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What is - OBJECTIVELY - the best NES / Famicom game?


CasualCart
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Member · Posted
15 hours ago, CasualCart said:

@OptOut @Tanooki @docile tapeworm- I’m torn.

One one hand, you guys are totally right. My holistic approach to ‘objective’ ranking introduces too many ‘subjective’ standards. Things like popularity and aesthetics are heavily rooted in personal bias, after all.

But on the other hand, a game is more than just gameplay. Its audiovisuals, branding, and marketability are integral to what it is and how the world perceives it. Without making broader considerations, we’d have to whittle a game down to ones and zeroes to determine it’s merit (which would, in turn, fall flat in finding what makes something ‘the best’).

My final verdict: there is no such thing as objectivity and I regret making this thread haha.

(Also, to say I posed the question specifically for Super Mario Bros 3 is untrue - I actually made this thread with Tetris in mind…)

-CasualCart

Believe it or not, we're like minded.  I actually had considered Tetris as the answer, but then I was thinking that impact was more global and not just NES related.  It was what drove Gameboy some insane numbers so that in turn enhanced the face time and awareness of the NES lesser version(no multiplayer, etc) and then the Tengen debacle too, and the BPS turd in Japan.  But since this isn't game in a time line box, you have all the re-runs on all sorts of formats since so it's in that way the larger impact game, but this was a NES topic. 🙂

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6 hours ago, Reed Rothchild said:

Once upon a time I actually did this.  Some of you may remember.

But I was never completely happy with the sample size.

And then we lost NA, and a lot of the data.  I'm not even sure if I have the spreadsheet anymore.

ya but that was a garbage list.

KID ICARUS OVER SHATTERHAND?!!!

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12 hours ago, GPX said:

But even if Mario Bros wasn’t sold as a pack-in with the console, whoever bought a NES back then would most likely purchased Mario Bros anyway. It was undoubtedly the most popular, most advertised and most excellent gameplay for its time. 

No doubt Mario 3 was the better technical game in every conceivable way. Though this then poses a conundrum:

Which is the better game, the sequel with the most advancements (Mario 3)? Or the series origin which paved all the quality gaming mechanics henceforth (Mario 1)?

I don't know about that.  By the time I got my Action Set in '89, most black box games were getting pretty tough to come by.  Hell, my only experience with most of them came through my friend's 101-in-1 bootleg cart.  And by that point, few (if any) people I knew were even still playing SMB.  Even for me, I played the shit out of TMNT (which I received along with my Action Set), but SMB was not my cup of tea.  I'm not saying it's a bad game, as discounting the pack-in sales it still had respectable numbers, but would it have sold an extra 5 million units to reach SMB3 levels?  Honestly, I doubt it.

Oh, and among my casual friends (ie not collectors, just nostalgia trippers), they tend to overwhelmingly ask to play SMB3 over anything else on the library.  So there's that. 

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Member · Posted

 

15 hours ago, mbd39 said:

"Unfortunately, almost everyone agrees that Tengen's version of the game was far superior to Nintendo's,"

Except Tengen Tetris is virtually forgotten while Nintendo Tetris is becoming more and more popular as a high level competitive game with players still pushing it further and figuring out new ways to get higher scores.

Lol yes. "Everyone" who "agrees" that Tengen Tetris is superior to NIntendo's obviously hasn't attempted to actually play it 😄 
While Nintendo Tetris is sorta broken, the Tengen one was never really assembled in the first place, it's just a hot mess.
 

13 hours ago, guitarzombie said:

Mr. Gimmick, certainly is a great choice except that its stupidly hard.  If it was easier, I would put it at #1.  Id say thats its only flaw.  For me it doesn't matter, but I'm thinking for the general public.

I absolutely love Mr. Gimmick, but it's honestly almost underdeveloped, they could have done a lot more with it.
If it's "stupidly hard" I'm assuming you never really spent much time with it. It's not a difficult game at all, but a lot of the initial challenge comes from getting a proper grip on the controls which probably takes at least one full playthrough to really do. You'll die a lot at first, but the game becomes very smooth the moment you know what to expect from it, and I really wouldn't mind if they'd tried to make it more challenging towards the end.

