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Jason Clement

It's the SNES's 25th anniversary! What are your favorite games on it?

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This news kind of snuck up on me to be honest, but today marks the 25th anniversary of the SNES, Nintendo's second home console. Hard to believe it's been that long!

 

I remember getting an SNES after Donkey Kong Country came out (which would have been... 1994, I think)? At the time, I was really into the Sonic games after playing them at a friend's house, and Sonic & Knuckles had just come out, which really pushed me into wanting a Genesis. However, my brother kept pushing for an SNES because of games like Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario World, and we could only get one console at the time, so that was the one we ended up with.

 

And honestly? In retrospect, I'm glad that's the one we went with (sorry, Genesis/Mega Drive). We played so many great games and had so many great memories with it.

 

So here are my favorite games (in no specific order)...

 

 

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Super Mario World

 

I can remember the extreme hype over SMW when it first came out. It took everything to the next level (graphics, gameplay, music, you name it), and was one of the biggest reasons I looked forward to going over to my buddy's house (since he owned it first).

 

 

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Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

 

The first DKC was a great game, but DKC2 was out and out fantastic. Taking Donkey Kong out of the equation seemed weird at first, but both Diddy and Dixie really felt like their own characters with unique abilities. That, and DKC2 boasts the best and most diverse worlds of any DKC game to date, with maybe the exception of Tropical Freeze.

 

 

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Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

 

SMRPG was technically my second introduction to the RPG genre (Earthbound was my first), but it was hugely instrumental in developing my interest in the genre. It was the first game to really give the Mario universe an overarching story that tied every element together, and it was fascinating to me as a kid to see the world really open up with new characters and the like. Square had such a profound effect on Mario that we might not even have the Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario series today if it weren't for this game.

 

 

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NBA Jam Tournament Edition

 

Responsible for some of the best multiplayer sessions I ever had with friends as a kid. I was never that big into the NBA, but because of how fun NBA Jam was, I inadvertently learned a lot about the different players who weren't Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson at the time, from Patrick Ewing to Karl Malone and others.

 

 

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Super Mario Kart

 

One of the all-time greatest multiplayer games ever, and the first actual Kart game. It may not hold up as well today thanks to the advancements of recent entries in the series, but in its day, my friends and I would have countless hours of fun racing and discovering new shortcuts and such in each level. My best friend and I always had a huge rivalry against Peach (who we called "Princess" at the time) because she always managed to take us out and get ahead at some point in the races, so we would specifically target her with our shells and the like. xD

 

 

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Kirby's Dream Course

 

I could just as easily write about Kirby Super Star (which I also love), but Kirby's Dream Course really struck a chord with me due to its different gameplay (based on golf), great music, and fantastical settings. What immediately stands out when I think of it now is how it had equally great single-player and multiplayer modes.

 

In fact, it was one of the first games my brother and I had played aside from Super Mario Kart where you could actively mess with the other player in order to throw them off from achieving their goal. Case in point: bumping into their character so they fall off the edge of the course and get penalized -- one of the best (and funniest) moments ever when you're playing multiplayer. xD

 

 

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Mega Man X

 

Mega Man was not a franchise I was unfamiliar with by the time Mega Man X had rolled around, having been introduced to the series by Mega Man 5 (and subsequently playing some of the other NES sequels). But Mega Man X was probably what I would consider the first great action game that I've ever played.

 

My best friend and I were stunned at just how much Capcom had upped their game with this new iteration -- bosses exploded with stunning detail, everything was much faster paced thanks to an added dash mechanic and the ability to wall jump, and the graphical detail on sprites and the background was a sight to behold for its time. And, of course, Mega Man X has one of the best and most memorable soundtracks in the entire franchise (the boss select theme still gets stuck in my head from time to time).

 

 

Anyhow, those were my favorite games. What were your favorite SNES games, and why did they become your favorites?

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I“ve probably said it in more than one review by now, but: when I was a kid, my parents gave me a choice. I could own the Super Nintendo and acquire a library of games over time—or we could subscribe to the SEGA Channel, which would give me access to fifty Genesis games a month [including import exclusives like Pulseman, Mega Man: The Wily Wars, and Alien Soldier]. I picked the latter; here“s more on why that was a good choice.

