The SNES, The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, arguably the best retro gaming console to date, if we haven’t all loved it dearly, then we have all at least played a few games on it. We have a hell of a lot to thank for this console, masses of games have taken inspiration from the SNES, and inspiration has even been taken from the design of the gaming system. It is a solid favourite here in the gamesGRABR office and as the SNES celebrates its fourteenth Birthday this week, we have finally managed to compile a list of our favourite games from its extensive back catalogue.
This game is a one that we still now play often with our families, or on our own for some nostalgia, its certainly not one that’s easily forgotten. There aren’t many games that have an eclectic protagonist…lets put it that way. Earthworm Jim was not your average garden worm, he became a hero by wearing a robotic suit and the game itself looked exactly like a Saturday morning cartoon; later we would find that our wishes became reality and the cartoon was awesome. This classic free-form shooter saw Earthworm Jim working alongside an array of colourful characters that we still remember now, Evil The Cat, Psycow, Queen Slug…ringing a bell?
Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country certainly had a domino effect on Nintendo, with the same game getting releases on first the SNES in 1994, then the Gameboy Colour in 2000, Gameboy Advance in 2003, Wii in 2007, Wii U in 2014 and the Nintendo 3DS this year. It certainly had an impact on the industry and I think every generation of gamers can remember playing this game on some sort of gaming console, for me it was the Gameboy Colour, but we can’t forget its roots, the SNES. Donkey Kong Country sold nine million copies and was the second best selling game on the console.
Street Fighter 2
Oh Street Fighter, where would gaming be without you? We wouldn’t want to shout hadouken every time we threw a punch at someone, we wouldn’t have spent hours upon hours playing you with our friends. It’s a sad thought. However, since 1987 you’ve been gracing our consoles and now you can play Street Fighter V on the next gen consoles, long live Street Fighter!
If you were in Europe during the 1990s, then you’ll probably remember this game as Starwing, rather than Star Fox. Star Fox was most certainly a huge step forward for gaming and while it wasn’t the first game to use 3D graphics (that award goes to Nintendo’s X), it came a close second. It was also the first game to use polygonal graphics, which we talk about in our Evolution of Lara Croft post, without those graphics, we wouldn’t have any of the detailed characters you see on your screens today. Star Fox’s gameplay was pretty simple, a rail shooter video game where you help Fox McCloud defend his homeworld of Corneria against the attacking forces of Andross.
Mega Man X
The Mega Man franchise is perhaps one that is forgotten amongst new-age gamers. Lets not forget that Mega Man 2, which was originally released on the NES was one of the best selling games of its time and made the franchise huge. Mega Man X however, carried the baton for the franchise and made it even better. Mega Man was known for its vibrant graphics and colourful characters, Mega Man X kept all of those elements and even added extra gameplay elements; like not making the game ridiculously difficult.
Super Mario Kart
Before we had controllers that plugged into wireless steering wheels, and super detailed Mario characters wizzing around rainbow road, bumping and crashing into each other at who knows what speed, we have Super Mario Kart on the SNES. It was arguably one of best games to be released on the SNES and at that time the developers probably had no idea how far this spin-off game would go. The Guinness World Book of Records has named this game the best game of all time and while it has has developed so much since this release, you’ll still get the same experience as you would on the SNES.
Super Mario World
Technically, this game is Super Mario Bros 4, but Super Mario World definitely works better and seems more fitting. In this game we see Mario and Luigi fighting their way through various levels to save Dinosaur Land from Bowser. I think there’s one element of this game that we’ll never forget, the introduction of Yoshi. For those who still don’t know who Yoshi is, he is Mario’s Sidekick and riding mount, who even went on to have his own spin off game and is included in games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros, plus he’s really cute!
The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past
The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, was a turning point for the SNES and even for Nintendo. The game was released with critical acclaim and worldwide positive reviews and sold over four million copies. This release made its way to the Gameboy Advance (with some slight changes), the Wii and the Wii U. It was the third instalment in the Zelda franchise and a successor to the game was released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2013 and was called The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
Although this game sold rather poorly in Japan upon its release, it had quite the opposite effect in North America and Europe. Super Metroid is a direct sequel to Metroid II: Return of Samus and received critical acclaim across the board and has even been coined as one of the best games of all time by critics. It was particularly praised on its atmosphere, gameplay, audio, cinematic elements and graphics.
Final Fantasy III (Officially Final Fantasy VI)
While this game is officially named Final Fantasy VI in Japan, this was the release that finally made the developers 1) stop not releasing certain Final Fantasy games in America and Europe and 2) stop developers from changing the names of the games released. This release was without a doubt a pivotal release for role-playing games and IGN even named it the best RPG of all time and together with the Playstation release, it sold over 3.5 million copies.
Well, we certainly owe a lot to the SNES in terms of gaming. What do you think of our list? Have we missed any? What would you add?
Written for gamesGRABR by Cleo Greaves