That's not saying that a challenge that comes from mastering the controls isn't a real challenge that counts, some games are entirely based around that, but it's also an aspect that makes the estimation a lot more subjective. Every game is "stupidly hard" to someone who has never played a game. Even SMB1 is really hard if you aren't used to platform games. 🙂

15 hours ago, MagusSmurf said:

silly ign, Dragon Warrior V wasn't even on the NES, list is invalid.

It would be pretty weird to have that on an NES list, wouldn't it? 

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4 hours ago, Sumez said:

 

I absolutely love Mr. Gimmick, but it's honestly almost underdeveloped, they could have done a lot more with it.
If it's "stupidly hard" I'm assuming you never really spent much time with it. It's not a difficult game at all, but a lot of the initial challenge comes from getting a proper grip on the controls which probably takes at least one full playthrough to really do. You'll die a lot at first, but the game becomes very smooth the moment you know what to expect from it, and I really wouldn't mind if they'd tried to make it more challenging towards the end.

That's not saying that a challenge that comes from mastering the controls isn't a real challenge that counts, some games are entirely based around that, but it's also an aspect that makes the estimation a lot more subjective. Every game is "stupidly hard" to someone who has never played a game. Even SMB1 is really hard if you aren't used to platform games. 🙂

It would be pretty weird to have that on an NES list, wouldn't it? 

Um, I've beaten it multiple times with the good ending.  I'm not the average person playing it and I was 36 the first time I beat it.  You think a kid could beat this game?  Its intended for little kids, no?  I sure as hell couldn't.  He'll I couldn't beat SMB 1 till I was in the 6th grade (although I did beat Dick Tracy when I was younger).

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Member · Posted

Do we take public perception into account for objectivity? Think outside of our vintage gaming bubbles/echo chambers. What is the first, or maybe even only, game that comes to the average persons’ mind when you mention “the old school Nintendo?” The original Super Mario Bros. Everyone knows that game, but I’d wager you have to go down an extra layer or two before people really know the difference between SMB and SMB3.

People who aren’t movie buffs can name the big movies. People who aren’t gamers can name Super Mario Bros. - but can they name Super Mario Bros. 3?

By the way, I’m not arguing for SMB here. I’m asking the question because I’m genuinely curious how - if at all - this all fits in. SMB3 improves on the foundation of SMB but in the end both are masterpieces still playable by today’s standards, so that’s why I’m curious if we’re factoring public legacy into the final score.

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On 10/12/2021 at 11:51 PM, Andy_Bogomil said:

Gimmick! must be up there for sound and mechanics.

Gimmick! is one of my absolute favorite games on the NES but where it falls short is the length of gameplay. The levels are long-ish and rather full, especially towards the end of the game but in comparison to SMB3 or even Kirby it feels short. 

I like Kirby less but I'd put it over Gimmick! But I feel like the content in Kirby is more than Gimmick! although the graphics and music are above Kirby, they're just not enough to justify the length of the game being only 8 (?) Levels 

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Member · Posted
11 hours ago, the_wizard_666 said:

I don't know about that.  By the time I got my Action Set in '89, most black box games were getting pretty tough to come by.  Hell, my only experience with most of them came through my friend's 101-in-1 bootleg cart.  And by that point, few (if any) people I knew were even still playing SMB.  Even for me, I played the shit out of TMNT (which I received along with my Action Set), but SMB was not my cup of tea.  I'm not saying it's a bad game, as discounting the pack-in sales it still had respectable numbers, but would it have sold an extra 5 million units to reach SMB3 levels?  Honestly, I doubt it.

Oh, and among my casual friends (ie not collectors, just nostalgia trippers), they tend to overwhelmingly ask to play SMB3 over anything else on the library.  So there's that. 

Anyone who was buying SMB3 would likely have bought SMB1 as well. Or in the least have played them both. Granted, I’m saying this from a hypothetical educated guess. Kind of like anyone who was into Sonic 3 would likely have bought and played Sonic 1 as well (back then), regardless of whether Sonic 1 was a pack-in game or not.

Also, you need to factor in a few other factors on why SMB1 was likely to have been played more:

- some people might have tried SMB1 and decided platformers weren’t their thing.

- some might have planned to move onto the SNES/Genesis/Megadrive when SMB3 was around

- bearing in mind there were no emulation and repros weren’t prominent in the 80s, so you needed to have a physical copy to play it; and if it’s a top game that you enjoyed, you likely would have bought it.

Edited by GPX
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22 hours ago, DoctorEncore said:

Mario 3 is the better game. SMB is the more important game.

