Is this "five favorites" post even more ridiculous than the PC Engine-focused one I published last week? Yes, I think you could say that--especially since this one is even more limited than its predecessor.
It had to be done, though, in order for this post to not be suffocated by Famicom titles that appear on nearly every such list. You know some of the ones I'm talking about, I'm sure: Hitler no Fukkatsu: Top Secret (aka Bionic Commando), Hoshi no Kirby: Yume no Izumi no Monogatari (Kirby's Adventure), Pajama Hero Nemo (Little Nemo: The Dream Master), Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3 and Wanpaku Dakku Yume Bōken (Duck Tales), just to name a few.
With that out of the way, here are five of my favorite Famicom games that weren't made by Capcom, Enix, Konami, Namcot, Nintendo or Square:
1. Adventures of Lolo 2--Would you believe this was the fifth Lolo game released in Japan? The series' storied history is too long to recount here (read about it at hardcoregaming101.net), but the short-and-sweet version is that the first three had the name Eggerland attached to them. Another interesting note about this game: it was known as Adventures of Lolo 3 in North America. Whatever you call it, though, it's an awesome little puzzler that's well worth at least a bit of your time and attention.
2. Binary Land--I'm pretty sure I've written about this early Hudson Soft effort before. (Fake update: yep, I mentioned it in a past post about my five favorite games featuring penguins.) Regardless, it's worth bringing up again, as I'm pretty sure it's one of those import-only puzzlers that's largely been ignored by the non-Japanese masses. It's more than a bit antiquated, and it's not exactly the deepest game around, but it's more enjoyable than the bulk of its flashier, lengthier counterparts.
3. Chô Wakusei Senki Meta Fight--Does the name of this game not ring a bell for you? How about Blaster Master, which is what it was called outside of Japan? My older brother and I spent more time than I'd like to admit playing through this as teens. You don't have to own a pair of nostalgia-tinted glasses to find this part-platformer, part-run-and-gunner appealing, though, as its tight gameplay and atmospheric soundtrack (don't worry, it's graphics are pretty ace, too) can and should be appreciated by gamers of all ages and stripes.
4. Otocky--A lot of games over the years have been called "experiences," but this one takes the cake as far as I'm concerned. It's also one of the only "art games" I've ever played that's not only wow-worthy in terms of its artistic merits but also in terms of its gameplay, which apes that of a traditional, side-scrolling cute 'em up (à la Parodius). Even more wow-worthy, though, is how both of these aspects are brought together--by Otocky's music-creation element (read about it here)--to form a thoroughly entertaining and even exhilarating product.
5. Meikyūjima--Here's another title that likely doesn't mean much to most of you. I'll bet, though, that at least a few of you have heard of Kickle Cubicle, right? Well, Meikyūjima is that game's Japanese name. For those of you who've never heard of either of them: this Irem-developed puzzler calls to mind Sega's quarter-munching classic, Pengo, which means the adorable, snowman-like protagonist turns enemies into ice cubes by spewing frigid air at them and then uses said cubes to gain access to the red "Dream Bags" that populate each stage. Don't worry, it's more fun, and less weird, that it sounds.
Honorable mentions: Banana, Flying Hero, Penguin-Kun Wars