Today marks FIVE years since the day I got BACK into all things Super Nintendo. I'm definitely feeling nostalgic and would like to take this opportunity to not only reminisce about this glorious day but also to share a brief history of my SNES saga, the crazy comeback year that was 2006, the birth of RVGFANATIC in January 2007, and, finally, pontificate on why I love the SNES very much. There are several reasons for this, but first, let us start at the very BEGINNING
My brother and I had a Super Nintendo back in the day. We amassed around 15-18 games for it from the years 1992-1997. I absolutely loved the bloody thing and it took everything awesome about the 8-bit NES and cranked it up by 100. I remember renting SNES games fondly, playing with and against our (neighborhood) friends, eagerly anticipating the next hot arcade translation. Simply put, it was a GREAT time to be an eight to 12 year old boy or so. You had been weaned on the NES as a four to seven year old, in complete awe of this concept known as video games and then you were lucky enough to go through the 16-bit boom STILL young enough to be amazed by it all in that child-like way, yet JUST old enough to truly appreciate it for all that it was worth. You bet your ass it was a grand ol' time! I feel so blessed to have grown up when I did: as I grew up, so too did video games. I cannot imagine being born in say, '99, and growing up on PS2 and Xbox. The late '80s to early-mid '90s was just a terrific time to be a robust boy growing up in suburban America. And man, I don't know if two kids loved their Super Nintendo more than my brother and I did. We BREATHED it. We SLEPT it. We LIVED and LOVED it
But, as it is with these things and life, my bro and I eventually moved on. The system was finally donated to our younger cousin, David, circa 1998 or '99 (yes, same cousin from BUON COMPLEANNO!). My brother moved onto the PlayStation in the late '90s, and aside from a few select titles, I really didn't give much of a care for the PSX. I was a disenchanted young teenage gamer... secretly longing for the glory days of 8 and 16-bit, but specifically, the wonder years of my favorite system ever, the SNES
In 1999, I ventured onto planet Sega Saturn. But it was 2001 that really started the all-out Saturn craze for me. As detailed in my SEGA Saturn SAGA, I would go on to acquire about 350 games between the years 2001-2005. I remember scratching off my very last want in the late summer of '05. I had dearly cherished my Saturn, and didn't hesitate to call it number one all-time, bumping even YES, the Super Nintendo
On January 15, 2005, I found myself at the Game Crazy by my childhood home. Some dude was playing Super Mario World on the SNES and I vividly remember standing there, watching him play. It was this very screenshot here that he was playing at. I thought to myself, "Hmm, should I buy an SNES?"
Later that night I made a post on a video game forum asking for opinions. Here's what I wrote:
And the seed was planted...
I kinda want one, and there's one available at Game Crazy, but a part of me is like, "Save all that money and use it on something else"
I dunno. I guess I'm just asking for stories and/or a list of your favorite SNES games. If I get one I'm sure I'd buy a lot of games but I already have a lot of (largely) unplayed video games sitting around the house that I "swear one day I'll get to"
Sure it'd be nice to own games like Super Mario World, Mario All-Stars, Ken Griffey Baseball, Contra III, Super Metroid and whatnot, but will I have time to play these games? I'm not sure
I was standing there at Game Crazy pondering the thought today, but I just couldn't bring myself to buy one for $29.99
I ended up not getting it after all. My girlfriend at the time convinced me it just wasn't worth it. So I carried on, sans SNES, and concentrated on finishing my Sega Saturn collection in 2005
Then, a funny thing happened. My Saturn passion gradually died out. In late 2005 I found myself playing it less and less, but even more telling, my heart was no longer in it. This shocked no one more than myself, who everyone online knew as "THE SATURN GUY." If there was a Saturn bus or train, I was definitely riding somewhere in the front. I never imagined I would one day lose my passion for this system, but sure enough, it happened in late 2005. Had I exhausted the Saturn library for all it was worth?
FALL 2005 SEMESTER
That semester in college I saw a high school dream of mine come true: I was casted in a University play. It was the thrill of my collegiate career. Acting on stage in front of a live audience was something I dreamed about since freshman year in high school. It was a great semester, one in which I have many fond memories of, and before I knew it, it was December 2005...
