ROG Retro- The Seven Worst Nintendo Published NES Games : Featuring Indie Gamer Chick
By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 Dec, 2017 At 06:52 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Opinion, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, ROG Retro | With 1 Comment

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Ah the NES, the little grey box that helped shape the world of gaming into what it is today. Its a classic system with so many great games, but also some not so classic ones. For every classic like Mario and Zelda, there were 20 horrible games, not even counting the unlicensed ones, so I decided I will take a look at the worst of these offenders. This will take a few lists, and what better way to begin than with the worst NES games Nintendo themselves released. But I am not doing this myself. Along for the ride is none other than Indie Gamer Chick, and she is holding nothing back.

Stack Up

Stack Up doesn’t, ahem, stack up. Stack Up was one of the games made to work with ROB the robot for the NES launch. Stack Up was released along with Gyromite, but while Gyromite is actually fun as a co-op experience and has value there Stack Up has nothing to offer. It is a mindless game based on tapping buttons to get ROB to move a certain way, but unlike Gyromite where ROB is needed unless playing co-op with another player, you can just tap buttons in Stack Up and the game will accept it. It was essentially a tech demo for ROB and has no value of its own.

Indie Gamer Chick says

“I’ve actually played Gyromite the way it’s supposed to be played. Stack-Up, I’ve only seen in videos, but it’s sort of one of those “what were they thinking?” type of games. ROB was meant to be a Trojan Horse to convince retailers that the NES wasn’t a video game system, and with Stack-Up, they could say “see, it’s not even a game at all!” Watching ROB slowly move blocks from stack to stack is like watching the world’s oldest grocery store stock boy arrange cans of soup on the shelf, only not as exciting because you can’t take bets on whether ROB will break a hip or not.

Donkey Kong Jr Math

Donkey Kong was a smash hit and the breakthrough title for Nintendo as a company. Donkey Kong Jr, was an excellent followup and a worthy entry in its own right, so anticipation for another game was at an all time high. How did Nintendo meet the demands of consumers? By having the little ape…..teach math. If Nintendo was trying to push educational games, they succeeded extremely well. It taught a valuable lesson to young gamers in the 80s: if you spend $40 on Donkey Kong Jr Math, you have $40 fewer dollars and 0 more decent games in your NES collection. Gamers hated this waste of time and Nintendo took the criticism to heart with Donkey Kong 3.

Indie Gamer Chick says

It’s scientifically proven that adding math to ANYTHING makes it less fun. “Donkey Kong!” YEA! “Junior!” OOOH SEQUEL! “Math!” Oh, um. Math? That thing that we do in school that isn’t playing Nintendo? Uh, what’s on TV? Though I will say the multiplayer mode is slightly underrated. Well, in the sense that it’s more exciting than a staring contest.


Mach Rider

This one confuses me. I have seen this hyped up by many retro enthusiasts but it is absolutely terrible. The controls are annoying and the game play is so monotonous that the fun factor is gone sooner than watching any Adam Sandler comedy The music will gnaw at your ears and make you beg for Mike Tyson to come along and relieve you of your hearing. Is it the nostalgia or group-think behind the inexplicable love that this game gets? I cannot say, but this is definitely not a fun experience.

Indie Gamer Chick says

Never has gunning down people while on the back of a motorcycle been so boring. Oddly enough, gaming has forgotten that Mach Rider also does the “Oh Em Gee, it was a girl all along!” reveal that Metroid is famous for. Maybe because the girl driving has an extraordinarily large ass and it’s awkward to point that out in 2017 because that’s body shaming. Or perhaps nobody talks about it because nobody played Mach Rider. Because Mach Rider sucks.

Ice Climber

This is considered an all time classic. One of the best Nintendo ever made and a true NES standout gem. It should be noted though, that this is only said by those who haven’t played the game and only know if from the characters appearing in the Super Smash Bros series. If you have played the game however, then you will know it for being a dull monotonous vertical scrolling game with little variety and little push to continue. As an arcade game it might pass, since this is a simple enough game for a short while for quarters at a time, but take it out of the arcade, and you have an NES game it is extremely lacking, even compared to other NES launch games that were lacking. There just is nothing to the game on NES, and it becomes boring very fast.

Indie Gamer Chick says

My first exposure to Ice Climber was from Animal Crossing, and to get it I had to buy a shit-ton of E-Reader cards. I understood immediately why it was so difficult to acquire: it’s perhaps the worst-controlling Nintendo-made game ever, and the collision-detection is so spotty that I often jumped right through bricks. It’s awful. My personal choice for the worst game on this list. I understood fully why Nintendo shoe-horned them into Smash Bros in 2001: anyone who ever played Ice Climbers probably wanted to pummel something associated with the game.

