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The Best NES Characters

Updated June 28, 2019 3.8k votes 422 voters 5.3k views31 items

List RulesVote up your favorite characters from Nintendo Games

You'll never forget your first, and for many, the Nintendo Entertainment System was their first encounter with console gaming. The first time taking the controller, leaning back and playing games in a way you just can't do with a Commodore 64. And so began the launch of countless series that have become household names. With this list, we take a look at the best characters from the original Nintendo!

From the original Super Mario Bros., with Mario and Luigi, to the beginning of the Metal Gear series and our life-long love of Solid Snake, the Nintendo has been the starting point for a number of famous characters that have gone on to major AAA titles, and even films (of... let's say varying quality) with a theatrical release! We even had the first female protagonist in a video ever with Samus taking charge of the original Metroid! There are so many different characters that got their start right here with the NES. 

So take a look at our list, rerank and vote for your favorites! Is King Hippo the best from Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!? Or is Simon Belmont the best vampire killer of all time? It's all up to you, so let us know what you think -- and don't forget to check out our many other console character lists to see what else you might want to rank!
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  • 1
    Mario
    173
    57

    Mario

    Super Mario Bros.
  • 2
    Link
    170
    69

    Link

    Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
  • 3
    Samus Aran
    144
    63

    Samus Aran

    Metroid: Other M, Metroid II: Return of Samus
  • 4
    Donkey Kong
    116
    44

    Donkey Kong

    Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Strikers
  • 5
    Kirby
    127
    51

    Kirby

    Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros.
  • 6
    Bowser
    115
    46
  • 7
    Luigi
    125
    57

    Luigi

    Super Mario Strikers, Super Mario Kart
  • 8
    Mega Man
    136
    65

    Mega Man

    Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, Mega Man 10
  • 9
    Yoshi
    110
    45

    Yoshi

    Super Mario World, Super Mario Strikers
  • 10
    Princess Zelda
    93
    56

    Princess Zelda

    Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Super Smash Bros. Brawl
  • 11
    Little Mac
    79
    36

    Little Mac

    Captain Rainbow, Punch-Out!!
  • 12
    Princess Peach
    93
    59

    Princess Peach

    Super Mario World, Super Mario Strikers
  • 13
    Simon Belmont
    94
    57

    Simon Belmont

    Castlevania
  • 14
    Toad
    77
    43

    Toad

    Super Mario Strikers, Mario Kart Wii
  • 15
    Solid Snake
    75
    53

    Solid Snake

    Metal Gear
  • 16
    Kid Icarus
    71
    43

    Kid Icarus

    Kid Icarus
  • 17
    Dog
    73
    61

    Dog

    Duck Hunt
  • 18
    Bub and Bob
    36
    56

    Bub and Bob

  • 19
    Dr. Mario
    50
    54

    Dr. Mario

    Dr. Mario 64, Dr. Mario Online Rx
  • 20
    Ness
    21
    29

    Ness

    EarthBound, Super Smash Bros. Brawl
  • 21
    King Hippo
    34
    62

    King Hippo

    Punch-Out!!
  • 22
    Donkey Kong Jr.
    22
    32

    Donkey Kong Jr.

    Animal Crossing

    Donkey Kong Jr.

  • 23
    Mickey Mouse
    21
    72

    Mickey Mouse

    Kingdom Hearts, Epic Mickey
  • 24
    Glass Joe
    34
    67

    Glass Joe

    Punch-Out!!
  • 25
    Popeye
    15
    35

    Popeye

    Popeye: Beach Volleyball

    Popeye No Eigo