20. It Looked Fab
|The Super NES deserves our worship. Read why|
Well, the Euro model did anyway. A pleasing mixture of smooth, sensual curves married with a fun and harmless toy-like feel, the Super NES was far less mechanical and industrial next to its peers of the early '90s, and proved simply perfect for kitten-like pawing.
The American model looked ghastly in comparison - purple, blocky and really rather hideous - also marking an ever rare moment where PALers didn't get shafted, anally no less, by Nintendo to boot. The happy times, as I like to think of them. Which shortly ended about five minutes later.
19. Super Mario All-Stars
|Flying through the air via big, flaccid racoon tail? Totally do-able on the SNES|
It wasn't enough that the big N invented a plethora of classic new franchises for this machine - ones that still live on to this very day with regular new incarnations - but they also brought along arguably the very best games from their previous system too. Bundled together, no less.
Via the Super Mario All-Stars compilation, you not only got the original and charming Super Mario Brothers in all its simplistic box nuttin' glory (sounds seedy, doesn't it?), but also the crazy off-the-wall sequel, the startlingly brilliant Super Mario 3, and even the previously unreleased "Lost Levels" collection too. Even cooler? All this shit had been remade to make use of the redonkulously ferocious power of Nintendo's new machine, meaning flat and dull backgrounds were now gorgeously rendered parallax vistas, characters had detail and personality they could never have dreamed of previously, and damn, that vintage SMB music was better than ever too.
The whole thing looked, and indeed sounded amazing, and arguably still does...which is a relief, seeing how often Nintendo have since whored these games out on every other system since.
18. Japanese RPGs
Not a huge
deal for me personally, but the SNES pretty much single handedly kick-started the relentless world-wide obsession with Eastern RPGs that still refuses to die 17 years on. Not only did it play host to a ton of games from none other than the big bad Final Fantasy saga itself, but also boasted a wealth of additional and much-loved titles that many similarly swear by, namely Breath of Fire, Secret of Evermore, Earthbound, Secret of Mana, Chronotrigger...hell, even good old Paper Mario was conceived here, via its great, great, grand-daddy Super Mario RPG.
Like your Final Fantasy XII? Dig your Enchanted Arm? Can't wait for Rogue Galaxy? Thank the SNES. Chances are you wouldn't be playing any of 'em without it.
17. The SuperScope
|Guess you had to be there|
Laugh all you will, but I for one loved the fucking thing. For those not in the know, the SuperScope was the Super NES' answer to the light gun. No simple hand cannon to shoot birds outta the sky with though, this thing was a full-blown bazooka! Literally. You held it on your shoulder, aimed via a side mounted sniper scope, and blew the fuck outta your TV as if an 8 year old Schwarzenegger reenacting Commando. Sod that though, I was all about holding it at waist level myself, mowing down bad guys like an AK-wielding Iraqi insurgent.
Sure, there weren't a ton of games released for the thing at the end of the day (Mole Patrol!), and those too cool for school simply pointed and laughed. But us true believers? Aka those blessed with rich parents? We had the last laugh. The SuperScope rocked. Hard.
16. Pilot Wings
Nintendo's early experiment into the world of (fake) 3D hasn't aged particularly well - hence the lack of screens - and these days could barely be considered a game in all honesty, but at the time? Holy fucking shit, this was the absolute nuts.
A flying sim for kids, essentially, your goal was to sore through the sky as everything from a hang glider trying to make it through floating rings, to a sky diver trying to land without going splat. It harnessed the Super NES' crazy new "Mode 7" graphics to render and distort truly massive environments though, fooling your eyes into thinking you were actually there
, when in reality, it was actually little more than zooming in and out of flat 2D landscapes.
As an innocent young jail-bait whippersnapper, you had no idea about such things though. For all you could tell, it was real. It was amazing. It was fucking Pilot Wings, bitch. Just don't play it these days if you value your childhood memories.
15. The Sound Chip
The Super NES' audio capabilities were flat-out insane, totally incomparable with any other home-grown system at the time. In fact, many still look back upon its sound chip as the very best ever seen, with those oh so specific chimes and bllllings just all-but impossible to emulate these days. Try as Nintendo might, subsequent systems just never quite matched up.