Their applause that fine evening will live on forever in my soul :)
Riding the HUGE wave of momentum and a renewed sense of self-confidence, during my winter break that year I drove three hours to audition for an independent movie. It had been a childhood dream of mine to one day be in the movies. I was casted two days after my audition. I remember that time well. It was exciting and the possibilities seemed endless. It was a time of big dreams coming true. Life couldn't be better...
I was driving all over town like a MAD MAN just to audition
Those loooong University winter breaks does things to a man. Just a lot of time to kill. During this time my cousins David and Mia came over a lot, and I found myself playing with them and my brother in some 10-player Saturn Bomberman. It was the four of us against the six computer opponents. It was a blast, pardon the pun. By this time I hadn't played Saturn in a few months, what with my crazy rehearsal schedule, my independent movie and also, of course, like I said, my ZING for the system just dissipated. That's not to say I no longer liked it... I still like Saturn to this very day, but something was *different.* The four-year-honeymoon was finally over. But all those 10-player Saturn Bomberman sessions definitely got me into the mood to dig back into my Saturn library
After my cousins left, I had an urge to play a platforming game. I looked at my Saturn library and saw some choices: Tryrush Deppy, Keio Yugekitai, Steamgear Mash, Willy Wombat and so on. Yet oddly, none of them met my need for a pure old-school traditional hop 'n bop. I suddenly realized that's what I was longing/craving for, and instantaneously, an old friend came to mind...
I still had about three weeks until the Spring semester would begin. I started pondering (again) about whether I should buy a Super Nintendo or not. I had my doubts: was it worth it? P'haps this was all just a nostalgic trip best kept to my memories. Then, FATE decided to intervene...
Tuesday night, January 17, 2006. Having finished dinner, I logged onto eBay. Just for fun, I typed in "SNES." And the VERY FIRST item I saw ending soonest... was Power Moves. I couldn't believe it. And it was ending in 38 seconds! I didn't even have the system yet but I knew this was no coincidence. The very first import game I ever rented back in the day... would become the very first game purchase in my SNES resurrection period. How fitting eh? I remember feeling like an innocent, wide-eyed ten-year-old all over again. Had I really just bought my first SNES game in nearly TEN years? Am I really coming back to the system that I adored the most during my sweet childhood years? YES and YES! The joyful memories were flooding back...
I didn't have too long to just sit there and get all mushy. Clicking on the seller's other items, I also bidded on and won Prehistorik Man, Ignition Factor and Fatal Fury Special all within the next ten minutes. Now I was really shaking and had ample time to get mushy! I went from zero SNES games one minute, to now having four of them within the next ten! Furthermore, I had *always* wanted to play Prehistorik Man back in the '90s, but never got around to doing so. I was a huge fan of SNES Fatal Fury 2, and so I was also always curious about how Fatal Fury Special played. Ignition Factor I'd never much noticed back then, but it looked cool enough for me to buy. The next day, I bought childhood favorite Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball, Mega Man X, Plok!, NHL '98 and Sky Blazer. Not one to stop there, two days later was back at it again when I purchased NBA Give 'N Go, Super Turrican, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Super Tennis and Kirby's Avalanche. It was all a mix of childhood favorites, games I missed out on, or games I always was curious about but never got to play. It was an exciting time with SO MANY wants, left-and-right buying and building up my brand new SNES library. But wait a second here... there was one SLIGHT problem you see... I didn't buy the system itself yet! Immediately following my purchase of Kirby's Avalanche, I found a friend online who sold me the system with one controller and all hook-up's for $39. He also had over 20 (!) games I was interested in, so it became a bulk buy of epic proportions. The final damage was $192 paypal, and YOU DAMN RIGHT it was worth every last dime ^_^
What started out as "Should I or shouldn't I......" ended up in one simple impulse buy (Power Moves) which opened up the flood gates completely. In three short days I went from no SNES games and no SNES system to having not only the system but also 38 (!!) games. There was no turning back now... a monster was created
MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2006
I remember this fateful rainy Monday afternoon quite well. It was around 12:45 and I was sitting at home waiting for my big SNES package (hopefully) as well as my Advanced Acting class at 1:30. I'll never forget the sight of the UPS man carrying this huge box to my door through the whipping rain. Not expecting any other package, I knew this was it. My baby has finally returned home! It's a memory forever burned in my soul. The raindrops shattered against my window, looking like melting silverware. I had 45 SNES games waiting in the wings to be played, and now, after a good seven or eight years, I finally had a Super Nintendo again. Alas, with class beginning in less than an hour, I had no time to delve in. Oh how badly I wanted to just stay home and have one major binge SNES session. Reasoning got the better of me when I decided if I had already waited this long, then surely a couple more hours wouldn't kill me, right?
