Nintendo scored a huge nostalgic hit with the NES Classic. Adults couldn’t resist seeing another NES under the tree, this time a little smaller and cuter. Well, as cute as a grey and black boxy electronic relic from the ’80s can be.
The Japanese toy company’s hype skills were on full display, publicizing a shortage they were accused of creating, and recently discontinuing production just a few months after the Christmas.
An SNES Classic looked like a sure thing and rumors suggest the big N will roll one out this Holiday season.
Here’s the list of 30 I’d like to see, disregarding licensing and other boring issues that could prevent games from landing on the mini rom machine.
Super Mario World
The greatest launch game ever is still a joy to play today. It expanded the already perfect Mario 3 by letting players go back into levels to discover secrets, allowed the player to carry a back-up item, and debuted the charmingly useful Yoshi.
The first remaster?
This value cartridge included better-looking versions of Mario 1, 2, 3, and the Japanese Mario 2 deemed too difficult and samey for gamers outside of Japan. The ability to save on Worlds helped my younger self finally see the ending of Mario 2 and discover Bowser had taken the day off.
Super Mario RPG
A dream team of Nintendo and Squaresoft produced a charming and unbelievably playable RPG with engaging timing elements. Mario games were never long on story so it was a joy to interact with the gang in a deeper way.
Now could we get a new one with this battle system please?
Another dream team, this time featuring Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy), Yuji Horii (Dragon Quest) and artist Toriyama (Dragon Ball/Quest).
Arguably the greatest JRPG on the system (or ever), players traveled through time in an epic tale that culminated in one of multiple endings. This one also holds up for those that missed it the first time around.
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
What a punny name. The combat, exploration, and dungeons were razor-sharp. A grand adventure no one should miss. Check the first hour here if you have any questions.
Secret of Mana
With all of these great JRPGs, the SNES classic could provide the most hours/$ ever seen.
If your friends are bored with watching you play Chrono Trigger, Mana has the simultaneous play to bring you together.
Like many SNES games, Super Metroid took the original ground-breaking formula of its predecessor and shined it to a blinding polish. Gaming perfection.
Super Mario Kart
Kart racing games weren’t popular then and they aren’t popular now, which is strange considering how fun and popular this franchise is. The SNES version is the lone 2D console entry in the franchise and places the emphasis on racing, rather than wacky power-ups. No blue shell, no problems.
Donkey Kong Country 1, 2, and 3
I was 16, dating my first girlfriend, and at an older guy’s apartment party. Since this was such a cool environment, I was surprised to see a video game being played. I thought those were just for me and my nerdy friends! But here was a group of beautiful girls playing the mine cart level.
The futuristic look, fluid animation, and challenging platforming of all three deserve spots on this list.
(GTA III and Wii Sports were the next landmark games I’d see in the wild.)
Street fighter 2 Turbo
SF II took over the arcade and the home ports were must-haves. The SNES had six buttons and a fairly faithful port. I’d still rather play this than do the homework required to enjoy V.
I never got into this one, but the amount of praise showered in its direction earns it a spot. I’d want the opportunity to one day get to know it and see where things go.
Turtles in Time
Four player Arcade beat-em-ups and Ninja Turtles were hot commodities in the ’90s. Putting them together was as wonderful as pineapple on pizza. For a Hawaiian pizza lover like myself of course.
Super Castlevania 4
One I haven’t played, but I loved Symphony of the Night and listen to a few tunes from IV’s soundtrack while writing. I feel confident giving it a spot in this no-stakes article I’m writing.
Final Fantasy 2/4
The themes of redemption and cast put this one slightly ahead of 3/6 for me.
Final Fantasy 3/6
A grand tale that stretched the idea of story-telling on a 16-bit system. A legend.
Mortal Kombat 2
The first MK broke the mould, but the sequel tightened the controls and filled out the roster with great characters like Reptile, Kitana, Mileena and Baraka. A fighting game easy to pick up and difficult to memorize every Babality.
An RPG that pushed the boundaries of what RPGs did. It captured ’80s americana through a Japanese lens in the most compelling way.
Sure Sonic was faster than Mario, but the blue blur spent half his time running into walls. Nintendo could do speed as well as anyone when they wanted to.
Simple mechanics, tight controls, tough but fair challenge, and larger-than-life characters makes this sequel an endearing classic.
Competitive upside-down Tetris with combos and attacks. The formula saw an N64 release as Pokemon Puzzle League. I played hours of this with my mathematical genius cousin who could perform more combos than the game could count. He always won. I am not a genius.
Great mindless gameplay in case you have a fun, mindless friend. An easy-going, colorful version of Contra.
Actual polygons on an SNES blew our minds, but the engaging action kept us playing.
Mega Man X
After six NES titles, Capcom gleefully updated the blue bomber to 16-bit fidelity. New moves, grittier environments, and Zero reinvigorated the series.
‘C-c-c-c-c-c-c-combo Breaker!’ Was either incredibly satisfying or frustrating depending on who was breaking and who was combo-ing. Interesting characters and those long chains puts this one at #3 for SNES fighting games.
Final Fight 2
The sequel included the two-player co-op curiously absent from the first port. When you’ve pissed off your friend with KI combos, it’s nice to team up and bash some baddies.
While I much prefer the Genesis version, this one still had a great story and atmosphere. I love the Shadowrun universe’s combination of fantasy and cyber-punk and any adequate game exploring that is worth a look.
Check out Shadowrun: Dragonfall if you haven’t yet.
An unique blend of strategy and action I’d love to see make a return. Manage ammo, deal with dangerous enemies, and complete multi-layered missions in hostile environments. A hidden gem.
Like Tetris, Simcity should be on every system. Whether building a utopia or destroying one with disasters, this game keeps on giving.
If you SNES around my friend Kris, he will bring up this game. I’ve had no desire to play it, but I’d definitely want it on there in case he comes over
Licensing will make this one a tough sell, but I loved this version. It was fast, had all the modes you could want, and even a create-a-player. The only downfall for the SNES version was the broken spin-o-rama.
Super Baseball 2020
I’d want one baseball game on here and this is the most cyber-punk of the crop. Many love Ken Griffey’s pair (of SNES games), but I’d rather see robots.
Not a sexy choice at first glance, but when you’re gracefully floating to that smooth and groovy soundtrack, lover look out.
I dig both of these games and would have loved a Wii version with stupid gyro and motion controls, a Wii U tablet as the control panel, or a Switch port to give one more good launch title.
By the way, if you thought the Switch launch lineup was weak, remember the dark times of the N64 debuting with just Mario 64 and good ‘ol Pilotwings 64.
Now let’s get sexy.
When you get a console with 30 games at once, you’ll want quick nuggets of fun like this to dip your toes in with a friend and cleanse the palette. Arcade action with skill involved and big head mode.
One of the few good games I had on Sega CD though it did very little to take advantage of the medium. Jim felt like the alternative choice in a sea of platforming mascots. The move-set was interesting, the environments detailed and grotesque, the writing was actually funny, and I loved the animation on his gun. An underrated game.
Everyone likes this one but I’ve only played the NES version. I’ll take their word for it.
What did I miss?
Actraiser? Some other RPG? Maybe you think Zombies ate my Neighbors holds up (it doesn’t). Let me know what makes your SNES Classic list and what ones on my list should be kicked off the island.