This extended to the music, of course, which had a depth and a style to it just leaps and bounds over the bleeps and boings normally associated with gaming at the time, and about as close as you could get to full blown CD quality tunes in them there days. If that wasn't enough, the console's enhanced CPU power (a whopping great 3.58mhz) and its ludicrously insane wad of memory (128k!) made it one of the first to boast extensive use of proper voice sampling too.
Dying in Alien 3 for the first time to hear Hudson yell "Game over man!" was enough to melt pre-pubic hearts.
14. Mortal Kombat
|Way cooler than the vast array of lame censored finishing moves was simply hearing Scorpion yell "Come 'ere!"|
One of the earliest victims of video gaming violence/censorship hysteria, Mortal Kombat marked both a high point and a low point for Nintendo's 16-bit age. On the one hand, they opted to remove all blood from the game...ironically ripping out the very heart of what made Kombat so memorable in the first place. Instead, character's emitted "sweat" when you upper-cutted 'em off bridges, and Sub-Zero's infamous spine removal finisher become a lame ice blast freeze-'n'-shatter. Worst of the bunch was Kano's ramming his hand into his opponent's chest, then pulling out their ominous grey "soul". Uh huh.
Strangely though, with all that hilarious violence removed, Kombat was forced to rely almost exclusively on good old fashioned gameplay instead, and as a result? I became mildly obsessed with it. Believe it or not, a fab 2D beat 'em up was buried deep down beneath all that splodgy red paint. Matches were fast, skillful and satisfying, while blocking and specials proved pleasing and deep enough to give it some surprising tactical value as well.
The Megadrive muppets laughed at us with our sweat covered Rayden merely electrocuting dudes instead of blowing their heads apart - while they enjoyed full-blown violence and decapitations as the Mortal Kombat gods intended - but you know what? At least our version was playable. Twats.
|The Mute City music still makes hairs stand up on the back of my neck|
A futuristic racer that boasted the most insane jolts of adrenaline and sheer sense of speed ever seen, any who played F-Zero for one mere second fell instantly in love.
For me though, pace, excitement and good old gameplay took a distinct second place to just the sheer style of the thing. Taking those aforementioned Mode 7 capabilities to the next level, F-Zero was stunning to behold. The courses - set high above everything from Blade-Runner style metropolises to massive desert canyons - were truly epic in every sense of the word. It may look blocky, low-rez, if not down-right ugly these days, but back then, this was the future. Hitting a jump at the wrong angle and going hurtling over the edge into the great abyss thousands of miles below genuinely made ya spray mud outta ya nether-cheeks.
It didn't hurt that the sucker had officially the
best music ever heard in a game either, hinting back once again to the aforementioned killer sound capabilities of this demented beast of a machine. No F-Zero since has touched it.
Here's a wee little bundle of joy most probably never touched, but one that unquestionably marked a genuine highpoint from all games of the pre-CD-ROM console era. Actraiser was beautiful, inventive and incredibly rich, in a way seldom seen these days, let alone in 19-bleedin'-93.
|Actraiser enjoyed a SNES sequel too, one I neglected to pick up I'm sad to say|
A great grandfather of sorts to Black & White, you played a god here, watching over your typical medieval fantasy land while seeing to the well-being of its people, but you did this through a variety of different ways. On the face of it, it was any old god game, one where villager's needs had to be met and peace constantly maintained as you'd expect. Yet while tending to structures, building houses and leveling forests for the growth of civilization took precedence, evil flying meanies would continually rain down havoc upon your towns simultaneously, resulting in a constant need to shoot the fuckers outta the sky with your cupid-like bow 'n' arrow wielding avatar. As a result, Actraiser became the first - and indeed last - god-game-slash-vertical-shooter ever. T'was an ingenious way of intertwining proper action into an otherwise somewhat slow and laborious genre, and made the hours simply fly by.
But wait. That was barely half the game, as particularly nasty monsters and lairs could only be destroyed by actually travelling down to Earth yourself, taking over a full blown human body, and kicking arse mano a mano. Just like that? The game became a side scrolling beat 'em up, with your sword-wilding Barbarian hero smackin' arse and raping bosses like a crazed Conan wanna-be.
It was truly inspired stuff, full of variety and invention, with no doubt its baseline premise of melding a ton
of these different genres together so successfully proving a blue-print for future genre-benders for generations to come. As a bonus, it too also had the best music ever.
