Eurogamer reported earlier this week that sources close to Nintendo has indicated that an SNES Classic will be released later on this year. Details are almost non-existent at this point, but one can assume that if this does end up happening, then it will be pretty similar to the NES Classic that was released last year.
This report got us thinking. What games from the Super Nintendo era would we want to see on this thing? The following is a lineup of games we would love to see! The NES classic had thirty games on it, and we strongly doubt that Nintendo would do the same thing again. Instead, we picked an assortment of twenty games. Take a look at our SNES Classic game list and then hop into the comments and tell us what you think!
Super Mario World
There was only one true Super Mario game released on the SNES and it would be a crime not to include it on any sort of SNES classic system. The fact that it also happens to be one of the series best is a bonus.
Super Mario World stands out for us because it was one of the first Mario games to encourage replaying levels and looking for levels looking for secrets. All of the previous games were more or less linear experiences.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Popular among young kids and speed runners alike, Yoshi’s Island pushed the limits of the SNES hardware with a hand painted, timeless art style. This game took the classic Super Mario formula and added twists that have since been permanently added to Yoshi’s repertoire. Bouncing Eggs and Floaty Jumps both got their start here. This game was the core of what would later become Yoshi’s Wooly World, and it is clear that a lot of heart and soul got put into this game.
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Before Breath of the Wild, Link to the Past held a tie for best Zelda game along with Ocarina of Time. For many people, it served as the their first taste of the series and set the trend for a curated tour through a series of dungeons that would be a series hallmark for decades. The overworld theme of The Dark World is by far one of the most “hype-laden” SNES era songs and can only be beaten by the soundtracks from Squaresoft RPGs.
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Kart started as a goofy little side project to and has grown into one of the tent poles of the Nintendo brand. Mario Kart games are celebrated when they are released, so this game needs to appear on the console.
The only concern that I have with this game is that Super Mario Kart doesn’t really hold up that well. The game is played on a flat surface using “Mode 7” graphics and it looks far more archaic now than it did in the past. With that said, I still think it should be included as a touchstone for players interested in the roots of the franchise.
This game is one that immortalized in Nintendo history with Captain Falcon’s place in the Smash Brother’s roster. What limitations could not be overcome on the SNES was overcome with fast action and syth-rock music blaring in the background. Go ahead and look up “Mute City Theme”… I’ll wait. As a stand alone title, it was a very solid racing game for the SNES era and solid hit of nostalgia.
Final Fantasy II (IV)
Most Final Fantasy fans would call for Final Fantasy III (VI) to be included, but we really doubt that Square Enix would be willing to put that masterpiece on a box like this.
Final Fantasy II, however, may be slightly less revered by fans, but it also has the distinction of being many SNES fans first entry to the series. We loved this game as it was the first RPG that our family really dug into (even our dad spent more than a few whole evenings playing the game).
FFII has a colorful cast of interesting characters that hold their own quite well against almost any other cast in franchise history. It would be a welcome addition to the console.
Secret of Mana
This game is a cornerstone RPG. So many pieces of art style and game mechanics got their first shakedown in here. This game has gotten better over the decades as story beats that I missed as a kid shined bright in a more recent play through. It also holds the rare distinction of being a RPG with co-operative play, as a second player could operate one of the two other characters for co-operative boss fight strategies.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of The Seven Stars
An RPG with “2 and Half D” platforming elements, designed by one of the precursors to SquareEnix, Set in the Mario Universe. This game tried to do everything, and succeeded. It took turn based gameplay and added input and reaction timing. It took the story of Mario and turned it on its head. Bowzer gets “defeated” and the princess is initially rescued, but the sprawling story only begins as the heroic plumber teams with a *very* unlikely group of heroes around a beautiful world with just the right amount of whimsy and humor to break up the action.
Super Street Fighter 2
Street Fighter 2 had three different iterations on the SNES console. We knew that we had to include one of them, so we chose the one with the most characters. Sure. That’s an arbitrary selection method, but any of the three iterations would be perfect on the console.
Street Fighter 2 marked the beginning of a significant shift from arcades to home consoles for fighting games. Until this point it was impossible to experience the thrill of the genre without throwing down quarters at an arcade or bowling alley. It’s also the first time in my life I remember actually calculating the monetary value I was saving by purchasing a video game because owning the cartridge limited the number of quarters I would need to spend on the machine.
Star Fox is, admittedly, a stretch. It is an essential Nintendo game, but it is notoriously hard to emulate because of the unique technology used to make it.
The sharp polygonal ships and the large environments were all possible thanks to a custom chipset built into the cartridge. Those effects can’t be accurately recreated on a modern device. As a result this game might need to be excluded by necessity.
With that said, Star Fox is an amazing game and was one of the first console games to be about arcade style dogfighting in spaceships (or anything for that matter).