But they're both amazing and should be included in the top ten.

Which goes back to the point, when speaking of “best” we need to define the context. There are too many aspects of a game that can win top spot in visuals/audio/fun but can be a complete letdown in other fields. 

Here’s a good analogy when comparing the question to the sports realm:

- who can jump the highest?

- run the fastest?

- who is the fittest?

- who is the best athlete? Undefined.

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Member · Posted
15 hours ago, Sumez said:

 

Lol yes. "Everyone" who "agrees" that Tengen Tetris is superior to NIntendo's obviously hasn't attempted to actually play it 😄 
While Nintendo Tetris is sorta broken, the Tengen one was never really assembled in the first place, it's just a hot mess.

Uhh...no, but it's ok you can be wrong.  I've owned both, a dumped the NES one.  The NES one is like 3rd fiddle to the GB#1 and Tengen #2 to me.  Other than that nice 8bit NES rendition of korobeiniki (music-A) I don't like it.  Color be damned, I prefer how the GB game handles and plays best, tengen just has a more fun way it handles the blocks and randomizer for me too.  It wasn't for a lack of skill, when I was really good at tetris I could take it almost as far as the GB version into the mid-high teens as far as speed level goes with a six digit score.  Sure it's not going to win against those who have memorized it to play by feel, but whatever...I didn't stink. 🙂

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4 hours ago, GPX said:

Anyone who was buying SMB3 would likely have bought SMB1 as well. Or in the least have played them both. Granted, I’m saying this from a hypothetical educated guess. Kind of like anyone who was into Sonic 3 would likely have bought and played Sonic 1 as well (back then), regardless of whether Sonic 1 was a pack-in game or not.

Also, you need to factor in a few other factors on why SMB1 was likely to have been played more:

- some people might have tried SMB1 and decided platformers weren’t their thing.

- some might have planned to move onto the SNES/Genesis/Megadrive when SMB3 was around

- bearing in mind there were no emulation and repros weren’t prominent in the 80s, so you needed to have a physical copy to play it; and if it’s a top game that you enjoyed, you likely would have bought it.

That's a flawed assumption.  With your Sonic example, it really didn't get to be ubiquitous until Sonic 2.  In fact, I've never even played Sonic 1.  But I digress - with the massive popularity of the NES, along with the huge ad campaign surrounding SMB3 when it launched, there was no way it wasn't gonna be a hit.  SMB2 was a huge deal, but 3 took it completely over the top.

As for your other factors...

- I did just that, except I didn't rule out platformers as a genre.  Indeed, I like a fair number.  It was simply SMB was not my thing.  I never liked games where the whole goal is to get from left to right.  That's why I gravitated to TMNT instead...even though it's fundamentally an action-platformer, the exploration aspects were what I enjoyed most about gaming, not the action itself.

- SMB3 launched in 1990 in North America, and it was a full year before the SNES launched.  At the time, news about upcoming console launches wasn't very widespread.  Nobody I knew had a Nintendo Power subscription (or any other mag for that matter), so most didn't find out about it until a few months before launch when the ads started hitting the TV.  And since the Genesis was already out for a year at that time, that wasn't really a consideration for those buying SMB3.  If anything, it would've stunted sales of the Genesis.

- Rented, not bought.  At least where I came from, money was tight as fuck.  The only time I got new games was if I begged for a $10 rental store sell-off.  Brand new games were EXTREMELY rare.  Of course, I grew up in the 'hood, so I can only base it off my experiences, but it's likely not as big a deal as you make it out to be.

Sure, SMB may have sold the system in the early days, but it was hardly a go-to game by the time SMB3 came out.  Most people were either done with it, or only played it because it came with their new console, and for some it would even have been the only game they had.  Thankfully I got TMNT (and later Metroid), or I may have lost interest in video games entirely.

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Member · Posted
4 hours ago, Tanooki said:

Color be damned, I prefer how the GB game handles and plays best, tengen just has a more fun way it handles the blocks and randomizer for me too.

Another statement that just logically clashes wildly with your claim that you play the games 😄 

I truly apologise about just claiming that it can't be true, it's not like I'm saying you're lying or anything. I'm just saying your claim is very strange and highly unusual. I've never met an experienced tetris player who liked Tengen's Tetris, much less prefer it to Nintendos, and I've never met one who wasn't annoyed by GB Tetris's controls.