11. Prince of Persia
|It's sure nice to look back on a franchise from so many moons back that hasn't since shat all over itself with each subsequent incarnation...|
Quite simply, the Super NES boasted the best rendition of the Prince ever. Forget the original PC game. Forget your zillions of ports and sequels. Hell, forget even the recent 3D re-imaginings. Nope, this was the one. Quite simply, it's the most atmospheric game ever made.
A ludicrously enhanced take on the PC title, SNES Prince was not only twice as long as its originator, but also came totally revamped from top to bottom to harness true next-gen sound and visuals too. The Prince himself looked better than ever, animated and detailed enough as to pass for real in those days, but it was the levels themselves that saw the true fruits of the upgrade. Not content with mere character-less corridors and non-descript platforms here, now we had beautifully extravagant palace interiors and stunningly epic caverns and dungeons to behold. Exploring its every nook and cranny took on a whole other level as a result, one bulking up and adding immeasurably to the otherwise somewhat simplistic trial and error puzzle-based gameplay at its core. Dear god, I got lost in this game for months as a kid, and I still whack it on to this very day.
Many will cite Flashback and even Another World as the classics of both this genre and system, but as ace as those games indeed were...Prince was the one for me. I believe it also had the best damn music ever.
10. Multiplayer Gaming
|Now if Microsoft had ported this version to Live, I'd be 400 points lighter right now|
All the way back to the Atari 2600, home systems have boasted multiplayer of some form, but I'd argue the SNES was the one to truly sculpt it into the work of sheer brilliance it always deserved. From co-op games on Contra III to edge of the seat rivalries with your best mate in NBA Jam, gaming suddenly sprung to life in a whole new way as a result. Clearly, this was the future of not just consoles, but video gaming as a whole.
Killer Instinct, Zombies ate My Neighbors, Sunset Riders, Smash TV, Turtles in Time...not to mention all the others mentioned on this here list that I'll resist spoiling for now, all proved alarmingly fun and hysterical with a pal by your side...but it didn't end there. A copy of Super Bomberman with the oh so sexy Super Multi-tap adapter provided instant 4-player craziness in your very own living room. And you know what? The world would never be the same again.
The SNES brought multiplayer games to my life with that in mind, and for that I'm eternally grateful.
9. Super Tennis
There's no better example of that than good old Super Tennis in fact. Make no mistake, Wii Sports exists solely due to this game.
As an early launch window title that experimented with taking simple, every day games, then sprucing 'em up and rebranding them as home-grown Nintendo titles, Tennis revamped an arguably somewhat dull and lifeless concept into one so full of character, charm, and sheer fun I'd even go as far as saying it was one of the flat-out best games on the system.
Needless to say, when playing with your pals - either on the same team against the CPU, or in cut-throat versus matches to the death - it took on a whole other life of its own. Simply amazing scenes, that are still a blast here in 2007.
8. Super Mario Kart
|Old skool Mario Karters will back me up...Toad was the fuckin' pimp|
As far as multiplayer titles go, I think few would argue this was the pinnacle of the system though...if not gaming full stop. The original Super Mario Kart was so god-damn freakin' mind-blowing in fact, one could argue that even in spite of endless sequels and rip-offs from over the years, it took until last year's oh-so-brilliant DS rendition to finally better the mofo. Over a decade later.
Of course, with Crash Bandicoot, Star Wars, Diddy Kong, and hell, even Mortal Kombat all jumping on the cutesy go-karting spin-off bandwagon in more recent times, the concept as a whole has dropped to depressingly lame at this point...yet all it takes is one single lap on Mario Circuit 1 to remember just why we all fell in love with it in the first place. Pure, adulterated fun at its very best.
I love you, Mario Kart.
7. Sim City
What the hell? What's this doing here? Fuck you. Play it. You'll see.
|So good. You don't even know|
Sim City marked another fab Nintendo-ization of an otherwise kinda stagnant and bland game. Don't get me wrong, I was a big Sim City PC guy, but what Maxis did for its console port is deserving of felating.
You still had your residential, commercial and industrial zones to build. You still had to contend with power supplies, traffic, and mass transit systems. You even had earthquakes, fires and Godzillas running rampant all over your beloved city. But the whole thing had been blessed with personality
at last. There was a nutty professor guiding you through the game, your citizens regularly blessed you with gifts, Godzilla was replaced with Bowser, and...it just finally had genuine character. More than anything, the sound once again rocked, making Sim City boast quite possibly, the best music ever.
