In the history of the video game industry, it’s hard to find a console as great as the SNES. The successor to the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the SNES took Sega head on, and brought the company back to prominence as the dominant force in the games industry. With the SNES, Nintendo managed to strike a balance of an affordable cost, with relatively powerful hardware, which lead to a steady stream of high-quality content. Titles like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and Super Mario World are not considered to be the best those storied series’ had to offer, but also some of the best the industry has ever seen.
With Nintendo’s discontinuation of the NES Classic, and possible development of a SNES Classic, what titles should be on the new tiny console has been the talk of the community. While the titles mentioned above are obvious choices, we here at CGM decided to shed some light on the titles we’d like to see on the SNES Classic—aside from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and Super Mario World.
Donkey Kong Country
Release Date: November 1996
Most players prefer the later entries in the series, but the original Donkey Kong Country is one of the most important titles on the SNES. From a historic standpoint, this was the game that put Rare on the map, allowing Nintendo to trust them with developing some of the best games of the following console generation. From a visual standpoint, Donkey Kong Country set a new standard of expectations for titles that came out after it with its stunning realistic arts style and psudo-3D character models on a 2D plane. But from a gameplay perspective, it’s hard to find a platformer as satisfying as Donkey Kong Country. With memorable levels like Treetop Town, and countless mine cart stages, along with secrets galore Donkey Kong Country is insanely replayable. Mix in that iconic David Wise soundtrack, and you have a winner.
Release: March 11, 1995
What happens when you mix the creator of Final Fantasy, with one of the main designers in Dragon Quest and get the artist responsible for Dragonball to animate your characters? You get Chrono Trigger. Square Enix pulled out all the stops for this JRPG and it shows. With a story about time travel, one of the most refined battle systems in the land, and a loveable cast of ragtag characters this is a game that’s been ported to every system imaginable. It also allows players to experience it in its original form without the need of a cartridge—which isn’t cheap—is integral to preserving the history of the gaming industry.
Zombies Ate My Neighbours
Developer: Lucas Arts
Release: July 1993
It’s not very often older titles allowed for co-op multiplayer. Taking control of Zak and Julie, players work together to traverse their neighbourhood that has (gasp) been taken over by zombies! With an angled camera view, players must rush across 48 stages saving their neighbours by nightfall. It’s got all the charm of early 90s Lucas Arts games, but it’s really just best to play the game instead of reading about it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
Release: March 1991
You’ll be hard pressed to find something bigger than the Ninja Turtles in the early 90s. So it’s no surprise that they got a ton of licenced games. But one stands above the rest as one of the greatest beat ‘em ups ever—Turtles in Time. Playing as one of Raffi, Leo, Mikey or Donnie (the best) users go across a variety of stages beating the snot out of Foot Soldiers and squaring up against iconic villains like Leatherhead, Rocksteady, Dr. Stockman, Shredder and Krang. It’s such a good game. And I don’t care how hard it would be for Nintendo to get the rights for it on the SNES Classic, it has to be there.
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Release: November 1990
Want to go fast but don’t own a Genesis? F-Zero has got you covered. Using a technique called “Mode 7 Scrolling” which essentially positions and scales individually to give a 3D effect, F-Zero revolutionized how racing games played that generation. Not only that, but this title introduced the world to a colourful cast of characters, and more specifically Captain Falcon.
Release: April 1996
Most consider this to be the best in the Final Fantasy series, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Square in the 90s had the Midas touch, and Final Fantasy VI is a perfect example of that. Known at Final Fantasy III stateside, this entry in the series doesn’t necessarily differ from the norm, rather it builds on the solid foundation it established years earlier. With a compelling story and interesting characters, a new audience should experience Final Fantasy VI. Especially with all the hype around the Final Fantasy VII remake just around the corner.
Saturday Night Slam Masters
Release: July 1993
I had to put one lesser-known title in this list. Wrestling in the 90s was huge, and Capcom capitalized on that, while simultaneously giving a back-story to one of its most iconic characters—Mike Hagar. Saturday Night Slam Masters originally launched in arcades with a console version eventually making it’s way to homes with a special multiplayer battle royal mode. It’s over the top, fast paced action, and even if you don’t like wrestling, it’s a great fighter that deserves a shot.
Super Mario RPG
Release: May 1996
I could probably just make an entire list of Square titles but I had to cap it off here, and there is nothing more SNES Era gaming than Super Mario RPG. Taking everyone’s favourite plumber and plopping him into an unfamiliar genre—at the time—is definitely a good hook, but if Super Mario RPG failed as an experiment, we probably wouldn’t see the Mario and Luigi series or Paper Mario. It’s a collaboration between two companies that were at their best, combining to make an entry in a genre that at the time was king. There’s a great cast, great score, an active battle system, it’s a great way to introduce players into a genre that can be very intimidating.
Developer: Ape, HAL Laboratory
Release: June 1995
Ever since Nintendo released EarthBound to the Virtual Console, it seems the series has garnered more love than ever. But, there was a time when it was just a weird niche game that was really expensive for collectors. The latter part is still true, a cartridge for EarthBound will cost you a few hundred dollars, but for players who just need to experience this game, the SNES Mini could be the perfect place.
EarthBound won’t blow you away with a great battle system, which is pretty basic, but, it can get pretty intense by allowing players to actually pull off attacks while their health is depleting. But where the game excels is its humour. With a sarcastic take on America at the time, EarthBound comments on cults, the Apple and Microsoft war, and small town living. It’s a blast, and honestly, needs to be played.