NES Collector's Bane Edition
The collectors' market is insane these days. Fortunately for NES fans, the Super NES seems to be bearing the brunt of it all... but there are more than enough NES games that sell for $100+ as bare cartridges to fill one of these mini-consoles. We'd love to see the priciest of them show up on a future NES Classic Edition system... even if they're not great games (and some of them are super terrible!), the idea of owning $30,000 worth of rare games in a $60 mini-console is too good to resist. We'd recommend Nintendo design this model in the shape of the Famicom Titler, the rarest and most expensive official model of NES hardware ever produced.
Adventures of Lolo 3
The final and finest episode in HAL's long-running action-puzzle franchise features the trickiest stage layouts to go along with the series' best graphics and music.
Hudson's TurboGrafx-16 mascot found a home on NES consoles after his original platform disintegrated... but too late to make a difference, as this game's modest print run proves.
Bubble Bobble Pt. 2
One of several games claiming to be the second Bubble Bobble, this episode feels like a graphically updated take on the original with new bosses and minigames. No multiplayer, though, which kind of misses the point.
Clu Clu Land
Nintendo's take on the maze chase genre isn't one of the most beloved NES games ever, but it has its charms.
Color a Dinosaur
This game literally is what it sounds like: An NES coloring book featuring dinosaurs. It's not fun, but it's definitely rare.
The final NES Contra game wasn't originally a Contra game, and it feels like it — but even if it fails to live up to its name, it's a pretty decent shooter in its own right.
Not to be mistaken for Dragon Warrior, even though this obscure action game allows its warrior hero to transform into a dragon. So, yeah, a little confusing there.
Dragon Warrior II
Nintendo published and overproduced the original Dragon Warrior, so Enix went more conservative with its sequels... which is why they're so valuable now.
Dragon Warrior III
A revolutionary RPG featuring a surprising connection to the first two games and a brilliant, influential class-change mechanic.
Dragon Warrior IV
Easily the finest RPG on NES, this adventure tells the story of a legendary hero, like always... but first, it tells the story of the hero's companions.
A bigger, more refined follow-up to the popular platformer about Scrooge McDuck, it's become incredibly difficult to find.
The Flintstones: Surprise at Dino Peak
One of the final NES releases, rumor has it this was exclusively available through rental stores. Maybe not, but good luck finding it for less than a month's rent.
Never officially released in America, Gimmick! featured SunSoft at its very best, with crisp controls, wonderful visuals, and extraordinary music.
A sort of side sequel to Zanac, Gun*Nac features Compile's usual excellent shooting action and a goofy theme based on the old Japanese folk tale about rabbits who live on the moon pounding mochi.
Designed by the creator of Mega Man, this wonderful platformer offers four playable characters and gorgeous visuals.
It's not hard to play the original Mega Man — it's been reissued many times over now! But good luck finding a copy for a reasonable price.
One of the coolest games on NES, Metal Storm consists of merely six stages, but each one is built around a mind-bending reverse-gravity mechanic.
Mighty Final Fight
Believe it or not, this silly-looking brawler is a more faithful conversion of the arcade original in many respects than the Super NES game!
Never released in America, this simple action RPG set a high bar for NES visuals — it has to be seen to be believed.
NES World Championship Cart
Not really a game, simply a collection of segments taken from other releases; its place in fandom history merits a spot in any NES Classics lineup.
Between its hideous cover, underlying quality, and connection to the late genius Kenji Eno, Panic Restaurant is one of those hidden gems that now costs a ridiculous amount of money.
Power Blade 2
Like all late-era Taito NES games, this one slipped beneath most people's radar — and like the original Power Blade, it's well-made and loads of fun.
Rekka: Summer Carnival ’92
This import-only shooter pushed the NES hardware in ways you'd never believe possible.
Rescue Rangers 2
Weirdly, no one cared about this improved sequel to Rescue Rangers until recently, which is why it's now one of the most expensive NES games ever made.
Stack-Up (w/ Mini-R.O.B. accessory)
Stack-Up would need to come with a tiny Robot Operating Buddy and accessories in order to work, but it would be worth it so everyone could see how boring this seemingly unfinished game is — and why it's therefore definitely not worth $500!
The infamous most expensive NES game ever is just World Class Track Meet with a different title screen. Dump it on one of these mini-consoles and save yourself $20,000.
Heavily inspired by Bubble Bobble, this cooperative platformer languished in obscurity and deserves to be played by a wider audience.
TMNT: Tournament Fighters
This game came out on a bunch of platforms all at once, most of which were a lot more convincing for fighting games than the NES. But, hey, an NES fighting game! That's pretty rare.
Uforia: The Saga
It showed up as a Virtual Console import, so we deserve it here, too. Certainly that would be kinder on our wallets than buying the original game...
And finally, the weirdest game on this or any list, wherein you control a giant floating samurai head shooting its way through modern cities. NES games were weird, man.
Image credits: VG Museum, Hardcore Gaming 101, Evan Amos