For those who missed out on it first time around, the sucker was quite rightly one of the first SNES games to see its way onto Nintendo's new Virtual Console service, and as a result, needs a purchase right now
from each and every person reading this. Well...get a move on, cockgobbler.
|I could write a whole frickin' essay on this one. I did, in fact|
I mentioned the amazing breadth of Japanese RPGs the SNES played host to earlier, but far more deserving of love in my book was the very American, very futuristic RPG offering known as Shadowrun.
I already delved deep into what made this sucker so wondrous
back in 2004, so give that a read if you haven't yet, but basically...this was Deus Ex before the mother fucker was even a spunk in its daddy's sex gland.
Undoubtedly one of the finest RPGs ever made then, I still lay awake at night crying over Microsoft's decision to turn it into a friggin' online FPS for its upcoming and much-awaited follow-up. Ugh.
5. The Controller
|All you could ever need from a thin plastic strip of buttons|
Chatting about the glorious nature of each and every one of these different games and genres, it's easy to forget just what made them so much fun in the first place. Yep, that freakin' control pad. The balls to chuck positively tons
of buttons onto a controller next to the comparatively few seen on all systems previously is quite possibly the single most important gift the Super NES ever gave to the world of gaming in fact. Without it, you wouldn't have your Xbox pad, your Wavebird...even your Sixaxis (although some might cheer such a concept). Quite simply, it influenced video gaming forever.
The fact the SNES pad also proved ever so comfy to hold, looked amazing, and boasted the
best D-pad ever didn't hurt either. Wisely Nintendo trademarked the cross style D-pad design itself, resulting in minor alterations on all other pads ever since as to avoid copyright infringements, none of which have thus ever quite matched up to Nintendo's.
More than anything though? It was all about them triggers. So clicky, they were. Without 'em? Console shooters would nay exist.
4. Super Street Fighter II
|Going back to the old SNES version after suffering with the 360 pad in recent months is like switching god mode on|
The perfect test for that controller in fact, turned out to be this game. What could have been a disastrous home-port of the arcade classic surprised pretty much the entire world as a result, in a pixel-perfect reproduction that might well have been the single, defining title that signified the beginning of the end for arcades as a whole.
I mean hell, now you could get that same hardcore experience in your very own home, and it didn't cost you 20p a go either. Fuck putting on clothes and leaving the house.
Street Fighter II really took console gaming up a notch with that in mind; clearly we were now entering a whole new age. Graphics were arcade-quality, sound was phenomenal, and you had the first real glimpse into just what these machines were gonna be capable of in the coming years. As ace it was, mind, its later Turbo remix is the one I truly
Incidentally I remember paying a whopping great ?75 for this mother fucker back on import, which back in those days...was about 500 zillion dollars
3. Star Fox
If the laundry list of accomplishments listed above weren't enough, Nintendo managed to dabble in the world of true 3D merely a year or two into the Super NES' life as well. Although blessed with zilch in the way of polygonal capabilities outta the box, the brilliance of those age-old cartridges meant additional new hardware could be thrown in on a game-by-game basis you see, and as a result, the Super FX graphics chip was born.
I guess what one could only compare to perhaps buying a new PC game and having it come with its own built-in 3D card, the Super FX imbued the SNES with incredible new extra-dimensional capabilities. Now it could render full 3D models and even entire games with startling beauty and crispness.
|Star Fox 64? Not bad. The rest stink though, and even that pales next to this true beast of a game. Love it|
Star Fox proved the first such title to make use of it, and seeing it for the first time was to behold a sight unlike any other. I remember wondering oh so innocently into Game one Saturday afternoon in fact, where it adorned a humungous TV along their rear wall...and simply stopping dead in my tracks. Wow. These were actual
spaceships. Those were real
buildings. You could look around and see an entire freakin' city
. One could say it practically set every other SNES game back an entire generation by comparison.
Of course, it didn't hurt that Star Fox itself - or Star Wing as us Euros called it - was a dynamite game in its own right. A genuine, epic space opera brought to video gaming for the first time, almost like the Star Wars game we'd always dreamed of, yet with a whole new zany, Japanese twist. Crazy talking animals and insanely brilliant gibberish speech brought it all to life particularly well, the latter being a feature in fact, that I wish the subsequent sequels hadn't all shit-canned ("MY EMPEROR! I'VE FAILED YOU!!").
