SNES Party Games

There's nothing like gaming with family and friends
There’s nothing like gaming with family and friends

The SNES is my favorite system of all time, and one of the many reasons why I love it so much is because of all the great multiplayer games. While there are a ton of amazing 2-player SNES games, the focus here is specifically on Super Nintendo titles that allow 4 (or more) players to duke it out (or in some cases, work together). There’s something about being in a room with a group of friends playing the same game together. There’s an innocence and magic to it that will never fade away.

Tangled cords and bruised egos... ahhh
Tangled cords and bruised egos… ahhh

I have so many fond memories of the many party sessions I’ve had over the years with the SNES. It’s fitting that I’m writing this article so close to Christmas as the holiday season tends to bring people together. It’s the perfect excuse to bust out the Super Nintendo and play some old (or newfound) favorites with your loved ones.

I LOVE ME SOME FOUR-PLAY

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First, make sure you have one of these multitap adapters. There are lots of models but these are just a few examples.

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You’ll need one if you wish to play any of the following games with 3 or more friends.

This is the one I use
The one I use personally

HONORABLE MENTIONS

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There are many great 2-player SNES games out there, from Super Mario Kart to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. The list goes on and on. That’s a story article for another day. For now the focus is squarely on games that allow 4 or more to play. There’s always room however to quickly acknowledge those that didn’t quite make the cut but are noteworthy nonetheless. The following 3 games deserve a shout out since they each support up to 3 players. Not quite 4, last I checked anyhow, but close. Hence, my honorable mentions are as follows…

CRYSTAL BEANS: FROM DUNGEON EXPLORER

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Funky subtitle aside, Crystal Beans is a simple and enjoyable overhead action RPG with elements similar to Gauntlet. It has 8 characters (of varying classes) to select from and best of all, it supports up to 3 players. It only came out in Japan but there’s an English translation patch available for those interested. Not the best game but it can easily eat up a weekend or two especially if you have a few buds willing to join in.

SECRET OF MANA

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There’s a reason why Secret of Mana is so revered within retro gaming circles. Even 25 years later, it resonates with an entire generation that grew up glued to the screen vanquishing the latest creatures and critters. Doing it with 2 friends by your side, at a time where a 3-player mode in an action RPG was unheard of, made the experience even more irresistibly awesome.

SEIKEN DENSETSU 3

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Seiken Densetsu 3, AKA Secret of Mana 2, came out exclusively in Japan. Thankfully, an English fan translation has allowed gamers worldwide to experience this phenomenal action RPG in all its glory. On top of that, a 3rd player option was graciously added in as well.

4 OR MORE

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In this article (that I’ve wanted to write for over a decade now), I’ll share some of my favorite SNES party games. I’ll also list some I’m not too crazy about knowing that everyone’s mileage will vary. Some games listed are super well known while others are a lot more obscure. Not every 4+ player game on the SNES has been cited; the list is far too long so I’ve chosen only those that I wish to highlight. With that said, let’s dive in!

BAKUTO! DOCHERS

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I remember seeing Bakuto! Dochers in the pages of EGM in 1994 and being excited. A Bomberman clone but with cute animals? Sold! It does some unique things: 3 hits to die, 20 battle zones (although many look samey) and cannon fodder enemies litter the field even in the 4-player battle mode. But sadly, it’s just not fun. It’s hard to botch the Bomberman formula but somehow Bakuto! BOTCHERS managed to do so :(

BARKLEY SHUT UP AND JAM!

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A homeless man’s NBA Jam, Barkley Shut Up and Jam isn’t very good but it can be a guilty pleasure. If you and your buds have a burning desire to use Charles Barkley and a bunch of fictional playground legends, this could be your jam. Pun partially intended.

BATTLE CROSS

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Bomberman meets Mario Kart… kinda. The closest thing to that on the SNES, anyhow. Battle Cross is a 6-player single screen racer, although only 5 humans can play (kind of a shame they didn’t take advantage of that sixth slot). There’s a lot to like here. Whether it’s the cartoonish graphics, the insane customization, or the pure satisfaction of placing a land mine underneath an overpass to blow up unsuspecting foes, Battle Cross is a hit at retro gaming parties.

BOMBERMAN B-DAMAN SERIES

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The great Ric Flair once said, “To B-Daman, you gotta Beat-Daman! WOO!!” Many folks know about the great Super Bomberman titles on the SNES, but not many know about the B-Daman series which came out only in Japan. It deviates from the classic formula but still has its own 4-player battle mode. In the first B-Daman game, players can’t die. Instead, the goal is to score as many hits as possible within the time limit. It’s not nearly as fun as the classic Bomberman titles but that’s a given thanks to the restrictions at play here, such as being conformed to your side of the wall and having limited movement.

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The sequel, Bakukyu Rennpatsu!! Super B-Daman, is an improved effort but still feels like a lightweight novelty. Players are no longer restricted to rails and can freely move about. The goal is to push all the other people off the field and be the last (bomber)man standing. It’s nice to see them try something different but you’re better off sticking to the classic Bomberman games.

BS OUT OF BOUNDS GOLF

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Of all the games on this list, BS Out of Bounds Golf is perhaps the most fun and cutthroat party game of them all. It’s a blast and has to be experienced with 4 players. The amount of sabotaging and trash talking that naturally occurs is a thing of beauty. And because players take turns, there is ample opportunity to scout and plot out your plan of attack. It’s one of those special games that anyone can pick up and play, and it will appeal even to non-gamers. A magical unicorn, indeed.

CAPCOM’S SOCCER SHOOTOUT

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Not the best soccer game on this list, but a very competent and enjoyable one. Most noteworthy of all, Capcom’s Soccer Shootout has an indoor mode where the arena is shrunken down and the ball bounces off the wall for continuous play. Intense mode, especially with 4 players!

CHIBI MARUKO CHAN: MEZASE MINAMI NO ISLAND

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A strange 4-player game where you throw balls at the opposition in various arenas. Simple but loads of fun. Quirky games like this with oddball Japanese humor are always a guilty pleasure. Chibi Maruko Chan: Mezase Minami no Island is rather obscure and (sadly) rarely talked about. Check it out if you’re looking for something a little different for your next retro gaming party.

CORON LAND

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Speaking of not getting enough love, Coron Land is another obscure Super Famicom oddity that rarely ever gets mentioned. Blow and throw bubbles. It’s quirky and charming in its own unique way.

DREAM BASKETBALL: DUNK & HOOP

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If you’re like me and have fond memories of playing pickup basketball from way back in the day, then Dream Basketball: Dunk & Hoop is sure to take you right back to your blacktop days. There’s a clunky 5-on-5 full court mode but the 3-on-3 street ball mode, being half court and having less sprites onscreen, is where Dream Basketball shines brightest. A rare gem for those not opposed to playing arcade-like sports games that are a quarter of a century old.

FIGHTER’S HISTORY: MIZOGUCHI KIKI IPPATSU!!

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This is the only fighting game on the SNES that allows 4-players to play with a tag out feature. Pretty neat! Besides, who doesn’t want to play as Karnov?

FIRE STRIKER

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Part Zelda and part Arkanoid, Fire Striker contains a 2-on-2 mode where teams of two battle for supremacy. The physics are a little off but it’s still a blast.

AJ Styles recently snagged a copy on Up Up Down Down
AJ Styles recently sang its praises on Up Up Down Down
Shout out to Xavier Woods, AKA Austin Creed! I met him last week and he was a super cool guy. And speaking of professional wrestling...
Shout out to Xavier Woods, AKA Austin Creed!
I met him last week and he was super cool.
And speaking of professional wrestling…

GEKITOU BURNING PRO WRESTLING

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With over 115 wrestlers ready to be used and 800 different moves at your disposal, Burning Pro Wrestling is quite the package. It features real athletes from many different styles such as Puroresu, Lucha Libre and K-1 just to name a few. Play as or beat up the likes of Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Sting, The Undertaker and many more. The Battle Royal features up to 18 wrestlers and a grand total of 6 wrestlers can litter the ring. Fun stuff!

GO! GO! DODGE LEAGUE

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As if you can’t tell from the screenshot above, Go! Go! Dodge League is loosely based on dodgeball and doesn’t follow the conventional rules of the sport. It’s not the best game around but it has enough wacky Japanese charm to put a smile on your face.

HAT TRICK HERO 2

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Originally set for a US release as Super Soccer Champ 2, it was eventually scrapped. Released only in Japan as Hat Trick Hero 2, this is a fast scrolling arcade brand of soccer that features super power kicks. Worth a look if you love retro 4-player soccer games.

INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTAR SOCCER DELUXE

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The best soccer game on the SNES, hands (feet?) down, is made even better when experienced in glorious 4-player mode.

LOONEY TUNES B-BALL

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Even more outlandish than NBA Jam and arguably just as fun, Looney Tunes B-Ball is a sheer blast. Name another zany basketball game where you can drop a 16 ton weight on someone’s head or summon lightning to zap suckers into smithereens… you can’t!

MADDEN SERIES

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Madden Football isn’t the first game I think of when it comes to multiplayer affairs. But the ’94-’98 editions all allow up to 5 players. If you’re craving pigskin of the 16-bit variety, this might do the trick.

MICRO MACHINES SERIES

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Race your favorite miniature toy cars around 28 different tracks. These include a pool table, the living room floor and even your neighbor’s flower garden. The sequel, Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament, featured even more vehicles and tracks and was released only in Europe.

NBA GIVE ‘N GO

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NBA Give ‘N Go lacks blazing speed but makes up for it with an impeccable arcade-like feel. The presentation is a slam dunk and the wacky announcer will make you feel like you’re back at the arcades. Give ‘N Go is based after all on Run and Gun, Konami’s arcade smash hit.

NBA HANG TIME

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If you can look past its terrible aesthetics, NBA Hang Time gets the job done in 4-player mode.

NBA JAM SERIES

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BOOM SHAKALAKA! NBA Jam and more specifically, NBA Jam: Tournament Edition, rules the roost when its comes to 4-player basketball games on the SNES. Best of all, NBA Jam TE is just as fun to play today as it was 25 years ago.

NBA LIVE SERIES

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The NBA Live franchise blends simulation and arcade-like play extremely well. The ’95-’98 editions allow up to 5 players, with ’97 and ’98 featuring 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 modes for more intimate contests.

NHL SERIES

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NHL ’94 is the best of the lot and has 5-player capability. Oddly, only 2 players can play NHL ’95-’97. NHL ’98 went back to 5 players but stick with the original; it’s pure hockey bliss that can’t be beat.

N-WARP DAISAKUSEN

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The only 8-player game (!) on this list, N-Warp Daisakusen is certainly a curiosity. Developed in 2008 as a homebrew title, this simplistic melee brawler sets out to see who will be the last man standing.

OTOBOKE NINJA COLOSSEUM

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A Bomberman clone with a delightful twist. Rather than bombs, players set down capsules. Shurikens shoot out in all 4 directions. Get hit and you’re temporarily frozen. You lose only if someone hits you with their ball and chain while being suspended in animation. With a lens geared toward stealth and capitalizing on mistakes, Otoboke Ninja Colosseum makes for a fantastic 4-player romp.

PEACE KEEPERS

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The only beat ‘em up on this list! But sadly, 4 players can only duke it out in a special self-contained mode. Give Peace Keepers some credit but it’s a limited novelty at best. It’s a shame none of the SNES beat ‘em ups allow for 4-player cooperative play but that’s understandable given the hardware limitations.

PIECES

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Up to 5 people can work together to solve puzzles of various kinds. Pieces is perfect for younger and less experienced players such as little nieces and nephews.

PUZZLE’N DESU!

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An adorable Bomberman clone where you push blocks to subdue your opponents. One of my readers recently dubbed this game “Gnome Squish” which fits it perfectly! An absolute blast in 4-player mode.

SATURDAY NIGHT SLAM MASTERS

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My friends and I spent so many Saturday nights back in the summer of 1994 playing this. Frenetic, chaotic and always entertaining, Saturday Night Slam Masters was born to be a 4-player slobber knocker.

SHIN NIPPON PRO WRESTLING ’95: TOKYO DOME BATTLE 7

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Not as good or fun as Saturday Night Slam Masters but not a bad alternative. The visuals are on point and it’s always fun to kick some ass with either Great Sasuke or Jushin Thunder Liger!

SPARK WORLD

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Bomberman but with cars. It’s super blatant but also super fun. A few slight tweaks here and there, like 2 hits to die, help to make it not a complete carbon copy. Sorry.

SPORTING NEWS BASEBALL

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Sporting News Baseball holds the distinct honor of being the only North American SNES baseball game to support 4 players. You and a friend take turns batting on offense and on defense one pitches while the other plays defense. And hey, any excuse to play ball on the Field of Dreams cornfield sounds good to me!

STREET RACER

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Street Racer is no Mario Kart 2 but it’s an admirable effort. 24 tracks, 8 drivers and plenty of zany 4-player modes!

SUGOI HEBEREKE

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Smash and bash your way to victory in Sunsoft’s melee brawler. Sugoi Hebereke is a bit like Super Smash Bros. in some ways and is worth checking out, especially if you have retro gaming buddies to play it with.

SUPER BOMBERMAN SERIES

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Super Bomberman is the classic and quintessential party game on the SNES. All you needed back in 1993 was a copy of this game, a multitap, 4 controllers and 3 friends. My friends and I spent countless Saturday nights back in ’93 blowing each other up and loving every second of it.

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Super Bomberman 2 included a tag team mode. I prefer the original but you can’t go wrong with this one.

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Super Bomberman 3 came out only in Europe and Japan. It’s most notable for introducing mad bombers, animal friends (granting you an extra life and special abilities) and raising the player count from 4 to 5.

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Super Bomberman 4 was released only in Japan. Like pizza, you really can’t go wrong with any of the 16-bit Bomberman games.

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Super Bomberman 5 is my favorite of the 16-bit Bomberman games that didn’t come out in North America. And overall, I’d rank it second only to the classic original.

SUPER BOMBERMAN PANIC BOMBER WORLD

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Did you know there was a Bomberman puzzle game on the Super Famicom? And of course, it naturally features a 4-player mode. As the cool kids might say, this game is lit yo. Geddit? Sorry.

SUPER FAMILY TENNIS

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I love this game so much that I ranked it #2 on my top 50 favorite obscure Super Famicom games list. Super Family Tennis is full of charm and never fails to leave me feeling satisfied. 4-player doubles is where it’s at!

SUPER FINAL MATCH TENNIS

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Developed by HUMAN (creators of the beloved Fire Pro series), Super Final Match Tennis nails down the presentation but something about the gameplay is slightly off. There’s still some merit here but you’re probably better off playing Super Family Tennis instead. Still, it’s nice to have options.

SUPER FIRE PRO WRESTLING X PREMIUM

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Speaking of which, Super Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium is the final and best Fire Pro entry on the Super Nintendo. For the past 20+ years, the fabled Fire Pro franchise has been a staple among wrestling video game fans. While this edition may be primitive by comparison, it was revolutionary back in 1996 and remains just as enjoyable today.

SUPER PUYO PUYO TSUU REMIX

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There’s nothing like an intense 4-player Puyo Puyo match. This has the potential to ruin relationships, so proceed with caution.

SUPER TEKKYU FIGHT!

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On the surface it looks like yet another Bomberman clone. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find an interesting alternative. Flip tiles and jump on opponents to stun them, and then attack them with your trusty spiky ball. Super Tekkyu Fight! is an obscure hidden gem worthy of a spot in your retro gaming party collection.

SUPER TETRIS 3

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4-player Tetris, bitches. ‘Nuff said!

TINY TOONS WACKY SPORTS CHALLENGE

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Due to the hodgepodge of mini games, some have likened this as a precursor to Mario Party. You’ll like this if that’s your thing.

TOP GEAR 3000

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Many folks are familiar with Top Gear as it was one of the earlier SNES hits back in the day. Top Gear 3000 on the other hand is fairly obscure, receiving a quiet release with very little fanfare in early 1995. It’s most notable for its quirky 4-player split screen.

WORMS

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Released only in Europe, Worms is classic turn-based artillery multiplayer tactical warfare at its finest. Randomly generated deformable landscapes only add to the fun and strategy of it all. Sure, this first entry in the longstanding franchise may seem a bit outdated to some, but it’s where it all started. I can appreciate that. Besides, who can say no to blowing up worms via TNT?

WWF RAW

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Earlier this year Monday Night Raw celebrated 25 years. I remember those early Raw episodes well; every Monday night was must-see TV. But I digress. An improvement over WWF Royal Rumble, WWF Raw is the best WWF game on the SNES. But that’s only because we never got WWF WrestleFest!

ZEN NIPPON PRO WRESTLING 2: 3-4 BUDOKAN

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The Zen Nippon series gets forgotten about at times, and in my book is right up there with the fabled Fire Pro franchise as far as great wrestling games go. This is the last and best of the Zen Nippon series on the SNES. The Fatal 4-Way match is an absolute riot. Lots of fun await if you and your buddies enjoy classic retro wrestling games.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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Nothing will ever replace the sheer joy of playing a game huddled around your buddies in the same room. Not to mention all the silly trash talking and good-natured taunting that comes with the territory. It’s all part of the charm! There’s something special and magical about those gaming sessions that I recall with a deep fondness, and I always look forward to future gaming gatherings. The SNES has plenty of great 4-player games that would steal the show at any retro gaming party. I hope this list serves you well and gives you some new games to try out with your loved ones. Feel free to comment below too — glaring omissions perhaps or games you enjoy best from this list. Happy gaming, and happy holidays!

Let the good times roll :)
Let the good times roll :)

Collection Q&A

Warriors fan since 1995; no bandwagon hopping here!
In front of Michael Myers’ house from Halloween (1978)

On the eve of the NBA Finals, which will pit the Golden State Warriors against the Cleveland Cavaliers for the fourth consecutive year, I can’t help but think back fondly to May of 2015. Not only did my Warriors secure their first Finals berth in 40 years but I also had the honor of being interviewed and having my SNES collection featured on RetroNick.com. I’ve been wanting to transfer that Q&A over to RVGFanatic in addition to updating it. The following is an updated version of that interview. This Q&A will touch on my SNES collection, my memories and the history and future of RVGFanatic.

Go Dubs!
Go Dubs!

How big is your SNES collection?

About 550.

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When did you start collecting?

January 2006, so over 12 ½ years ago now.

What was the SNES scene like back then?

I was lucky the SNES bug bit me back in January of 2006. I beat a majority of the crowd by a good couple years. Back then, 75% of SNES games went for $5-$10. Only a small handful consistently commanded $30+ such as Castlevania: Dracula X, Mega Man X³ and Ninja Gaiden Trilogy just to name a few.

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Consider this: the first iPhone was a year away and YouTube was barely two months old. There were no viral videos increasing the awareness and desire of a particular title. It was a golden time where you would find lots of SNES games in the wild and for cheap. It goes to show you how times have changed and how different things are today. Hagane, for instance, went from a $5 game in 2006 to $500 in 2016. Life is all about timing, and I definitely lucked out as the nostalgia bug bit me a lot earlier than it did many others.

The Final Conflict in your marriage, perhaps...
The Final Conflict in your marriage, perhaps…

Did you love the SNES prior to 2006?

I grew up on the 8-bit NES in the late ’80s, the Sega Genesis in the early ’90s and then the Super Nintendo. So it felt like one massive homecoming in 2006 when I got back into all things Super Nintendo. It was my favorite system then and it remains so now.

The late ’80s to mid ’90s was the best time to be a kid, wasn’t it?

I’m biased but I definitely think so. We were so lucky. Just growing up during the rise of arcade and console gaming was something special. Renting video games. Having Saturday morning cartoons to watch and some awesome toys to play with. I’m grateful I got to experience those wonder years as a kid.

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Why is the SNES your favorite system?

Many of my best gaming memories involve the SNES, so the nostalgia factor certainly doesn’t hurt. But of course it goes beyond that. What really stands out is how deep the library is and how well the games have aged. The SNES has stood the test of time!

Speaking of the library, what are some of your favorites?

Of course you have the usual suspects…

Contra III: The Alien Wars
Contra III: The Alien Wars
EarthBound
EarthBound
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Super Mario World
Super Mario World
Super Metroid
Super Metroid

These classics have, justifiably, been lionized. But I’ve always enjoyed championing the more obscure titles that aren’t often as recognized. Titles such as…

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BS Out of Bounds Golf is a cutthroat 4-player mini golf game that was sadly never released in North America. It’s brilliant for its sabotaging opportunities and heavy dose of schadenfreude.

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Demon’s Crest in my opinion is Capcom’s finest hour on the SNES not named Street Fighter. Sorry Mega Man X — you’re #2!

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DoReMi Fantasy is perhaps the best platformer on the system not named Mario.

Gunman's Proof  is Zelda + EarthBound + the Old West
The Wild West + EarthBound + Zelda = Gunman’s Proof

I could go on and on. And I pretty much did in My SNES Collection if you want an extended version of my recommendations.

Speaking of the Old West, any interesting acquisition stories to share from those early days of collecting?

CollectStory

Yeah... I didn't want to be that guy...
Yeah… no thanks…

CollStory

Thats a nutty day I'll never forget...
That’s one crazy summer day I’ll never forget…

Hey, better safe than sorry!

Right?! It was a sign of the times. I was young, “invincible” and eager to reclaim bits and pieces of my childhood no matter the circumstances. Looking back, I wouldn’t do half the stuff I did! But that’s what makes those old collecting stories fun and memorable. It was the feeling of getting back into the fandom, having a want list in the hundreds, a wallet stuffed with dead presidents and the thrill of heading out on a crisp Saturday morning knowing you were likely coming home with at least something. It’s a feeling that, much like beating a game for the very first time, can’t be replicated.

So what prompted you to get back into the SNES in 2006?

I found myself longing for the great games of my youth during my 2005 winter break from college. In particular, I was craving platformers. The SNES had so many great ones and tons more I always wanted to play but never did. It was a chance to quell longstanding childhood curiosities and it was a shot at gaming redemption. The rest is history. See My SNES Comeback for more.

Nothing beats quelling a childhood curiosity at last!
Nothing beats quelling a childhood curiosity at last!

After a dozen years of owning over 500 SNES games, have you played them all?

No, I have 150-200 left to go. Maybe by 2025!

Such a blessing to be able to play these when I want
One day I’ll finally play all these games. One day…

Your SNES passion has lasted more than most marriages! Do you feel you’ll ever burn out?

I doubt it. There may be seasons where I’m not playing it as much because life gets hectic… but I know I’ll always be a fan. Not only do I have a lot of history and memories with these games, but there are so many more I want to play one day. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. It’ll probably take me 20 years to fully explore my entire library. I also look forward to playing it with my future children and seeing their joy of discovering these classics for the very first time. I’m a bit sad they won’t be able to experience what it’s like to walk in a store to rent a game for the weekend but this will be the next best thing. I’ve already introduced my girlfriend to quite a few 2-player games! ;)

That's going to be me down the road
That’ll be me down the road

What’s your crown jewel?

My complete set of 47 Super Play issues. Super Play was a UK publication (1992-1996) that some have deemed the “SNES Bible.” It’s the perfect companion piece to any SNES collection. It was hands down the best eBay win of my life, though it was not without some tension and drama! I love pulling a game off my shelf to play then afterward reading the review in Super Play to compare viewpoints. It’s all part of the fun.

So freaking glorious :)
I still flip through them randomly to this day :)

Any other notables in your collection?

This might sound a little weird… but bear with me. I actually really cherish my SNES shelves. Not only do they fit the game boxes perfectly, as if they were made to hold SNES boxes, but the shelves have been in my family since 1985. In a funky sort of way, it’s almost like I’m carrying on some kind of family heirloom. I just love knowing the history behind the shelves and I also think it looks sick with the SNES boxes stacked inside it.

It all began one hot August summer night back in 2014. I sat there wondering my games would look nice there... Amazingly, it was a perfect fit. Meant to be!
It all began one hot August summer night back in 2014.
I sat there wondering my games would look nice there…
Amazingly, it happened to be a perfect fit. Meant to be!
Uncle Jimmy preparing his wedding... December 1986!
Uncle Jimmy preparing his wedding… December 1986!
Preparing my SNES collection September 2014... Nearly 30 damn years later!
Prepping to display my SNES collection September 2014.
Nearly 30 damn years later!
It was an epic weekend that Labor Day Weekend of 14!
It was an epic weekend. See The Lost Weekend for more
It even fits my complete set of 62 Goosebumps books!
It even fits my complete set of 62 Goosebumps books!

