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Top 10 Great Sagas That You Need To Join On NES In July 2023

7 months ago By AI Smith

We celebrate the 40th anniversary of Nintendo’s iconic 8-bit home console by remembering some of the great video game sagas that were born on it.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of one of the biggest and most important milestones in the history of video games: the original launch of the Famicom (Family Computer) in Japan, a console that in the West we would end up knowing with a different design and with the name from the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) a few years later. Four decades of one of the most influential and successful platforms have left the greatest mark, establishing many of the pillars on which the industry is based today and popularizing home gaming systems to unsuspected levels.

At this point, there is nothing new that we can tell you about it, its history and its excellent catalogue since we are talking about a console on which tons of ink have been written and that has starred in countless content in all kinds of formats, so we have decided today to pay our particular tribute to it by remembering nine great sagas that were born on the NES and Famicom, a quick and easy way to verify the unparalleled legacy that Nintendo‘s 8-bit desktops left us.

Legend of Zelda

We could not start this report without talking about one of the greatest legends of video games. The Legend of Zelda is a saga that has revolutionized the industry many times, delighting us instalment after instalment with numerous masterpieces that have made us live all kinds of unforgettable adventures in Hyrule and other magical worlds. A series that, 37 years later, continues to capture the imagination of millions of players. Not surprisingly, it is currently in one of its sweetest and most popular moments thanks to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and its sequel, Tears of the Kingdom.

But every legend has a beginning and its origin can be found precisely in the NES, or more specifically in the Famicom Disk System, an accessory for the Famicom that used floppy disks and was only marketed in Japan.. Thus, the first instalment of the saga saw the light of day in 1986 in this format, delighting the Japanese public with a unique game of its kind that led us to freely explore a dangerous fantasy kingdom in which challenging dungeons and countless secrets. A year later, the title finally reached the West in the form of a cartridge for the NES (being also the first in history to include an internal battery to save the game), thus eliminating the need to use any type of peripheral to be able to play it Undoubtedly, a marvel whose influence continues to resonate to this day, as the last two instalments of the saga demonstrate.

Super Mario

You can’t write a report on great video game sagas that started on the NES without dedicating its corresponding space to what is probably the biggest, most popular, and most well-known of all time. Yes, we are talking about Super Mario, the quintessential platform series that turned the industry upside down, changing it forever. Although we already knew Mario from other games such as Donkey Kong (where Mario was not yet called) or Mario Bros., it was not until the arrival of Super Mario Bros. that the most famous plumber in the world finished laying the foundations of a new way of understanding electronic entertainment that has been maintained to this day, a feat that he would repeat in the future with many of his following instalments.

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A game that any lover of this hobby should try once in their life and that 38 years later is still as fun as the first day thanks to impeccable gameplay, outstanding level design and an audiovisual section that exudes charm and personality. This would not be the last foray of the saga on the 8-bit console, since Super Mario Bros. 2 arrived shortly after (in the West it was a version with different sprites of Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, a completely different game, while in Japan it was a very continuous sequel to the first instalment, but with hellish difficulty) and the great jewel in the crown: Super Mario Bros. 3, a true masterpiece that ended up becoming the best title in the NES catalogue and which continues to be their favourite plumber adventure for many players.

Metroid

Metroid is another of Nintendo’s heavyweights. Yes, it is far from selling what its most successful sagas sell, but few licenses from the Japanese company can compete in quality and prestige with the adventures of the bounty hunter Samus Aran. Its first instalment, as it happened with The Legend of Zelda, was first released in Japan for the Famicom Disk System, while in the West we directly received its cartridge version for NES. A brutally influential title that many subsequent developers would take as a reference and that would inspire an entire subgenre of action platformers.

As in its subsequent instalments, in it, we had to explore a map with different interconnected areas to get powers and improvements that would allow us to access new previously inaccessible places, as well as survive the toughest confrontations. It’s bleak setting, its level design, its unforgettable soundtrack and its original proposal for the time were in charge of turning this odyssey into a classic and the beginning of one of the most successful sagas in the industry.

Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem, one of the oldest and most acclaimed turn-based strategy and role-playing sagas of all time, also originated on the NES, or rather on the Famicom, since its first title never made it out of Japan until just recently. a few years ago, when Nintendo allowed us to get our hands on a translated version for Switch. Despite not being the first of the genre, it was the work that helped popularize this type of proposal, offering us a more than decent adventure in which the death of one of our units meant losing it forever.

Unlike other games on this list, the passing of the years has taken a toll on it and already in its original launch it suffered from some problems that could be the reason for certain frustrations, but it is a work full of successes, with a lot of personality and of capital and fundamental importance in the history of the medium that deserves the greatest respect. And even more so when it comes to the origin of a series that 33 years later continues to delight us with one great game after another and that is currently in one of its most popular moments not only in its native country but throughout the world.

Dragon Quest

All lovers of Japanese role-playing games owe an eternal debt to Dragon Quest, the series that started it all and whose success led to countless Japanese studios and developers following in its footsteps. The saga continues to be a symbol and an icon of the industry, and in the Country of the Rising Sun, it is directly a mass phenomenon. An RPG in its purest and most classic essence that has resisted changing its essence in the slightest during its eleven numbered instalments, always remaining faithful to its roots.

