The original Nintendo Entertainment System saved the video game industry from the brink of death. After the Video Game Crash of 1983, total revenue in the industry had gone from 3.2 billion dollars in 1983, down to a measly 100 million dollars in 1985. People had begun to believe that video games would never recover, and would soon become a brief blurb in the history books. Then, the japanese guardian angel arrived … the NES.

The NES did something that no other console before it could, it delivered on its promises. Consumers had lost their trust in the industry, for years games had been marketed using visuals that completely misrepresented the actual (highly underwhelming) graphics of the games. Additionally, the games of the time simply weren’t fun, and seemed to be being made purely for profit. Nintendo was different. They valued quality game design over everything else. The current President and CEO of Nintendo of America summed up their stance perfectly, “If it's not fun, why bother”.

Over 750 games were released for the NES under the seal of Nintendo of America. We decided to approach this feature by first asking ourselves the following question: if we could only save 100 games from the Nintendo Entertainment System for posterity, what would they be?

The following list of 100 original Nintendo games for the Nintendo Entertainment System is aimed to accomplish that task. If you were to decide that you had to enshrine this pivotal era in video game history for your private collection, putting together the classic collection of games on this list would make sure you didn't miss out on any of the most unique, or defining, or popular titles for the NES.

This is a list of games to play if you want street cred in the retro game library at the Penny Arcade Expo. This is your list of gaming assignments if you want to be considered “classically trained.”