RVGFanatic — why did you start it?

Back in 2007, there really wasn’t a dedicated fansite representing the Super Nintendo. Genesis fans had Sega-16 but SNES fans didn’t have much. I wanted to change that.

That and I just love sharing my two cents, or one cent...
That and I just love sharing my two cents, or one cent…

What do you hope to achieve with RVG?

I hope RVGFanatic resonates with readers in a way that takes them back to a simpler time — a time in our lives when games stood center stage during lazy weekends and idyllic summers. I hope readers enjoy my work, perhaps even learn a useless fact or two along the way, but mostly, to just be entertained on our stroll down memory lane. If my work encapsulates even just a tiny bit of that ’90s SNES magic, then mission accomplished. I also occasionally reminisce about random non-gaming items. For example, I wrote an article about R.L. Stine’s GOOSEBUMPS and the impact those books made on my generation. You never know what you’ll see but whatever it is, expect plenty of nostalgia and pictures.

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Any plans for a TOP list at some point?

Ever since I got back into the Super Nintendo in early 2006, my goal has been to compile and eventually share a list of my favorite SNES games. I originally teased an October 2017 release, but the reality is, there are many more games I still want to play first before releasing such a list. But rest assured, it’ll happen one of these days. If I’m lucky, maybe 2020? We’ll see. I’ve always been a fan of top lists and look forward to the day I can finally share mine.

I didnt make it but one of these days...
Sorry, Arnold. I didn’t make it. But one of these days…

Looking forward to it! Any final words?

I appreciate all the love and compliments I’ve received over the years. It means a lot to me that others enjoy my work. Thanks for your support. I look forward to creating more SNES content this summer and in the years to come. Until next time, game on!

June edit: Warriors swept the Cavs! GO DUBS! :D
June edit: Warriors swept the Cavs! :D

My SNES Comeback

SNESArt

Today marks 12 years since I got back into the Super Nintendo. January 17, 2006. Who would have guessed that I would still be going strong with the SNES a dozen years later? It either speaks to my insanity or to the clout of the SNES. Hopefully the latter but the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. I can’t help but grow nostalgic around this time of the year as it brings back to mind some truly great memories. This is the story of how I began my SNES renaissance. It’s a look back at that fateful first month of January 2006 and all the different crazy stories that came along with it. So kick back and join me on this jaunt down memory lane. This is my story. This is… my SNES comeback.

IN THE BEGINNING…

There was nothing like playing SNES with your buds
There was nothing like playing SNES with your buds

My brother and I had a Super Nintendo from early 1992 to 1998 or so. We owned about 20 games over that time and we loved it. It took everything awesome about the 8-bit NES and injected it with steroids. There were so many great memories forged, from renting SNES games to midnight sessions with your friends on Saturday nights to the simple joy of eagerly anticipating the next arcade translation. It was a great time to be a kid growing up.

Always fun anticipating the next arcade to home port
Always fun anticipating the next arcade to home port

But as it is with these things in life, my bro and I eventually moved on. The system was donated to our cousin, David, in the late ’90s. My brother moved onto the PlayStation and aside from a few select titles, I really didn’t care a whole lot for Sony’s new machine. I was a disenchanted teenage gamer secretly longing for the glory days of 8 and 16-bit.

Damn right I did
Damn right I did

In 1999 I found myself venturing onto planet Sega Saturn. As detailed in my Sega Saturn Saga, I acquired 350 Saturn games from 2001 to 2005. Speaking of 2005…

Cue the flashback montage!
Cue the flashback montage!

JANUARY 15, 2005

MarioJanuary

On this day I found myself at the local Game Crazy by my childhood home. Some guy was playing Super Mario World on the SNES and I stood there watching him play. I still vividly remember he was right at this spot in the picture above. And I stood there thinking to myself, “Should I buy a Super Nintendo?”

Later that night I made a post on a video game forum asking for opinions.

DPSteveSNES

I ended up not buying 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, which at one point seemed endless, gradually faded. In late 2005 I found myself playing it less and less but even more telling, my heart was no longer in it. The burnout was real.

CHILDHOOD DREAMS REALIZED

SteveAct

As a young child growing up in the late ’80s to mid ’90s, I was fascinated by sitcoms such as Full House, Home Improvement and The Wonder Years. I found the art and magic of acting to be really intriguing. In fact, one of my dreams was to one day be in a movie.

FALL 2005

September 2005 I made my on stage acting debut
September 2005 I made my on stage acting debut

That fateful semester in college I saw a dream of mine come true when I was cast in my very first University play. It was the thrill of my collegiate career. Those late night rehearsals, dressing room ribbing and performances will live on forever in my soul. It was everything I expected and more. The cast got along like we had known each other our whole lives. We went out clubbing, grabbed dinner after shows, and even had a sleepover party. I’ll never forget the rush coursing through my veins when I finally made my acting debut on the big stage. I burst out of the curtain with a vengeance and knocked my opening monologue out of the park. I never felt more alive during my college years than those three weeks in late 2005. I’ll always look back on those days with a real deep fondness.

I drove all over town like a mad man just to audition
I drove all over town like a mad man just to audition

Riding the huge wave of momentum following my performance in the play, along with a renewed sense of self-confidence, I drove three hours to audition for an independent movie in December of 2005. It was a childhood dream of mine to one day be in the movies.

My independent movie debut!
My independent movie debut!

Long story short, I was cast two days following my audition. I remember that time well. It was an exciting time that felt like anything could happen. I only had a few speaking lines but I was thrilled for the opportunity. I was only 22 at the time and not many of my peers could claim IMDB.com credit like I could. It made for a great icebreaker!

SatBomb-10

One of my favorite things about college were those fat six week winter breaks. I’ve always joked that there’s something about those long lazy winter weeks that does things to a man. During this time my cousins came over a lot and we found ourselves playing a shit ton of 10-player Saturn Bomberman. It was a blast, pardon the pun. Prior to these sessions though, my Saturn laid dormant for a few months thanks to my crazy rehearsal schedule for the play, my independent movie role and also, like I said earlier, I could feel my Saturn passion waning. But all those epic Saturn Bomberman sessions definitely got me in the mood to dig back into my Saturn library.

Wait, is that it?!
Wait, is that it?!

After my cousins left one night in late December, I had the strongest urge to play a platformer. I looked at my Saturn collection and saw some potential choices: Tryrush Deppy, Keio Yugekitai, Steamgear Mash and Willy Wombat just to name four. Yet none of them met my need for a pure old school traditional hop ‘n bop. I suddenly realized precisely at that moment what I had secretly been yearning for. And right on cue, that’s when an old friend from the past came roaring back to mind…

Now that's more like it!
Now that’s more like it!

JANUARY 2006

"FIRE!"
“FIRE!”

I still had about three weeks until the Spring semester would begin. I started entertaining thoughts (again) about whether I should buy a Super Nintendo or not. I had my doubts — was it worth it? Perhaps this was all just a nostalgic trip best kept locked in my box of memories. That’s when fate decided to step in. By mid January I decided I was all in. I posted the following on a gaming forum, coincidentally, almost one year since my last SNES post (as shared earlier).

DPSteveSNES2

January 17, 2006. It was just another ordinary Tuesday night, or so I initially thought. I logged on eBay following dinner. Just for fun, I typed in SNES. And the VERY FIRST item I saw ending was none other than Power Moves. I couldn’t believe it — what were the odds? Power Moves and I go way back; it was the first import game I ever rented back in late 1992. It was ending in 38 seconds. I didn’t even have the system yet but I knew this was no mere coincidence. Nope, this was fate. The very first import I ever rented back in the day would now become the very first game purchase of my SNES resurrection. It was meant to be.

7YearIt19

I didn’t have long to just sit there and get all mushy. Clicking on the seller’s other items, I also won Prehistorik Man, Ignition Factor and Fatal Fury Special all within the next 10 minutes. Now that I had time to digest things a bit, my mind was running at 200 MPH. I really did it. I was back in! One minute I went from having zero SNES games to having four! The next day I bought five more titles. Not one to stop there, I was back at it again two days later with five more. The games were 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 a want list literally in the hundreds, left-and-right buying and building up my brand new SNES library. But there was one slight problem you see — I didn’t buy the system itself yet! That’s when I found a friend online to sell me one for $39. He also had over 20 games I was interested in, so it became a bulk buy of epic proportions. The final damage? $192. YOU DAMN RIGHT it was worth every last dime!

It all began with this...
It all began with this…

What started out as “Should I or shouldn’t I?” ended up in one simple impulse buy (Power Moves), opening up the flood gates completely. In 72 hours I went from zero SNES games and no SNES to having the system and 38 (!) games. There was no turning back now… a monster was born.

I posted the following on a gaming forum the next day on January 18, 2006.

Saturday night fever? Psst, I had SNES fever!
Saturday night fever? Psst, I had SNES fever!

Like I said, I don’t know what it is about mid January but those long six week winter breaks does things to a man :P

SCHOOL’S BACK IN SESSION

SchoolIoG

Wednesday. January 25, 2006. It was the first day of my Spring semester at University. I only had one class that day (from 9 to 10:15 AM). My SNES was still in transit but that didn’t stop me from buying even more games. After class that day I had a couple girl friends go buy some books with me at the campus store. We ate brunch and talked excitedly about the future. All the while I was thinking about the past in the back of my mind, and what SNES games I might find later that morning to add to my rapidly growing collection. It was an exciting time in my life — an odd but irresistible clash of looking toward the future while also looking back.

A most welcomed sign
A most welcomed sight in those days of 2006

Afterward it was 11:30 and I decided to drive to a nearby Game Crazy to see what SNES goodies they might have that day. Game Crazy was a hub attached to Hollywood Video back when these relics existed. Game Crazy used to carry a solid variety of SNES games in early 2006.

The actual location I went that fateful morning
The actual location I went that fateful morning

On this particular morning, much to my delight I found The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues and The Lost Vikings. I got The Lost Vikings free as part of Game Crazy’s buy 2 get 1 free deal. Talk about starting off my final undergrad semester with a bang!

All for under $11? What a steal
All for under $11? What a steal

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Hard to believe it's been nearly 12 years
Hard to believe it’s been nearly 12 years

10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

ImportSummer5

Thursday. January 26, 2006. This was a big day for me. It marked 10 years since I had moved from my childhood home. After my classes ended that late afternoon, I decided to stop by my old stomping grounds for a reunion tour. I loved my old hometown. We lived there from mid 1985 to January 26, 1996. 10 and a half years of my life. From infancy through childhood. Some of my best memories came in my old hometown, my old house and that old neighborhood.

Ah, the vintage train tracks of my childhood :)
Ah, the vintage train tracks of my childhood :)
Hello, dear old friend
Hello, dear old friend

So off I went, revisiting the old sights and sounds. I stopped by my childhood Toys R Us. I dropped by a few Game Crazy locations in the area but found no SNES games of interest. Finally I arrived right around my old house roughly at 6 PM, and I headed straight to my childhood Hollywood Video.

The actual "scene of the crime" in all its glory
The actual “scene of the crime” in all its glory
Another nice haul
Another nice haul

Added Art of Fighting, Clay Fighter, Mortal Kombat II and Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 to the collection. These games represented the crux of my SNES comeback well — two games I loved playing as a kid and two I always wanted to play but never did.

GCRece

They had a glass full of SNES goodies but I decided I’ll just pick these four for now and come back later for the others…

GC-Rece1

With another bag full of old childhood favorites and memories, courtesy once again of Game Crazy, I made a beeline toward my old house. There was no way I was ending this 10 year reunion trip without seeing my old house.

I was a man on a mission
I was a man on a mission

By now it was 6:30 and darkness had devoured my old hometown. Driving by I took full inventory of all that assaulted my senses. I remember those old roads… that old street corner… the little hill where my brother, our friends and I used to play tag and flag football. The smell of the crisp cool night air. And the soothing sounds of the grass and leaves swaying gently in the calm of a quiet January evening.

This was more than just a Super Nintendo comeback!
It was more than just a Super Nintendo comeback…

I spotted my house at long last. Memories came flooding back like a tidal wave crashing over me. It was an ordinary house, like any other house in America, in a suburban neighborhood just like any other. But it was home. My home. Or at least, it once was, anyhow. Somewhere in the depths of my heart though, it will always be to some degree.

I took a minute to take it all in
I took a moment to take it all in

I turned off the engine and radio. I sat there for a couple quiet minutes, admiring my house from across the street in the dead still of the night. Has it really been 10 bloody years?! Gawd DAMN.

There she is
There she is. Still as pretty as ever, too

I was lost in a trance admiring the sight that stood before me when suddenly I had a crazy idea. Now I’ve had a few crazy ideas in my life before but this one… THIS ONE might be the craziest of them all…

Before I knew it, I found myself standing at the front door. Like a man possessed, I rung the doorbell before I could talk myself out of it.

A lady in her late 30s appeared behind the door. “Can I help you?”

“Sorry to bother you but I really could use a restroom. Do you mind if I go really fast?”

She looked a bit perplexed but perhaps she sensed that I was a safe person. “Yeah, sure, come in come in,” she said warmly.

And I was in. Just like that. I have to admit, in hindsight, this was one of the wackiest things I have ever done. But when you’re caught on a high, maybe you don’t always use your noggin. At any rate, it’s a memory that will last a lifetime.

Its the home where my bro and I fought, played and loved
It’s the home where my bro and I grew up
All the birthday parties and fun we shared. Priceless!
All the birthday parties and fun we shared. Priceless!

Using my old bathroom for the first time in 10 years was a little surreal, as was being back in the house I grew up in. After using the facilities, I thanked her for her generosity.

The house was still in good shape. I couldn’t help but glance around in admiration. That’s when I decided to tell her the whole story. “To be honest with you, this was my childhood home. I spent 10 years of my youth growing up in this house. It is very special to me and I want to say thanks for letting me relive my childhood for even just five minutes.”

And that opened up a 10 minute conversation!
And that opened up a 10 minute conversation :P

We talked about how cold the house gets during the night time, like really REALLY cold. We talked about my old room where her daughter now occupies, and so forth. It was a really nice conversation and an awesome way to end what had been a crazy reunion tour.

Time to head back home. My real new home...
Time to head back home. My real new home…

Finally, we bid one another farewell. I slipped inside my car, took a glance at the new SNES games resting on the passenger seat, cranked up the radio, stole one last glance at my old house and floored the hell out of there.

That night, driving home on the freeway with the windows down and the music blaring, was truly one for the ages. A tale to be retold to my future children. Daddy was a crazy kook :P [Wait, was?? -Ed.]

JANUARY 30, 2006

RainonWindow

I remember this fateful rainy Monday afternoon quite well. It was around 12:45 PM. I was sitting at home waiting for my big SNES package as well as my Advanced Acting class at 1:30. I’ll never forget the sight of the UPS man carrying a huge box to my door through the whipping rain. My baby has finally come home! The raindrops pelted my window and looked 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 session. Reasoning got the better of me when I decided if I already waited this long, then surely a couple more hours wouldn’t kill me, right?

SNES-Journey

My Advanced Acting class that day ran from 1:30 to 4. After class got out, I drove to Game Crazy by my old house once again to buy the other enticing titles I saw just a few days earlier on January 26.

The actual pic I took on that rainy Monday evening!
The actual pic I took on that rainy Monday evening!
Game Crazy delivers again
Game Crazy comes through again
ActRaiser and Equinox are the best of this bunch
ActRaiser and Equinox are the best of this bunch
What a crazy time it was -- that January 2006 I tells ya!
What a crazy time it was — that January 2006 I tells ya!
Of these 51 games, which one to play first?
Can you guess which game I played first?

Arriving home late that Monday night, I had a whopping 51 SNES games from which to choose. Which one would I play first? It suddenly became clear to me that there was only one appropriate choice. It’s certainly not the best game, but for all intents and purposes, it had to be my first.

You win if you guessed Power Moves
You win if you guessed Power Moves

Yup, it had to be Power Moves. It was the first import I rented back in late 1992 and it was the first SNES game I bought during this whole comeback reunion tour. A reunion tour, mind you, that has now lasted for 12 years and counting. To say that I was nostalgic as Power Moves fired up would be a grand understatement. I felt like I had gone into a time machine and was transported back to my youth for a few minutes. Even though the game was kind of bad, I knew there were tons of great games to beat and that this was going to be a hell of a comeback. As it turns out, my gut was right.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

FotBSNES3

There is something special and sacred about the Super Nintendo. It reminds me of a simpler time in my life. A time in which playing games with your best bud took center stage on a lazy Saturday night. A time where damsels in distress must be saved and red shells and fireballs must be thrown with malice and joy alike. But perhaps best of all… a time where junk emails and bills didn’t yet exist.

stevesnescol

My SNES comeback these past 12 years has been a fun-filled ride down memory lane and beyond. I don’t just play these games for nostalgia. There are many I have yet to play, so many are actually brand new experiences for me. Yes, even 25 years later in the year 2018. I’ve had a blast going through my SNES collection the past dozen years. With many more yet to go, here’s to 12 more years!

FotBSNES2

My dream is to one day pass my love of these vintage classics down to my son or daughter. Maybe they’ll never know what it feels like to stroll through a Hollywood Video on a rainy Monday night. But I hope they’ll get half the joy out of these games as they’ve given to me over the years decades. Call me corny but I like to think of this whole SNES comeback, which started way back 12 years ago in January of 2006, as more than just one big epic gaming adventure. I like to think of it as reclaiming bits and pieces of my childhood and one day being able to share that joy with my children. One thing is for sure… there’ll be no shortage of video games for them to play. Long live the Super Nintendo, indeed.

The Mode 7 Year Itch

RVG turns the big 1-1!
RVG turns the big 1-1!

Can you believe RVGFanatic turns 11 years old today? I remember that day like it were only yesterday. January 7, 2007. It’s hard for me to believe RVGFanatic is now 11. Most webmasters burn out in less than a year or two, so RVGFanatic’s longevity is a true testament to my passion for the SNES. To commemorate the occasion, I’m transferring (and slightly tweaking) an article I wrote on my original site about why my fire for the SNES still burns even after all these years.

Now 12 years and counting!
Now 12 years and counting!

7 REASONS WHY I STILL LOVE THE SNES

7YearIt25

There’s an infamous term known as “The 7 Year Itch.” Supposedly, it’s that point in some marriages where things head south and peter out. Well, it’s been about 7 years (12 years now) since I got back into all things Super Nintendo and quite honestly, I still love it today as much as I did then. As I approach yet another anniversary, I can’t help but think about why the fire still burns. What exactly is it about this system that has kept me coming back after all these years??

7YearIt1

The first two things that came to mind? The library and the memories. The SNES has arguably the best gaming catalog of all time. It’s so stacked that you could take the best SNES games ranked #11-20 and they would stand up well against any other system’s TOP TEN. The top 25 SNES games alone include some of gaming’s best, period. So, there was that. And then there are my memories. The SNES came along during a special time in my life. Being a robust kid living in suburban America during the rise of the SNES was simply awesome. It was my favorite system of my childhood, and is now my favorite system of my adulthood. In some ways I feel like I’m fulfilling my childhood dreams, as corny as that may sound. But I digress. Let’s kick off the countdown!

BUT FIRST, LESSONS I LEARNED

SeSaSa

Prior to my SNES resurgence in January of 2006, I was a huge Sega Saturn fan from 1999 to 2005. During those six years I built a collection of 350 Saturn games. I loved it.

Before I knew it, it sneaked up behind me
Before I knew it, it sneaked up behind me

However, as much fun as I had with the Sega Saturn I fell into the trap of never beating the games. I’d play them for 30 minutes to an hour here and there but never commit to completing one. For me at least, I don’t do so well with such a disposable mindset. I am the kind of gamer who likes to keep playing the same game until I can beat it. So this casual reckless playing blindsided me and led to my burnout by the summer of 2005.

Casually playing the games led to my Saturn burn out
Casually playing the games led to my burn out

As I reflected on my Saturn journey during the late summer of 2005, one of my biggest regrets was never logging my Saturn experiences. From purchase dates to game playing notes, all my Saturn memories were relegated to my mind which is fleeting at best. My fire for the system was quickly waning and six years of undocumented memories were only going to fade away with time. But the funny thing about life is that sometimes you get a second chance when you least expect it. And that’s when the SNES came calling.

Advice well worth taking!
Advice well worth taking!
I kept a log of all my SNES buys
I kept a detailed account of all my SNES buys
As well as started and maintained a journal
As well as a journal
One of the best gaming-related decisions I made
I definitely did it right second time around
Thanks Sega Saturn for the memories and the lessons
Thanks Sega Saturn for the lessons and memories

SEVEN REASONS WHY I LOVE SNES

7YearIt5

1. Beating the games
2. Discovering new gems
3. Replaying childhood favorites
4. Quelling 15 to 20+ year curiosities
5. Continuing to expand RVGFANATIC
6.
 Memorable multi-player SNES sessions
7. Being truly content with my collection

1. BEATING THE GAMES

7YearIt6

There’s something to be said about beating a video game. As previously noted, I fell into a trap of casually playing my Saturn games never really sticking with one until I could squeeze it for all it’s worth. Getting back into the SNES I realized I wanted to right a wrong from my childhood, and that wrong was never beating many of its games. Too many as a child I didn’t even get a chance to (thoroughly) play. My SNES resurrection was a chance, then, at gaming redemption.

7YearIt7

I typically pop in a game these days with the intent of beating it, or at least until I can no longer progress. It gives me a great feeling when I eventually swap it out for another game. It’s like only then am I able to put the game back on the shelf with a real sense of peace and fulfillment. What a concept right? PLAY THE GAMES. BEAT THE GAMES. I adopted that mantra for SNES round two and it made all the difference in the world.

7YearIt8

I view beating games the same as watching a movie or reading a book. It would be silly to stop a quarter or three quarters through (unless it’s too boring or difficult). These days I always focus on playing (through) one game at a time. There’s something special about seeing a game through and not shelving it until you’ve maxed it out. I guess it reminds me of the good old days when I did just that with the limited number of games my parents bought for me. It’s the best of both worlds: owning a ton of games yet playing them as if you only had a few.

2. DISCOVERING NEW GEMS

DoremiFant15

Although I loved the SNES and had one from 1992-1998, there were still a ton of quality games I missed out on, or never really played. Since I missed out on them, even if those games are “old” titles from 1993 or ’94, they’re still brand new experiences to me. These past dozen years I have been able to experience many SNES games for the FIRST time. And there’s nothing like discovering new gems. Some of these games I never even knew existed back in the ’90s, like Super Famicom gem DoReMi Fantasy.

Always wear protection...
Always wear protection…

A stellar action game released in 1996, DoReMi Fantasy is undoubtedly one of the best platformers on the SNES. There’s nothing like uncovering a new game for the first time, seeing a few screenshots, getting super excited, finding it on eBay and then playing it only to discover that it’s awesome. Doing so only continues to further fan the flames.

Terran21B

Terranigma is another excellent gem that I discovered during my second SNES stint. It’s one of my absolute favorites and one of the best games on the entire SNES. Discovering and then beating games like Terranigma go a long way in keeping my flame lit.

3. REPLAYING CHILDHOOD FAVORITES

Combatribes-Swing

Nostalgia. Memories of a simpler time. I’ll never deny that one (small) reason why I love the SNES so much is how much history I have with the machine, dating back over 25 years to 1991. There were a handful of SNES games that I cherished for one reason or another as a child. Being able to play them again over the past 12 years has been a blast from the past. Some haven’t aged so well while others remain just as you remember them being. My brother and I used to play The Combatribes a ton back in 1993. It was a very surreal feeling when we played through it more than a decade later. For one brief moment we were kids again as we turned back the hands of time. The SNES gave me so many great memories. Whenever I play any one of my childhood favorites, I can’t help but get the warm fuzzies. And I’m instantly transported back to a time in my life where junk emails don’t exist and life was only as complicated as taking out the trash and doing homework.

Never fails to take me back to a simpler time in my life :)
Never fails to take me back to a simpler time in my life :)

4. QUELLING 15-20+ YEAR CURIOSITIES

SimsBel

There were many SNES games I wanted to play back in the day but never did. My SNES resurrection gave me a chance to rectify matters. I’ll never forget the night I first slayed Count Dracula in Super Castlevania IV back in April of 2006.

egmobgolfpre

Remember seeing all those cool looking SNES games featured in small blurbs within the pages of GameFan or EGM? And then wondering for years on end how they might play? Being able to put those childhood curiosities to rest is simply the best. Even better yet is when the game instantly becomes one of your all-time favorites. One example is BS Out of Bounds Golf. I LOVE that game!

