Table of Contents:
Best Puzzle Game


C'mon, people, what'd you expect? Tetris is considered by some to be the greatest game of all-time with the most universal appeal. Young and old, boys and girls, everyone plays Tetris -- of course it's gonna be the top puzzle game for the NES. Arrange descending blocks into solid horizontal lines to make them disappear: that's it. Yet the game developed behind the iron curtain has a belying simplicity that masks the complexity and addictiveness of the title. Tetris reached the zenith of its popularity during the tenure of the NES and it sparked a controversy that many remember to this day. Under the guise of Tengen, Atari released Tetris for the NES. The version was almost a perfect arcade port. It featured single player, two player and two player cooperative play. There was only one problem--Tengen didn't really own the rights to the game for console ports. Nintendo did, and Tengen's version conflicted with their own version of Tetris. A court battle ensued and Tengen's Tetris was legally pulled from the market. The irony of it all? The Tengen version (shown above) was far better (the official Nintendo version only featured a one-player game!). 

Runners up:

Dr. Mario

Take a proven franchise character, dress him up as a doctor and have him fling pills into a bottle and what do you get? No, not a bunch of juvenile junkies--you get Mario, M.D. Little evil virii (who thankfully are color-coded) have invaded Mario's laboratory bottles. To destroy them you have to align the virii with similarly colored pills. It sounds simple, but the later levels require you to create chains and falling combos to clear the stage. The game makes the list for all the right reasons: simple, addictive and ultimately complex gameplay. Throwing Mario into the mix sure didn't hurt the game's popularity any, but you do have to wonder why Mario had such an extensive stash of pills. Guess he gave up on eating mushrooms. 

Tetris 2

You take the first, you take the second, you take it all and throw in bombs and you have: Tetris 2. Borrowing gameplay from both Tetris and Dr. Mario, Tetris 2 has the same sort of descending blocks seen in Tetris. Only this time, they're color-coded like the pills in Dr. Mario. The final ingredient in this mix is bombs. To clear the level, clear the bombs. To clear the bombs, line up the same colored blocks. It's another great Nintendo puzzle game, but it's clearly not on the same level as Dr. Mario and Tetris. 

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Did You Know?
Nintendo had big networking plans for the NES. In 1991, they made a deal with the government of Wisconsin to let folks play the state lottery via their NES. The project was soon cancelled, however, as parents complained about the influence this would have on younger audiences.

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