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History Behind Super NES Purchase
What lies below is a listing of my Super NES collection along with some history behind the system's purchase. One thing to keep in mind is that these are all the games I currently own. I've actually had other games throughout the years. But I got rid of some of them for whatever reason. Please also note that all of the games listed below are actual cartridges. I am neither into getting emulators for the classics nor am I into pirating the latest games.
In order to purchase my Super Nintendo, I did a very dumb thing: I sold off nearly all my 8-bit Nintendo games. But I really needed the money to get a Super Nintendo. Like the NES and N64, the Super NES is special in its own way. I was always a very staunch Super NES supporter; I absolutely hated Sega and its Genesis. (Notice how I still don't even own a Genesis.) I even convinced two of my friends to sell their Genesis systems to get a Super Nintendo. Games like Super Mario World, F-Zero, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past were able to do it.
I remember that my mother and I had trouble finding a Super Nintendo for weeks and weeks. It was released at the end of August in 1991, and we went shopping several times a week to different stores and malls around the area to find one. Eventually, on September 5, 1991, she came home from shopping and imagine my surprise when I saw what she brought home! She found one at the now-defunct Children's Palace for a price of $199.99. And the first game I purchased for the system was F-Zero, which I got about two weeks later. Interestingly enough, I had to re-purchase a Super NES because my first one eventually went bad. Why? I think I cleaned it too much. I have never cleaned another system or game since then. I got my second Super NES for $89.99 at Babbage's on April 2, 1993. I also own the Super Scope 6, Mouse, and Super Game Boy accessories. Although I feel that my collection is almost complete, there are still a few games I would like to add.
Retrospectively, the Super Nintendo has been viewed as the climax of 2D gaming in a world that has since been dominated with first- and third-person 3D perspectives. I agree with that statement when you look at the body of work for the SNES. Interestingly, though, I'd say that 2D games started to come back with the advent of digital downloads not just on consoles but also smartphones and tablets.
If the original Nintendo unleashed a newfound era of video game ingenuity after coming from the simpler times of Atari, then the Super NES was the realization of these big, bad, and bold ideas. Its games embodied the favored design styles and choices from the 8-bit days -- but it made them better. Super Nintendo was about playing games without slowdown or flicker. It was about large sprites, big explosions, and nifty special effects. It made the quests longer and more compelling. It afforded more opportunities to save your progress, balance game difficulty, and reduce cheap deaths. It provided numerous opportunities for two-player simultaneous gameplay. It provided an overall impressive audio/visual experiences -- analagous to HD consoles in the latter generations.
Honestly, if you go back and play many of the better SNES games today, you probably would still find them to be engaging. I will admit that this is the case with Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx-16 as well. The difference is that the Super NES provided a greater breadth of variety in its greatness. Nintendo released initial versions of games that have become staples on the systems that followed: F-Zero, Pilotwings, Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country, Star Fox, and more. Square and Enix released some of its most beloved games: Final Fantasy II (IV) and III (VI), Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and more. Konami, Capcom, and defunct Midway were at the top of their games: Super Castlevania IV, Contra III, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Street Fighter II, Disney games, NBA Jam, Mortal Kombat II, and so on.
For me, the Super NES was my most pure and substantial video game experience. What I mean is that it was the "sweet spot" of my gaming life. When it was released in 1991, I was 13-years-old. So I was old enough to complete most games, and as a teenager, I had tons and tons of time to waste playing them. (Remember, there really wasn't the "Internet" quite yet.) Because of this, I have lots of fond memories playing not only with friends but also playing a lot of one player games.
All-Time Favorite Super NES Games
Super Mario Kart was unequivocally my favorite game of all-time from 1992-2009. Why? I had never played any other game even remotely close as much. For years and years, I had a friend down the street who would come up and play this for hours a day, several days a week. We thought we were the best Mario Kart players in the world. Guess we'll never know…
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
After Zelda II went a completely different route, everyone was ecstatic when this third Zelda game appeared on the Super NES in the same style as the original. Graphics, sound, quest, story, gameplay, control—everything—made an incredible leap. Clearly, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has stood the test of time, as it is still considered one of the best 2D games ever made.