BS Out of Bounds Golf rocks and that's no BULL
BS Golf rocks and that’s no BULL

5. BIRTH + EXPANSION OF RVGFANATIC

7YearIt13

For as long as I can remember, I love sharing (in written form) my opinions with others. Back in 5th grade I was writing book reviews for Goosebumps and having the time of my life knowing that my classmates would be reading my thoughts and possibly even basing their reading choices off my impressions. One of my deepest regrets with my Sega Saturn stint from 1999-2005 was my failure to document that whole experience. So I knew getting back into the Super Nintendo that I was going to do things right. Namely, I placed a focus on beating the games and documenting my journey somehow. I never dreamed that I would one day have my own website but sure enough that far-fetched fantasy suddenly became reality when I launched RVGFanatic 11 years ago today. I still remember that day vividly and recall it with a deep fondness. It was a cold and dark Sunday night. January 7, 2007. RVGFanatic was thrust into the vast wilderness of cyberspace.

The first day opened with this brief note to the reader
The first day opened with this brief note to the reader

The next day I published my review of the Super Famicom exclusive brawler, Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen. Immediately following this, my dad called asking if I could drive him to the auto repair shop to pick up his car. There was light rain falling that Monday night as I recall the vigor of knowing that somewhere someone was viewing my content and among the first visitors to do so. It was quite a high for me knowing that as I drove my dad on that wet drizzling freeway. It’s a moment in time that I remember fondly even to this day 11 years later.

7YearIt14

It’s crazy to think that my one man fansite has been around for 11 years now. Eleven! Gaming fansites usually have a limited shelf life. It’s not uncommon to see these sites either losing steam over time or flat out become obsolete. Whether the webmaster burns out, loses interest or gets caught up in life’s craziness, it happens far more often than not. Yet somehow, I’ve managed to buck the trend. I am still going strong 11 years and counting. My passion for the SNES and to continually expand RVGFanatic is as strong now in 2018 as it was in 2007. It’s crazy. The SNES is the system that just keeps on giving. Working on my baby RVGFanatic the past 11 years has been a blast, and one of the big reasons why I keep coming back to the SNES time in and time out.

6. EPIC MULTI-PLAYER SESSIONS

Nothing beats a good old fashioned gaming party
Nothing beats a good old fashioned gaming party

I’ve been fortunate enough to have some memorable multi-player SNES romps over the years, and they always leave me feeling recharged and re-energized.

Love mark of 5 years. Saturn getting dusty meanwhile
Taking my SNES instead proved to be the right call

While immersing myself in a classic one player quest is tough to top, perhaps there’s nothing better in gaming than an epic night of rollicking couch co-op. One session in particular: Christmas 2010. My cousins invited the family over for Christmas night. Normally I haul the Sega Saturn and Saturn Bomberman along with me, but that night I decided to take the Super Nintendo instead.

PowerPak2

I picked up a PowerPak cartridge about a month prior. It’s basically a memory card capable of storing hundreds of SNES games. Talk about super convenient. I found the perfect box to fit everything. A nice snug fit!

TiT58b

Karen texted me earlier that night, pleading me to come over soon. In her own words, “STEVE! We need you to get your butt over here — we are in dire need for some entertainment!” That Karen, I tell ya, she always cracks me up. I busted out my Super Nintendo upon arrival and Karen nearly fell over. “OH MY GOD, I haven’t seen one of these babies in eons!” We set it up. She was stunned by the amount of choices available on my PowerPak. I let her browse the endless list of games and her eyes popped when she spotted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time. “I remember playing this back in the day!” Karen shouted, turning into a six year old kid before my very eyes. Karen and David started out on the first level and we rotated turns. We had a blast going down memory lane. Safe to say, the Ninja Turtles weren’t the only ones who went back in time that fine Christmas night.

7YearIt16

After Turtles in Time, we switched over to Super Bomberman 2. It brought back so many rich memories of the early-mid ’90s when my old gaming circle would spend countless Saturday nights dunking on each other in NBA Jam and blowing up one another in the Super Bomberman games. It was, pardon the pun, an absolute blast.

Ah, New Year's Eve 2012 :)
Ah, New Year’s Eve 2012 :)

Once again the SNES PowerPak proved its worth taking center stage when my cousins came over. We spent the night playing 4-player BS Out of Bounds Golf and 5-player Super Bomberman 5. Nothing screams quality family time quite like blowing up your brother or knocking your cousin’s ball out of bounds. We rung in 2013 laughing and roaring. Epic gaming sessions like these stay with you for the long haul and only help remind me of why I love gaming so much.

7. HAPPY RETIREMENT FROM BUYING

I acquired a whopping 51 SNES games that first month
I acquired a whopping 51 SNES games that first month

It all started with one seemingly innocent impulsive buy on eBay nearly 12 years ago. I bought Power Moves, an old SNES fighting game my brother and I rented way back in late 1992. I was lucky. The SNES bug bit me earlier than most of my peers. Early 2006 was a grand time to be buying SNES games left and right as they were still dirt cheap a dozen years ago. My library steadily grew until it morphed into a massive monstrosity.

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No rest for the weary, however. No sooner did I win Power Moves I also won Prehistorik Man. Ignition Factor and Fatal Fury Special all soon followed. The next day I bought Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball, Mega Man X, Plok!, NHL ’98 and Sky Blazer. Not one to stop there, I was back at it two days later with buys of NBA Give ‘N Go, Super Turrican, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Super Tennis and Kirby’s Avalanche. Ah, those were some Wild Wild West days!

Getting the best of both worlds... literallly
Getting the best of both worlds… literally

Not only was I buying the North American games but I was also buying the Super Famicom imports that never came out stateside.

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Early on I didn’t care to get the manuals and boxes. I just wanted the cartridges. But I came across some cheap manual and box lots that I couldn’t pass up. Once they started coming in, the memories of reading these manuals and boxes as a kid once upon a moon came roaring back to me. And I figured why the hell not? Go big or go home!

I bought them by the stack loads
I was lucky I got back into it when it was still cheap
This was back when they were still fairly cheap
I’ll never forget that “lost weekend” I assembled them

My biggest stroke of luck came when I met an eBay seller from Minnesota by the name of Jenn back in 2007. She had a ton of SNES boxes and manuals she was looking to unload. I bought in bulk and she cut me a great deal. She sold me over 200! I doubt my collection would be what it is today were it not for Jenn.

Life is truly all about timing. Thanks Jenn!
Life is truly all about timing. Thanks Jenn!
My last huge get
My last huge get: the ultra rare 3 Ninjas Kick Back box!

I finished off 90% of my collection by 2008. My final big buy was the 3 Ninjas Kick Back box which I acquired in 2012. I’ve pretty much been done buying SNES stuff for five years now, and THAT FEELS GREAT.

It's one of the rarest SNES boxes around. I lucked out!
It’s one of the rarest SNES boxes around. I lucked out!
Even got my email printed in Retro Magazine!
Even got my email printed in Retro Magazine!
Got my collection featured in that magazine as well!
Got my collection featured in that magazine as well!

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SNES games were incredibly affordable back in 2006. I really lucked out in terms of timing. The SNES scene didn’t explode until 2010 or so. Fortunately I was able to beat the rush. It’s only because of my early start that I have what I now have. If I started back in 2009? Forget it. These games now cost an arm and a leg!

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Having a complete boxed collection of all the SNES games I ever wanted has unquestionably kept my passion burning all these years. Being able to play these games whenever I want and no longer worrying about getting sniped on eBay and what have you is simply priceless. I feel like I’ve come full circle in many ways and that I have fulfilled my childhood dreams, as corny as that may be to say. If you had told me 25 years ago when I was a kid in 1993 that 25 years later I would somehow own 500+ boxed SNES games… I would probably die laughing.

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I just love walking into my game room randomly sometimes. I don’t even have to play a game. Sometimes all I do is stand back and admire it for a few minutes while taking a stroll down memory lane. The memories come rushing back and it’s almost therapeutic in some ways. It’s escaping from the real world for a brief moment to slip back to a time in your life where things were simpler and more “magical.” Having an awesome collection that you’re 100% content with helps keep the fire burning. Glad to be retired from collecting but definitely not retired from playing ;)

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A quick shout out to Super Play Magazine. My acquisition of the 47 issue publication in late 2006 is another highlight of my collection. It’s the perfect companion piece to any Super Nintendo collection. Every once in a while I still pick up a random issue to read.

Good to see the one-off reunion issue last year!
Good to see the one-off reunion issue last year!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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I can’t believe RVGFanatic turns 11 today, and it’s crazy that in 10 days I will celebrate 12 years since the day I began my SNES comeback. The Super Nintendo has always been in my life in one way or another. First when I was a kid and later as an adult. 12 years later the fire still burns. I’ve played so many great SNES games the past 12 years and I still have a truck load remaining. No matter what direction life takes me in going forward, it’s safe to say I’ll always carry a special bond with this system. And somehow, I suspect the SNES fire will always burn in the backdrop of my life.

8. SPECIAL LOVE FROM MY READERS

BONUS! If I had to cite an 8th reason why my SNES passion still burns, it’s whenever I hear from one of my readers that something I wrote touched a small part of their past. I think many of us can relate to my experiences growing up in the early and mid ’90s and what it was like growing up with a Super Nintendo and some good friends to play it with. There’s an unspoken special bond there that you’ll only know if you grew up in that era. Here’s some of the feedback I’ve received over the past 11 years.

If you haven’t read Steven’s stories about his collection, you’re missing out. The stories are fun and poignant, and it’s nice to know that other people have their memories and feelings from their history all tangled up with a video game background. The stories from his childhood, losing and making friends, and developing feelings that don’t always work out will make you feel like you know him a bit, even if like me you’re a guy from Missouri who couldn’t pick him out of a lineup.
~CeleryStalker

Hi Steve,
I stumbled across your site thanks to a strange detour thrown at my feet while I was checking up on the Sega Saturn (a console I never owned but want to know more about) and found myself reading and reading. It’s rare these days, when everyone and their dog has a website (often about their dog) that you find someone who captures your imagination so vividly. I can’t explain it honestly. I find it odd that I’m writing this… but we share a love of the SNES and the long lasting summer evenings of childhood, something you describe so perfectly. And also Super Play… it was the only magazine I ever bought every month. It looked like nothing else on the shelf and rewarded with each and every read. The Japanese focus was so rare back then and the oddities and the sense of humor still makes me laugh. Oh, and the [Oi! – Ed.] thing goes back a little further as many of the Editors and staff worked on the magazine issues for the ZX Spectrum and other early ’80s computers so the [ – Ed.] inserts you sometimes incorporate are close to my heart. It made me laugh when I saw them on your website.

There’s no real point to the email other than to say thanks for writing. Something in your writing connected with me here in London and threw me back to my old childhood, rekindled my love for the SNES and the obscure, and has propelled me onwards as I continue to check out what the Saturn has to offer.

Now I’ve got many more pages of your site to read. I plan on going through them all as I never know what bizarre retro games I’ll find, or what other long-forgotten nights from my childhood I’ll remember.

Once again, thanks.
~Jon L.

Hi Steven,
I’m an avid reader of your website. I can’t wait to read your next update on RVGFanatic. I’m a huge fan of your personal essays and memoirs, as well as the reviews. You have no idea how many times I’ve read your Sega Saturn Saga. If I ever launch a website, I hope it will be as emotionally evocative as yours!

OK, I don’t want to sound too much like a fanboy. I promise I won’t annoy you with any more praise, haha. Thanks again for your time.

Sincerely,
William D.

Wow man, been reading this site for a while now and thought I would comment. The stuff you’ve written on here is simply a gold mine of awesome stories and nostalgic memories. I swear you could have been a friend or close relative of mine back in the day. Some of these stories on here are literally pages right out of my childhood, from the renting stories, to stuff like replaying Contra with my uncle and brother time and time again, to loving shows like The Wonder Years, etc.

Incredible stuff. Also love all your “ramblings” as you call them. I just cannot get enough of this stuff, lol. Please, whatever you do, do not stop writing. I find myself coming back here time and time again to read through some of these articles and remember the good times. Keep up the amazing work!
~Rich

Hi Steve,
Your reviews and articles are a joy to read. I appreciate the passion you put into your work; it never fails to strike a nostalgic chord with me. Better still, you have opened my eyes to a few games I ignored during my 16-bit youth, such as Brandish and Hook, which I now enjoy greatly.

Keep up the great work. I’m looking forward to the next review.
~LisVender

Hey Steve,
Just sitting here, reading your site, throwing a few back, and I figured to myself, “Hey, I might as well give Steve some love here.” I’m sure you get a lot of praise, but I’m sure it never hurts to hear some more to let you know your hard work is not for nothing.

Steve, you kick ass. I love your site. So many fansites are advertised, and people say great things to just be nice, but I gotta say… RVGFANATIC is truly great. I find myself reading the reviews and articles over and over… it’s just like a good book where I just keep reading it and re-reading it. It’s written so well and very entertaining.

Keep up the awesome work!
~Mike

SNES Classic Edition

It's happening
It’s happening

Yesterday news broke that Nintendo would indeed be releasing their SNES Classic Edition starting on September 29, 2017. Last year they released their NES Classic Edition for $60 and it was a smash hit. Rumors began swirling immediately that the SNES Classic Edition wouldn’t be far behind and sure enough, it’s almost here. For the low price of $80 here’s what you get:

  • HDMI support
  • SNES (super) mini
  • Two classic SNES controllers
  • 21 classic SNES games preloaded into the system

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Let’s take a closer look at all 21 games, in alphabetical order.

1. CONTRA III: THE ALIEN WARS

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One of the most intense action-packed 2 player SNES games ever made. Contra III is classic run and gun mayhem. Best experienced with a friend in tow, there’s nothing like blasting alien scum to Kingdom Come as you navigate your way through some of the most memorable moments in 16-bit gaming.

2. DONKEY KONG COUNTRY

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There were three DKC games released on the SNES, with many citing the second (Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest) as their favorite. I actually prefer the first one. Call it nostalgia but it was fresh, mind blowing for its time and the difficulty was just right. A little on the easy side at times, but it cranked it up when it needed to. Mainly, I enjoyed using Donkey Kong in all his glory. Don’t forget those amazing tunes, either!

3. EARTHBOUND

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Take The Wonder Years, Peanuts, Doug, The Goonies, Dragon Quest and put them all in a blender. You’d probably get something like EarthBound. Whimsical, unique and different, EarthBound is charming and captivating as hell. But there also lies some sneaky mature themes throughout, such as the loss of innocence in a corrupt world. A classic RPG any SNES fan should play through before all is said and done.

4. FINAL FANTASY III

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Arguably the greatest 16-bit RPG ever made, Final Fantasy III is an epic adventure. It took me nearly 50 hours to beat back in 2008 when I experienced it for the first time, and I loved every second of it. Memorable characters, plot twists, haunting music… it has it all. It’s too bad the almost-just-as-good Final Fantasy II isn’t also included, though. But if you had to pick just one, they made the right choice here.

5. F-ZERO

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It may seem a little outdated today, especially to F-Zero virgins, but this blew our minds back in 1991. It still holds up well, although it is a bit bare bones. Still a good choice. The music is awesome. You could say that for most of these games, quite frankly.

6. KIRBY’S DREAM COURSE

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Of all the games featured on the SNES Classic Edition, this is the most surprising. I don’t say that disparagingly! Kirby’s Dream Course combines the best of Kirby and golf. It’s a blast to play and addicting as hell. Glad this made the cut. It doesn’t get the props it deserves. Now a larger audience will get to experience this for the first time. As well as SNES fans from the ’90s who somehow missed out on this back in the day. A definite dark horse candidate for “Game I Didn’t Expect To Sink So Many Hours On.”

7. KIRBY SUPER STAR

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Rather than one grand adventure, Kirby Super Star is a compendium of nine standalone games. It’s vintage Kirby, and it’s loads of fun.

8. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST

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A no-brainer. One of the best SNES games ever, nay, one of the best video games of all time. A masterpiece in every sense, this adventure will forever remain timeless and quintessential. Who could ever forget the first time they saw that rain come whipping down?

9. MEGA MAN X

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The best Mega Man game on the SNES. Never before could the Blue Bomber move around like he does here. The ability to scale walls, ride armored machines and even throw a Hadoken made Mega Man X one unforgettable journey.

10. SECRET OF MANA

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The first ever 3-player action RPG, Secret of Mana was a marvel for its time. It’s a great game but one that I do feel is slightly overrated. Still, the ability to play it with two friends made it something special. It’ll be interesting to see if Nintendo releases a multitap for the SNES Classic Edition. 2-player Secret of Mana is still awesome but it’d be a shame not to be able to experience it as a 3-player affair. On a side note, I much prefer the Super Famicom-only sequel, Secret of Mana 2 AKA Seiken Densetsu 3.

11. STAR FOX

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Star Fox was pretty amazing back in 1993. It’s a little rough around the edges today in 2017, but hopefully people will be able to overlook the dated visuals which were considered fairly groundbreaking for its time.

12. STAR FOX 2

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The biggest news of this SNES Classic Edition is the inclusion of never before officially released Star Fox 2. This game was programmed back in the mid ’90s but never saw the light of day as the N64 was looming over the horizon. Of course the repro of this game has been available for many years now, but it’ll be nice to have an official release (especially HDMI-supported).

13. STREET FIGHTER II TURBO

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Some people argue Super Street Fighter II is better, but I’ll take Street Fighter II Turbo. Street Fighter II created a revolution, but it was Turbo that refined it. For my money this is hands down the best fighting game on the SNES. So many sore thumbs and even more sore egos courtesy of this game back in 1993. Good times.

14. SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV

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It’s a little slow and the visuals are a bit outdated by today’s standards, but this was the definitive Castlevania game for many folks prior to Symphony of the Night. Being able to swing Simon’s whip in all directions made controlling him a breeze and loads of fun. There’s a beautiful simplicity to this game. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy taking down Count Dracula?

15. SUPER GHOULS ‘N GHOSTS

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Probably the hardest game of this list, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts suffers from some slowdown but still provides one hell, pardon the pun, of a romp through some ghastly levels. I’m glad this game made the list. It’s a classic but often slightly overlooked in lieu of some bigger names such as Super Metroid and Contra III. Well deserved, Sir Arthur. Well deserved. You’ll terrorize a whole new generation of gamers. Congrats, good sir.

16. SUPER MARIO KART

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The Mario Kart franchise is one of the most beloved of all time. It’s so good that it attracts even the most casual of gamers. There’s something very likable about the characters from the Mario universe, the various weapons and imaginative course designs that constantly bring people back for more and more. This is where it all started — it’s the granddaddy of all Mario Kart games. Still playable after all these years!

17. SUPER MARIO RPG: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN STARS

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Mario in an RPG? Nuts. Bowser as a playable good guy? Even more nuts. Yet it all works, to no one’s surprise. Super Mario RPG brings timing to the RPG party as well as some wacky, lovable characters. A good time for sure.

18. SUPER MARIO WORLD

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Released on the Super Famicom’s Launch Day of November 21, 1990, Super Mario World is still as playable today as it was nearly 30 years ago. Shigeru Miyamoto knows how to make a damn good video game, and his fingerprints are all over this one. Great visuals, amazing music and smooth gameplay. Can’t ask for much more.

19. SUPER METROID

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If there were a Super Nintendo Mount Rushmore, anyone who doesn’t include Super Metroid automatically has their list disqualified. You just can’t talk about the very best SNES games without mentioning this 24 MEG GEM. Adventure, atmosphere, gun slinging, exploration, Super Metroid has it all. And that is all.

20. SUPER PUNCH-OUT!!

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Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! was one of the best NES games ever made. Its sequel, Super Punch-Out!!, is also an excellent arcade-like take on the sport of boxing. It’s all about patterns, timing, memorization and execution. While the new boxers here may lack the personality of the NES game, it’s still one of my favorites and I’m happy to see it made the list.

21. YOSHI’S ISLAND

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Aside from baby Mario’s incredibly annoying crying whenever he’s dismounted, Yoshi’s Island is a daring and brilliant deviation from the standard Mario game formula. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I find it equally as splendid as Super Mario World — just in slightly different ways.

TOP NINE SNUBS

The NES Classic Edition had 30 games, but the SNES Classic Edition only carries 21. However, the 21 games here are obviously much lengthier than the ones found on the NES edition. While the 21 games represented are great choices, there are a few glaring omissions. Whether due to licensing or whatever, here are nine great SNES games (in alphabetical order) that are conspicuous by their absence.

Oh, and before we begin, I will refrain from including the following two titles due to the simple fact that it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any sort of multitap with the SNES Classic Edition. While both these games are still great as 2-player games, the real magic comes with a room of 4.

NBA Jam T.E.
NBA Jam T.E.
Super Bomberman
Super Bomberman

1. ACTRAISER

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An early first generation title and a classic one at that. ActRaiser switches seamlessly between side-scrolling levels of good old hack and slash platforming and a simulation mode where you must help build the land and protect the people. It’s a little simplistic but it didn’t need to be complex.

2. CHRONO TRIGGER

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Perhaps the most glaring omission of all, some believe Chrono Trigger to be the best SNES game ever created. Quite a loss, then, not to have one of the very best titles ever made in 16-bit history. Although I do understand at least a little bit since Nintendo already packed in three RPGs. Still, it’s tough losing out on this one.

3. DONKEY KONG COUNTRY 2: DIDDY’S KONG QUEST

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Although I prefer the original Donkey Kong Country, I’ll concede that this does play slightly better. If you had Yoshi’s Island to go along with Super Mario World, you probably should have added this as well. Alas, poor Diddy and newcomer Dixie Kong are left hanging… [HAR HAR -Ed.]

4. THE LEGEND OF THE MYSTICAL NINJA

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Another classic 2-player SNES game from the system’s early days. Perhaps this was a little too offbeat for Nintendo to include for the mainstream, however. If that is the case, that’s a shame because the gameplay shines through and speaks for itself. Note: This game is included in the Super Famicom Classic Edition as Ganbare Goemon.

5. POCKY & ROCKY

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Hard as nails, but also super fun with a friend right alongside ya! It’s too bad this got snuffed… it would have exposed Pocky & Rocky to a brand new generation of gamers.

6. SUNSET RIDERS

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Vintage glorious 2-player gun slinging action. ‘Nuff said.

7. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES IV: TURTLES IN TIME

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Next to Chrono Trigger, this is the biggest glaring omission. Not to mention it would have been the only beat ‘em up on the SNES Classic Edition. That makes its absence all the more egregious. No beat ‘em ups represented?! That’s a crime! But I totally understand it might have been a licensing issue and Nintendo simply not wanting to pay the extra cost for the Ninja Turtles brand. Whatever the case may be, it’s a shame. This defined many of our 16-bit childhoods and is arguably the finest beat ‘em up on the SNES.

8. TETRIS ATTACK

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No puzzle games are represented either, and Tetris Attack is the best as far as I’m concerned. This inclusion would have provided endless hours of cutthroat competitive play, and it saddens me that it didn’t make the cut. Well, at least for the American release. The Super Famicom Classic Edition does include this game but under its Japanese title of Panel de Pon.

9. ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS

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Come on, Nintendo. This is another classic childhood game for many of us who grew up in the early ’90s. Every kid played this game to death that holiday season of 1993. Sure, it may be a little overrated but it’s freaking ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS! Nintendo, you could have even tweaked it to make it better. Think about an easier difficulty setting, a strafe button, etc. A missed opportunity any way you slice it.

10. KEN GRIFFEY JR. PRESENTS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

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This is my honorable mention. I love this game and it was also published by Nintendo. I see why it wasn’t included, though. Fake player names, outdated rosters and so forth. But damn is this game fun. Many people, even non baseball fans, still play it to this very day. It would also have been the only sports title featured in the package.

SUPER FAMICOM CLASSIC EDITION

I THINK I AM TURNING JAPANESE...
“I THINK I AM TURNING JAPANESE…”

In Japan, the system will include Panel de Pon (Tetris Attack)Fire Emblem: Mystery of the EmblemGanbare Goemon: The Legend of the Mystical NinjaSuper Soccer, and Super Street Fighter II. These titles replace EarthBoundKirby’s Dream CourseStreet Fighter II Turbo, Super Castlevania IV, and Super Punch-Out!! from the US model.

