NES controls that stand the test of time

In December, Game Informer named The Legend of Zelda “the greatest game of all time” on their Top 200 list. I disagree, if only for one reason: its controls’namely the inability to move diagonally, which fail to stand the test of time (having seen the light of modern controls).

Make no mistake, playing Zelda in 1986 was a revelation. But playing today feels clunky, unlike Mario. Link’s primitive controls simply don’t hold up, despite Zelda’s other innovations (the birth of console RPGs, superb power-ups, and game saves). Even A Link to the Past, which supported diagonal movement, feels a bit unresponsive, especially when compared to the newer but same formula of Minish Cap.

So in addition to Mario (and I’d argue Kirby as well), what NES games stand the test of time in terms of empowering controls? I’d like to know your picks, as I’m on a big NES kick of late. But I’d prefer to play the best-controlling ones there are.