5: Metroid - Awesome world of mazes and power-ups. Allowed players (we weren't "gamers" back then) to move vertically as well as horizontally, opening new worlds of possibilities. The protagonists for similar types of games (Castlevania and Kid Icarus, for example) didn't flow nearly as well as the sleek Samus did.
4: Contra - Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, select, start. 'Nuff said.
3: The Legend of Zelda - Revolutionary. This games changed everything. It was an epic quest through a large and varied world with tons of monsters/villains, opportunities to buy various items, and most importantly, the ability to save your place without the need for a code. I fired up the old Nintendo and beat this game again last year. Yeah, that's sad. I also did the same with the next two.
2: Baseball Stars - Did for sports games what Zelda did for action/adventure games, and more. You had the ability to customize your team, including picking stronger or weaker hitters. You could customize your league, choosing better or worse teams. It kept track of stats and had leader boards in a variety of statistical categories (awesome for a dork like me). Based on your cash (the amount of which depended upon the strength of the team you faced, your own team's charisma, and whether you won or lost), you could buy free agents (rookies, vets, or stars) or power up your own players (each to his (or her!) own physical ability limits). Finally, it allowed you to save your season without a code. This game was special. Last year I created a team and played an undefeated season against the strongest teams the game could offer--without cheating. That was fun.
1: Final Fantasy - I remember being in my room with Jimmy (my brother), Chris P. (my cousin), Kevin and Rob (my friends) and maybe some others, playing this game--the first great RPG video game. Everyone had a duty--one guy knew the strengths and weaknesses of the creatures we encountered; another guy ran the map and directed us; a third guy determined what spells to use and when; etc. That was fun. I beat Final Fantasy again last year.
Ah, nostalgia. I promise to get onto current topics at some point soon... Tell me how stupid I am for leaving out Punch Out, Super Mario Bros. III, or whatever, or how pathetic I am to validate my self-worth by bragging about beating decades-old video games in my lame blog by posting a comment below!