This is the Bomberman game that put the series on the map. Unfortunately, one could make the case that not one of the subsequent Bomberman games on any system lived up to this. Super Bomberman also introduced multi-player gaming to the video game world. When you purchased the Super Bomberman, you got a "Super Multitap," too. Four-player excellence!
Ever wonder why there are so many Top Gear games? That's because this game was originally released on the Super NES and was a breakout, runaway seller. Even though I owned many games, no other game was so universally liked and played by my friends and family during the SNES era. Why was it so good? Two-player simultaneous racing, pit-stops, computer competition, and many levels.
Although it was a long quest, introduced us to Yoshi, and had some interesting secrets, the game didn't quite measure up to Super Mario Bros. 3. Don't let that detract from Super Mario World, though. It is a great game on its own. Remember the nifty Mode 7 effects? Remember trying to find and complete all 96 levels? Remember meeting Yoshi for the first time? I know my friends and I do.
In my book, this is the best 2D game Square ever released. Rather than participating in turn-based battles, Secret of Mana lets you fight the battles on your own. Now factor in the ability to have a quest with one, two, or three players simultaneously! Oh yeah, it has a great story, too. Why hasn't there been more multi-player RPGs like this?
Among the four NHL games that appeared on the Super NES from EA Sports, NHL 94 emerges as the best. NHL 94 was the first game in the series to have the NHL and NHLPA licenses. It featured great organ music and sound effects along with the best control and gameplay of the SNES games. My brother and I played hundreds of head-to-head games. We loved it.
Like most people, I was fond of R.C. Pro-Am for the NES. While Rare made a sequel for Game Boy, it didn't make an update on a more powerful Nintendo system. Instead, Rock 'n Roll Racing filled the void. Imagine similar gameplay to that classic. When you add licensed classic rock music (MIDI still sounds good!) and a two-player mode, you have an awesome game.
Admittedly, I never got into the 3D Final Fantasy games, but I have to give the nod to Final Fantasy II as the best 2D game in the series. The drama-filled storyline is filled with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of you seat, and the fighting doesn't get too stale, either. Fantastic music helps elevate the game to a level never seen before the Super NES era.
I think everyone would agree that Super Metroid is just that much better than the original. Great graphics, bigger levels, new items, creepy music, and a better story made it an instant classic. The key to the success of the Metroid series is the items and abilities Samus can use. They add a refreshing spark of originality to the games. Arguably, the 2D masterpieces remain better than the 3D editions.
F-Zero was one of the first three games released for the Super NES, and it was always one of the system's best. On many levels, F-Zero still not has been equaled. Although other games have become faster or have used weapons, few games have been able to match the level design or play control of this classic. My friends and I loved racing Time Trials, too.
As a late SNES release, I originally had no idea that this was Nintendo's westernized version of Puyo Puyo with a Kirby theme. Nevertheless, the color-matching puzzle game, with a focus on chaining combos and sending garbage, became one of my all-time favorites. My older brother and I played many head-to-head battles in those pre-N64 days. "Yes! Excellent! Watch out! Here it comes!"
In a return to its roots, Super Castlevania IV dazzled with a rousing adventure that sported some nifty "Mode 7" effects for amazing graphics, included some spectacular sound, and was the first Castlevania game where you had complete control over your whip. Retrospectively, it may not be the series' finest, especially with some slowdown, but I thoroughly enjoyed it as a kid.
14. Super Mario All-Stars
This was a tremendous surprise and gift to Nintendo players everywhere. Nintendo's idea to update Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3 with better graphics and sound was wonderful. It's just not higher on my list, because I didn't play it as much as other Super NES games. But I made sure to recognize the original versions.
15. Contra III: The Alien Wars
Contra III was another sequel to an NES game that didn't disappoint and took it to the next level. It also was nice not to see the "flicker" that plagued 8-bit days or the slowdown that plagued some of the first 16-bit games. Two-player simultaneous play was as fine as it ever was here. Some very cool Mode 7 effects were included, too.
