11. Contra

Game at a Glance

Why It Makes This List

Contra is intense run and gun side-scrolling shooter gameplay. It is not remotely for the easily frustrated or faint of heart.

The game's premise is pretty simple: You and your fellow GI Joe-resembling sidekick are here to kick some invading alien ass.

Contra's levels are few in number, only five or so. But not many games pack so much fun into so little gameplay.

You run and blast your way through scores of enemy soldiers/aliens, picking up power-ups such as the coveted Three-Way Spread gun, or the spiral firing Heat gun.

But there is zero margin for error: One hit, and you're dead.

Contra was one of the first home console releases to feature simultaneous two-player gameplay on the same screen. In that mode, it is still phenomenally entertaining, requiring a great deal of frantic communication and coordination between the players to avoid unintentional deaths. (Advance too far ahead on one screen, and your buddy could end up trapped or falling to their doom.)

But for those who prefer to brave this gauntlet alone, there is a hidden feature which has gone down in history as perhaps the most famous cheat code of all-time.

It is known simply as the "Konami Code", and the combination is as follows: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start.

Input that code at the start screen, and you get thirty lives, which makes even this ridiculously difficult game possible for the novice player.

Incredibly addicting shooter gameplay, very catchy tunes, and the most famous cheat code in history. It's all a recipe for greatness.