Super Punch-Out!! was never released in Japan. Strange but true. I guess they’re keeping true to form 20+ years later…

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Welcome back, dear old friend
Welcome back, dear old friend

For $80 this is an insane bargain. Having 21 classic SNES titles, with HDMI support, in one tiny system is greatly appealing particularly to those who don’t already own these classics. You’re talking less than $4 a game, and that’s not including the system. Sadly, the NES Classic Edition suffered from lack of production and over demand, causing scalpers to swoop in and take advantage. Preorders for the SNES Classic Edition are going fast and resellers are everywhere posed to capitalize. $300 markups would be a safe bet. Of course, when you consider some of these games sell TODAY for close to $300 individually, $300 might still seem like a good deal for 21 games. And it is, at less than $15 a game. But it would be a shame to pay $300 for something that is retailing for just $80. As always, it’s a call only the individual can make. I already own all these games so I’d pass if the asking price is $300, but at $80 I would probably bite. But what are the odds I’ll be able to find one for $80? Probably not high.

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But on a more happy note, I’m just ecstatic that my favorite console, the Super Nintendo, is back in the mainstream spotlight. I expect a ton of nostalgia to overcome young adults in their 30s who see this package and go “Oh wow, I haven’t played these games in 20, 25 years!” It just makes me happy knowing the SNES will once again bask in the glow of the spotlight. Nintendo plans to stop production of these Classic Editions at the end of 2017, so the spotlight will be short-lived, but it’s nice knowing come September a lot of casual people will be buying a Super Nintendo in 20-freaking-17. And who knows, it may lead to something bigger. At the very least, exposure never hurts and it thrills me that younger generations of gamers will have a chance to play and appreciate these classics. That’s a definite win in my book!

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EXTRA EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Speaking of SNES comebacks...
Speaking of SNES comebacks…

By the way, it recently came to my attention that BS Shockman is getting an official Super Famicom release June of 2017! Wow! The SNES scene is booming right now in a way we haven’t seen in a long time. BS Shockman is also known as BS Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman Zero. Check out my review for more info.

Fun 2-player game worth checking out
Fun 2-player game worth checking out

Rock on, SNES. Rock the f*ck on.

Top 50 Obscure Super Famicom Games

My favorite games that never came out in America!
My favorite games that never came out in America!

The SNES has a ton of amazing games. But when you turn your eye to the Japanese side of things, that’s when you truly realize how deep and phenomenal the library is. On September 8, 2006, I began an “Obscure Super Famicom Impressions” topic where I posted my two cents on a slew of obscure Super Famicom exclusives. The topic was well received and stirred much retro gaming discourse. 10 years later I revived my topic to post a personal top 50 list. I’m now converting that list over :)

QUICK NOTES

  • This isn’t a top 50 *BEST* list. Rather, it’s a top 50 favorite list
  • There will be no (action) RPGs on this list. As best as I could, I kept this list restricted to games that any non-Japanese reader can enjoy
  • To qualify for this list, the game can’t have an official American release
  • All these games have links for their own review if you wish to read more

Let the top 50 countdown begin!

#50: MICKEY TOKYO DISNEYLAND

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Everyone knows about the Capcom Mickey games on the Super Nintendo. But did you know there was a non-Capcom Mickey game released only on the Super Famicom? Developed by GRC (who also made Trouble Shooter for the Genesis), Mickey Tokyo Disneyland is worth a look.

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Navigate through various sections of the famous Disneyland theme park. Red balloons send Mickey zipping around. Blue balloons can be flicked at enemies or dropped on unsuspecting suckers. It can also be set down as a paperweight or as a jumping boost. The color scheme, the classic Mickey look — it all works. The control is a bit rigid, though. Still, a nice game to play on a lazy rainy day.

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#49: SUPER BACK TO THE FUTURE II

Boasting a rich colorful look, Marty McFly uses his trusty hoverboard to thwart the likes of Biff, Griff, rogue cops and other assorted baddies. The classic Back to the Future overture is perfectly replicated. Chill inducing worthy.

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The game does have its share of flaws, though. The control takes some getting used to and there’s a bit of slowdown here and there. But there’s just something about this game that I enjoy, warts and all.

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#48: VIOLINIST OF HAMELIN

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Violinist of Hamelin (AKA Hamelin no Violin Hiki) is a puzzle action platformer where you play as Hamel and guide a girl named Flute safely through each level. Picking up Flute and tossing her through pillars of stone is not only encouraged, it’s necessary! Flute can transform into 16 different forms (after the appropriate icon has been collected). Each has its own special purpose and using the right one at the right time is key to success.

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Poor Flute gets quite abused!
Her expressions are priceless!

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#47: NANGOKU SHOUNEN PAPUWA-KUN

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Daft only developed three SNES games — two of which are entries #48 and #49 above. This next game completes Daft’s SNES trilogy. Based off the manga, Nangoku is a platformer that uses a level up system like you would find in an action RPG. There are eight kooky worlds to navigate with all manner of bizarre enemies to kill. There’s even a character that looks an awful lot like Link, hmm.

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There’s a slight bit of dialogue in this game (as is the case with Violinist of Hamelin) but it won’t hinder a non-Japanese reading gamer from progressing. However, there’s a fan translation floating out there if you want to get the full experience.

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#46: SUPER GENJIN 2

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Everything Super Bonk should have been! The sprites are smaller so maneuvering Bonk around is much improved in comparison to his first SNES outing. He can also slide now. Some “new” transformations abound that were not present in Super Bonk such as the thief, who can throw the smiley faces as projectiles. Visuals are colorful and pleasing to the eye.

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Super Genjin 2 does Bonk proud.

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#45: POWER SOUKOBAN

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Published by Nintendo on New Year’s Day 1999, Power Soukoban added an action-oriented modern twist to the classic old Soukoban formula. Not only are there puzzles to solve but you now have to fend off enemies. Your fireballs take out enemies as well as move stones.

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There are even bosses! Frankenstein and Medusa to name but two. Power Soukoban is a fun action puzzle game that brings an interesting new twist to a proven formula.

#44: GHOST SWEEPER MIKAMI

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Based off the anime/manga by Takashi Shiina, Ghost Sweeper Mikami reminds me of the countless action platformers we saw on the 8-bit NES back in the day. If you’re into that sort of thing, then definitely give it a look. Packed with atmosphere, it’s slightly goofy yet somewhat spooky. Perfect to play on a cold, stormy night with all the lights turned off.

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Evil spirits, zombies and all assorted manner of monsters have popped up all over town. Armed with her trusty magical baton and athletic agility, it’s up to Mikami to sweep the streets and clear out the demons and demented. Just a good old fashioned fun solid action game akin to the kind we saw in the late ’80s to early ’90s.

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#43: GANBARE DAIKU NO GENSAN

You might remember Hammerin’ Harry from the arcade scene of the early ’90s. Running around in pseudo-Super Deformed form crushing everything in sight with a big ol’ mallet? Sign me up!

It’s also Japanese bonkers. From fighting a man dressed in a cat suit to knocking the hell out of octogenarians, Ganbare Daiku no Gensan promises a wacky experience that is certainly enjoyable while it lasts.

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#42: SUPER TEKKYU FIGHT!

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At a cursory glance, Super Tekkyu Fight! appears to be a Bomberman clone. But it’s actually quite different. For starters, players can take up to eight hits. Instead of bombing the competition, you attack them with a spiky chained ball.

It’s no Super Bomberman but Super Tekkyu Fight! is certainly a solid alternative when you’re in the mood for something in the Bomberman vein but with a twist.

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#41: THE FIREMEN

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Developed by HUMAN, best known for their Fire Pro Wrestling franchise, The Firemen is like Die Hard if you replace the terrorists with fire and the firearms with a water hose. It’s winter 2010 in New York and a high rise is burning. It’s up to you to rescue the victims and clean up the mess. Shoot in eight directions as well as strafe and lock.

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THIS GAME IS ON FIRE! Sorry…

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#40: GO GO ACKMAN

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Based off the manga by Akira Toriyama, Go Go Ackman is a traditional action platformer starring a very non-traditional anti-hero. And therein lies the charm. Fend off enemies by way of swordplay, boomerang and even some gun slinging. The game is short and not very challenging, but damn is it fun.

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Besides, it’s pretty hilarious shooting cute little angels right between the eyes. God bless Japan, you crazy bastards you.

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#39: BATTLE CROSS

Battle Cross is a six player single screen racer. At first glance it appears to be a mix of Mario Kart and Bomberman. It doesn’t have the smooth and excellent gameplay of either but it’s a riot to play with four friends.

Weapons are strewn about the courses. Nothing satisfies like tossing a missile at someone or dropping a mine underneath an overpass that conceals the explosive. Fun for a retro gaming party night.

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#38: LITTLE MAGIC

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Single screen action puzzle games have always been a pet favorite of mine. They’re so simple yet complex. In Little Magic you control a young witch-in-training named May. The goal is to transport the fire stone to the pedestal of each level as well as guide May to the exit gate.

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Things start out basic but progressively increases in complexity and difficulty. Later levels introduce warp points, spikes, gaping holes and even enemies. With 100 levels in all, you won’t beat this overnight. If you enjoy staring contemplatively at the screen until inspiration breaks through with the resolute “AH-HA!” then Little Magic is right up your alley.

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#37: RENDERING RANGER: R2

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Full of explosive mayhem that would make even Arnold proud, Rendering Ranger: R2 is an action-packed game that switches between Turrican-esque run ‘n gun stages and a horizontal space shooter. There are several different guns and each one can be powered up.

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You also get three bombs to use. The bombs regenerate slowly through an energy bar at the bottom, meaning you can use one early on and gain it back by mid level or so. Speaking of the bombs, they’re not generic as they were in Contra III. Each gun actually has its own unique bomb. Good stuff.

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#36: POKO NYAN!

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Poko Nyan! is a platformer based off the 170 episode anime show that ran from 1993-1996. This game is clearly geared toward kids with its super colorful visuals and extremely easy gameplay. It’s got a charming protagonist that can transform into various other critters at any time. This includes a kangaroo that can jump super high, a bird with unlimited flight and a hedgehog that can do a spin attack (hmmm). It’s a perfect game for kids or anyone who is still, deep down, a kid at heart.

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The set pieces are gorgeously drawn and usually have many tiers. You can kill enemies by simply dropping off a ledge and bouncing off their heads. This is deceptively satisfying. There’s something innately charming, whimsical and innocent about Poko Nyan! that takes me right back to my early childhood years.

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#35: SUPER BOMBERMAN PANIC BOMBER WORLD

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More than just a cheap cash cow attempt, Super Bomberman Panic Bomber World is an admirable foray into the puzzle genre. Connect three or more like color pieces horizontally, vertically or diagonally. In addition, you get unlit and lit bombs because Bomberman. Once you fill up your power bar you get a mega bomb that will cause all kinds of havoc. The chain combos you can pull off are pretty insane!

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And of course, being a Bomberman title, there’s even a 4 player mode. The classic Bomberman battle tune is even replicated nicely here and fits the urgency of the falling piece action to a tee.

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#34: KEEPER

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Keeper is a puzzle action game jam packed with charm and a healthy dose of brain-bending conundrums. Players control an adorable Gizmo-like creature. Your goal is to clear the 5×5 grid of all the stones. Match three or more stones by same color or same shape. There are four modes of play including a fun co-op and 2 player versus mode.

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Keeper is a keeper. Sorry, I had to.

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#33: ARAIGUMA RASCAL

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This game is based off Rascal the Raccoon, which was a Japanese anime series based on the 1963 Sterling North autobiographical novel entitled “Rascal, A Memoir of a Better Era.” What other SNES game can claim it was based off a 1963 classic American memoir?

Araiguma Rascal puts a unique spin on your typical falling piece puzzler. As Rascal you grab one jar at a time and maneuver your way through the field. There are three different 2 player modes to boot. The graphics really invoke the spirit of Wisconsin (the setting of the memoir). There’s a vintage feel to the visuals. It all adds up to one extremely adorable and appealing package.

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#32: BS SHOCKMAN

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Unlike the other games on this list so far, BS Shockman, or BS Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman Zero, was never officially released on cartridge. Slated for a Super Famicom release back in 1994, it was instead relegated to the Satellaview device (a downloading service in Japan in the ’90s). Players can combine to unleash super special tag team attacks in the 2 player mode. Raita and Azuki also have their own special moves.

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Featuring only eight stages, the game is short at 45 minutes or so. It’s also quite easy. Other than those blemishes, it’s a very fun game that feels like a mix between a traditional platformer and a beat ‘em up.

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#31: MAJYUUOU

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The SNES isn’t known for having very many dark and mature titles in its library. However, Majyuuou (AKA King of Demons) definitely qualifies as such. At first glance it appears to be a cross between Castlevania and Resident Evil. While it doesn’t live up to such an enticing combination, it is a rather fun and sordid romp through hell. The imagery is unlike anything else you’ll find on the SNES.

You start out in human form armed with a gun and a giant Hadoken-like blast. At the end of each level an orb allows you to transform into a savage beast. There are four forms in all. Abel’s sprite is a little small but the game features a good amount of details to compensate. It does an excellent job of sucking you into its decaying and decrepit underworld. A fascinating foray through the depths of hell.

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#30: DEAE TONOSAMA APPARE ICHIBAN

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Weirdest Super Famicom game ever? Think Pocky & Rocky on acid. A strange alien force looks to cast its iron fist over the entire universe and two brave but bumbling souls set out to save the day. Their names are Baka-dono and Baka-ouji, which translate to Lord Stupid and Prince Stupid. You can’t make this stuff up. This globe trotting adventure features 10 stages in all. Battle rotting zombies in a cursed Japanese village one minute and the next contend with crazy curry plate chucking madmen in India.

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EVERYTHING EXPLODES. Elephants? They explode. Stray chickens? They explode. Japanese shoji screens? Yep, even inanimate objects explode. It’s way over the top and all done with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek with a wink to boot. You can also morph into your deceased steroid-injected father. ‘Nuff said, really!

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#29: GHOST CHASER DENSEI

This is the best Super Famicom beat ‘em up to never leave Japan. Sure it’s got many of the beat ‘em up tropes. Three characters to pick from. One well-balanced, one strong and one weak but quick. Charging fat bald guys. But a few neat things help it stand out. This includes blocking, special tag team moves and a meter for your special moves that’s separate from your health meter.

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Ghost Chaser Densei is a top notch beat ‘em up that takes one back to the halcyon days when beat ‘em ups ruled the arcade scene.

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#28: MICKEY & DONALD: MAGICAL ADVENTURE 3

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The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse brings back a lot of fond memories for many of us. Capcom’s sequel The Great Circus Mystery was solid but somehow missed that magical “it” factor that the original had in spades. In December 1995 Capcom released the final game in the trilogy and returned to form.

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It was Minnie Mouse out and Donald Duck in. The classic costume system returns but this time the suit powers differ for Mickey and Donald, making it worthwhile to sample both characters. Of course, that classic refined Mickey gameplay you’ve come to love returns (including the lovely snatch-a-block-out-of-thin-air-and-heave-it-at-the-bad-guys formula). Some of the animations, particularly from Donald, are simply priceless.

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#27: MAGICAL POP’N

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If Zelda were ever made into a platformer, it would probably look something like this. You attack enemies with a short ranged sword but can gain powers as you go along. Stars are scattered throughout the game’s six stages. Collect as many as you can to increase your sub weapon’s ammunition, similar to Castlevania.

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Unfortunately there is no password or save system. But thankfully there is a handy cheat code that unlocks a debug menu. Pause the game and press Up, Down, X, Y, Left, Right, A, B, Up, Up. This allows you to tweak with things such as lives, hearts, a God mode and even a level select option. Magical Pop’n is a damn fine game.

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#26: POP’N TWINBEE: RAINBOW BELL ADVENTURES

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Its main strength is versatility. Pick from three different characters. The game is ridiculously versatile as evident by the SEVEN different ways to kill a bad guy. This not only separates it from the me-too crowd of SNES platformers, but it also minimizes repetitiveness while playing it.

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Two 2 player modes are also at play — a co-op and battle mode. Rainbow Bell Adventures is easily one of Konami’s more underrated 16-bit gems.

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#25: POP’N SMASH

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Heisei Inu Monogatari Bow: Pop’n Smash, to give it its full proper name, is a game you rarely ever hear about. And that’s a shame. Imagine a mix between Pong and Breakout, then add in typical Japanese wackiness and shenanigans. Pop’n Smash is centered around canine Bow. “Bow Wow” was a Japanese manga created by Terry Yamamoto. It enjoyed a lengthy run from 1992 to 1999. There was also a 40 episode anime series that ran from 1993-1994.

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The objective is to bat the ball into your opponent’s goal zone. Along the way there are obstacles such as breakable blocks, pots and even bombs to add a little extra spice. Choose from several different characters and stages. Players can make dramatic diving saves as well as cross over into the opponent’s playing area. Select different tools to hit the ball that range from a tennis racket to a mallet to even a branch. It’s one of those games that anyone can pick up and enjoy. Pop’n Smash is a smashing good time!

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#24: SANRIO WORLD SMASH BALL!

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Sanrio Smash is similar to the previous game, Pop’n Smash, but it plays slightly better. Choose from four Sanrio characters and 20 different stages. It’s cutthroat and competitive as can be. There are power-ups to sway the tide of battle one way or the other. There’s also a super shot that players can unleash once they’ve charged their meter.

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Sanrio World Smash Ball! is a smash. Sorry. It’s a ball. Damnit. Look, it’s pretty dang good, OK? So get it if you can, or something.

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#23: SPARK WORLD

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Spark World is a fun Bomberman clone. Each player is able to sustain two hits — this makes for lengthier battles and gets rid of the embarrassing “Oops I accidentally killed myself 10 seconds in!” moment.

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Some slight twists abound. The boxing glove power-up icon allows you to punch your OPPONENT rather than the fuel barrel (bomb). When a round concludes, a stats screen shows you who killed whom. This can lead to some temporary 3-on-1 allegiances when one player killed everyone else the previous round. Good times.

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#22: SUPER BOMBERMAN 5

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Did you know there was a Super Bomberman 3, 4 and 5 for the SNES? They came out only in Japan (part 3 also came out in Europe). These sequels are perhaps most notable for adding a fifth bomber to the mix but they also feature a whole new slew of bombs and gimmicks.

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The mad bomber option in part 5 takes on brand new stakes. If you kill someone as a mad bomber you get to switch places. It brings a whole new intensity to mad bombing! There’s also a hidden bomber to unlock, the Golden Bomber.

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#21: SUPER PUYO PUYO TSUU REMIX

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Other than Tetris, I consider Puyo Puyo the most classic, pure puzzle game. It’s where skills reign supreme and luck doesn’t play as big a role as it does in most other puzzle games. You know the formula: connect four or more like color pieces. Send garbage blocks over. Yup, there’s a reason why there’s a new Puyo Puyo Tetris mashup coming out soon for the Nintendo Switch!

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4 player mode rocks.
Eat your heart out, Kirby’s Avalanche.

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#20: SD F-1 GRAND PRIX

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Best described as Super Mario Kart meets a cast of Chuck E. Cheese’s rejects. If you were sad back in the mid ’90s that there was never a Super Mario Kart 2 on the SNES, then well, SD F-1 Grand Prix certainly won’t fill that void but it stands as a solid alternative and an adequate companion piece to Super Mario Kart. Choose from 10 different cutesy animal drivers to compete all around the world in a variety of interesting and cool looking race tracks.

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You have your standard 10 player Grand Prix mode but the Crash Mode features power-ups such as projectiles. And as expected, there’s a 2 player mode where you can select one of four battle courses to duke it out. As far as Mario Kart alternatives on the SNES go, this is the cream of the crop.

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#19: ULTRA BASEBALL JITSUMEIBAN 2

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Culture Brain’s Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 developed a semi-cult following among SNES players in the early ’90s. Did you know Culture Brain went on to release four Super Famicom exclusive sequels? My favorite of which is the second one, which features cute chibi ball players.

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The crazy power-ups that made the first game so unique and fun are back. The charming visuals are reminiscent of EarthBound, perfectly matching the game’s wackiness and absurdity. So if throwing lightning-infused fastballs is your thing, grab a mitt and PLAY BALL!

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#18: DOSSUN! GANSEKI BATTLE

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Dossun! Ganseki Battle is a Columns-esque puzzler that feels like a precursor to Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Pieces disappear when three or more like pieces touch. Connections are formed either vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Characters attack each other when chain combos are dealt. Their sprites enlarge as they attack — it really gets you into the fighting spirit!

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There are two ways to win a match. The player’s screen fills up or their health meter is fully depleted. To make things even more interesting, the five different types of pieces each serve a different purpose when matched. Competitive and cutthroat, Dossun! Ganseki Battle is Columns meets Puzzle Fighter with a medieval theme. A winning formula for sure!

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#17: ROCKMAN & FORTE

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Capcom released this on April 24, 1998, for those who couldn’t afford a 32-bit system. Pick between the Blue Bomber and relative newcomer, Forte (AKA Bass), who made his debut in 1995’s Mega Man 7. Forte can double jump, dash and shoot in all directions (except straight down). Other improvements include stunning visuals (it almost looks like an early 32-bit title) and a proper save system is now in play. About friggin’ time, Capcom!

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Notoriously considered one of the toughest Mega Man games around, there are sadly no E Tanks here. However, you collect bolts throughout and can purchase upgrades and power-ups at Auto’s shop. In addition to bolts, you’ll also find CD’s strewn about the stages. Collect up to 100 to view character bios. Rockman & Forte has divided the fanbase but for my money it stands as a fine Super Nintendo swan song for Capcom.

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#16: PUZZLE’N DESU!

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Move a cute little blob thing around the screen and clear the field of all its blocks. Blocks disappear when three or more of the same color touch. You can only push. Pushed blocks travel until coming into contact with another block or obstacle. Things start out simple but later puzzles get downright brutal. The timer adds a sense of urgency. It’s quite the rush completing a puzzle just in the nick of time!

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The main story mode also allows three friends to join you. But the best thing is the 4 player battle mode. There are 10 battle arenas to pick from and most of them are littered with various gimmicks that would make any Bomberman title proud. Pushing a block across the screen to crush a loved one never felt so damn good. Puzzle’N Desu! is one of the best party games you’ve probably yet to play. Charming and addicting as hell!

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#15: BS ZELDA

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The NES classic Legend of Zelda gets a remake of sorts on the SNES. It was available on March 30, 1997 in Japan via the Satellaview only. Of course, since then there’s been hacks and fan translations. SNES players can now experience BS Zelda in all its glory. An awesome take on the NES classic but with spiffy 16-bit souped up visuals. You can even now switch items and weapons by using the shoulder buttons!

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#14: UMIHARA KAWASE

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The closest thing to Bionic Commando on the SNES? Umihara Kawase. You control a school girl who wears a pink backpack. For reasons unknown you find yourself in a strange world full of towering platforms, ledges and mutant marine life. Somewhere in each level lies the exit and it’s your job to safely reach it. You do this by performing various tricks with your elastic rope. Delightfully weird in that ever lovable Japanese sort of way, Umihara Kawase is a total blast to play. Much of the fun comes in figuring out how best to utilize the rope in any given situation. Using momentum and understanding the rope’s physics all come into masterful play.

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At first glance it appears to be a budget title, but don’t let its basic looks fool you. What lies underneath is a complex game that hooks and reels you in (sorry). It’s always fun to see what the next twisted level will look like, as well as what new sea creatures may be milling about. Figuring out how to reach the exit is addicting. The music and sound effects fit the game to a tee; it does a good job transporting you to this bizarre alternate universe. A dimension where sea creatures are mutated, veggies are overgrown and magic stand alone doors are tucked away at the oddest heights and places. The game world is so strangely captivating — it’s like you’re deep in some twisted recurring nightmare. A nightmare, mind, that plays like an absolute dream.

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#13: CLOCK TOWER

Clock Tower was a cult favorite among PlayStation owners in the late ’90s. But did you know Clock Tower and Scissorman originated on the Super Famicom? A point and click horror adventure, players are flung into a creepy mansion on the outskirts of town. Something is clearly not right as your party drops one by one. You feel a haunting presence stalking your every move. The hair on the back of your neck stands up as you hear the snip-snip-SNIP of the one and only…

Like a good slow burn, Clock Tower works on building up the tension with little teases here and there. It’s not a loud in your face affair, so it may be a little too slow paced for some. But for the patient player who appreciates a good story being built brick by brick, Clock Tower delivers the scary goods. You never know for sure where Scissorman may pop up, but when he does, it’s ON. The heartbeat races a little faster and palms start to sweat as you run madly to find a hiding spot somewhere in the creepy mansion. It’s the perfect game to play on a stormy night!

