch Out.

  • HaveYouPlayedAtariToday

    September 16, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    you rented alot of bad games, I can count at least 20 AVGN episodes in their.

  • covert

    September 21, 2014 at 11:14 am

    And not a single sports game to be seen. Punch-out doesn’t count, it was a fighting game, not a boxing game. Shame.

    • Whiskey Clone

      November 7, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      Golf is most definitely a sports game.

  • skwij

    September 24, 2014 at 6:06 am

    Neat list! I can definitely see a correlation between this list and the Nerd videos!

  • thegrappler

    October 7, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Games I owned when new(nes):

    River City Ransom
    Baseball Stars
    Street Fighter 2010
    Shingen The Ruler
    Solar Jetman
    Baseball Stars
    Baseball Simulator
    Top Gun
    Tecmo Superbowl
    Pro Wrestling
    Tag Team Wrestling
    Karate Champ
    Ring King
    North And South

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