Zombies Ate my Neighbors
Zombies Ate My Neighbors is, quietly, one of the most entertaining multiplayer games to grace the 16 bit consoles. The maze-like levels and quirky humor made this game a favorite at our house.
It doesn’t hurt that this game is devilishly challenging at times because of the limited ammunition available to players in most stages. This makes teamwork and communication critical to finishing this one even if it looks like it should be a throwaway game thanks to its hilarious animations.
Save the Animals! This game is the quintessential Metroid game, and the foundation for Samus, arguably Nintendo’s first female protagonist. Its has a sprawling world, with a maze like structure and puzzling gateways that were the inspiration for countless games to come. The game’s themes of isolation and wanderlust are sharpened to a brutal point. You travel to the very depths of a planet, one that has once already been conquered by your heroics, only to find it teeming with new life and old, familiar foes.
Before Earthbound, video games never seemed to go near the realm of modern fantasy. Role playing games either brought you to the fantastical past or the distant sci-fi future. Earthbound was a game that took place in modern cities. Your treasure was in dollars and cents. You called home to save your game. Your bike was your first and last mode of fast transportation. And it all starts with a crashing meteor that starts a tale of psychic monsters, goverment conspiracies, kung fu masters, and a happy go lucky group of musicians.
Actraiser is an odd duck. It is an SNES that, on paper, looked like it was trying to do too much. The game married a side scrolling combat game with a top down “god game” a la Sim City. This shouldn’t have worked, but they pulled it off beautifully.
Despite all of this, it never got the credit that it was due. Many SNES gamers dismissed the game at the time, but but it has aged well. That makes it a great addition to the collection.
Super Castlevania IV
Quite possibly the last true Castlevania title before it evolved into a new genre in the Playstation Era, this is a tightly packed and incredibly difficult action/platformer game. The slow and steady whip of the Belmont gets sped up and goes in eight directions and it can latch onto special targets to perform a swinging jump. The classic creatures of horror that haunted Dracula’s Castle get new additions from gothic and fantasy horror, all while driving the player forward to the eventual showdown at the top.
There are a number of great space ship shooters that found a home (and success on the SNES) but none of them were as big (at least in our eyes) as Gradius III.
Gradius III was our first real taste of the genre and its bright colors, awesome soundtrack, and one-more-time challenge level kept us coming back for more.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were probably the biggest thing in kids’ media during the SNES era. It only made sense that they would have a bunch of video games. None of those games, however managed to capture the wackiness of the TMNT characters and story the same way as Turtles in Time.
The premise was simple: you control one of the four turtles in an arcade beat’em’up still game where each stage is a different era on time. The far future and the Wild West (aboard a train no less) were just two of the environments you played in.
This might be a longshot considering it is a licensed game, but I really hope it finds its way into the collection.
You can’t have a retro compilation console like the SNES classic without including at least one puzzle game. My choice is Yoshi’s Cookie.
It may not be the strongest puzzle game to ever see light on a Nintendo console, but it is cute and is attached to one of the more recognizable Nintendo character outside of Mario.
Mega Man X
Mega Man is iconic and the Mega Man X series is where, in my opinion, he was at his best. The 16 bit pixel art, the synth-metal sound track, and the fast paced action all add up to an awesome experience. The SNES classic would be incomplete without it.
The Brawler/Beat-em-up genre was at its peak during the 16-bit generation. TMNT IV may have been the best among them, but Final Fight is one of the very best. The characters weren’t exactly original, but Mayor Mike Haggar sure is iconic. He has become a Capcom favorite and has even appeared in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
This is our dream list, but we know it isn’t perfect. What games do you want to see on here? Share your ideas for the SNES Classic in the comments!
Generally a solid list. I was very fond of Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia. DK Country seems like it should be in the list as well. I thought Pilotwings was excellent, but I seem to be in the minority on this one. NBA Jam was a pretty big deal at the time, though licensing may be tough. SimCity is in the all-time game pantheon, but perhaps not on the SNES. The first console Madden game was on the SNES, though it was a much bigger deal on the Genesis (True of NBA Jam, too, and really most sports games come to think of it.) – also, there’s no need to reprise older games in that series. I might have picked Lemmings or The Lost Vikings as my puzzle game.
Leaving out Chrono Trigger is unforgivable, though. 😉
Great list, though I’d chose Final Fantasy III (VI) over II (IV).
If we are just throwing out games, I recently discovered Speedy Gonzales in Los Gatos Banditos and would like it in the collection. Cause a lot of people who had a Super Nintendo now have kids and this is a simple and easy to play platformer. I’ve been letting a five year old play it and she doesn’t even know who Speedy Gonzales is. It would never happen, but I’d like to see it.
Awesome list! Gets me all excited at the thought of it being a reality. Also making me want to get my own list together.
Maybe we should talk about it on your show?