#12: SUPER SOUKOBAN

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The classic gameplay of Super Soukoban is as simple (yet complex) and pure as it gets. You’re in a cluttered warehouse and it’s your job to move boxes into their designated position. There is no timer; however, there is a step limit. By pressing the shoulder buttons you can rewind or fast forward previous steps. So if you mess up you don’t have to restart the level completely. Knowing that you can always backtrack and erase any error is such a boon. The early levels start out very basic but soon give way to some mind tingling terrors. Seeing levels transition from large sprites to very small sprites can be intimidating!

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Later on there are even boxes already darkened, which indicates the box is already resting on a purple dot. You can still move these darkened boxes in many cases, but you have to figure out if you’re meant to or not. There are 300 levels in all and rumor has it launch day buyers are still stuck on level 289 to this very day. To boot, there’s a level edit option and a 2 player mode with 10 different characters to select from.

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#11: SUTTE HAKKUN

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Taking control of a strange transparent bird, the goal is to collect the rainbow orb(s) on each level. To do so, one must “suck and blow.” Yes, you’ll suck and blow. A lot. [Insert token dirty joke here]. The colors all serve a specific purpose — click on the review if you want the rundown.

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Developed and released by Nintendo on June 25, 1999, Sutte Hakkun is the LAST great SNES game ever. Don’t miss out on it. Being from Nintendo you know it’s good.

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#10: SUPER FIRE PRO WRESTLING X PREMIUM

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Human’s great Fire Pro series began its life on the PC-Engine in 1989. Their final Super Famicom Fire Pro game, Super Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium, is considered by many as the greatest 16-bit wrestling game of all time. It was revolutionary for its time thanks to its Create A Wrestler mode. You could create and save up to 80 wrestlers. The amount of moves and body types available were equally mind blowing.

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The grapple system was based on timing rather than button mashing, so players had to work their way up the move chain. Light, medium and strong attack buttons allow for a natural progression. Super Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium has long since been surpassed by superior sequels. Still, 20 years later it stands the test of time. Besides, it’s pretty cool rocking out on your Super Nintendo as Bobo Brazil.

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#9: GODZILLA: KAIJUU DAIKESSEN

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Whether he was terrorizing trains and ravaging cities, or pummeling rubber suited monsters and saving the planet, Godzilla has a special spot in the hearts of many. Having endured 60+ years and 30+ films and counting, the Big Guy is simply timeless. So growing up you can imagine the clamor for a good Godzilla video game. NES Godzilla wasn’t particularly good. Let’s not even talk about Godzilla 2. Super Godzilla? One of the all time great disappointments. Thankfully, Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen brings justice and a good Godzilla game to the universe.

No, you won’t find smooth crazy combos here but considering the source material (these are giant monsters after all) it’s hard to hold that against the game. Monster roars sound authentic, the sprite work is impeccable, the stages are plucked right out of the movies and the monsters are very accurate in terms of their powers. Of course some things were added or re-imagined. Godzilla never shot his atomic breath in mid-air in the films, but it certainly makes for good times in this game. The fighting engine is nothing remarkable but it gets the job done. Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen is a treat for any true G-Fan.

#8: OTOBOKE NINJA COLOSSEUM

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It plays enough like Bomberman to provide a comforting familiarity, yet has enough quirks to differentiate it. Dropped spiked capsules explode after two seconds, sending shurikens flying north, south, east and west. Unlike the explosions in Bomberman, the shurikens won’t kill you. Instead you become stunned for two seconds if you’re hit, leaving you wide open for an opponent’s chain ball to kill you. The chain stretches the full length so it’s possible to sit back waiting for the opportune moment to strike! Send your chain twisting some 20 feet away to pick someone off. Not only is it super satisfying but it adds a devious, vulture-like aspect that doesn’t quite exist as much in Bomberman.

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Needless to say, such shenanigans lead to many “Ooh I’ll get you next round!” battle cries and pandemonium. Nothing beats the rush of recovering JUST in time right before the chain ball hits you! The eight various colosseums each have a gimmick. Otoboke Ninja Colosseum is awesome, especially if you can round up three friends to play with. And you have to appreciate any game that features mini Super Famicom icons!

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#7: DOREMI FANTASY

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Featuring insanely amazing visuals, haunting sound and ultra smooth gameplay, DoReMi Fantasy is one of the finest SNES platformers you could ever play. Milon from Milon’s Secret Castle (NES) is back and better than ever. There are eight themed worlds ranging from the gorgeous Northern Lights to a madcap toy infested universe. The levels are packed to the gills with exquisite detail, quirky enemies, excellent backdrops and some stellar set pieces. The game occasionally foregoes music for ambient sound effects instead. This leads to an atmosphere that is both surreal and bewitching.

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Milon’s silly antics and whimsical adventure is sure to sweep you away to a land of awe and wonder. DoReMi Fantasy is one of the best SNES platformers not named Mario.

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#6: ZEN NIPPON PRO WRESTLING 2:3-4 BUDOKAN

The Zen Nippon Pro Wrestling series was Natsume’s response to Human’s Fire Pro franchise. It features bigger, brighter visuals and a quasi-chibi presentation. The ring is viewed dead on as opposed to Fire Pro’s ¾ perspective. This makes for a perfect running system which allows you to lay back and pick your spots with running strikes, leading to some riotous Fatal Fourway matches! Budokan has a subtle barbaric sense of black humor. Look no further than being able to bounce opponents viciously off the cable ropes (OUCH) or attacking your rival even after the conclusion of a match. Hell it even features the infamous Flair flop!

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Similar to the Fire Pro games, winning a grapple is based on timing rather than button mashing. The 19 wrestlers are actual wrestlers from All Japan Pro Wrestling. You got your high flyers, technicians and bruisers. Giant Baba, Kobashi, Misawa, Stan Hansen and so on. Fun stuff!

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#5: TSUYOSHI SHIKKARI SHINASAI TAISEN PUZZLE-DAMA

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Konami developed many great games for the SNES back in the ’90s, but perhaps its best kept secret was Tsuyoshi Shikkari Shinasai Taisen Puzzle-dama. It plays like an early beta version of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Select from 10 characters, each with their own block patterns. The combos can get rather insane. It’s not uncommon to pull off 6-7 hit combos even “on accident.”

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Maybe it’s not for everyone, especially those used to the pure skill of a Puyo Puyo, but seeing the screen explode in a relentless 10 hit chain reaction combo never gets old. Arguably Konami’s best SNES game that nobody ever talks about.

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#4: TETRIS BATTLE GAIDEN

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Released on Christmas Eve of 1993, Tetris Battle Gaiden is the best Super Famicom puzzle game never to hit North American shores. It’s Tetris with a quirky twist. Choose from eight characters. Each has four different skills and abilities. These skills are activated when you acquire points and decide to cash in. To acquire said points, you must clear a line containing a crystal. Each cleared crystal grants you one point, and up to four can be stored. The skills and powers range from defensive measures to offensive attacks.

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Another interesting feature: players share pieces from one queue rather than two. That means you can “steal” a piece your opponent may desperately need if you move fast (or in some cases slow) enough. This makes paying attention several moves in advance all the more critical. Few things are as satisfying as “blockblocking” your opponent. To snatch that long tetris piece right before they can is a true thing of beauty. Well, maybe that’s second only to sabotaging the competition with one of your special attacks!

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Not content to stop there, two other modes are available: classic Tetris (for the purists out there who prefer their Tetris sans gimmick) and Rensa. Rensa is where gravity is taken into account and pieces fall if suspended in mid-air (except crystal pieces). This can produce some nice chain reactions. These three modes make it feel like three games in one. An amazing game bursting with insane replay value!

#3: DREAM BASKETBALL: DUNK & HOOP

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In October of 1994 EGM ran a preview on a Super Famicom street ball title by the name of Dream Basketball: Dunk & Hoop. The funky title immediately caught my eye as did the game pictures (blurry as they were… God were things different back in 1994). I remember thinking I couldn’t wait to play it as soon as it comes out over here. But of course it never did. Years later, 2006 to be precise, I was on the hunt for all my old favorite games, as well as the ones I never got to play but always wanted to. One evening my mind recalled Dream Basketball: Dunk & Hoop. The rest is history.

Ah, the memories

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Always been a sucker for stats and ratings, and the power bars in this game remind me a ton of the ones from Marvel’s 1991 trading card series. Good memories of a bygone era. It’s a small thing but it just takes me to a happy place!

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Sure it’s got your standard 5 on 5 mode, but what really drew me to the EGM preview was the blurry screenshot of a 3 on 3 street ball mode. I was always fascinated by the idea of a 3 on 3 street basketball game. This game didn’t disappoint. While it’s got its fair share of flaws, it’s simply a lot of fun. I’ve never played a basketball game where making a shot was so predicated on timing. Being that it’s from Human, go figure, right?

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The 3 on 3 mode is where it’s at. In this mode you can play on two different courts, but Human even threw in some little tricks. On one court if you enter SUNSET or YONAKA (Japanese for midnight) then you can unlock exactly that. There’s a simple yet elegant gorgeousness to these settings that speak to my soul in ways I cannot explain. Maybe it’s because it brings back memories of playing ball with my buddies late at midnight, or even getting up early in the morning playing ball right as the sun breaks over the horizon. Those old school memories wrapped up in this old soul… it touches a sweet spot and takes me back to the days when my friends and I were balling without a single care in the world.

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But Human didn’t stop there. At the versus screen if you press on the D-pad it will change the color of the courts. Also, you can pick from four different basketball colors. It’s just cosmetics but these little touches add up. Yeah, call me crazy but we all have that one game that clicks deep in our soul for one reason or another that won’t click with the masses. It’s our special game. Our spirit animal in video game form, if you will.

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It’s been 10 years since I bought Dream Basketball: Dunk & Hoop and I still find myself playing it frequently. Did so again recently in honor of Craig Sager’s passing. This game just never gets old for me. And that’s why this completely unexpected “bracket buster” (har har) ranks #3 in my personal book.

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#2: SUPER FAMILY TENNIS

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We always hear about how great Super Tennis is and how it’s the best tennis title on the Super Nintendo. Super Family Tennis doesn’t get much props. I think it’s even better than Super Tennis. The control is smooth as hell, there’s a four player option and some of the court designs are completely bonkers, filled with amusing gimmicks and sight gags.

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Look no further than knocking the ball into a tranquil pond in front of a Japanese Shinto shrine (complete with a traditional Torii gate). Or smashing the ball so hard against a coconut tree that it drops a coconut on a bystander’s head, completely taking the poor sap out. It’s these quirky details that I always enjoy seeing in a video game. It doesn’t make a game but it certainly leaves you with a positive lasting impression.

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The best thing about Super Family Tennis is how fun it is. A total blast with four players, it’s something that your friends or significant other can easily pick up and play with you, even if video games typically aren’t “their thing.” There are 20 characters to choose from, all with varying skills and abilities.

Music is largely absent. Instead, it relies on ambient sound effects. And it works. From the soothing crashing waves of the ocean to the echo chamber sounds of the mountain stage, there is sort of a surreal feel to this game that wouldn’t be the same had there been music.

Its wacky sense of humor, outrageous court designs, smooth control, 20 different characters and surreal sound makes Super Family Tennis a definite smash hit for the whole family.

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#1: BS OUT OF BOUNDS GOLF

I have been curious about this game ever since I saw EGM preview it back in 1994. In 2006 I got back into the SNES scene and went hunting for a copy. Much to my chagrin the game was cancelled and never released on a physical cartridge. Alas, it did come out via the Satellaview Broadcast device. And thanks to the modern wonders of technology, it’s possible to experience this fine gem on a real TV. Ah, technology.

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So what makes BS Out of Bounds Golf so awesome? It allows up to four players to compete and you have the ability to knock your opponent’s ball out of bounds (hence the name of the game). Of course, knocking their ball out of bounds will cost them precious stroke points. Or even just blocking their path is wicked fun. The battles get competitive and cutthroat like you wouldn’t believe. Also, because one player plays at a time, it’s a more methodical multiplayer experience. I find it works refreshingly well. There’s a ton of strategy, scouting and sabotaging involved here. It’s Schadenfreude at its finest (or worst…)

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Select from three different modes.

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Then choose from 12 characters, including two felines. Right away that tells you the developer (NCS, who also made Cybernator) didn’t take themselves too seriously. Keep in mind back in the mid ’90s golf games tended to be a little dull. This game, however, was packed with personality and charm.

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After selecting your character you get to pick your theme. There are six themed worlds in all, with each having 8 courses. That makes 48 total courses. They range from a beach setting to even outer space. My personal favorite has to be the second world. Here you are mysteriously shrunken down to size and have to work around everyday objects such as coffee mugs, ink spills, giant cereal boxes, tomatoes and more. It’s absolutely bonkers…

ObscureSFC50-220What makes this game so much fun is the amount of options you have. Just look at the process of hitting the ball. First, you get to select from a power meter ranging from 1 to 100. This becomes oddly compelling in its own right. It almost becomes like a game within a game. For instance, do you use 47 or 52? 77 or 79? 91 or 94? Sometimes one point off can prove to be the difference between glorious victory and crushing defeat. It’s a thrill to see your ball barely make its way into the hole. On the flip side, nothing is more embarrassing than misjudging the power meter by one point and seeing your ball stop a mere centimeter shy of the goal!

ObscureSFC50-221After selecting your power, you then get to choose from one of 17 (!) different strike points on the ball. Much like pool, these strike points will determine the trajectory of your shot. While you’ll be using the dead center shot most of the time, there are times where using the trajectory shots skillfully is essential to winning. Like I said, it’s kind of like a game within a game. You’re not only battling three rivals… you’re battling yourself as well. And it works like gangbusters!

Dead center shot
Dead center shot

There are even weather effects and power-ups. There are at least 11 ranging from controlling your ball after hitting it to randomly switching all the balls in play. That means you can possibly swap places with a rival who is near the cup and send them way back to the beginning of a course! Sabotage never felt so sweet.

Curving right shot
Curving right shot

Also, each of the 48 courses have four randomly generated cup destinations. This prevents you from mastering a course simply by memorizing a certain playbook. It speaks to the game’s brilliance that there are nearly 200 possible scenarios. Add in the 17 strike points, the power meter, the wind factor, the power-ups and you get a game that feels slightly different each time you play it.

Curving left shot
Curving left shot

BS Out of Bounds Golf is a total riot with three friends. Expect a lot of cursing, laughing, cheering and taunting. It brings out the best and worst in people — it’s amusing to see individual personalities come out in their truest forms. There’s no other game quite like this on the SNES. And that’s why this is my favorite obscure Super Famicom game of all time.

Trick shot!
TRICK SHOT CITY!
Kids, don't try this at home!
*MIC DROP*

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Bowing to the greatness of the vast SNES library :)
Bowing to the greatness of the vast SNES library :)

There are a lot of good games that didn’t quite make this list, like the Parodius games. You probably didn’t agree with all of my choices but I hope this list was helpful in some way. If you found even just one new game to love from this list, then I’m happy. And remember, I purposely excluded all the awesome Super Famicom only (action) RPGs! The library is amazingly diverse and deep. Some of these games I listed are fairly well known in SNES circles, but I feel there’s still a good bunch of them that remains rather obscure. I hope this Top 50 list serves as a good resource for you and that it helps you to unearth a few new favorites. Until next time, happy gaming!

My SNES Collection

The current banner from 2014-present
Celebrating TEN YEARS!

It’s January 7, 2017. RVGFanatic launched on January 7, 2007. Wow, where has the time gone? I celebrate 10 years today. 10 years later my Super Nintendo passion still burns as brightly as it did a decade ago when I first started RVGFanatic. What was the world like 10 years ago?

  • YouTube was still in its infancy
  • George W. Bush was US president
  • Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone

To celebrate this milestone, I figure it’s a good time to finally reveal my Super Nintendo collection in-depth. Most of my 400+ boxed SNES games were acquired from 2006-2008. I was lucky the nostalgia bug bit me several years before it did many others. It’s the only reason I have been fortunate enough to amass the collection that I did.

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Each shelf will have certain games highlighted by these categories:

Best Game — What I consider to be the best game on that shelf.
Worst Game — What I consider as the worst game on that shelf.
Guilty Pleasures — Games that I enjoy but aren’t necessarily good.
Unsung Heroes — Overlooked games that I find to be high quality.
Most Disappointing — Games I thought I would like a lot but don’t.
Most Surprising — Games I didn’t expect much from but delivered.
Most Wanted — Games I’ve still yet to play but most excited to play.
Miscellaneous — Random notes on other games not yet highlighted.

Without further ado, let’s get this party started :)

SHELF ONE

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BEST GAME
ActRaiser
HONORABLE MENTION
Axelay

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ActRaiser is an excellent first generation SNES game that alternates between side scrolling platforming action and build-a-city simulation. The two parts mesh well together like a perfectly constructed puzzle.

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Speaking of alternating, Axelay does that masterfully as well, switching level to level between horizontal and vertical shooting nirvana.

WORST GAME
AAAHH!!! Real Monsters
DISHONORABLE MENTION
Adventures of Mighty Max

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Incredibly tedious and annoying.

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Mighty Max was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. The game? No.

GUILTY PLEASURE
An American Tale: Fievel Goes West

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Nothing fancy here. Just simple, basic platforming with decent visuals.

UNSUNG HEROES
Aladdin
Alien³
Arkanoid: Doh It Again!
Blackthorne

Aladdin is often overshadowed by its Genesis counterpart but I love the brilliant animation and colors of the SNES edition. That and its dramatic hanging-on-a-ledge-by-the-tip-of-your-finger gameplay was so satisfying.

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Alien³ is a solid movie licensed game in an era where many of these games weren’t very good. Try playing it with all the lights turned off…

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Arkanoid: Doh It Again! is an underrated 2 player gem. It’s so simple that even non gamers can jump in and have a blast. Highly recommended!

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One of the most atmospheric games on the SNES, Blackthorne proves there’s nothing like blasting goblins and trolls in a desolate mine with a sawed off shotgun. You can even “accidentally” kill innocent prisoners ;)

MOST DISAPPOINTING
Battletoads in Battlemaniacs

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Way too hard for its own good.
It just didn’t click with me.

MOST SURPRISING
3 Ninjas Kick Back

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The box of 3 Ninjas Kick Back alone commands $500+. The game itself surprised me as being a decent (2 player) action platformer with three different characters to choose from. Surprisingly competent!

MOST WANTED
Adventures of Batman and Robin

The GameFan previews back in the day made it look BEAST.

MISCELLANEOUS

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The most unique game here, The Adventures of Hourai High, was never officially released in America. It’s a fan translation of a Super Famicom RPG import that captures the spirit of EarthBound. I bought it from Time Walk just mere weeks before they folded.

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Adventures of Kid Kleets isn’t half bad. It stands out a bit from the other me-too SNES platformers on account of having to kick a soccer ball at bad guys in order to subdue them. The ball physics made it a quirky, interesting experience.

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Aero Fighters is a quality 2 player shooter.

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Konami developed many classic SNES games in the ’90s. Animaniacs wasn’t one of them, and probably stands as Konami’s weakest SNES effort.

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Ardy Lightfoot is a curious oddity for me in that part of me wanted to put it in the unsung hero class, but there’s another part of me that considered it for most disappointing. Worthwhile, but it’s not great like I had hoped.

Battletoads & Double Dragon wasn’t as good as I hoped, but it gave me some fond memories. One of the earliest crossovers I can remember, it was a huge deal in my gaming circle back in ’93!

Ah, the memories…

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Biker Mice From Mars is a nice Rock ‘N Roll Racing clone.

SHELF TWO

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BEST GAME
Chrono Trigger
HONORABLE MENTION
Contra III: The Alien Wars

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As much as I love Contra III: The Alien Wars, I have to give the nod to Chrono Trigger. No SNES collection is complete without them.

WORST GAME
Capcom’s MVP Football
DISHONORABLE MENTION
Chuck Rock

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It’s shocking to see the words “Capcom” and “worst” in the same sentence, but MVP Football was actually developed by Equilibrium.

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Chuck Rock certainly has some early generation SNES charm to it, but compared to the other titles on this shelf it’s definitely a weak link.

GUILTY PLEASURES
The Blues Brothers
The Combatribes

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The Blues Brothers may look like a typical platformer on the surface but it’s not without some neat tricks. For example, you can carry and throw one another in the 2 player co-op mode. Oddly enjoyable for what it is…

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The Combatribes was the second import game I ever rented back in late 1992. My brother and I loved beating up Martha Splatterhead and her delinquent gangs, all in the name of saving the Big Apple.

UNSUNG HEROES
B.O.B.
Brawl Brothers
Bust-A-Move
Captain Commando

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I went through all 40+ levels of B.O.B. in the summer of 2007 and had an absolute blast. If someone turned Doom into a 2D side scrolling action platformer, it might be this. Someone once called it “retarded Metroid:D

Brawl Brothers has always been a bit underrated in my book. It’s a big improvement over its predecessor, Rival Turf. My brother and I had a lot of fun with it back in the day. Doesn’t really get the props that it should.

There are better versions of Bust-A-Move out there, but that doesn’t take away from the first game still being a competitive 2 player barn burner!

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Captain Commando was a late port job — it came out in the arcades in 1991 but didn’t make it over to the SNES until August 1995. It was odd to see that large a gap, but I’m glad Capcom did it. Captain Commando is far from perfect but something I’ve enjoyed revisiting over the years.

MOST DISAPPOINTING
Clay Fighter

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A classic case of excessive hype.

"What could possibly go wrong?"
“What could possibly go wrong?”

Yeah, I’m looking at you too, Bubsy.

MOST SURPRISING
Brandish

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I went into Brandish with low expectations in 2006. I ended up loving the atmosphere, music and a more cerebral style of play. The underground labyrinths are crawling with monsters galore, from T-Rex to Death itself!

MOST WANTED
Cybernator

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Another sin I need to wipe clean.

MISCELLANEOUS

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Brain Lord is a rock solid action RPG.

Breath of Fire is a good old school JRPG.

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Breath of Fire II kicks everything up a notch. My copy is a retranslation repro. The US translation of BoF II was sloppy. The repro fixes that :)

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Capcom’s MVP Football was a fumble but Capcom’s Soccer Shootout scored a goal. Developed by A-Max, Capcom once again slapped their name in the title. And you thought Tecmo was vain!

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SNES Castlevania: Dracula X is often bashed, but I found it to be solid.

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ClayMates is a worthwhile platformer. You shape shift into various animals with varying skills. The level designs are based around certain skills so you had to make the appropriate switch to progress.

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Congo’s Caper is a fun platformer.

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Cool Spot, based upon the 7 UP mascot, is better than it had any business being. It earned mostly positive reviews back in the day for a reason!

SHELF THREE

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I like how this shelf ends with the Final Fantasy trilogy. Always nice when the end of a shelf concludes with the last game in a particular series.

BEST GAME
Final Fantasy III
HONORABLE MENTION
Donkey Kong Country

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These two epic games made 1994 Super Nintendo’s year.

A shining example of greatness
A shining example of greatness

WORST GAME
D-Force
DISHONORABLE MENTION
Doomsday Warrior

Things start out kind of OK. But then the scrolling gets choppy and there’s some slowdown. Not to mention the atrocious sound. Not a completely worthless game, but it does put the “D” in D-Force.

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Doomsday Warrior tried really hard at least. There may even be some merit to be found but it’s pretty underwhelming even by 1992 standards.

GUILTY PLEASURES
Dirt Trax FX
Double Dragon V
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest

My brother and I played the hell out of the rag tag mode in Dirt Trax FX. It wasn’t the greatest game around but damn did we enjoy it.

Double Dragon V often gets crapped on, but I don’t think it’s THAT bad. Not the Double Dragon sequel we hoped for, but it’s not unplayable.

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Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest has a negative reputation, but as a starter kit RPG it’s really not that bad. Plus the music absolutely kicks ass.

UNSUNG HEROES
Demon’s Crest
Equinox
Fatal Fury 2
Final Fantasy II

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A ghoulish atmosphere, detailed visuals and a slick Super Metroid-esque style of play makes Demon’s Crest one sublime adventure.

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Colorful visuals in some highly bizarre worlds with masterful sound by the one and only Tim Follin make Equinox worth checking out. A “save-almost-anywhere-you-go” system helps keep the difficulty in check as well as encourage repeated attempts to finally snag that elusive key.