Sadly I didn't think enough then to take a picture of the actual content inside that box on that dark, rainy Monday afternoon. It looked something like this though, which was another big SNES package I would buy later on. After my acting class ended at 4 PM, I decided to hit a local Game Crazy. I ended up buying six more, so when I finally came home later that evening, I had a choice of 51 (!!) games to choose from! In less than two weeks I had bought 51 SNES games, holy crap. Can you guess the first game I played that night? Of course, Power Moves. It was only fitting. I recall watching the first segment of Monday Night RAW (an in-ring confrontation between Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon) before switching it off and powering on my brand new SNES... man what a great time it was! I still recall it vividly as though it only happened yesterday... For the first time in seven or eight years, I was rockin' SNES again
As Power Moves loaded, I was nearly shaking in anticipation and pure joy. Part of me felt like I had stepped inside a time machine and gone back some 14 years to 1992. I had a blast replaying my first import game rental ever, reliving the memories and remembering all the little details of the game. Although it's not the greatest title around, I didn't care. I was playing the SNES again! After beating the game, I stepped back into 2006 and finished watching the rest of Monday Night Raw (Edge defeated John Cena by DQ in the main event)
With 51 games, I needed a place to store them all. I had found this awesome cabinet that seemed as though it was specifically crafted to hold your SNES games. It was a perfect fit. Let's open it now and see what's inside, shall we? DRUM ROLL PLEASE...
See what a perfect fit it is! They might as well have called this the "SNES Cabinet." Unfortunately, when I went back to Wal-Mart to buy more, they were out of stock and this cabinet was discontinued. Still, I was very grateful I got my hands on at least one. To this day, the library inside is stacked much the same as it was in early 2006. Call me an old sentimental (and even impractical) git, but I have other places to store my other games. It's nice every time I open this cabinet, I am saturated with feelings from those early 2006 days. This might even sound weird but even the smell has been contained in the cabinet. Opening it gives me a whiff of January and February 2006... the beginning of my SNES resurrection. Ah, look at that CIB Killer Instinct there, complete with the Killer Kuts album, ha!
Best SNES cabinet ever? I like to think so, anyhow ^_^
It fits perfectly, nice and snug. Love the simple classy design of it too!
Hmmm, which game shall I play tonight? Ahh, choices ^_^
Monday, January 30, 2006 was another SWEET day indeed. It was a dark and rainy afternoon when my SNES package arrived, and still raining by nightfall when I rolled by the Game Crazy in my old hometown to pick up six more games
JUST ANOTHER MANIC MONDAY...