To be honest, it's almost strange how successfully Nintendo captured that exquisite, galaxy hopping sci-fi atmosphere compared to how disgracefully they since fumbled it in all subsequent sequels and systems that followed. Between blazing through asteroid fields, skimming along planet surfaces, and weaving in-between massive space armadas along the edge of space, it left your jaw-gaping wide open as if ready to devour only the most monstrous of cocks.
There was a Star Fox 2 incidentally, but it ended up cancelled towards the end of development, with its better ideas set aside for use in the upcoming Star Fox 64 that took its place. Leaked screens and even half-finished roms of that game litter the internet though if inclined to check out such things, but I'd almost rather not myself. No doubt it'll just gimme a lump in the old throat over what could have been...as opposed to what this series has instead since become
I have to mention incidentally, that this game has the best music ever.
2. The Legend of Zelda - A Link to the Past
|Popping this on to nab a quick screeny earlier, I ended up playing it for two hours|
We're rapidly approaching some of the very best damn video games ever made. I think few would argue with me in fact, that A Link to the Past deserves a spot in the hall of fame next to any other classic on any other system that you'd ever care to mention. As I blabbed
about just recently, none of its relentless follow-ups - as highly praised as they all were by pretty much the entire world at large - have ever really knocked it off that top perch for me. It's just an ever so rare marriage of sheer perfection right across the board.
100% perfectly paced gameplay. Cartoony, yet faultless graphics that still stand up to this day. And the music? Quite simply...the best ever heard.
Timeless moments. So many of them in this game. Waking up to Zelda's cries of pain. Grabbing that lantern and setting off into the rainy night. The death of your uncle before your very eyes. Taking his sword in your hands. Your first spin attack. Beating your first boss. Nabbing the Pegasus boots. Battling Gannon. Saving Zelda. Perfect snapshots from a perfect game. It's about as close to an illustrious "10" as you'll ever see.
So good, I'm typing this one-handed.
1. Super Mario World
Pipping Zelda to the post by all but a hint of a fart though is, understandably, good old Mario himself. Don't feel bad Link old buddy...it's only the best damn console game ever made however.
No I'm serious. It is. I can prove it. Quite easily, in fact.
Just play it.
Super Mario World truly revolutionized what to expect from a video game. No simple platformer like its predecessors, what Nintendo admirably nailed so spectacularly well this time around was the concept of having a huge, gargantuan, and truly enormous world
to explore. Split into literally dozens of different areas - including underground caverns, glorious forests, and lava filled dungeons plucked straight outta hell - Mario felt truly unleashed
|This is the game.|
It just flat-out is
Yeah, you still had linear levels to complete, a central goal to accomplish, and a very clear - if ludicrously long - straight path with which to get there, but you were also free to splinter off and explore to your heart's content if you so wished. And my god, the game sure as hell rewarded you if you did.
The sheer volume of secret passages, hidden levels, even entire unlockable worlds was so ludicrously alien and new, I honestly didn't know half this shit was even in there 'til years later. I worshiped this game back in its day, and truly played it to god damn death, but it took a more recent replay via its GBA port - one in which a far older and more experienced Diggler was able to revisit it with a fresh outlook - to really explore and uncover just how friggin' much sheer game
there is in fact. That's a true sign of a title made ahead of its time. It's enormous. It's daunting. It's epic. 96 freakin' levels so.
Of course, Mario 64 went on to define 3D gaming years later, and is thus the one many look back on as the more pivotal and revolutionary title...but make no mistake. The blue-print was forged here. The underlying concept, the wealth of content...heck, just the pure vision alone? All in this game. 64 simply made it 3D.
Super Mario World is the single golden oldie video game of our time that I'd say holds up just as well today as the day it was released then...if not more so. To replay it again here in the new millennium is to see it instantly spring to the top of your fave games of all-time, and then some. Not only was it the single title to make the Super NES the most important and downright greatest machine of all time - regardless of the wealth of classics mentioned above - but that this mother fucker also came out on day one
of the system's life? Wow. Just...wow. What a stark and alien concept next to more recent console launches.
SEGA were cool. I love my 360. And I truly hope Sony aren't destined for death like so many. Ya know what though? Compiling this list, I've come to the conclusion that deep, deep down...ignoring swishy next-gen graphics and HD-TVs...with age and "wisdom" and jaded cynicism set aside...I'll always be a Nintendo guy above all else. Do a barrel roll!