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Fatal Fury 2 certainly redeemed Takara in my eyes. Fatal Fury on the SNES was the absolute pits. But this one hit the mark with much better control, gameplay and even an option that lets you play as the bosses.

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Some would say Final Fantasy II gets plenty of love. But there are times where it seems to get lost in the shuffle especially when people are quick to bring up the “big three” of Chrono Trigger, EarthBound and Final Fantasy III. Don’t forsake this amazing early RPG!

MOST DISAPPOINTING
Fatal Fury Special

Whereas Fatal Fury 2 excelled in smooth control, Fatal Fury Special did not. It’s a shame because otherwise it holds up fine for a 32-MEG port.

MOST SURPRISING
Doom

It’s surprising that it even runs on the SNES!

MOST WANTED
E.V.O.

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One of the last remaining SNES RPGs I’ve yet to beat.

MISCELLANEOUS

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Demolition Man is surprisingly decent.

Dino City is a nice little platformer.

Many view Donkey Kong Country 2 as the best DKC game.

Donkey Kong Country 3 is sometimes overlooked because it came out late in the SNES’ lifespan (November 1996) and wasn’t quite as epic as the first two DKC games. It’s still very, very good in its own right though.

The Earthworm Jim games are completely bonkers.

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F-Zero — forever a classic.

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Fighter’s History is an underrated arcade translation that doesn’t get much love. And hey, it’s the only way to play as Karnov on your SNES.

Damn fine job, Data East ^_^
Damn fine job, Data East ^_^

SHELF FOUR

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BEST GAME
Gunman’s Proof
HONORABLE MENTION
Illusion of Gaia

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My copy of Gunman’s Proof comes courtesy of Time Walk just mere weeks before they closed their doors. Gunman’s Proof is criminally underrated. Think a combination of Zelda, EarthBound and the wild west. It’s a Zelda clone with guns and bazookas! ‘Nuff said, really.

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A spiritual sequel to Soul Blazer (which some fans prefer), I love the improved visuals and shape shifting shenanigans of Illusion of Gaia.

WORST GAME
Home Improvement
DISHONORABLE MENTION
The Incredible Crash Dummies

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Watching Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor break things and bumble around each week in the mid ’90s was awesome. The game? Not so much.

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In the early ’90s I had a weird fetish for the Crash Dummies. Imagine my sadness then when I rented this game one dark October night of 1993…

GUILTY PLEASURE
First Samurai

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Not your typical SNES game filled with bright and bold colors, First Samurai is something of a quirky guilty pleasure for me. I kind of like the foreboding visuals and atmosphere. And the sound effect “OH NO! MY SWORD!” is typical of its cheesy goodness, er, mediocrity.

UNSUNG HEROES
Final Fight 3
Fire Power 2000
FireStriker
Goof Troop
Hook

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Final Fight 3 is the best of the SNES Final Fight trilogy. Special moves, multiple branching paths and super specials make it a treat to play. It was roasted back in early 1996 when it came out, but became one of those games people grew to appreciate only after the passage of time.

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With such a lame generic name, I didn’t expect much from Fire Power 2000 back in the day. A 2 player co-op mode helped for sure, but it was the overall smooth gameplay that made this an absolute winner.

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FireStriker takes the classic Pong/Arkanoid style of play and infuses it with heroes and monsters. Quite an interesting mix.

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It even sports a spiffy 4 player battle mode!

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Goof Troop is a fun 2 player overhead action puzzle game. Goofy and Max complement each other extremely well — Goofy is stronger while Max is faster. One of the better 2 player titles from the 16-bit generation.

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Hook plays a bit on the slow side, but I love its visuals and haunting soundtrack. A whimsical atmosphere adds to its overall appeal.

MOST DISAPPOINTING
Ghoul Patrol

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Remember how cool Zombies Ate My Neighbors was? And remember how good Ghoul Pa… oh wait, no one ever said that. It’s adequate, but considering it’s a spiritual sequel of ZAMN, damn was I disappointed.

Talk about jumping the shark...
Talk about jumping the shark…

MOST SURPRISING
Harley’s Humongous Adventure

The idea of playing a shrunken protagonist navigating everyday objects and environments has greatly appealed to me ever since I saw Honey, I Shrunk The Kids in 1989. Harley’s Humongous Adventure may not have the most appealing aesthetic but it is rather surprisingly decent.

MOST WANTED
Hagane

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It’s been over 10 years since I bought it and sadly I’ve still yet to play it. The only thing more mind blowing? I bought it back in 2006 for $5! :D

MISCELLANEOUS

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Just as how it was nice that shelf three ended with the three Final Fantasy games, I love how shelf four begins with the Final Fight trilogy.

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A classic early SNES shooter, Gradius III is plagued by bouts of slowdown but it’s got an amazing soundtrack and that vintage Gradius gameplay.

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Few companies could do bosses like Konami!

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Konami also makes a mean soccer game — International Superstar Soccer Deluxe is arguably the best 16-bit soccer game ever crafted.

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Harvest Moon is a cute little farming simulation.

SHELF FIVE

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BEST GAME
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
HONORABLE MENTION
Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball

Who could forget the rain?
Who could ever forget the rain?

Well, that was easy. Not only is The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past considered arguably the best Super Nintendo game of all time, but it’s also widely regarded as quite possibly the best video game ever created. It’s a timeless, quintessential adventure that never fails to leave a mark.

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My all-time favorite baseball game.

WORST GAME
Izzy’s Quest for the Olympic Rings
DISHONORABLE MENTION
King Arthur & the Knights of Justice

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Ironically, these were the last two games ever reviewed by Super Play Magazine. I guess they were so bad that even Super Play had to stop and ask themselves “What are we doing with our lives?”

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GUILTY PLEASURE
Lagoon

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Released December 1991, Lagoon has that first generation SNES charm. Many hated it but once you work out the kinks and quirks, the game can become oddly enjoyable.

UNSUNG HEROES
Joe & Mac
Joe & Mac 2
Judge Dredd

King of Dragons
Knights of the Round

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Sure, it’s a bit slow in places but it’s tremendously fun to throw stone tires and boomerangs at all sorts of dinosaurs, all in the name of saving your special cave lady. Best of all, you could do it with a friend.

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Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics is a damn fine sequel. It refined a few things from the first game and makes for a worthy addition to any SNES library.

I didn’t expect much from Judge Dredd but was pleasantly surprised by how well it plays. Shoot, punch and kick bad guys into oblivion. Not great but good for a movie tie-in.

Capcom delivered SNES owners with two of the better beat ‘em ups in the form of King of Dragons and Knights of the Round. Now that’s how you do King Arthur justice!

The blocking and leveling up features added depth.

MOST DISAPPOINTING
King of the Monsters

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When you take out the game’s best mode (the tornado tag team bedlam mode) and gut two of the six monsters, you’ve earned this “award.” King of the Monsters was as big a disappointment as the monsters themselves.

MOST SURPRISING
Killer Instinct

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Given how much had to be sacrificed!
Wow, what an effort!

MOST WANTED
The Legend of the Mystical Ninja

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I know, I know.
This WILL change in 2017.

MISCELLANEOUS

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The Jetsons is a childhood curiosity I still need to quell.

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Ditto The Jungle Book.

Still waiting for it patiently...
Still waiting for it patiently…

If you spotted Side Pocket and wonder what the hell it’s doing there, good eye. It’s a placeholder for Justice Beaver. I funded it back in 2015 and am still waiting for the product to be finished.

I hope it plays as nice as it looks
I hope it plays as nice as it looks!

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King of the Monsters 2 was an admirable port.

Kirby's Avalanche
Kirby’s Avalanche
Kirby's Dream Course
Kirby’s Dream Course
Kirby's Dream Land 3
Kirby’s Dream Land 3
Kirby Super Star
Kirby Super Star

All of the Kirby games are terrific.

SHELF SIX

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I love how the second row of this shelf begins with the Mega Man quintet. And the first row opens with both Lemmings 1 and 2.

BEST GAME
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals
HONORABLE MENTION
Mega Man X

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From recruiting monsters to the IP system, Lufia II rocks!

X marks the spot indeed.

WORST GAME
Lester the Unlikely
DISHONORABLE MENTION
The Mask

"Aw c'mon, I'm not THAT bad..."
“Aw c’mon, I’m not THAT bad…”

Lacking in self-esteem, Lester’s courage and abilities increase as you progress through the game. It sounds intriguing on paper but unfortunately it lacks in execution what Lester lacks in confidence.

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To its credit, The Mask was faithful to source material and tried to be different from your typical movie licensed platformer. But its ugly animations and terrible aesthetic brings it down a notch or two.

GUILTY PLEASURES
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie

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They won’t make any top 50 lists but they’re decent.

UNSUNG HEROES
Looney Tunes B-Ball
Lost Vikings
Lost Vikings 2

The Magical Quest: Starring Mickey Mouse
Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems
Mega Man 7
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition

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NBA Jam meets Looney Tunes.
Great 4 player fun!

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Using three vikings’ specialized abilities to reach the stage exit, The Lost Vikings was both innovative and refreshing.

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The sequel introduced Fang the wolf and Scorch the dragon. These were fairly underrated titles that got a bit lost [har har -Ed.] in the fold.

Magical Quest’s classic “take-a-block-from-the-sky-and-use-it-on-bad-guys” system, along with costumes that altered Mickey’s abilities, made it such a bloody good time.

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Similar to X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, I prefer this game due to its roster (Iron Man, Spider Man, Hulk, Captain America, Wolverine). Plus you can select any superhero for any stage whereas in X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse you couldn’t. Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems came out October 1996 so it’s often forgotten. Give it a shot!

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Mega Man 7 divided the fanbase. His homecoming was met with mixed reviews but I find it akin to slipping on an old comfortable pair of jeans.

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The best Power Rangers game ever.

MOST DISAPPOINTING
Mortal Kombat

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Iffy controls hurt it more than a lack of blood.

MOST SURPRISING
Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City

Michael Jordan in a platformer beating up bad guys with a basketball? That’s as crazy as him retiring from the NBA in his prime to go pursue a baseball career. Both happened, but only one turned out to be any good.

MOST WANTED
Metal Warriors

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Shame shield activated.

MISCELLANEOUS

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Mega Man X² was not the leap over Mega Man X like many of us hoped, but it’s a quality sequel nevertheless.

Mega Man X³ introduced Zero as a playable character. The Mega Man games are a bit like pizza. When it’s good, it’s really good. But even when it’s a bit eh, it’s still alright. Mega Man X³ falls somewhere in the middle.

Can’t go wrong with the Blue Bomber!

The SNES port of Mortal Kombat II spelled vindication and redemption. The blood and Fatalities were both retained in this second go-round, surprising the hell out of everyone back in 1994.

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This shelf ends with two “Mr.” games.
The next begins with “Ms.”
Amusing coincidence :P

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This shelf segregation is NUTZ! [… -Ed.]

SHELF SEVEN

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BEST GAME
NBA Jam T.E.
HONORABLE MENTION
NBA Live ’96

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NBA Jam T.E. is a riot with 4 players.

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Balances arcade style with simulation well.

WORST GAME
The Pagemaster
DISHONORABLE MENTION
Pinocchio

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Generic, dull, repetitive and bad control plagued both these platformers. On a system littered with memorable ones, these two missed the mark.

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GUILTY PLEASURE
Ninja Gaiden Trilogy

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Many Ninja Gaiden fans have been vocal about the mishandling of this SNES port. So vocal in fact that I almost feel guilty enjoying it as much as I do. Such a shame there was never a proper 16-bit sequel.

UNSUNG HEROES
Natsume Championship Wrestling
Operation Logic Bomb
Pieces

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From a pure wrestling standpoint, NCW > Saturday Night Slam Masters.

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A quietly solid top-down shooter, Operation Logic Bomb is a one man wrecking crew of a good time.

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Pieces is an underrated quirky game. You wouldn’t think assembling pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to be that much fun, but it somehow is. Throw in a nifty 2 player mode and you have a surprisingly competitive affair.

MOST DISAPPOINTING
Nosferatu

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Nosferatu was previewed in 1992 but didn’t come out until late 1995. With that much time you would expect a highly polished game. Instead, its broken difficulty past level 3 makes it a waste of massive potential.

MOST SURPRISING
Phalanx

"JIMMY CRACK CORN AND I DON'T CARE!"
“JIMMY CRACK CORN AND I DON’T CARE!”

How did this cover get the green light?!

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The actual game isn’t too bad

MOST WANTED
Ninja Warriors

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Man, I really need to fix this. And soon.

MISCELLANEOUS

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I like how the previous shelf ended with two “Mister” games and this one began with Ms. Pacman :D

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NBA Give ‘N Go can be a lot of fun.

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Can’t go wrong with EA’s NHL series.

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The Peace Keepers was a disappointing follow-up to Brawl Brothers. The US version was “Americanized” and to no one’s surprise, these changes were to the detriment of the product.

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Phantom 2040 is said to be pretty good.

SHELF EIGHT

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BEST GAME
Pocky & Rocky
HONORABLE MENTION
Rock ‘N Roll Racing

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Pocky & Rocky is tough but it’s one of the better 2 player SNES games.

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I remember renting Rock ‘N Roll Racing back in the day and loving its music and violent racing. Born to be Wild never gets old.

WORST GAME
Realm
DISHONORABLE MENTION
Power Moves

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Released in December 1996, Realm had a chance to be a sleeper hit. It’s a run ‘n gun featuring some nice visuals and unique creature designs. Unfortunately, the broken difficulty renders it nearly unplayable.

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Power Moves was the first import I ever rented back in late 1992. Even then as kids we knew it was a bit lacking. Don’t even bother unless you’re going for a complete collection or for the sake of nostalgia.

GUILTY PLEASURES
Radical Rex
Rocky Rodent

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Radical Rex is the very definition of fair to middling. But there was something about controlling a skateboarding t-rex with ‘tude that I found somewhat appealing.

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Speaking of mascot platformers, Rocky Rodent was hard as nails but I liked how collecting different hairdos gave Rocky different powers.

UNSUNG HEROES
Plok
RoboTrek
Run Saber

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Plok is a criminally underrated platformer where you control a strange bloke who fires his limbs at enemies, way before Rayman did it. It looks like a “kiddy game” but don’t be fooled, it’s tough as nails.

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RoboTrek’s unique combat system, ability to customize robotic allies and the zany universe made it such a blast to play. Love the art style, too!

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SNES fans got gypped when it came to Strider. However, Run Saber is a solid consolation prize. It’s a short, easy and fun 2 player hack ‘n slash.

Creepy and loads of fun!
Creepy bosses abound!

MOST DISAPPOINTING
Prehistorik Man

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Slippery control derailed this promising platformer.

MOST SURPRISING
Rival Turf

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For all the hate Rival Turf gets — some have called it Rival Turd — I was pleasantly surprised by how decent this turned out to be, especially for April 1992. It was the first SNES beat ‘em up to feature a 2 player mode.

MOST WANTED
R-Type III

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Said to be one of the best SNES shooters.
Why haven’t I played it yet?

MISCELLANEOUS

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Pocky & Rocky 2 was a worthy sequel.

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Prince of Persia is an interesting little game.

Not counting the orange box of Final Fight Guy, Riddick Bowe Boxing is the only North American SNES box that doesn’t have the traditional black side. Instead it’s gray, white and red; it sticks out like a sore thumb.

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Another box that stands out on this shelf is Robocop vs. Terminator. It’s the only SNES box that is a hard clamshell and has no title on the side. The game itself can be fun in a dumb, violent kind of way.

SHELF NINE

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BEST GAME
Shadowrun
HONORABLE MENTION
Secret of Mana

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Shadowrun is a unique action RPG set in a futuristic cyberpunk world. The game opens with your character awakening from his slumber atop a cold steel slab. It hooked me right away and didn’t let go until the game’s satisfying finale. A sequel was hinted at during the end credits that we sadly never got.

Secret of Mana was an innovative action RPG that allowed 3 players to go at it. This was unheard of back in 1993. Mana may be a little overhyped in some circles but it’s still a quality adventure worth venturing through.

WORST GAME
Speed Racer
DISHONORABLE MENTION
Spider-Man & the X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge

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Speed Racer switches from side scrolling platforming to a racing game. The former is barely passable but the latter is absolutely atrocious.

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Spider-Man & the X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge was way too hard and while not without some redeeming qualities (the music rocks), overall it falls shy of the mark. Not the worst game ever, though.

GUILTY PLEASURES
Snow White: Happily Ever After
Sporting News Baseball

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Yes, I own a Snow White video game and yes, I kind of dig it. What the hell am I doing with my life?! The platforming is surprisingly competent. Just not the thing you go ’round talking about, not even on the internet :P

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Sporting News Baseball isn’t the greatest baseball game around, but it features the iconic baseball field from my favorite film, Field of Dreams.

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UNSUNG HEROES
Secret of Evermore
Skyblazer
Soul Blazer
Space Megaforce

These may not be upper echelon but they’re close :)

Secret of Evermore
Skyblazer
Skyblazer
Soul Blazer
Soul Blazer
Space Megaforce
Space Megaforce

MOST DISAPPOINTING
Sparkster

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It’s actually pretty good.
I was just expecting a lot more.

MOST SURPRISING
Street Fighter Alpha 2

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Amazing what Capcom squeezed into a Super Nintendo cartridge!

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MOST WANTED
Star Fox

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Hopefully I appreciate this in 2017 as I would have in 1993…

MISCELLANEOUS

Some under-the-radar titles from this shelf:

Smart Ball
Smart Ball
Soldiers of Fortune
Soldiers of Fortune
Sonic Blast Man II
Sonic Blast Man II
SOS
SOS
Spanky's Quest
Spanky’s Quest

While none of those titles will appear on any top 10 list, they kind of typify a good portion of the SNES catalog. Ranging from decent to very solid, while they’re not essential, they sure round out a collection nicely.

 Saturday Night Slam Masters is classic 4 player mayhem.

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S.O.S: Sink or Swim, not to be confused with SOS, is a pretty cool action puzzler. 100 levels of fun that will work the brain muscles!

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If you love beat ‘em ups, Stone Protectors is worth a look. Nothing spectacular, but it quietly gets the job done.

SHELF TEN

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BEST GAME
Super Metroid
HONORABLE MENTION
Super Mario World

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This shelf, man. This f*ckin’ shelf.

WORST GAME
Super Godzilla
DISHONORABLE MENTION
Super James Pond

Boo!
Boo!
Yay!
Yay!

Thank God for Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen!

A small 'stretch' to call this awful
Not a stretch to say this isn’t that bad at all

But yeah. This shelf is stacked.
Someone had to bite the bullet!

GUILTY PLEASURE
Super Adventure Island

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Basic. Bare bones. But that’s the charm.

UNSUNG HEROES
Sunset Riders
Super Baseball 2020
Super Baseball Simulator 1.000
Super Bases Loaded 2

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Sunset Riders is flat out awesome.

stevecoll147If you like your 16-bit baseball, Super Baseball 2020 is an entertaining futuristic take on the sport. For another outlandish quirky baseball title, be sure to check out Super Baseball Simulator 1.000. It’s outta this world!

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[I see what you did there… -Ed.]

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Looking for a more traditional baseball game? Then check out the quietly stellar Super Bases Loaded 2. A bit slow but super fun.

MOST DISAPPOINTING
Super Bonk

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Not bad but not as good as I hoped.

MOST SURPRISING
Street Racer

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Has tons of heart plus a 4 player mode!

MOST WANTED
Super Adventure Island II

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Please forgive me, Master Higgins.

MISCELLANEOUS

You know a shelf is stacked when you can’t even list the following as honorable mentions:

Street Fighter II
Street Fighter II
Street Fighter II Turbo
Sunset Riders
Sunset Riders
Super Bomberman
Super Bomberman
Super Bomberman 2
Super Bomberman 2
Super Castlevania IV
Super Castlevania IV
Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts
Super Mario All-Stars
Super Mario All-Stars
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario RPG
Super Mario RPG
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Super Punch-Out!!
Super Punch-Out!!
[More like Yoshi's Island -Ed.]
[More like Yoshi’s Island -Ed.]

Hey, I’m just going by the box title!

SHELF ELEVEN

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BEST GAME
Tetris Attack
HONORABLE MENTIONS
Super Street Fighter II
TMNT IV: Turtles in Time

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Mega addicting. Bloody brilliant.

Way too close a call between Super Street Fighter II and Turtles in Time. To exclude either would be downright wrong.

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WORST GAME
Time Slip
DISHONORABLE MENTION
Tom & Jerry

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It wishes it were a homeless man’s Contra.

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Not horrible but never passes mediocrity.

GUILTY PLEASURES
SWAT Kats
Tecmo Super NBA Basketball

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Reminds me of a 1990 NES game.
And I say that affectionately!

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Outdated but still kind of fun.

UNSUNG HEROES
Super Smash TV
Super Turrican
Super Turrican 2
Tecmo Super Baseball

Tecmo Super Bowl
Tiny Toons: Buster Busts Loose

TMNT: Tournament Fighters

Ranging from pretty good to excellent, any of these games would do well to round out a strong Super Nintendo collection.

Super Smash TV
Super Smash TV
Super Turrican
Super Turrican
Super Turrican 2
Super Turrican 2
Tecmo Super Baseball
Tecmo Super Baseball
Tecmo Super Bowl
Tecmo Super Bowl
Tiny Toons: Buster Busts Loose
Tiny Toons: Buster Busts Loose
TMNT: Tournament Fighters
TMNT: Tournament Fighters

MOST DISAPPOINTING
Thunder Spirits

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Thunder Force III eats it for breakfast.

MOST SURPRISING
Super Slap Shot

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I really thought this game was going to suck but it ended up reminding me of a 16-bit version of Blades of Steel. Let me pump the brakes because I don’t want to overstate this game’s stock — but it’s surprisingly decent!

Blades of Steel (NES)
Blades of Steel (NES)

MOST WANTED
Super Star Wars
Super Empire Strikes Back
Super Return of the Jedi

Super Star Wars
Super Star Wars

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… I played the first one very briefly. It’s time I rectify this and play the other two. R.I.P. Carrie Fisher :(

Super Empire Strikes Back
Super Empire Strikes Back
Super Return of the Jedi
Super Return of the Jedi

MISCELLANEOUS

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Time Trax isn’t too shabby.

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Can’t go wrong with the Top Gear trilogy.

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Closest thing to Out Run on the SNES :)

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I had an odd fetish for Top Gear 3000

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It even sports a quirky 4 player mode!

SHELF TWELVE

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The box of EarthBound is so big it needed its own shelf!

Love, LOVE this wacky game!
A classic coming-of-age adventure!

BEST GAME
Zombies Ate My Neighbors
HONORABLE MENTION
Wild Guns

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Two of the best SNES games to play with a friend.

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WORST GAME
Ultraman
DISHONORABLE MENTION
Wild C.A.T.S.

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Ultraman was one of the earliest SNES games my brother and I rented. Even back then we knew it sucked. I keep it for the sheer nostalgia…

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Wild C.A.T.S. isn’t awful. Just eh.

GUILTY PLEASURE
Wolfchild

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The old man’s been kidnapped and it’s up to you to save pops. Luckily, you can turn into a werewolf as well as use a wide variety of firearms. Nothing special, but it’s enjoyable enough, especially on a rainy day.

UNSUNG HEROES
The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang
True Lies
U.N. Squadron

World Heroes
World Heroes 2

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Vladamasco is being ruled under the iron fist of the diabolical General Von Hesler. As young Spike, a junior magician and vampire in training, you must traverse many strange lands to put an end to Von Hesler’s wicked ways. Attack with your trusty cape and hat (which can be upgraded) in this short but sweet action RPG. It can be beaten in three measly hours, but what fun you’ll have!

Worthy of the Arnold name, True Lies is barbaric and one of the best 16-bit movie licensed games. Few SNES games can match its sheer brutality.

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U.N. Squadron is loads of fun.

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I’ve always found the SNES port of World Heroes to be underrated and faithful. Easy to pull off combos, vibrant visuals and those oh-so-vicious Death Matches make this one a winner in my book. Besides, where else can you knock someone into burning ropes?

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16 fighters, 24 megs and 32 fists (plus a sword and bearded axe) to contend with, World Heroes 2 is everything a sequel should be: bigger and better. The home port adds in a speed option and the ability to play as the two bosses, bringing the count to a whopping 16. Only Super Street Fighter II had as many at that time. Truly an unsung hero. Pun intended.

