It’s 25 years to the day that Nintendo’s SNES launched in the West – and it was a console chock full of classics
From iconic RPGs to beloved platformers, from arcade trailblazers to colourful racers.
Here are eleven exciting releases that lit up the childhoods of ’90s kids everywhere.
Street Fighter II
“Hadouken! Hadouken!” The king of 2D beat-em-ups was an absolute monster of memorable, must-play characters, distinctive colourful backdrops and eye-catching special moves and combos.
Whether you were a Ryu man or preferred giving your opponents a 100-hand slap, this was the kind of game made to be played with your ultra-competitive friends to see who got the final bragging rights. Everything about this game now screams iconic, from the catchy music to Chun-Li’s spinning helicopter kick.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
Diddy’s Kong Quest has since become a long standing favourite of speed runners, who like to use the game’s subtleties to race through it as fast as possible.
But back in the day the average gamer was presented with a more fast paced take on the platformer in this beefed up sequel, which saw the smaller – and much more agile – Diddy Kong take the starring role
Tetris is one of those rare timeless games that doesn’t really need any improvement. But this 1996 release introduced colour matching mechanics (an early influence on addictive puzzlers like Bejeweled years down the line) and multi-player action.
We’d love to be able to relive those heated exhanges after dumping a load of evil blocks on our opponent’s screen.
While Earthbound may not have sold incredibly well upon its intitial Western release, it certainly deserves to be remembered fondly.
On the surface a cutesy RPG, Earthbound actually hides scathing satire on American culture, an almost unnerving psychedelic premise, and its distinctive take on the RPG genre cements it as a cult classic.
Super Mario RPG
More fondly remembered for his platforming escapades (and hey, this won’t be the last time he appears on this list), the diminutive plumber has turned his hand to just about every genre under the sun.
The RPG is one of them, and Super Mario RPG remains an underated classic in the Nintendo mascot’s career
The Starfox series has seen its ups and downs (the N64’s Lylat Wars being an up, this year’s Star Fox Zero a derivative low), but the SNES was where it all began, and saw James McCloud, Falco, Slippy, and Peppy facing off against Andross in the first Nintendo game to feature 3D graphics.
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Kart is a must play for those who like split-screen, competitive racing.
Sure, the latest editions might have all the bells and whistles and fancy graphics, but the SNES original is still as near to perfect arcade racing as you’re going to get.
Plus, it’s the only Mario Kart game to not feature that pesky blue shell power up!
Super Mario World
The Italian plumber was back to what he does best in Super Mario World, which followed the near perfect Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES, yet still managed to build upon an almost flawless title.
You can rest assured that if it features “Mario” in the title, it’s probably a SNES game worth playing. But this is the icon’s best appearance on the console by miles.
Final Fantasy III
There are so many Final Fantasy titles floating about these days it’s hard to keep track, so going back to a time when you could count them all on one hand would be very welcome indeed.
Picking III over II will no doubt irk some fans – between whom a perennial argument over the best FF game takes place – but the third instalment looks and sounds great, and the item customization and battle mechanics are super intuitive.
Another title that was tasked with improving upon a predecessor so inch perfect Nintendo could’ve just called it quits right there and then (the imaculate Metroid on the NES literally part-invented the term “Metroidvania”).
Super Metroid once again sees Samus Aran return to exploring exotic, alien locales between battling the local alien population. And it’s brilliant.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Hands down one of the best games ever made, A Link to the Past proved just how deep video games could go.
With Nintendo’s trademark well-balanced enemies, bosses memorable for more than just being super hard, and a soundtrack to die for, this was something truly special.