We find this origin again in the Famicom with the first installment (known as Dragon Warrior in the West) released in Japan in 1986 which today might seem extremely simple and short. But which laid all the foundations on which the genre would be based for more than two decades.

We had a world map that connected its different towns and dungeons, a lot of freedom to explore, a system of experience points and levels that allowed us to get stronger by eliminating enough enemies, random combat that took place in turns, commands with which to select our actions, shops where to buy equipment, etc. With its sequels (the first four instalments were released on the NES) would come things like altered states, class systems, group management (in this first adventure we only controlled a single character) and other features that would be difficult without today. understand the genre, but the skeleton and the pillars on which everything would be supported were already here. Add to that the charm of Akira Toriyama’s art and an iconic soundtrack, and you have a title of colossal historical significance.

Final Fantasy

If Dragon Quest laid the foundations for Japanese role-playing games, Final Fantasy was in charge of popularizing the genre throughout the world and turning it into an international phenomenon with its seventh instalment, but as its number indicates, before Final Fantasy VII there were others. six numbered games and the first of all debuted on the Famicom and NES. In general terms, it is a game that was born in the wake of the success of Dragon Quest, but that knew how to stand out and differentiate itself by offering us a much more elaborate story.

In addition, the fantasy universe that it presented to us had a very marked personality and elements such as elemental crystals and character classes would end up becoming recurring elements of the series. All this added to a good graphic section and a fantastic soundtrack ended up shaping the origin of a video game legend that continues to delight us with great and epic adventures in the middle of 2023. Unlike Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy has never been afraid to experiment with its sequels, something that we were already able to verify on the 8-bit console, where titles like Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy made it clear that the newborn series had come to innovate and try new concepts and ideas with each of their games.

Castlevania

Konami is one of the oldest video game companies in the sector and although there was a time when they did not stop surprising us with one great game after another, it has been too many years since it is not even the shadow of what it was.

After all, we’re talking about a company that has some of the most beloved franchises in the industry to its credit but seems reluctant to do anything decent with them and live up to their legacy. We have a clear example of this in Castlevania, one of the oldest and most beloved licenses in the sector, which has not shown any signs of life for almost 10 years beyond animated series for Netflix, a mobile spin-off unable to convince a nadie and several compilations of the classic instalments.

Its first game had its debut in Japan for the Famicom Disk System and like other sagas in this report, its western release came in the form of a traditional cartridge for the NES, offering us a linearly developed 2D action-platform arcade adventure in which we had to advance through a series of levels facing whiplashes with all kinds of creatures and monsters until we reached Dracula and returned him to his grave.

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A true video game classic that turned out to be a hilarious title, very challenging and with a lot of tradition in which all its elements worked wonderfully, from its gameplay to its particular setting and its iconic soundtrack, full of unforgettable songs. The console also received its second and third instalments, with the former an attempt to take the series in a different, more adventurous direction, while Castlevania III returned to the original’s formula to expand, improve, and polish it in every way imaginable.

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Megaman

Mega Man is another of the great icons of the video game industry and although almost 5 years have passed since his last completely new adventure, the history of electronic entertainment will always have a very special place reserved for our charismatic blue robot. The saga was also born on the NES and the console received up to six numbered instalments.

As usually happens in these cases, the first title was in charge of establishing the bases on which its sequels would be based, offering us an action-adventure and platforms in which we could select the order in which we wanted to try each of its levels. If we managed to defeat the boss of the screen that we had chosen, we would receive a new weapon that would also be especially effective against the final enemy of another phase. For being the first, the title knew how to entertain, amuse and test us, but it would not be until the arrival of Mega Man 2 that the saga would finally explode and achieve world fame, delighting us with an essential work that improved, expanded and polished everything to its predecessor.

Mother

Mother is one of the strangest, most atypical and ahead-of-its-time RPG sagas out there. It currently only has three instalments and the last one, which appeared on GBA, has not even managed to leave Japan, but it exudes so much charm and quality that we could not avoid mentioning it in this report, taking advantage of the fact that its first title, Mother, debuted on the Famicom. In the West, we knew it as Earthbound Beginnings, but we didn’t get to enjoy it until its digital re-release for Wii U in 2015.

Although at a playable level, it closely followed the formula established by Dragon Quest, it knew how to distance itself from its contemporary rivals by offering us an adventure set in the present instead of a medieval fantasy world, something that was used to parody all the clichés of the genre and create all kinds of funny and strange situations, where as soon as we had to face a ghost rather than a car, a zombie, an alien or a hippie in fun turn-based combat.

It wasn’t without a few problems, such as somewhat frustrating and poorly timed difficulty spikes, and its sequel for SNES took its formula and ideas to new heights, but it’s still an adventure worth playing, hugely enjoyable, and very original for anyone. His time that he hid a much greater sensitivity than his peculiar sense of humour might suggest at first glance.

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