MOST DISAPPOINTING
Total Carnage

Total Carnage is a semi-sequel to Super Smash TV that fails to recapture the magic of the original. This is further exacerbated by a somewhat shoddy home port.

MOST SURPRISING
Wolfenstein 3D

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I saw Wolfenstein at a friend’s house in 1992 but my first time ever playing it was with the Super Nintendo in early 1994. And I freaking loved it. I was surprised by how smoothly it ran, relatively speaking of course. In my book, it stands as a stunning, underrated achievement.

MOST WANTED
Ys III: Wanderers From Ys

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It will be my first Ys game! :)

MISCELLANEOUS

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Tuff E Nuff is kind of odd, from the energy bar placement to the title printed on the box, which reads in full: Hey Punk! Are You Tuff E Nuff? It’s fairly decent for a homegrown SNES fighter, however.

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Speaking of homegrown fighters, WeaponLord is very deep.

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X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse was a step in the right direction.

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Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel is worth a look.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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Super Nintendo games represent a sweet spot in gaming for me. It was during a time where games weren’t overly simplistic yet they weren’t yet too complicated, either. It just strikes that happy medium for me. I also find that many SNES games have aged extremely well. Many are as playable and as enjoyable today as they were 20, 25 years ago. It’s a true testament to the timeless quality that many of these games exude.

Playing beats quelling a childhood curiosity at long last!
Nothing like quelling a childhood curiosity at long last!

One of my favorite things to do is come home on a Friday night after a long grueling work week, head to the game room and finally playing that one game that I’ve been wondering about ever since the ’90s. Finding the game on the shelf, opening it up, reading through the color manual, and popping it in to at long last quell a 20+ year curiosity. One guy said it best years ago when he said “It feels like I’m fulfilling my childhood dreams.” Aside from your SNES classics and gems, I find there are also over 100 games that are perfectly playable and enjoyable. Maybe they’re nothing to write home about necessarily, but they can certainly entertain you for a weekend or two. I own over 400 boxed Super Nintendo games and I’d say only a small handful of them are bad. It really blows my mind how deep the SNES library is. It’s probably why I find myself coming back to the system time after time. It’s been a great journey these past 10 years!

Here's to 10 more!
Thanks for the memories, SNES :)
Here's to 10 more years! :D
Here’s to 10 more years!  :D

Christmas Memoirs

It's the most wonderful time of the year...
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Ah, Christmas. As a kid growing up, there was something truly sacred about Christmas. It was a magical time of the year where miracles happen and wonder is in the air. Every kid I knew looked forward to Christmas. Whether we were writing letters to Santa or out shopping at the local mall with our parents, Christmas was magic. And the best time of the year to be a kid. As soon as that calendar strikes October, you were in kid Heaven. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. The promise of frights, food overload and video game presents. I’ve had some great gaming-related memories of Christmas over the years. Here they are :)

CHRISTMAS 1989: THE GAME WAS CHANGED

The first video game that changed how I saw gaming
Sega had truly taken gaming to THE NEXT LEVEL

In December 1989, my brother and I owned an 8-bit Nintendo. We loved it dearly. But one day we went to our family friend’s house. Denny was raving about his new game system, the Sega Genesis. I was only six years old, but I remember it as if it was yesterday. Denny showed us the cool clamshell box of Altered Beast. The art on the cover blew me away with its wild beasts and savage wolf man. Before Denny opened the box he asked me, “How big do you think the game is?” Hmmm, I figured since it was bigger than Nintendo, surely the cartridge had to be huge. Denny shook his head with a sly grin. He slowly opened the box to reveal the tiniest cartridge I had ever seen in my life. I was stupefied. The next big leap in video gaming was that small? Denny popped Altered Beast in and I sat back to watch. From the moment the game fired up and I heard the infamous voiceover “WISE FROM YOUR GRAVE!” I was hooked and sold. The graphics were jaw dropping! So too was the sound. I never looked at gaming quite the same after that fateful December day of 1989.

Altered Beast altered the game...
Altered Beast forever altered the game…

Over the years I remember going back to Denny’s place a lot during December. We held many family friend gatherings there. I remember watching him play games like Dynamite Duke, Thunder Force III and Gaiares. Man, what a time of innocence it was. Not only were we on the verge of a new decade, we found ourselves standing smack dab in a new generation of hi-tech gaming! And life, well, life was awesome. But just when I thought gaming couldn’t get any better, it did…

One of the greatest level one bosses ever
One of the greatest level one bosses ever!

CHRISTMAS 1991: SUPER NINTENDO GENESIS

It was the vacation that changed my life...
Some vacation trips stay with you for the long haul…

I was eight years old on vacation with my family and friends. My family forged a strong friendship with four families. Between the five families you had 10 parents and 16 kids (11 boys and five girls with birth years ranging from 1977-1987). We had some of the most legendary sleepovers in the history of such. We had monthly sleepovers and each time we would stay up until 1, 2 AM playing video games. It was a glorious time, and some of the best times of my childhood.

In December 1991, the parents wanted to go skiing at beautiful Lake Tahoe. We rented out a huge cabin where all twenty six of us stayed. It was insanity! The brothers, Tommy and Denny, packed their newly acquired Super Nintendo. This is the same Denny that first introduced me to the Sega Genesis and Altered Beast. You know how in every childhood gaming circle there was that one guy who got all the coolest newest games and systems first? Denny was that guy. Tommy and Denny also brought Super Mario World, Final Fight and F-Zero.

I loved Home Alone but I didn't want to live it out!
I loved Home Alone but I didn’t want to live it out!

That Sunday morning I woke up to an empty cabin, with weird noises emanating in every which direction. A cold chill swept down the back of my neck as I tip-toed downstairs timidly. Desperately calling out the names of my family and friends, it wasn’t long until I realized I was the lone prisoner trapped inside this cabin from hell.

The only response I received for my cries was the hissing of the cabin. I felt a chill creep over once more. Some thing wasn’t right…

Once I managed to make my way to the kitchen I found a note taped to the fridge with my name on it.

All alone in that demonic looking cabin... or was I...
All alone in that demonic looking cabin… or was I…

Steve,
The rest of us got up early to go out for breakfast. We’ll be back soon. You stayed up really late last night so I wanted you to get the extra rest. Make yourself some Honey Nut Cheerios and don’t watch too much TV. We’ll be back very soon.

Love,
Mom

Gee, thanks mom. I’ll be sure to remember this when I go to the booth next week to cast my vote in for Mom of the Year! I opened the fridge and saw an ice cold can of 7 Up. It was my favorite soda but there was no chance in hell I was going to brave it down that demonic looking hallway to make it to the restroom. No siree!

Ever feel that someone, or something, is watching you?
Ever felt that someone or something is watching you?

Ever feel a presence in the room with you? That someone, or something, is watching you? That’s how I felt on that cold, dreary December morning of 1991. But being eight years old and resourceful, I believed spirits would never mess with me if I had the radio or TV playing — they only attacked those who were alone. So I turned on the tube and came across a WWF show. Ah, wrestling. It’s always comforted me and did so here. But before long the show ended and I was left thinking about what evil spirits might be milling about. That’s when I spotted Tommy’s Super Nintendo lying on the floor. All the older “cool” kids were taking turns with it the night before, and the younger kids (of which I was right on the cusp of) could do nothing but peer on wishing life had dealt them a better hand. So it suddenly dawned on me that this was my chance. This was my moment.

It's true what they say: you never forget your first time
It’s true — you never forget your first time

Powering up F-Zero, I was instantly transported to Mode-7 Heaven. Every single racing track blew my mind. I couldn’t believe how fast it played, and how AMAZING the game looked. And that MUSIC… oh man. F-Zero led me from thinking about ghosts to obsessing over intergalactic racing warfare! Later I plugged in Final Fight and found myself saving the good citizens of Metro City one jaw dropping stage after another, as I smeared the streets with the blood of the hooligans from the Mad Gear Gang. I had never seen such state-of-the-art arcade-like graphics before. The characters were unbelievably HUGE and at times I found myself wondering, “WHERE THE HECK IS THE COIN SLOT?!”

Back in 1991 this was absolutely mind blowing!
Back in 1991 this was absolutely mind blowing!

I played Final Fight until my family and friends came back. Part of me was ecstatic to no longer be alone in the cabin from hell, but something funny happened during my inaugural SNES playthrough. It made me forget about malicious ghosts and evil spirits. It instead transported me to the future of video gaming, where you could snap a guy’s neck in two and soar 200 feet across a race track suspended high above a futuristic city — all in stunning graphics and sound. Even 25 years later, I still recall that Christmas with great reverence :)

CHRISTMAS 1992: KING OF THE KARTS

There was a certain Christmas magic in the air
There was a certain magic in the air that night…

My mom and I used to go to the mall all the time. It was one of our traditions. She took me after school every Friday, rain or shine. I loved it because this was a time in life when the world was a different place. Even as young as 8, my mom allowed me to hit up my stores while she went shopping for clothes. This gave me a great sense of independence and for about 30 minutes I was on my own completely! I always visited Suncoast, Kay Bee Toys, Walden Books, Sam Goody, and of course, the classic SOFTWARE ETC.

Now rarely did she ever end up buying me anything once we reconvened, but that was never the point. It was fun enough thumbing through books, EGM magazines and drooling at the various action figures. It was the feeling that it produced. Just knowing you were on your own for half an hour made going to the mall a fun time. But the best times always came during Christmas season.

That little blond kid was me just a year or two ago...
That little blond kid was me just a year or two ago…

The mall Santa was there taking pictures, kissing babies and shaking little hands. At nine and a half years old now, I was too old for that stuff, but not old enough to not still believe in the magic of Christmas. So instead of sitting on Santa’s lap, I simply sat back from afar to admire what had been, and what once was.

My mom came over asking if I wanted to meet the mall Santa, but I told her I was too old. She looked at the kids rushing up to Santa just 20 feet away from us, lost in her thoughts. Somewhere in her aging face I saw her loosen up, as if she suddenly missed the days when I was that young scampering around. Perhaps it was the right kind of Christmas magic I’d need for what was about to transpire on that most magical late December evening…

Oh, SOFTWARE ETC. My childhood...
This was like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

There it was, plastered in big and bold blue letters. I always made it a point to hit up SOFTWARE ETC. each time we visited the mall. Of course, I could only dream of my mom complying to buy me a video game. Still, like a moth to flame, those bold blue letters always sucked me in. I stood there that evening in sheer awe of the endless shelves of SNES goodies — games in which I could only dream of owning. And then, there it was. High on the shelf I saw it, shining like a beacon of light. KING OF THE MONSTERS for the Super Nintendo! It was just one short year ago that I’d beaten the arcade and thought to myself, “Man, I can’t wait for this to come home!” And now, it finally has. Only one problem, of course. How can I convince mom to buy it? Standing there, staring at the pristine shiny King of the Monsters box, my mind desperately raced through everything I could think of in order to weigh the odds in my favor.

I didn’t have very long to think…

“C’mon honey, we gotta get back home now.”

“WAIT!”

“What is it?”

The box sat high on the shelf like a beacon of light
What kind of compelling, poetic point would I make?

“That…” I pointed to the King of the Monsters box sitting on the top shelf. “I want that.”

OK, so much for poetic language and convincing arguments.

My mom gave me “the look.” Uh oh. In the history of “momkind” the look has never been good news. Whether it was a look of frustration, disappointment or disgust, the look has denied kids an untold number of desserts, toys and video games. This task, I could tell, was going to be about as easy as Quantum Physics.

“Honey, that’s fifty five dollars.”

“No, it’s fifty four ninety nine!” I quickly countered. HA! I thought I had her — ahh, the bliss of being nine years old…

“Well actually with tax it’s about sixty,” she corrected.

Well DAMN. Talk about backfiring!

And then, out of nowhere, it hit me. My trump card. I explained to her how it was my favorite game, how I had to have it, and how much joy it would bring Kevin and me. And that if she bought it, it would count for not only my Christmas gift but also my birthday as well.

My mom grabbed the box to examine it closer. “Hey, isn’t this the game you played all night last year at Chuck E. Cheese’s? Is this the same one?”

***FLASHBACK TO DECEMBER 1991***

This only took me an hour and about 5,000 quarters
This only took me an hour and about 500 quarters

December 1991. My parents took me and my brother to our favorite place, Chuck E. Cheese’s, to celebrate the end of the year. My mother was rather strict so these rare opportunities where she allowed us to binge on our desires were not taken for granted! They ordered two large pizzas and got us 50 tokens. I knew where I was going to be for the rest of that night — at the King of the Monsters cab determined to beat it! It took me some time and way too many quarters to count but at last I did it, all while my mom sat back at the table eating unwanted leftover pizza crust and watching the whole thing go down.

***BACK TO DECEMBER 1992***

I nodded furiously and watched as my mom bit her lower lip, contemplating what to do. Finally, after what seemed like forever, she took the game to the counter. I stood there in awe watching as they swiped her credit card. It was the first video game she bought for me. Outside I could hear the chattering of youngsters and the HO-HO-HOs of the mall Santa. The Christmas season was ringing in full force, and this bit of Christmas magic only punctuated the moment. My brother and I played King of the Monsters as soon as I got home. It turned out to be a ho-hum translation but at the time I remember not caring a great deal about that. I was just grateful and still buzzing with excitement at the fact that the Christmas magic was still alive and well!

Downtown Christmas display was a family tradition
Downtown Christmas was our Yuletide tradition

A couple days after my mom bought the game, I was playing it one night with my brother when she urged us to turn it off so we could drive downtown to see the fancy Christmas lights. It was a basic tradition in my family that every Yuletide we do so. I love the lights but that year my parents had to pry me away from my Super Nintendo. I guess as my brother and I got older, the more my mom fought to keep tradition alive. Like how she wanted me to sit on Santa’s lap the night she bought me the game. I guess that’s something I’ll find out for myself one of these days… [Sitting on Santa’s lap? How kinky. I see you’re on that naughty list… -Ed.]

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better...
But wait! That Christmas is about to get even better

Christmas ’92 proved to be one for the record books. In addition to my mom buying me King of the Monsters, that same year our uncle bought us Death Duel. I remember the ad from EGM. It looked cool and all, but honestly, my brother and I were a bit disappointed. Of all the games on our wish list, Death Duel certainly wasn’t even in the top 20. We tried not to complain though as our mom always taught us to be grateful and that any gift was better than none at all. Still, Kevin and I went home that night talking about how awesome it would be if Death Duel magically transformed into Super Mario Kart instead (the game that topped our Christmas wish list). It was rare that my brother and I both wanted the same game — he was a “mainstream” guy while I was more fond of the obscure underdog titles. However, Super Mario Kart transcended all of that. It was just that kind of game.

Good thing my brother was still only 11 at the time!
Good thing my brother was still only 11 at the time!

And then, as we were talking, an epiphany struck us. We suddenly recalled the ad for Death Duel in EGM. We pulled out the latest EGM issue that we had bought weeks earlier and madly flipped through it in search of our great loophole. Ah, there it was. Not suggested for children under 14. I was only nine and my brother was 11. My brother wouldn’t be able to play Death Duel for another three years! And five for me! Not that we couldn’t break the rules but when the rules benefit you, why not follow them? ;)

Everyone wanted this game that Christmas season
Everyone wanted this game that Christmas season

After showing the ad to our mom, just as we predicted she would, she promptly called our uncle to explain the situation and asked if he kept the receipt. Luckily, he did and since we hadn’t opened the game yet, it was ripe for a swap. So later that week my mom took me and Kevin to exchange Death Duel for Super Mario Kart. I remember thinking that it was the greatest trade in the history of mankind. I still laugh thinking about this Christmas memory. Who knew a silly ad could bring about such a dramatic turn of events? :D

We became kings of our block
We became the kings of our block
Thanks for a great Christmas memory, Death Duel
Thanks for a great Christmas memory, Death Duel

CHRISTMAS 1993: FIGHT CLUB

This quickly became my next most wanted game
This quickly became my next most wanted game

Leading up to Christmas that year I was completely fascinated with Interplay’s Street Fighter II clone, Clay Fighter. Endless controversial ads filled the pages of gaming magazines and I studied the many previews drooling in sheer anticipation of this new promising fighting game. And who could forget the Clay Fighter ad campaign? I sure haven’t — it’s one of the greatest ad campaigns in 16-bit gaming history.

SHOTS FIRED. Interplay wasn't messing. It's war!
Oooh! SHOTS FIRED. Interplay wasn’t playing around

I still remember fondly my cousin calling me one night in early December of 1993. It was rare in those days for her to call as we usually just saw each other in person and communicated that way. But on this fateful night she called asking for my Christmas wish list. My heart was racing as I knew there was really only one thing I wanted: a copy of Clay Fighter. I remember explaining to her over the phone what Clay Fighter was, and being positive that she was going to buy it for me. Yep, it was only a matter of days now…

The gist of what I told my cousin that fateful night!
The gist of what I told my cousin that fateful night!
As a ten year old, I thought the ads were super dope
As a 10 year old, I thought the ads were the best

Of course, she bought something else for me. It ended up not being a video game at all. After that phone call and everything, I couldn’t help but feel massively disappointed. In retrospect though, I’m lucky she didn’t buy me Clay Fighter

I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for World Heroes
“C’mon Steve, do the Dragon Kick here! One more time!”

I would be remiss not to mention World Heroes. My best pal Nelson bought it when it first came out around September of ’93, and we played it well into the winter. Nelly even lent me the game here and there. Uncle Ben flew in that Christmas and watched me play as Kim Dragon. Uncle Ben didn’t care for video games whatsoever, but even he was drawn into World Heroes. He rooted me on, suddenly morphing into an armchair gamer! He loved Kim’s Dragon Kick and called for me to do it each time. It’s a quirky memory that has stuck with me all these years.

Christmas '93 was just a great time to be a kid
World Heroes will always have a soft spot in my heart

Christmas ’93 was simply a great time to be a robust 10 year old kid growing up in suburban America. If you had a Super Nintendo, a best friend and you loved fighting games — what a time to be alive! With choices such as Street Fighter II Turbo, TMNT: Tournament Fighters, World Heroes, Ranma ½: Hard Battle and Clay Fighter, there were plenty of fighting games to choose from. The 16-bit war was in full swing, and if you had the SNES and Genesis like I did, you were the ultimate winner.

Nothing like an unexpected post Christmas score!
Nothing like an unexpected post Christmas score!

Having hounded my parents about Clay Fighter and them knowing how disappointed I was that I didn’t get it that Christmas, my mom allowed me to buy one video game in January of ’94. Thankfully, I rented Clay Fighter just prior to this once-in-a-lifetime decree. It wasn’t a terrible fighting game, it just wasn’t very good. My parents took me to Good Guys and I bought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters. Ninja Turtles meets Street Fighter II? Take my money, er, my parents’ money!

Yep, sure am glad I picked the right game to buy!
Yep, I sure made the right call!
"COWABUNGA!!"
“COWABUNGA!!”

CHRISTMAS 1994: KAREN KOMBAT!

SNES fans were vindicated with an awesome port
SNES fans were vindicated with an awesome port

Christmas ’94 was marked by the return of my cousin Karen, whom I hadn’t seen in a while. She was now eight and my Uncle Ben also had a one year old daughter, Liz. My bro and I bought Mortal Kombat II for the SNES and we were playing it well into that Christmas season, much to Karen’s chagrin as it would turn out.

Chill Karen, it's only a game. Don't lose your head
Chill Karen, it’s only a game. Don’t lose your head…

When Karen and baby Liz came over that holiday season, we showed off Mortal Kombat II in all its glory. Upon seeing the first blood spewing Fatality, Baraka slicing Jax’s head clean off his shoulders, Karen imploded like a soccer mom at a backyard wrestling event. Grabbing her baby sister in a mad panic, she screamed at us, “OH MY GOD! A ONE YEAR OLD BABY CAN’T BE EXPOSED TO THIS R-RATED VIOLENCE!” The way she yelled at the top of her lungs coupled with her mannerisms made it a moment in time. To this day I still give her a hard time about it whenever we see each other.

As it would turn out, Christmas ’94 was the last great gaming-related Christmas I can remember. Well, that was until…

CHRISTMAS 2010: PARTY LIKE IT’S 1994

You could say it was a powerpak'ed Christmas...
You could say it was a powerpak’ed Christmas…

November 2010. I bit the proverbial bullet and purchased an SNES PowerPak. This great device allows you to play almost any SNES game ever created. It comes at a steep price but as I found out firsthand later that Christmas season, it’s worth the asking price. Guess who visited that Christmas? None other than Karen and (no longer baby) Liz. Karen was now 24 and Liz, 17. It’s funny how life comes full circle sometimes.

You can see the love mark my SNES left on the carpet
See the love mark my SNES left on the carpet?

Saturday, Christmas afternoon. Uncle Ben, his wife, Karen and Liz were visiting from out of state and staying at their second home. Uncle Ben invited the whole fam over for a night of Christmas family fun. Normally I take the Sega Saturn with me (for Saturn Bomberman), but this time I thought I’d try the Super Nintendo instead. It was the right call.

Got the goods. Let's rock and roll
Love how it all fitted perfectly. A nice snug fit ^_^

Ah, the advantage of having a PowerPak and not having to haul 20, 25 games with you. With one cartridge you can effectively carry hundreds of SNES games. That alone makes having some kind of flash cart worth the asking price.

That night we went back in time
That night we went back in time

We enjoyed a pleasant family Christmas dinner together that night. Then my cousins Karen, Liz, David, Mia and I retreated to the living room. I unpacked the Super Nintendo to a warm nostalgic reaction. “Oh my God, I haven’t seen one of these in forever!” Karen was most eager of all being that she was old enough to really remember it. The PowerPak worked its magic. I let her browse through the endless list of games. Her eyes popped when she saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time. “I remember playing this back in the day!” Karen had turned into a wide-eyed six year old kid before my very eyes. “WE GOTTA PLAY THIS!” she declared. Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting her to pick Mortal Kombat II.

Karen and David started out on the first level. The three of us felt like we were back at the arcades in the ’90s. Liz and Mia, being young teenagers and Wii fans, didn’t get the hype so they didn’t care to join in. But Karen, David and I were having a blast. The Ninja Turtles weren’t the only ones going back in time here…

It felt like we were back in '92
It felt like we were back in 1992

The three of us rotated turns playing the two player mode. Each new stage brought about “Oooh I remember this!” memories. When we made our way to the sewer stage, with the giant yellow pizza monsters leaping out at us, Karen said, “I TOTALLY REMEMBER THOSE PIZZA MONSTERS FROM THE CARTOON SHOW!” We made it to Super Shredder, but soon fell at his evil hands.

Karen, David and I had a blast
Karen, David and I had a, er, blast

After Turtles in Time, we switched over to Super Bomberman 2.  It brought back memories of the early-mid ’90s when my old gaming group spent countless Saturday nights blowing each other up. We ended up playing the SNES from 6:45 to 9:20. We spent the next two hours talking and hanging out. Nothing like quality family time mixed in with a little multiplayer gaming :)

World Heroes 2 is a terrific and underrated SNES port

I slept over at my parents’ house that night since they live only 15 minutes away from Uncle Ben’s second home. Arriving around midnight, I was still in a Super Nintendo state of mind. I immediately popped in the PowerPak and fired up the beta version of World Heroes 2. Although I love the finished product, the beta version is more combo friendly and therefore more accurate to the arcade original. It’s almost like playing two different games! One more reason to love the PowerPak — you can play beta versions (if available) of your favorite games and compare.

Don't have a flash cart? Better catch and ride that wave
Don’t have one yet? Better catch and ride that wave!
Love it but the CPU is tough!
Love it but the computer is tough

After World Heroes 2 beta, I had the urge to revisit another childhood favorite, TMNT: Tournament Fighters. After the tough computer foes put a thorough whupping on my ass, I felt the need to do some whupping of my own, so I fired up Zen Nippon Pro Wrestling 2: 3-4 Budokan.

I like it more than Super Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium

The fatal four way match is good for a quick fix. After this, I went to brush my teeth. My parents had already gone to bed. I turned off the lights and lowered the volume. I hadn’t slept over in a long time so the house making all kinds of unusual noises in the dark was a bit creepy. I decided to go from one obscure Super Famicom import to another.

Fans of the unusual and Pocky & Rocky will like this
Fans of the unusual and Pocky & Rocky will like this

One of the weirdest games on the SNES, Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban is also rather fun. I had a blast going through the whole game. It was now 2:45 AM, and the house grew eerily darker and darker. It was the perfect time to load up the scariest Super Nintendo game ever created.