If you ever tried to score more than 400k on GB Tetris I can't imagine you'd like how it handles.
And if you ever tried to score on Tengen Tetris at all you'd probably be annoyed about the fact that your score mostly comes down to how long you bother playing it, rather than how skilled you play. In fact, the fact that it's not even advantageous to go for Tetrises in Tengen's version is already a dealbreaker, even if you for some reason prefer how the pieces are awkwardly biased towards the left side on rotations. 😄 

If you want to make an argument for another Tetris game on NES being the better one, I could see why you'd go with Tetris 2 & Bombliss, but that one also suffers from the "playing forever" issue.

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Member · Posted
7 hours ago, the_wizard_666 said:

That's a flawed assumption.  With your Sonic example, it really didn't get to be ubiquitous until Sonic 2.  In fact, I've never even played Sonic 1.  But I digress - with the massive popularity of the NES, along with the huge ad campaign surrounding SMB3 when it launched, there was no way it wasn't gonna be a hit.  SMB2 was a huge deal, but 3 took it completely over the top.

As for your other factors...

- I did just that, except I didn't rule out platformers as a genre.  Indeed, I like a fair number.  It was simply SMB was not my thing.  I never liked games where the whole goal is to get from left to right.  That's why I gravitated to TMNT instead...even though it's fundamentally an action-platformer, the exploration aspects were what I enjoyed most about gaming, not the action itself.

- SMB3 launched in 1990 in North America, and it was a full year before the SNES launched.  At the time, news about upcoming console launches wasn't very widespread.  Nobody I knew had a Nintendo Power subscription (or any other mag for that matter), so most didn't find out about it until a few months before launch when the ads started hitting the TV.  And since the Genesis was already out for a year at that time, that wasn't really a consideration for those buying SMB3.  If anything, it would've stunted sales of the Genesis.

- Rented, not bought.  At least where I came from, money was tight as fuck.  The only time I got new games was if I begged for a $10 rental store sell-off.  Brand new games were EXTREMELY rare.  Of course, I grew up in the 'hood, so I can only base it off my experiences, but it's likely not as big a deal as you make it out to be.

Sure, SMB may have sold the system in the early days, but it was hardly a go-to game by the time SMB3 came out.  Most people were either done with it, or only played it because it came with their new console, and for some it would even have been the only game they had.  Thankfully I got TMNT (and later Metroid), or I may have lost interest in video games entirely.

I think we can agree no one really knows the answer how many numbers of SMB1 would have sold if it didn’t come as a pack-in. Just trying to make counterpoints to a rough estimate, which is all speculation at best. 

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9 hours ago, GPX said:

I think we can agree no one really knows the answer how many numbers of SMB1 would have sold if it didn’t come as a pack-in. Just trying to make counterpoints to a rough estimate, which is all speculation at best. 

I can agree with that.  Raw numbers never tell the whole story.  Could it have made up that 5 million unit gap without being given away with most systems?  Possibly.  But without system sales data for each console bundle, we'll never really know how many units were sold vs given away.  I can definitely agree that without SMB being as popular as it was, SMB3 wouldn't have had the impact it did, but by the same token, even if SMB had higher sales, I still think SMB3 ranks at or near the top in every category in the OP, whereas SMB1 does not.

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Member · Posted
19 hours ago, Sumez said:

Another statement that just logically clashes wildly with your claim that you play the games 😄 

I truly apologise about just claiming that it can't be true, it's not like I'm saying you're lying or anything. I'm just saying your claim is very strange and highly unusual. I've never met an experienced tetris player who liked Tengen's Tetris, much less prefer it to Nintendos, and I've never met one who wasn't annoyed by GB Tetris's controls.

If you ever tried to score more than 400k on GB Tetris I can't imagine you'd like how it handles.
And if you ever tried to score on Tengen Tetris at all you'd probably be annoyed about the fact that your score mostly comes down to how long you bother playing it, rather than how skilled you play. In fact, the fact that it's not even advantageous to go for Tetrises in Tengen's version is already a dealbreaker, even if you for some reason prefer how the pieces are awkwardly biased towards the left side on rotations. 😄 

If you want to make an argument for another Tetris game on NES being the better one, I could see why you'd go with Tetris 2 & Bombliss, but that one also suffers from the "playing forever" issue.

Whatever makes you happy make your dumb comment if that makes you feel better.  I'm pretty certain I know how long I've owned or not owned a copy of that game, and time put into it, sorry (but not sorry) I don't fit your narrative.