Indeed, January 30, 2006 was one for the record books ^_^
The games kept coming. I was a BEAST in those days, I tells ya. I was buying SNES games left and right like there was no tomorrow. It wasn't uncommon for me to receive six, even seven packages in the same day, and my mail lady soon thought I was crazy. She was right, too. I was SNES-crazy! Being able to buy ALL the games I always wanted to 12-15 years ago but never could -- was the thrill of my gaming career
I guess I had gone from "The Saturn Guy" to "The SNES Guy" =P
It really was an insane time. Every day a package or five arrived, it seemed. I bought over 50 games in my first two weeks. I bought nearly 200 (!) games within the first 40 days of my resurrection. Finally in July 2006, I bought my last SNES want, marking 400 games purchased in the span of just a little over six months. Yes, I was completely mad. It helped a lot that during this time I sold over 100 of my Saturn games and had over $450 paypal with which to wheel and deal with. It was a time like no other, and I never had more fun with video games before in my lifetime. Everywhere I looked, there was another want. Seconds later, that want would be crossed off my list. I recall compiling a list of about 400 wants, and within six months, pretty much every single last one was crossed off. You would think at the rate I was going I would burn out. But for me it felt really good to get my wants out of the way, be out of that 'rat race' so to speak, and instead of worrying about acquiring games X and Y, to instead be enjoying games X and Y
JANUARY 7, 2007
Ten days away from my first year anniversary of my SNES revival period, another (improbable) dream of mine came true when RVGFANATIC was thrust into the world wide web. Ten days ago, I celebrated four years that the site opened. Today I celebrate five years since I got back into all things SNES. My first SNES review on this site was on January 17, 2007 -- the one year anniversary of my SNES rebirth. The first review was, of course, Power Moves. Not only was it my first import rental ever back in good ol' 1992, not only was it the first game I bought in my resurrection period, but it was also the first game I would review on my site on the glorious first year anniversary of my SNES rebirth. As you can see, the passion still burns. In an age and era where so many game sites die out, due to either a lack of direction, a loss of interest, or both, I can safely say my passion for SNES is still as high today as it was on January 17, 2006. And although I went through 2009 with few updates and none on the SNES review side, 2010 saw a comeback of such, and as you can see, 2011 is primed to be a big year. For some people their hobby passion is football, cars, or model airplanes. For me, it's the Super Nintendo. I still get giddy like a little ten-year-old kid whenever I think about its amazing library, or pick up a game for the first time that I've yet to play, but had always wanted to 15-18 years ago. Nothing gets me excited online quite like a smashin' SNES discussion topic. Man, five years ago today. Time flies. When I sit and think about why I love the SNES so much, I came up with a few fundamental reasons. There are basically two principles, with many components for the latter. I love the SNES because of:
Its amazing library, best ever in my book, that I've classified in three categories
REASON 1: NOSTALGIA FACTOR / MEMORIES
I would be lying if I didn't say nostalgia/memories played a role in why my passion for the SNES burns so brightly. There is something to be said about the gaming system that you most loved and adored growing up. It's the memories you share with your brother, your little cousins, your best friend. It was the backdrop of your childhood. While I had my huge crush going on with Jennifer, my own version of "Winnie Cooper" growing up, there in the background I was playing Fighter's Historywith my best friend Nelly.
Speaking of which, the thrill of playing the latest arcade fighter at the mall was matched only by the excitement of awaiting the inevitable Super Nintendo translation. It's just one more reason why I love this system so much. It had golden games in the golden era of my youth
There were so many arcade games I couldn't wait to play on SNES
However, memories and nostalgia can only go so far. If you don't actually enjoy the product still to this day, then it's just nothing but old memories of a life long ago. Let's say you loved playing baseball as a youth, and taking the field brings you back to that innocent era. But if you don't enjoy playing baseball today, then what good is it other than a fond stroll down memory lane? That's why sometimes old cartoons are better left alone -- they're tough to stomach today whereas in your youth you marvelled at every episode that came across your TV. It'd be sad if nostalgia was the only reason to play these games. Thankfully, I find many hold up well to this day, and I still enjoy them today as much as I did 15 years ago. I wouldn't play them still if I didn't find them fun. Like fine wine, so many of them have aged so well. For me, these are simply timeless games on a timeless system RIDE THE WAVE, BABY!
REASON 2: AMAZING GAME LIBRARY
The SNES has the best library ever, for my money. I classify SNES games in three categories, but first I want to speak about their "great gameplay combined with great graphics"
Not too many games look AND play better than DEMON'S CREST
So many of the SNES games to this day are still very much playable and enjoyable. Don't get me wrong with the NES, and I'm not saying the SNES doesn't have its fair share of stinkers, but SO many SNES games are at least enjoyable to some degree in my opinion. They also feature pretty damn cool graphics, while most NES games may have great gameplay, but not that great of visuals. Of course, graphics aren't everything, but it's nice that to me the 16-bit SNES is virtually the "perfect" combination of fantastic gameplay and "great" graphics -- it was the best of both worlds. The graphics weren't too primitive, nor were they too advanced to the point where it took away the 'fantasy' aspect of video games. It really *IS* the SUPER Nintendo!