 

With that in mind, I didn“t get to Truly Experience the SNES until many years later. My first time actually playing Super Mario World wasn“t on a console, but through Super Mario Advance 2. Same for A Link to the Past--my first time with that was through the GBA copy that came with Four Swords. I played through Super Metroid for the first time on the Wii Virtual Console...and I“m not nearly as attached to it as most folks seem to be. Y“all ought to know by now, but I find Axiom Verge far superior to it. I also didn“t play Kirby Super Star for the first time until the “Ultraé remake for DS.

 

You already stole my #1 Fave with Super Mario World there, Jason. But--despite my late bloomer status, here“s a few games I own the actual carts for--that I played on friends“ consoles, or via the RetroN 5.

 

Yoshi“s Island is turbo-great. The only Yoshi game to come anywhere near close to its quality blend aesthetic and level design is Woolly World, but y“all knew that already. I played the GBA port first--but later rectified that with The Real Deal some time ago. I“m still waiting for this version“s flutter jump to be the new canon--the grunts from Yoshi“s Story & later are kind of unsettling to me, still.

 

Disney“s Magical Quest: Starring Mickey Mouse features the kind of animation and environments that all platformers should aspire to. I dig that about pretty much every Disney game from the 90s--even handheld games from them like The Lucky Dime Caper stay incredibly faithful to their cartoon roots. It“s less about being a game, and more like you“re playing an interactive Disney short. I can always get behind that!

 

Dragon Quest V is best played on the Nintendo DS. But. I“m putting it here anyway, because Dragon Quest. Y“all better allow it.

 

Seiken Densetsu 3 should have freaking come here. But noooo, it“s one of those games that we“ll probably never get to play legitimately in English. The fact that Romancing SaGa 2 came to phones after decades of a similar fate gives me a tiny sliver of hope, but...roar. At least it doesn“t sting as much as Terranigma, which came to Europe but not North America. Heh.

 

There are a few more. I“m sure some other Earthlings that browse GP are Bound to mention them though, so I“ll leave ”em be, for now~

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I didn't even get a SNES until around 2001 (I grew up with Genesis, which is why I keep giving Sonic second chances) but man, once I had one, I realized what I'd been missing. Some of my all-time favorite games make their home on SNES, and since I'm already running out of things to say for a good introduction, here's some of those games!

 

Super Mario World: I mean, come on. Do I really need to explain this? It's the perfect 2D Mario game. The perfect 2D platformer in general, really. Nothing else ever has or probably ever will come close to it.

 

Final Fantasy III/VI: I'll be honest, I used to be really, really, incredibly picky about RPGs, and would mostly only play ones that didn't have random battles and also had Mario (so...Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario, at the time) but this changed everything. Suddenly I didn't care about random battles when I was drawn into the story every step of the way. Great cast of characters, fantastic music, an engaging battle system...everything kept me hooked from beginning to end and made this one of my favorite RPGs of all time.

 

Super Mario RPG: And then there's this one, with it's action-based battle system and distinct Mario flavor. Even the world traversal felt like a Mario game, just in isometric form. It also had a lot of fun (and funny) story elements and writing to keep things lighthearted. This is just a step above FFVI on my favorite RPGs list, and only two steps above...

 

Chrono Trigger: Simply amazing. That's the only word to describe this game. The story may be typical "save the world from the big evil...thing" but the gameplay was anything but typical when I played it. Not having random battles was a plus, but I wouldn't have cared when the battles were so intense. The active time system meant really paying attention to the flow, and I loved the combo attacks between characters. How this still hasn't gotten a modern port on anything besides phones is beyond me, it's a timeless classic that really should be experienced to see even today's RPGs have some stiff competition from their forefathers.

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time: I love beat 'em ups. I love TMNT. And boy, is this the best TMNT beat 'em up ever released on consoles. Being an arcade port, it's obviously a pretty short game (you can beat it in like, 20 minutes or less) but it's so much fun that I can play it over and over AND OVER again and never once get tired of it. The wacky animations and cool Mode7 effects really made this feel like the same game you could play in arcades, unlike the NES version of TMNT: The Arcade Game, so it was basically being able to play my favorite quarter-muncher for free. Other beat 'em ups have better mechanics and better graphics and better whatever, but this is the only one I can claim to have replayed more times than I can count, so it must be doing something right.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time: I love beat 'em ups. I love TMNT. And boy, is this the best TMNT beat 'em up ever released on consoles. Being an arcade port, it's obviously a pretty short game (you can beat it in like, 20 minutes or less) but it's so much fun that I can play it over and over AND OVER again and never once get tired of it. The wacky animations and cool Mode7 effects really made this feel like the same game you could play in arcades, unlike the NES version of TMNT: The Arcade Game, so it was basically being able to play my favorite quarter-muncher for free. Other beat 'em ups have better mechanics and better graphics and better whatever, but this is the only one I can claim to have replayed more times than I can count, so it must be doing something right.