Honorable Mention: Final Fantasy III, Tetris Attack, Actraiser, Uniracers, Donkey Kong Country
Super Nintendo Collection (61 games)
- Actraiser + Renaissance on (NS)
- Adventures of Batman and Robin, The
- Axelay (Wii U)
- Battle Clash
- Battletoads in Battlemaniacs
- Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind
- Bust-A-Move (NS)
- ClayFighter: Tournament Edition
- Contra III: The Alien Wars (NS)
- Donkey Kong Country (Wii U)
- Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (Wii U)
- EarthBound (Wii U)
- FIFA International Soccer
- Final Fantasy II FFIV on (NS)
- Final Fantasy III FFVI on (NS)
- F-Zero (Wii U)
- Ken Griffey Jr. Presents MLB
- Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run
- Killer Instinct
- Kirby's Avalanche
- Legend of the Mystical Ninja, The
- Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Wii U)
- Madden NFL '94
- Magic Sword ARC on (NS)
- Mario Paint
- Mega Man X (NS)
- Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge
- Mortal Kombat
- NBA Jam: Tournament Edition
- NCAA Basketball
- NHL 94
- Ninja Gaiden Trilogy (Wii U 8-bit)
- On the Ball
- Pilotwings (Wii U)
- Rock 'n Roll Racing (NS)
- Secret of Mana (NS)
- Star Fox
- Sunset Riders ARC on (NS)
- Super Adventure Island
- Super Bomberman
- Super Bomberman 2
- Super Castlevania IV (NS)
- Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (Wii U)
- Super Mario All-Stars (Wii U 8-bit)
- Super Mario Kart
- Super Mario RPG (Wii U)
- Super Mario World (Wii U SNES & Wii U GBA)
- Super Metroid (Wii U)
- Super NES Super Scope 6
- Super Off-Road (GCN)
- Super Smash TV (GCN)
- Super Street Fighter II (NS)
- Super Turrican (NS)
- Super Turrican 2
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV:
Turtles in Time (NS) + ARC on (NS)
- Tetris Attack
- Tetris & Dr. Mario (Wii U 8-bit)
- Top Gear (NS)
- Yoshi's Island GBA on (Wii U)
Note: The games listed above are physical cartridges. Nintendo's Virtual Console service on Wii and Wii U allowed me to augment my collection digitally by purchasing 10 more SNES games individually:
plus some SNES games on Switch collections (e.g., Blizzard Arcade, Disney Classic, Pac-Man Museum+, TMNT Cowabunga, Top Racer a.k.a. Gear), the pixel remaster version of Super Famicom's Final Fantasy V on Switch, and Kirby Super Star and Kirby's Dream Land 3 on Kirby's Dream Collection for Wii
- Castlevania: Dracula X (Wii U VC)
- Chrono Trigger (Wii VC)
- Darius Twin (Wii VC)
- Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (Wii U VC)
- Final Fight (Wii VC) + ARC on (NS)
- Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures (Wii VC)
- Prince of Persia (Wii VC)
- Space Invaders: The Original Game (Wii VC) and (NS)
- Super Punch-Out!! (Wii U VC)
- Wild Guns (Wii U VC)
The following bulleted points are some random notes and thoughts about the Super NES. In the list, you will find information about the system and games that I could not place anywhere else.
Last Updated: March 27, 2023
- I am considering purchasing this game for my permanent physical collection: Soul Blazer.
- There is a single SNES game that I never took the time to play: Super Mario RPG. I purchased this game at the end of the system's life cycle when N64 came into the picture. Therefore, I never experienced the true joy of the game.
- Overall, no system has provided me with a more balanced roster of games or such a wide variety of fun. I played great one-player quests by myself. I played great multi-player games with others. And I played great games in every genre: action, RPG, sports, racing, adventure, puzzle, etc. One might argue that the Super NES was the pinnacle for Nintendo -- that is, until the Switch.
- Who knew it would be so difficult to get these 16-bit systems to work on newer HDTVs...thank goodness for the Framemeister.
- Finally, as a retrogamer, the SNES can be gratifying because the cartridges work very well and the games are not as buggy or poorly designed as the 8-bit era.
Copyright © Scott McCall. All Rights Reserved. ™ and © for all products, characters, and indicia related thereto which are contained herein are owned by the companies who market or license those products.