SNES at its finest: Blissful union between graphics and gameplay
My three main classifications of SNES games:
THE (CORE) CLASSICS
The big boys, the heavy hitters, triple-A games, whatever you want to call them, they've received those claims for good reason. They are the cornerstone of the SNES library. Almost everyone loves them, and most certainly, everyone knows them. They are the tried and true classics that legions of gamers have fallen in love with over the years. Now truth be told, growing up I didn't play too many of the classics. I was always the guy who rooted for the underdog titles, for better or worse. Now being older and less stubborn, this wasn't just an SNES revival for me... it was also a chance at redemption. Finally I have played classics I missed out on back in the day such as Super Metroid, Super Castlevania IV, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and so on. What a blast it has been going through these games for the first time! They're the so-called "BIG BOYS" for a good reason!
A lot of these AAA titles I was playing for the first time EVER. So to me they were like brand new games. And although I have my favorites among them, so far at least, I can honestly say I've enjoyed every single "classic" game I've played. None have disappointed me. I'm always amazed by their simple yet very addicting gameplay. Need me to list more? OK: Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III, Street Fighter II Turbo, Mega Man X, Super Punch-Out!!, Yoshi's Island, Contra III: The Alien Wars and so much more. Whew. That's a lot of classic games. They alone warrant having a Super Nintendo. I can see why so many love these games, because I've come to love them myself. Of course, there's a lot more to the SNES than just the classics, you also have... MEGAMAN was just one of many NES icons to be revitalized!
UNDERRATED / OVERLOOKED / HIDDEN GEMS
The SNES library is so diverse -- there's a little something for everyone. In addition to everyone's favorite classics, you have your lesser talked about gems that more and more gamers are discovering as the years go on. These games flew under the radar back in the mid-'90s, but are now revered in some circles and certainly receiving the props they should have enjoyed 15 years ago. Games like Demon's Crest,Wild Guns, The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang, E.V.O., Prehistorik Man, Hagane, Blackthorne, Goof Troop, Space MegaForce, Rock 'N Roll Racing, etc. prove that there's MUCH MORE to the SNES than just the heavy hitters. And everyone's mileage will vary. There are literally hundreds of playable games you could easily lose yourself in for a solid weekend. Games like Rocky Rodent, B.O.B., Spanky's Quest, DinoCity, Jungle Book, Brain Lord, Super Baseball Simulator 1.000, The Lost Vikings, Congo's Caper, Equinox, Tetris Attack, Super Bonk, Stone Protectors, Secret of Evermore, King of Dragons, Knights of the Round, Run Saber, Biker Mice From Mars, Pieces, Ninja Warriors, Sparkster, Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Aero Fighters, Cybernator, Metal Warriors... my goodness! What an amazing library. Endless choices of quality games left and right that you could easily spend a weekend or two on, and be nearly just as happy as if you spent it with one of the classics, if not more
Then you factor in the many cool Japanese Super Famicom-only games, and it becomes almost like SNES TWO! Some of my favorites include: DoReMi Fantasy, Magical Pop'n, Majyuuou (AKA King of Demons) and Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen. It's like finding a key that unlocks a completely new dimension to your old Super Nintendo friend ^_^
Major props to the SNES fan translation scene as well. These good people have taken Super Famicom games, mostly (action) RPGs, and translated all of the Japanese text into English. This expands the SNES library even further, and some of the coolest games you could play are available only through this medium, such as Terranigma and Gunman's Proof. The latter is a Zelda-like clone with a Wild West theme while the former is the spiritual sequel to Illusion of Gaia, and one of the best games ever on the Super NES
Last but not least, the third category I like to classify SNES games in: my childhood favorites. These are games I liked back in the day and still do. Of course, some have proven to disappoint me over time, for instance, Power Moves and Ranma ½ comes to mind. Still, others I enjoy to this very day. These are games I definitely know like the back of my hand, and there's a history behind each game for me. This is where nostalgia definitely kicks in, but like I said earlier, nostalgia without present enjoyment is worthless. I still get a big kick out of swinging around crazy clowns by their ankles and taking out any sorry fool who decides to get in the way -- in The Combatribes. Nope, these games aren't for everyone, but I'm not everyone, I'm just me. And I love these games still to this day ^_^
YOU DON'T WANT NONE OF BULLOVA, BELIEVE THAT PLAYA!