 

This right here is one of my favorites outside of Mario and other Nintendo character games. I don't remember how many times I've beaten this game, but this was the best beat em up game I've played. Man I'd rather see a remake, remaster, or whatever ported to the PS4. I had fun playing X-Men, The Simpsons, and those Sega classics with you Venom lol. What were missing is TMNT game we can play together unless the recent one is worth picking up.

 

Anyways....

 

My memories of the SNES are great. Not much from what I remember. DK and Mario games are the ones that pop up the most. I don't think I've ever played a RPG or JRPG game on SNES. Sadly I've never played Chrono Trigger either. 

 

Also every time SNES is brought up I get mad at myself because when young TK traded it in to Gamestop. I really need to buy it again eventually. Hopefully classic version like they're doing with NES.

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I won't put these in any particular order and will skip a few that I've already seen listed.  These are all pretty solid lists.


 


A Link to the Past:  I can't make a list without mentioning Legend of Zelda. 


 


Boogerman - A Pick and Flick Adventure: This game is awful, but as a kid I found it hilarious.  


 


Tales of Phantasia:  Not my favorite Tales game, but I enjoyed it.


 


Final Fantasy III/VI:  Venom mentioned this one, but this one deserves a spot on every list! #BestFinalFantasy


 


Secret of Mana:  I see the mention of Seiken Densetsu 3, but I didn't get a chance to play 3 until deep into the Gamecube era.  I did get to play 2 when it came out.  I liked it.  I liked it a lot. :P


 


Chrono Trigger: Let the record show.  Chrono Trigger is still amazing. 


 


Earthbound: Great game.  Shame I didn't just keep the rental copy that I played all those years ago :(


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Probably all the games I loved playing on the SNES have been mentioned.

 

Quite possibly greatest system of all time? It is up for debate along with PS1 for me.

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Yeah, I ran into the same problem as Jon where a lot of my favorite SNES games I technically played on other hardware 1st, so it is difficult for me to consider them as SNES games (not mention that some had not been officially localized on SNES.... like DQV.). Sooooo, I don't think I will for some of them (tho, games like Seiken Densetsu 3 and Magical Pop'n are p.dope.).

 

Super Mario World: My memory is still foggy on whether or not it was the first video game I have ever played, well, ever, but I actually probably didn't actually appreciate the game until like 5 years after I initially played it. Basically after I got over the phase in which I thought playing video games were some impossible skill barrier I'd never get over I revisited the game (after playing Super Mario Land 2 and 64, in particular.) and loved it.  And, as everyone knows, it's the best Mario game ever, so obviously it stands out.

 

Final Fantasy VI: Technically I originally played this on PS1. That said, it was probably one of the 1st Final Fantasy games I decided to visit retroactively after stuff like VII, IX, X, and it has held up great (tho, the PS1 version had some load time issues, it also had sweet CG vids.). Personally, even now, I'm more invested in VI than something like Chrono Trigger, even if I think Chrono Trigger is a better game and more progressive overall. From the cast to the setting it has stuck with me more than most other FF games.

 

Megaman X2: I don't actually have all that much affinity for Megaman overall, but for some reason X2 clicked with me much more than even the main entry games (such as MM2 & 3.). Maybe because I dig wall jumping, idk. I've played it quite a few times. 

 

Terranigma: Time for significantly more obscure territory. I feel like people mention Illusion of Gaia more than Terranigma, and I think it's entirely because of how limited the official English release was for Terranigma (and Gaia was less so). But yeah, I think the reasons I dig Terranigma are pretty similar to how many people love Chrono Trigger. The game is full of little touches, fun action RPG touches, an interesting setting, and the presentation was extremely high end at the time.

 

Pocky and Rocky: Almost entirely time and place, but it was one of those games I played a ton of as a kid with either my sibling or friends at the time. I didn't beat it until I played it much later, but it's a cute, very difficult, had co-op/multiplayer that clicked with me more than most others at the time (and it wasn't as one-sided, like when I was terribad at any and all fighting games.).

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I am criminally bad at ranking my favorite things, so I will simply list my favorite SNES games in alphabetical order!

