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nesHeadOccasionally I get a little bit bored and at the same time I am feeling a little nostalgic. I yearn for some of that good old classic 8-bit glory that is called the Nintendo Entertainment System. I grew up with my NES. I had a light zapper, a glove and even a robot. But to break the NES out of the closet, blow off the dust and fire up some games is a little more effort than I am looking for.

I have showed you FireNES in the past that works in your Firefox browser but now I am here to show you 2 more awesome sites that let you play old Nintendo games online in your browser. The first one is Java based and called VNES and the second one is flash based and is called PlayNES.

The first site had more titles but the game play was a little better on the flash site. But hey I will let you be the judge of that.

Next time you get that old school gaming itch you will know where to go to get your Nintendo fix.Thinking about Mario or Zelda yet? How about a little up up down down left right left right select start on Contra?

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VNES – Virtual NES claims to be the largest website on the Internet that allows you to play your favorite classic Nintendo Entertainment System games online for free. is the official home of, and is powered by, the vNES emulator by Jamie Sanders.


VirtualNES also clams that it is able to provide you classic NES games without trampling over copyright laws. They say that they only upload NES games that they physically own and currently have at their offices. They operate off of donations so if you are feeling for them, cough up a few bucks for these old school gamers.

It might take you a few minutes to get the hang of the controls using your keyboard. But the arrow keys are your up, down, left and right buttons. You have B and A emulating the B and A buttons and control being select, and enter being start. You can see the controls and the legend below for the icons that appear on the game search screen.

play old nintendo games online

If you hit the letters at the top it will take you to that listing alphabetically. I went looking for some Super Mario Brothers and hit the S key. This is what I saw along my way. Games going back as far as 1987. I was in gamers heaven and they are all available to play right here for free! Woot!

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They show the game’s name, the publisher, the release date, how many players can play, the rom size and the icons to click on that you saw in the legend two screen shots above. They turn off the volume, show scan lines and shows if the game can be saved. I fired up Super Mario Brothers 1 and ran through the first board but I couldn’t hit that flag pole like I used to! Any one have any tips for me to get my mojo back?

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I moved on to a little Simpsons vs. The space aliens which I loved playing in the arcade even before it came out on Nintendo. The controls appear in the upper right for your easy reference during game play

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You can also check out these interesting sections of games you may have never seen or heard of:

You can save and load your games just like you could on the actual NES. But you should note that it works with pasting long codes and context menus are unavailable inside vNES. To copy, hold down the Control (Ctrl) key on your keyboard and press C. To paste, hold down the Control (Ctrl) key on your keyboard and press V. To select all text, hold down the Control (Ctrl) key on your keyboard and press A.

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Next up to play old Nintendo games online is the flash based PlayNes. This is what they have to say about themselves: is an online NES ( Nintendo entertainment system) emulator for which you do not need to provide the games. You can play over 800 of your favorite original games! For Free! Due to recent administration decision we have decided to expand the website to include thousands of flash games too.

Similar to the other site they have a listing of all of their games (here they list some non-nes ones as well) they have ratings, how many times the game was played, an added date and if there is  an online manual which is a very nice touch.

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I went right to the L’s and found me a little game called The Legend Of Zelda 2. I fired it up and it started instantly. The game controls are shown on the right hand side while you play. You will see the start button is Enter, the select button is space, A is X and B is Z, Hit p to pause and C to save and l to load.

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Hitting the S button will prompt you to which slot you want to save your progress to. I saved mine to Slot 1 and then hit the L key to load it back up. They show you each slot but not what is in it. If you highlight it it will show you a screenshot of where you are in the game. This is a VERY nice feature.

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And talking about saving games they also offer save states where you can play someone elses saved game at cool points in a game. For instance play Zelda with 99% completion so you can go and do as you please in the game”¦

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Oh well back to work (hmm but an hour break might be what I need to get my Nintendo fix on!) Do you know of other sites that you can play classic NES games online with? Share them with us in the comments won’t ya?

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  1. Doc
    September 21, 2009 at 10:36 am

    > You have B and A emulating the B and A buttons

    If you take a look at the screenshot, it's "Z" for B button and "X" for A...which makes more sense.

  2. Robor
    September 21, 2009 at 5:58 am

    Everything dynamic and very positively! :)

  3. doorknob60
    September 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Umm, on Playnes it uses Nescafe, which is Java (I've used it before on my site), not Flash, although the site is misleading about it. Either way, both sites are good, especially VNES, could come in handy sometime :)