Urban Champion

I joke constantly that Nintendo should revive this game, but there is a reason I always say it should be in name only. The reason being, that the game is an utter abomination of a fighting game. The controls are terrible the screen moves awkwardly and the stage interactions- while ahead of the time- only manage to get in the way of what little joy there is. If this was your first time ever playing a fighting game, then I am so sorry for you. I also understand if this game scared you off of ever trying the genre again .Leave it to Nintendo to create new genres like the metroidvania but entirely fail at a simple fighting game by trying to be “inventive”. Perhaps the worst injustice is that Nintendo did make a good fighting game for the NES – Joy Mech Fight – but they only released it in Japan. Was there a meeting where some cynical Nintendo executive said “those Americans will buy anything, so give them some rush job and keep the good stuff here”?

Indie Gamer Chick Says

Really, I have nothing to say that hasn’t been said by every other gamer for decades. It’s one of the worst Nintendo games ever. Having said that, I think UFC would be ten times as interesting if the fighters had to dodge potted-plants thrown randomly at them during matches. Someone get Dana White working on this.

Duck Hunt

“Whoa! Now you are pushing it” I hear you say. After all, isn’t Duck Hunt one of the most iconic games on the NES? Well, no it isn’t. Duck Hunt is well remembered due to the double pack with Super Mario Bros and in that package, it did its job well. On its own, Duck Hunt was not a compelling game, with issues keeping the shooting from being precise and a lack of content left players feeling cheated. Remember, nostalgia is the biggest drug around and can make people believe things that are not true. How else do you think Adam Sandler keeps getting work despite his movies all being the same old garbage?

Indie Gamer Chick says

I was born in 1989 and didn’t get my first console, the original PlayStation, until 1996. By time I was a confirmed gamer, Duck Hunt was 20 years old and I had epilepsy. Lightgun games aren’t exactly compatible with epilepsy ( as discussed on here). But seriously, it’s a game where you line up a cursor with another cursor and push a button, and it repeats for infinity. There’s a reason why this was typically bundled with Super Mario Bros. It’s not exactly something that could hold up on it’s own. The real fascinating aspect is the Mandela Effect. There are people who swear they can remember that if they play the game long enough, you can shoot the dog. In fact, you can in the arcade version. So Duck Hunt at least is fascinating as it relates to false memories such as shooting the dog or having fun playing an atrociously boring game that never stops.


This is the worst sports game ever to grace the NES. Worse than 10 Yard Fight, worse than Soccer, and worse than Volleyball. Baseball isn’t just bad, it is uniquely bad. The controls are awful and the visuals are so bland and off-putting that you will beg for a clown to vomit just to give some variety. But that isn’t the worst part. No the worst part is just how slow this damn thing moves. Sports games should be exciting and quick paced, but this just puts me to sleep faster than a mix of Vodka and Jack Daniels.

Indie Gamer Chick Says

The Issue with Baseball is the same as all the first-wave sports games for the NES like 10-Yard Fight, Pro Wrestling, Volleyball, and Soccer: it’s sooooooooo slow. Baseball is the worst of the lot, but besides Tennis (and even that’s not very good), they all sort of blend together to form something that’s like playing the Geratric Olympics. It wasn’t until Ice Hockey that a proper decent sports game hit the NES. And honestly, Ice Hockey is a genuinely exciting, face-paced sports game that holds up today. Maybe we owe that to how bad stuff like Baseball was. They were like blueprints on what NOT to do.


So there you are. The seven worst NES games published by Nintendo. More lists like this are being planned so stay tuned and also let us know what you think of this.


Thank you to Indie Gamer Chick for contributing. If you are unfamiliar with her work, check out her piece on the way Nintendo made these games good, through reusing them for NES Remix. Check out her site, and check her out on twitter, @indiegamerchick. She is currently running #indiexmas, a massive giveaway of games. This is not a contest, simply ask for what is being offered with the only catch being that you must talk about he game in some way, positive or negative.



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  1. Wrong about Duck Hunt. Gumshoe was the crappy light gun game. DH was a great use of technology for its time. It being a pack-in with SMB says nothing about its quality, but reflects it also being a popular game in the late 80’s. You’re assuming too much about something you didn’t experience then.

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