I only prefer the NES Tengen version to the NES version, I think the Gameboy one smoked both of them out, and I'll run to that one first, tengen second, and nintendo made on NES last.  No conspiracy, just don't like it, or at least like it least.  I've chose to get rid of it years ago keeping Tengen and my Gameboy version since they're most appreciated.  The one that annoyed me was Tetris DX, that's an utter cheat if you rotate stuff up the wall which isn't hard to do.  I used to enjoy Tetris Plus on there too, but it has been so many years I can't place it anymore.

Recently I only discovered Tetris 2 as it basically was handed to me in the mail as a thrown in with a trade deal on the side with a friend, it's quite nice, and i don't care about it being a playing forever issue, it's not an issue.  The rest of that anti-Tengen gibberish I'm not even going to address as it'll just be taking the bait.

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Member · Posted

That Tengen Tetris lets you pause to assess is another issue. They didn't even bother to blank the screen when you pause which is a pretty glaring oversight.

It looks like Tengen Tetris maxes out at the same speed as level 18 in Nintendo Tetris and might have more forgiving DAS as well. So good players can basically play it forever. That makes it good for casuals but useless as a higher level game where people want to challenge themselves, break records, compete against other players, etc.  Hence Nintendo Tetris being much more popular these days.

 

 

Edited by mbd39
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4 hours ago, mbd39 said:

That makes it good for casuals

 

 

I think that's the point @Tanooki is making.  He prefers it from a gameplay perspective as a casual gamer, not as a competitor in high level competitions. And frankly, outside of competitions, Tengen is generally preferred by any casual player who has played it.  This is literally the first time I've seen anyone saying it's the inferior version (although that lines up well with my personal opinion on the matter...I just prefer Nintendo's version overall).

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Member · Posted
2 minutes ago, the_wizard_666 said:

I think that's the point @Tanooki is making.  He prefers it from a gameplay perspective as a casual gamer, not as a competitor in high level competitions. And frankly, outside of competitions, Tengen is generally preferred by any casual player who has played it.  This is literally the first time I've seen anyone saying it's the inferior version (although that lines up well with my personal opinion on the matter...I just prefer Nintendo's version overall).

Definitely. Tengen Tetris has its place.

Nintendo Tetris is great when you get deeper into it. I love being able to start at a higher level and play at the same speed for 100+ lines and get a huge score for each Tetris.

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Member · Posted

Basically what you two both said @the_wizard_666 and @mbd39 though I don't care much for the casual reference.  I'd say normal gamers and casuals too, just to pass time and see if you can best your own old score, just to have fun, which games for most sane people are intended to be -- FUN, a distraction.  Sure the NES one is used because of the NWC and other hardcore Tetris elite competition along with a couple other as 'peak Tetris' as far as testing goes.  That's like what, one in a million tetris players who give that many fucks. 😉  As a standard Tetris game, not meant for hardcore competitive to record smashing types, it's the better game all around (other than music, love music A) but it ends there, a better NES Tetris game for the masses, not the slive of elite who go hardcore for name, money perhaps, prestige...NES then all day because it is so right for it, the NWC used it.

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Member · Posted
2 hours ago, Kguillemette said:

Nintendo Tetris does not feature a tiny man doing a tiny man dance

Well that's where you are wrong, sir!

tumblr_nskwbrHrfU1rwfidao1_400.gifv

There's a billion of issues with Tengen Tetris, and @mbd39 also only just scratched the surface. I could go on about it if anyone truly cared, and you really wouldn't need to address them, there's no "bait" here. You can prefer Tengen Tetris if you want to, there's no reason for me to argue that, I just can't see a single sensible reason for it. Doesn't matter if you're "elite" or "casual". 😄 

Also @CasualCart, I really want to see what EliteCart looks like now.

Edited by Sumez
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Member · Posted

While i prefer the nes nintendo version I must admit I like the gameboy version a lot as well. You are just required to become a tapper as the das is useless in higher levels.

 

Still would like to max the score out but level 20 is brutal and you are basically forced to play it out with singles and doubles, which takes forever.  What annoys me the most is you don't get bonus score for playing the heart levels, so doing a 19 start is pointless unlike in the nes version.

 

Never actually touched tengen tetris even though I have it sitting around somewhere.  I just keep hearing it's too easy.

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