I'd say the coolest thing about this SNES rebirth of mine has definitely been not just playing a game I had been curious about for 15 years or whatever, but playing a *great* game I missed out on back in the day whether it was due to the fact that I just never got around to renting it, perhaps I overlooked it, or maybe I didn't even really know about it. And not just play but see through to the very end. It doesn't matter if a game came out in 1995, or '05, if you never played it before, it's pretty much new, you see. I've had a lot of great gaming sessions these past five years. Playing countless games for the first time ever and beating games that hooked me, such asBrandish, has help fuel my passion for the SNES for these past five years. And I know it's the very thing that will sustain me for the next five probably...
Discovering a gem for yourself is undoubtedly the coolest thing :)
So yeah, those are the key reasons why I love the Super Nintendo so much. The nostalgia and memories are priceless and intangible. I'm reminded of a fonder, more simple time in life where people had time to get together and work together to beat the latest game, or bomb away or lob fireballs at one another 'til the wee hours of the morning. SNES games also CAN feature, in my opinion, a great combination of great graphics and great gameplay... a sweet marriage that while, God bless the 8-bit Nintendo, the NES just didn't have the graphical prowess nor the cool arcade translations, or multi-player games (especially four player games). Finally, the library is perhaps the greatest mankind has ever known or seen. With classic games, hidden/underrated gems and childhood favorites, how can one really go wrong with Nintendo's 16-bit wonder? [You can't -Ed.]
January 17, 2006. Five years go by so fast. The past five years has been some of the best gaming years of my career. This Super Nintendo rebirth has allowed me to play and beat so many games I missed out on back in the day, as well as replay and relive all my favorites from childhood. I can't believe five years ago tonight I was logging onto eBay only to see Power Moves ending in 38 seconds. Greatest impulse buy of my life! I'm pretty much done buying and focusing on playing these classics, hidden gems and my old favorites. It's been a blast and five years later the fire still burns brightly. My Saturn honeymoon only went four good years, but I see no end in sight for me and the Super Nintendo. Friends back in the day we were, and friends 'til the end we shall be. The Super Nintendo was the backdrop of my wonderful childhood, and as I navigate the treacherous waters of adulthood and the "real world," it's nice to know my dear old friend is always sitting there, waiting to whisk me away to a marvelous land of 2D wonder. Whether I find myself caught up in a magical fantasy world where I must save an ancient civilization, or in the ring dodging Bald Bull's dirty ol' tactics, or taking the field with The Kid himself, I know I'm simply a button push away from escaping into a universe of childlike awe and carefree joy where grand kingdoms are ruled by big eyes and even bigger hearts. An enchanted place where six-lane clogged freeways and junk emails don't exist
Over the years I have read plenty of nostalgic posts online. One guy put it best when he said, in regards to buying all the old video games he ever wanted as a child but never could: "I feel like... I'm fulfilling my childhood dreams." Bravo, mate. I couldn't have said it better myself. Now you have an idea of why I love the SNES so much, and you probably think I am crazy [I bet they always have -Ed.] but this is why my passion runs so deep for this system, and why it's back to being number one on my all-time favorite systems list. I still got love for the Saturn, but it's a distant second. Trailing in 3rd place is the 8-bit NES. NES was my roots with gaming, so it will always hold a soft spot in my heart. The Saturn was where I became a 'diehard' gamer, and the SNES marks the best of all worlds. With solid visuals, splendid gameplay, the BEST control pad ever made, and an amazing library of endless quality games ranging from 'enjoyable and playable' to 'can't-miss' -- how can you go wrong with a system as awesome as the Super Nintendo? If you don't have one, get one. If you already do, give it some love tonight. It's been a great five years since my SNES resurrection back on January 17, 2006. Here's to five more and beyond! Thanks for being a small part of my journey. I love rambling and sharing my stories to anybody who cares to listen, er, read. I look forward to many more and hope you do, too. Cheers and g'nite! *clink*
And, on a final note, happy MLK Day! I'm honored my five year anniversary happens to fall on the very day we celebrate the 25th MLK Day. One of my greatest college memories took place back in 2006 when I played Martin Luther King Jr. in his teenage years. We took this show on the road to many of the local elementary schools to share with all children the great man Martin Luther King Junior was, and the great life that he lived ^_^
"FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST; THANK GOD ALMIGHTY WE ARE FREE AT LAST!"