Ahh, Super Nintendo. The great joy of my childhood. 16-bit graphics, “3D” games. Well, it just turned 20 years old, and aside from making me feel a slight bit geriatric, it has brought out some of my best gaming memories.
I can remember opening the box to find Super Mario World (it came with the system…the last Mario title to ever be shipped in the box) and playing for hours upon hours…as late as possible, just to be up the next morning, at it again. It was so smooth compared to the 8-bit NES, everything was more clear, more crisp. The colors popped and there was visible foreground/background differentiation. It was $199 at the time, which was a decent price, but what put it ahead of the pack was the quality of titles that it had launched with. Aside from already having one of its best games already packaged with it, it launched with other great titles like Pilotwings, Sim City, F-Zero and Gradius…one of the best initial offerings of any system to date, with huge 3rd party support.
So I figured that in homage to the birthday of one of the most revolutionary consoles in gaming history, I would give you my top 5 Super Nintendo Games of all time. Now, this is in no way meant to be THE definitive top 5 games, they’re just based on my opinion from years of playing the system. Please feel free to add something you think should be in there!
5. FINAL FANTASY III
Although this was technically the 6th game in the Final Fantasy series, it was released onto the SNES as number 3. There are so many reasons that this game made it onto my list of best SNES games, but the one that stands out is the fact that despite limited visuals and scenery, it managed to tell a great story. A story of the rebuilding of an empire after the loss of all magic, and then after finding an esper (source of magic) buried under ice, the fight begins to control it…commonplace stuff in current games, but back then it was groundbreaking! That was one of the systems’ finest points, in an age where there weren’t really any visually stunning games, you had to really tell a story, and few games did that like Final Fantasy.
4. SUPER MARIO KART
The definitive racing title of my childhood. Even after countless remakes on much newer systems, this game still stands the test of time. It is the true OG of racing games, the first racing game that had you white-knuckled on the controller. And let’s not forget the hardest racing level ever…Rainbow Road *shudder*. Many a controller has felt my wrath over that one.
3. DONKEY KONG COUNTRY 1&2
The first time I played this game I was floored. It was the closest thing to “3D” as you could get! The graphics were incredible for its time, and the gameplay was just as good. Barrel smashing, aiming and shooting out of them over gaps and into more barrels, trying to gather all the bananas in a level, or trying to find all the secrets…i mean, graphically and interactively, this game was top notch.
2. SUPER MARIO WORLD
How could this NOT be on everyone’s list? It was probably the most addictive SNES game ever made. The game looked great and was essentially the staple platformer of the time. It utilized the tried and tested formula from the original Mario Bros. and upped the ante with great new graphics, awesome sound (thanks to the SNES’s upgraded sound chip) and an overall enhanced gaming experience. It was the key selling point for the console and even had its own awesome commercial (youtube it, it’s funny to watch). Let’s also remember that this would be the first time that we would see Mario’s green dinosaur sidekick, Yoshi, appear in a video game. It was smooth and easy, yet just difficult enough to keep you hooked. You could spend hours smashing through bricks with Mario or hunting down fruit with Yoshi and never really get bored. It was easily one of the best games not only for the SNES but – from a gameplay standpoint – of all time.
1. LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST
For any gamer familiar with the Zelda series, this game is a staple and needs no introduction. For the other 5 people, this game had EVERYTHING. It was such an immersive game, great story, easy controls and intuitive gameplay. It was the one game that I could play, over and over, without ever getting tired of it. It essentially introduced me to RPG’s and got me onto games that would define my “adult-ish” gaming era, like Final Fansasy VII & VIII and Chrono Trigger. I’ve currently got some of the sounds as ringtones on my cell phone. It was a role playing game without the menus and micro-managing. You fought things, you explored the world and you had a great time doing it. But what set Link apart from other games of its time were the dungeons. The puzzles and problems you faced in the game were maddeningly difficult (and it carried over in later incarnations as well. Try the water temple in Ocarina of Time). But there was nothing more satisfying than finding the boomerang or making your way through a door that had you stumped for hours on how to unlock it. The graphics were lush and colorful, the maps were well thought out and the art in the game was creative. In my opinion it was the best SNES game ever made.
Well that’s it…if you disagree or just want to be helpful, leave your feedback and add any games that you liked!