 

Bahamut Lagoon: This was a game that began development under the title of Final Fantasy Tactics, which of course ended up being released on the PlayStation instead (and became one of my favorite games). Bahamut Lagoon is awesome too, though, and I would absolutely love to play games similar to it. It reminds me just a little of Ogre Battle 64 and also Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, but its hybrid of tactical and traditional turn-based RPG combat is fascinating. It's a real shame that it was never officially localized.

 

Chrono Trigger: I recently replayed this in preparation for my video review of I Am Setsuna, and man, does it still hold up. The soundtrack is incredible, the gameplay addictive and engaging, the art and presentation colorful, and the plot fascinating. In many ways, it's simplistic by today's standards, but it already has all it needs--I never get the impression that it didn't accomplish what it set out to do. 

 

Earthbound: I remember vividly the day that I bought Earthbound. My friend had a copy of it too and out of some insane childish impulse I ended up writing my name on my copy in pen. It's engraved into the plastic to this day, some 20-odd years later. I didn't realize it at the time, but Earthbound is structured very similarly to a Dragon Quest game, a fact that I wouldn't be able to appreciate until probably about 20 years later. I didn't play the original Dragon Quest until about two years ago. Suffice to say, though, Earthbound's satire of Dragon Quest can be completely disregarded because it has enough memorable features in its own right: the faux-American setting, the deadpan humor, the psychedelic backgrounds and trippy music--and perhaps most memorably of all, the horrifying final encounter with the Big Bad.

 

Final Fantasy IV: Here it is, my first Final Fantasy! Of course, I played the original American EasyType release and knew no other version existed at the time. I still loved it in all its melodramatic glory. Just how many fake-out deaths can one game have? The game's story arc is as well-tread as it possibly could be, but I ate up the story of a villainous dark knight finding redemption and embarking on a quest to rid the world of evil while being betrayed at every turn.

 

Final Fantasy V: I never got the chance to play this until the fan-translation community picked it up. As I recall, it was one of the first Japanese games to be translated by fans and I totally ate that up as soon as I was able. FFV refined the job system to one of its best implementations (although my favorite would probably be FFT) and despite some not so memorable characters, the gameplay is tremendously fun. 

 

Final Fantasy VI: Probably the best game in the series and is leagues ahead of previous entries in the series in terms of plot and character development. One of the best games on the SNES and best games in general. 

 

Kirby Super Star: My favorite Kirby title overall. The slick graphics, insanely catchy soundtrack, and variety of gameplay styles all combine to make an incredibly engaging platformer.

 

Mega Man X: Although I generally prefer classic Mega Man, the first of the X series is unparalleled in terms of tight controls, action, graphics, and soundtrack.

 

Super Mario RPG: It's hard to top this one even to this day. The graphics and soundtrack are amazing and I miss Geno and Mallow as characters terribly. It also gave birth to two separate series of Mario RPGs that feature several incredible titles, particularly Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.

 

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Secret of Mana:  I see the mention of Seiken Densetsu 3, but I didn't get a chance to play 3 until deep into the Gamecube era.  I did get to play 2 when it came out.  I liked it.  I liked it a lot. :P

 

I can't believe I forgot about this, but it would totally make my list now as well. Secret of Mana was (despite what I mentioned above) my very first experience with an RPG, having played through part of it with a friend. It wasn't until many years later that I finally revisited and beat it. Amazing experience and soundtrack.

 

Seiken Densetsu 3 also still makes my Top 10 overall games list to this date; I still think the three separate main bad guys/6 different endings route they took with it was really innovative for its time.

 

 

 

Bahamut Lagoon: This was a game that began development under the title of Final Fantasy Tactics, which of course ended up being released on the PlayStation instead (and became one of my favorite games). Bahamut Lagoon is awesome too, though, and I would absolutely love to play games similar to it. It reminds me just a little of Ogre Battle 64 and also Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, but its hybrid of tactical and traditional turn-based RPG combat is fascinating. It's a real shame that it was never officially localized.

 

Bahamut Lagoon is fantastic, almost forgot about that one. It's interesting how they combined Final Fantasy's battle system with a tactics system like Fire Emblem's.

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Super Mario RPG: It's hard to top this one even to this day. The graphics and soundtrack are amazing and I miss Geno and Mallow as characters terribly. It also gave birth to two separate series of Mario RPGs that feature several incredible titles, particularly Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.

 

I just finished a playthrough of this yesterday.  Don't know if it was always that easy or if I've beaten it so many times by this point that its just autopilot when I play.  Either way Mario RPG's battle theme is now my ringtone.

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