Now that's a stocking stuffer you don't wanna see
Now there’s a stocking stuffer you don’t want to see

There couldn’t have been a more perfect setting to play Clock Tower. Weird noises emanated from the house as heavy rain crashed against the windows with fierce velocity. I never imagined in a million years that a Super Nintendo game could actually scare me. But on that night, Clock Tower succeeded. Scissorman left a wake of terror as he pursued me relentlessly throughout the mansion. It was one of the best gaming sessions I’ve ever had.

SNIP SNIP -- I could still hear Scissorman's shears
SNIP SNIP — I could still hear Scissorman’s shears…

It was now 4:30 in the morning. Whoa, I played the SNES from midnight to 4:30. I staggered over to turn off Clock Tower, then I fumbled up the stairs in the dark. I was in a bit of a daze, feeling uneasy still thinking about the grisly images. I crawled into bed and stared at the ceiling in the darkness. What an epic gaming session and what a great Christmas! I laid there for a while just reflecting on the night before drifting off to a deep, peaceful sleep…

CHRISTMAS 2012: BIRDIES AND BOMBS, BABY!

Nothing beats a good old epic multiplayer session
Nothing beats a good old fashion multiplayer party!

Once again the PowerPak proved its worth. My brother, his girlfriend and I went to visit David and Mia. We spent the night playing 4-player BS Out of Bounds Golf and 5-player Super Bomberman 5. Nothing screams quality family time quite like blowing up your brother, or knocking your cousin’s ball out of bounds. Both games quickly grew heated as the trash talking (and laughing) compounded. The fondest memory I have of this evening came when David miraculously nailed a miracle trick shot. He bounced his ball against a plate bumper, which then ricocheted its way into the cup. Everyone in the room jumped and shouted in stereo. It was certainly mic drop worthy! We all gave David a hi-five and he wore the fattest grin I ever saw. To see him have that one moment of glory made my Christmas that year. Fittingly enough, we even gave him a golf clap ;)

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! [You're SO cheesy... -Ed.]
David bounced a shot off that bumper and in, wow!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a very good night :)

Christmas time always brings back such fond memories of time well spent with loved ones and video games. Especially when you were a kid, there was just something special and magical about Christmas season. Whether you received a new video game system or a new video game, many of us have nostalgic memories surrounding Christmas and video games. These were mine. And they’ve stayed with me long after the snow has faded and the lights have been taken down. As tomorrow marks the beginning of winter and as we draw closer and closer to yet another Christmas, I’m reminded of all these nostalgic memories. There’s something about gaming during the winter season that can’t be beat. Those early darkening late afternoons. The whipping rain lashing outside late at night as you play childhood favorites, or unearth new ones. Wherever you are at in this stage of life, may you be blessed each day and a blessing to others, too. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?

Thank you, and God Bless everyone else too ^_^
Thank you good sir, and God Bless everyone else too

WWF-SNES Connection

When you think of the Super Nintendo, what characters come to mind?

Mario?
Mario?
Link?
Link?
Ryu?
Ryu?
LESTER THE UNLIKELY?!
LESTER THE UNLIKELY?!

… On second thought, that last one’s unlikely, I reckon.

[Oh dear -Ed.]

Well…

How about MARK CALLOWAY?

Possibly unbeknownst to most of us, Mr. Calloway actually has more in common with the SNES than one might initially think.

THE DEBUT OF TWO PHENOMS

Released November 21, 1990
The world forever changed on November 21, 1990

A little over 26 years ago as I write this, the Super Famicom (Japanese Super Nintendo) launched in Japan. It made a huge splash and as history dictates it went on to smash a lot of video game records and burrowed its way deep into our gaming hearts.

Who's the mystery partner?!
Who’s the mystery partner?!

Meanwhile, over in America, with no internet back then and being all of seven years old, I had no idea that the Super Famicom just made its big splash. All I knew was I couldn’t wait for the 4th Annual Survivor Series event! It was Dusty Rhodes’ Dream Team (R.I.P. Dusty) versus Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team. But wait, DiBiase had a mystery partner. The match graphic to this day is seared into my memory bank. I remember my brother and I having long discussions about who it possibly might be. An old familiar face from the past, or a brand new superstar? It was exciting times. Finally, the day of the 1990 Survivor Series came. November 22, 1990. It was exactly one day after the Super Famicom made its debut.

Get the scoop, Sean Mooney!
Get the scoop, Sean Mooney!

I’ll never forget the moment DiBiase hit the ring with only two of his three team partners backing him. The WWF (World Wrestling Federation) played up the drama perfectly to the very end. My brother and I were on the edge of our seats. Who and where was this mystery partner?

Tell 'em, Ted!
Tell ‘em, Ted!

DiBiase grabbed the microphone and made the announcement himself. It was unheard of as the ring announcer always made the announcements. This only proved to punctuate the moment even further. This was a moment in time. A moment in wrestling history none of us would ever forget.

“I’ve said it a million times before — EVERYONE’S GOT A PRICE FOR THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN! So without further ado, I’ll introduce to you now my mystery partner. Led to the ring by his manager, Brother Love, weighing in at THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY POUNDS, from DEATH VALLEY — I GIVE YOU… THE UNDERTAKER, HAHAHAHA!!!”

Gorilla: The Undertaker — the mystery partner — is now revealed!
Piper: I never heard of him –
Gorilla: OH TAKE A LOOK!
Piper: HO-HOLY COW! … LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT HAM HOCK! … Check out them drumsticks, baby!
Gorilla: Three hundred and twenty pounds, looks to be 6’9″ 6’10” — somewhere in that neighborhood, Rod.
Piper: 6’10″… I don’t know, it’s hard to tell from here…
Gorilla: There’s only supposed to be four members on a team — this guy makes four and a half, MAYBE FIVE!

WHOA MAMA!
WHOA MAMA!

The music, the look, the entrance, the commentary… everything added to create a perfect storm. It was an unforgettable debut — one of the best in the company’s history. The Undertaker was an instant star.

He scared me that night
He scared many of us that night
What a star in the making!
What a star in the making!

There was something different about the Undertaker. You just knew he was going to be a mega star. Little did we know… just how big of a star he would become. But yeah, such great memories that night over 26 years ago now. The Undertaker towered over everyone in that ring, and he just looked like he was in a whole ‘notha league compared to the others, and there were some true legends in that ring! Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, Honky Tonk Man, Dusty Rhodes and Bret Hart to name a few. Taker held his own and then some. Great wrestling memory!

OLD SCHOOL!
OLD SCHOOL!

Billed at a towering 6 foot 10, and seemingly impervious to pain, fans quickly took notice of his unparalleled combination of size, power and agility.

R.I.P. HULKAMANIA
R.I.P. HULKAMANIA

The Undertaker dominated the WWF, going undefeated for over a year in his meteroic rise to the top. Just one year removed from his debut, he made history when he pinned the IMMORTAL Hulk Hogan to become the new Heavyweight Champion at Survivor Series 1991. Few titans before could touch Hulkamania. But the Dead Man was a different sort of beast. The industry never saw anyone quite like the Undertaker before.

The Super Nintendo was released in the US August of that same year, and as the Undertaker cemented his place in wrestling history in ’91, so too did the SNES (in gaming history, mind) by beginning its worldwide march toward market domination.

The Undertaker appeared in no less than six SNES games, and even more. That’s more than most other SNES characters, and gave Mario a run for his money!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Streak
The Streak

The Undertaker had an unprecedented WrestleMania record of 21-0 before Brock Lesnar defeated him at WrestleMania 30 (2014) to make the Dead Man 21-1. Currently, his record sits at 23-1 and he’s definitely gunning for 24-1 at 2017’s WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, Florida. Amazingly, 26+ years later the Undertaker is still wrestling (albeit on an extremely part time basis). The Super Nintendo, although long “dead,” continues to live on in the hearts of retro gamers worldwide. The Undertaker and the Super Nintendo are two phenoms in their respective line of business. Their legacies speak for themselves and I’m positive both will be remembered fondly for generations to come.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Undertaker and SNES go hand in hand!
Undertaker and SNES go hand in hand!

I’ve always been a pro wrestling fan from the days of the late ’80s when I first saw the union of the Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage) on an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event in the fall of 1987. I remain a fan to this day and the Undertaker is a true force in the industry. I got nothing but love and respect for the man and the myth. The Super Nintendo, of course, is my favorite gaming system of all time, and it’s fun to think about the similarities the two share with one another. Who knew the SNES and the Undertaker would have so much in common? They’ve given us 26 years of countless memories, left a lasting legacy and are sure to still be lionized in the years and generations to come. A toast to two awesome phenoms — the Undertaker and the SNES!

RESPECT
RESPECT

SNES Halloween Special

I'm getting a Silver Shamrock flashback here...
I’m getting a Silver Shamrock flashback here…

Growing up I was a huge fan of all things Halloween-related. My favorite month of the year was October. I just love the fall season. Everything from falling leaves to all the ghoulish sights around town and of course, the feeling of excitement as you count down to the night of nights… HALLOWEEN! “8 more days to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. 8 MORE DAYS TO HALLOWEEN — SILVER SHAMROCK!” Argh! GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD!!! Ahem, sorry.

SUPER NINTENDO HALLOWEEN SPECIAL

SNES just a kiddie system? I beg to differ
SNES just a kiddie system? I beg to differ

If there was one thing I loved just as much as Halloween back in the day, it was without a shadow of doubt the Super Nintendo. The SNES has been known as a “kiddie” system especially when compared to the Sega Genesis, which featured more darker, mature titles. While it’s true that the SNES didn’t have as many as the Genesis had, that doesn’t mean it was completely devoid of “darker” games. Tonight, I’m proud to highlight 35 games that SNES fans can play this month of October in preparation for Halloween. Not all these games are great or even necessarily “mature” or “darker,” but they certainly fit the mood of the season in general. Some of these games are classic mainstays while there are a few you might have never heard of. I hope this inspires you to dig up a few SNES games to play this Halloween season.

Happy Halloween gaming!
Happy Halloween gaming!

There is something real special about gaming around this time of the year. The rainy days, shorter days and longer nights create an atmosphere conducive to staying in and snuggling up with old gaming favorites by the fire, or discovering some new ones for the first time! Perhaps this list will introduce you to a few new titles to throw into your Halloween rotation. Without further ado, let’s begin the countdown in alphabetical order. Here are 35 Super Nintendo games to play during the month of October!

#1: THE ADDAMS FAMILY

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They’re creepy and they’re kooky. Mysterious and spooky. Ah, you know the rest. Released in March 1992 from Ocean, this was one of the earlier Super Mario World clones during the Super Nintendo’s infancy. It’s got quite a few fans. It’s obviously not nearly as polished and awesome as Super Mario World — I’m not a big fan of its somewhat slippery control or overly brutal difficulty, but it’s definitely not too shabby. It’s got a ton of secrets and you can tell the programmers had a blast making this one — hell, they said so themselves. Worth a look if you like your platformers difficult and somewhat quirky.

#2: THE ADDAMS FAMILY: PUGSLEY’S SCAVENGER HUNT

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The follow up to The Addams Family, Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt also has its fair share of fans. It’s quite an upgrade visually, but I think I actually prefer the first game. The programmers were quoted once saying that they tried to recapture the “magic” of the first game but just couldn’t with this game. Nevertheless, it’s decent enough to kill a few hours with. And if you’re going to give this a try, might as well do it during October.

#3: ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES

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The last in the SNES trilogy, Addams Family Values switches it up a bit by being an action RPG rather than a typical platformer. It sounds and looks enticing on paper, but unfortunately it’s something of a slight disappointment. I remember back in the day being super hyped for this. Uncle Fester in a Link to the Past clone? Sign me up! The main issue is the lack of a backup battery. Sure, it’s got a password system, but these passwords are scarce. On top of that, they’re awfully long and cumbersome. On the bright side, the game has a nice atmosphere for October, and the gameplay itself is generally fairly solid. If there was ever a game meant for using save states, it’s this one. Still, it’s the best of the SNES Addams Family trilogy.

#4: THE ADVENTURES OF DR. FRANKEN

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Ah, the early-mid ’90s. I love that era of video gaming. It was a period in time that was ransack with Mario clones left and right. Some of these games were great, some were just OK and others were better left forgotten. The Adventures of Dr. Franken is one of those forgotten platformers lost in the “me too” SNES crowd of the early-mid ’90s. This is just what the doctor ordered, or not. I wanted to like it but ended up rather disappointed. It’s not unplayable, but it’s probably the weakest game on this list. It’s better than terrible crud like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Musya, though. By the way, none of those games are on this list because they are truly terrifying (to play).

#5: ALIEN³

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All right, now we’re talking! Alien³ is a very solid movie-game adaptation. Just like the ALIEN films, Alien³ has a dark and foreboding feel to it. The aliens come at you fast and furious from all directions, making it a worthy candidate to play late at night with all the lights turned off. The difficulty is a bit steep, but that just makes the whole thing all the more tense. There is a password system and cheat codes to make life a bit easier, if you need it. Sure, it’s a bit repetitive but damn if it ain’t fun blasting an alien in the face with a flame thrower.

#6: BLACKTHORNE

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The picture above pretty much says it all. But yeah, the mine levels in particular go really well against the backdrop of October’s rainy and dreary days…

#7: BRANDISH

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Brandish is a classic example of a love or hate game. Give it a shot, because if you’re one of those people who end up loving it, like I do, you are in for a rare treat. Players take on Varik, a bounty hunter who falls into a deep underworld maze filled with 55 different monster breeds roaming the cursed halls. The game’s music and atmosphere does an excellent job convincing you that you are 40 floors buried underneath the surface. As you fight to make your way back to the top, there is a real sense of dread that works well with the Halloween season, not to mention the 55 different monsters. There’s a little something for everyone. From menacing minotaurs to towering dinosaurs to even Death itself — almost every creature imaginable is milling about the hell hole! I beat it almost 10 years ago now, and still to this day it remains a fond memory. Once in a while a game resonates with you in such a way you can’t explain. Brandish is that game for me. If you love atmospheric games and monsters, and like a more methodical action RPG, give it a shot. No better time to than October! It has more than its fair share of creepy moments…

#8: BRANDISH 2

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The sequel is bigger as it now features outdoor playing areas, but it’s not necessarily better. I prefer the original but I still enjoyed beating Brandish 2. It’s the first Japanese game on this list as it never left Japan. There is an English fan translation floating out there, and I recommend playing it if you really like the first one. It’s got better visuals and all, but is missing the “magic” of the first game. That’s not to say Brandish 2 isn’t any good. It’s very solid in its own right; it still features monsters and a seedy adventure that goes well with October’s rainy days.

#9: CASTLEVANIA: DRACULA X

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Best to get this out of the way early… OK so it isn’t anywhere as epic as Super Castlevania IV. And yes, you can’t help but wonder what if Konami had made a proper sequel using their SNES know-how by 1995. Got you drooling a bit there, eh? Well, Dracula X isn’t quite up to those standards, BUT it is a pretty solid (and damn difficult) action game, with Konami’s signature stellar soundtrack. In my book, Dracula X doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves, and it’s just good enough to warrant firing up every October…

#10: CLOCK TOWER

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You cannot talk about Halloween SNES games without bringing up Clock Tower. Hands down the most frightening game on the system, this is where the epic Scissorman story began. Who would ever believe that a Super Nintendo title can make your heart skip a beat? But play this at 2 in the morning with all the lights turned off and it just might genuinely creep you out. The game has an uneasy feel to it — Scissorman popping up randomly is the main reason why! Just an awesome survival horror game and a must play for the Halloween season.

#11: DEAE TONOSAMA APPARE ICHIBAN

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Pocky & Rocky fans rejoice. This game is ultra bizarre. I mean, where else can you kill Asian hopping vampires, astronauts on Mars, giant bamboo eating pandas, vile rotting zombies, aliens, ninjas, knights and Bruce Lee wannabes — all the while transforming into a large steroid-injected muscle maniac who oh yeah JUST happens to be the spirit of your deceased father?!? Intrigued? If you are not then you have no pulse! Love the subtle Halloween vibes it has, too.

#12: DEMON’S CREST

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One of the most underrated SNES games around, once upon a time, anyhow. In the past 10 years, I’ve seen Demon’s Crest get the adulation it deserved back in the mid ’90s. On top of excelling in all the basic video game categories, Demon’s Crest exudes atmosphere and coolness like very few other SNES games. Playing as a winged demon that collects orbs, changes form accordingly and breathes fire is too damn badass, y’know?

#13: DOOM

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When Doom exploded on the scene back in 1993, it took the gaming nation by storm. As great as Wolfenstein 3D was, Doom was that much better. Ask any gamer over the age of 30 or so and they’ll regale you with a Doom tale from their childhood. In 1995 Doom was ported to the Super Nintendo to mixed reviews. I didn’t like it back then because I couldn’t shake the fact that it was far inferior compared to the original PC game. 15 years later, 2010, I bought the game and came to appreciate the port for what it is. Naturally there were many sacrifices. The game only features 22 maps and there is no save or password feature. Despite this, it’s still impressive what they were able to pull off considering the limitations of the hardware. On a side note, the Japanese Super Famicom version is superior due to the fact that it allows you to start off on any episode on any difficulty level. You can start on any episode in the US version, but the later episodes require you to play it at a higher difficulty level.

#14: EQUINOX

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This isometric action adventure is packed with epic music from Tim Follin and a haunting atmosphere that makes it an ideal Halloween selection. It is damn difficult, though, but well worth persevering through. It allows you to save the game at any point, which makes the rather high difficulty a little more bearable. Each level requires you to collect keys to open up the various locked gates. Grabbing these keys can be one hell of a challenge, and sometimes just finally grabbing one particularly elusive key is satisfying enough to call it a night. It’s one of those games that you can play and enjoy for 20 minutes or 2 hours. I wish there were more games like this on the SNES but at least we’ll always have Equinox.

#15: FIRST SAMURAI

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I was intrigued by this game the day I saw EGM previewing it in early 1993. It looked different than most of your average “bright” SNES games. First Samurai is dark and has a dreary foreboding look to it. When I finally tried it in 2006, I wasn’t much disappointed. I never expected a stellar game, but just a fun adequate one. And that First Samurai is. From its abnormal enemies to the “Hallelujah!” song and “OH NO! MY SWORD!” sound effect, First Samurai just has a different feel from your typical SNES game, and is one I enjoy playing in October. The game’s mood fits this time of the year perfectly. Try it for yourself. It’s not good enough to be considered a hidden gem or anything, but it’s one of those funky little games that leaves you going, “Hey, that was kind of fun in a weird sort of way…”

#16: GEGEGE NO KITAROU

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A highly difficult game that seems passable at first but is made somewhat worthy when playing with a friend (as one can block and one can attack). Not my first choice to play for Halloween, but you can’t deny Kitarou’s strong Halloween spirit. Check it out only if you can, but don’t go out of your way to.

#17: GHOST SWEEPER MIKAMI

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A surprisingly solid action game based off a manga. Too many times such efforts are hack jobs and cheap attempts to cash-in. Ghost Sweeper Mikami, on the other hand, is handled well. It won’t rock your world but it’s fairly fun and you gotta love its ghoulish look and spooky atmosphere. A great choice to play in October.

#18: GHOUL PATROL

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LucasArts tried to reinvent the magic of Zombies Ate My Neighbors with this differently named “sequel.” Unfortunately, they didn’t succeed on that end. But, not all is lost. Ghoul Patrol has some decent things going for it. It’s just nowhere as good or fun as the original. However, this game is much more forgiving, allowing you to advance much further in the game even when you go at it alone. All in all, it’s not a shabby sequel but it’s missing considerably the fluidity and charm of Zombies Ate My Neighbors.

#19: JAKI CRUSH

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A Super Famicom pinball game that centers around demons, monsters and the occult. The last in the Crush trilogy (Alien Crush and Devil’s Crush), Jaki Crush is full of Halloween-esque sights. If you enjoy video game pinball then you’re sure to have a good time with this.

#20: MAJYUUOU

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This game goes hand-in-hand with Halloween. It’s not quite the epic action game I was hoping it might be, but it’s pretty solid and gives us Super Nintendo fanatics one more sinister game to enjoy. You can transform into various demon forms — giving it an Altered Beast feel. At first glance it appears to be a cross between Castlevania and Resident Evil. As long as you leave your lofty expectations at the door, Majyuuou (AKA King of Demons) is a ghoulishly fun time.

#21: MORTAL KOMBAT II

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I love the SNES port of Mortal Kombat II. My bro bought it when it came out back in September of 1994, so I have fond memories of playing it during Halloween season that same year. Characters like Baraka and stages like the haunted forest give it a lovely Halloween spirit. FINISH HIM!!

#22: NOSFERATU

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Nosferatu is one of those games I studied and drooled over in gaming mags way back in the day… only to finally play some 15+ years later and find out that, sadly, it fell short of the gem my mind had built it up to be. Nevertheless, it’s not all bad. In fact, it’s decent (at least, for the first couple levels before the difficulty becomes far too daunting). It’s not the superb smooth playing Castlevania meets Prince of Persia mix I was hoping for, but you can’t win them all. Still, I love the macabre atmosphere and it’s fun to play the first two or three levels during Halloween time.

#23: POCKY & ROCKY

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A widely regarded Super Nintendo classic that’s worth playing any time but especially during Halloween time. Better yet, it’s even more fun with two skilled players at the helm. Yeah it’s not the first SNES game you associate Halloween with, but it’s got that nice subtle ghoulish touch to it. Be forewarned though, it’s not as easy as it looks. It’s actually quite difficult and requires much practice to excel at. But damn if it isn’t fun.

#24: POCKY & ROCKY 2

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Natsume released a sequel the following year (1994) to solid reviews. There are some nice new features that makes this a worthy follow up to the classic original. These new features include multiple paths within the levels and partners. When you talk about great 2-player co-op SNES games, you gotta talk about the Pocky & Rocky series. They’re great fun to play whenever, but especially during October.

#25: PORKY PIG’S HAUNTED HOLIDAY

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Not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a decent little platformer that came out late in the SNES’ lifespan. Therefore, it was overlooked even more. It’s no Super Mario World, but I do enjoy its wacky levels and it’s an underrated Halloween choice. An interesting aspect of the game is that the weather changes every time you turn it on, and often weather will vary during the game itself. From one level to the next, it may be raining, snowing, or sunny, and may have summer, autumn, or winter color schemest. Overall, you could do far worse than Porky Pig’s Haunted Holiday.

#26: SHADOWRUN

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Gritty, grimy and great for October. For goodness sake, you start the game out by waking up on a slab in a morgue… suffering from amnesia. Talk about morbid and sordid. The control takes some getting used to, but the game’s cyberpunk feel is what makes it special. Shadowrun is a very unique game and something I wish the SNES saw more of. I have very fond memories of playing it on a rainy Halloween night of 2014. The game’s gritty “shady city” atmosphere fits in perfectly with the mood of Halloween.

#27: SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI

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Shin Megami Tensei isn’t for everyone — it’s a rather plodding first person RPG from the early days of 1992. But its sordid universe suits the Halloween season very well. You can recruit enemies to be your allies, and you can either side with the angels, the demons or go neutral. If you can withstand the somewhat slow nature of the game, it’s a rather fascinating and morbid trip through a hellish Tokyo. Note: it can be downright brutally difficult at times. You could be walking along destroying enemies easily but just as easily get in a battle with a monster that wipes out your party in no time flat. Be sure to save often!

#28: SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI II

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More of the same, but now faster and more accessible. If you enjoyed the first game then you’re sure to like this one, too. Naturally, the monsters, demons and devils make both Shin Megami Tensei games ideal to play during the month of October. They do require a bit of patience and perseverance, but the payoff is substantial — very few SNES games are as thought-provoking and politically incorrect.

#29: SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV

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This is the first title that jumps to mind right away when I think of SNES Halloween games. And why not, seeing as it has practically every creature of the night represented on its monster roll call. Featuring a stunning soundtrack, great graphics (for its time specifically) and satisfying gameplay mechanics, it’s a bloody sin not to, at the very least, pop this game in for a quick go every October. Turn off the lights, grab that ancient magical Belmont whip and hack away at mummies, frankensteins, and oh yeah, Dracula himself, as you try to eviscerate the Prince of Darkness and his minions one more time. It doesn’t get any better than that, folks. An essential Super Nintendo classic that is perfect for Halloween.

#30: SUPER GHOULS ‘N GHOSTS

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Long before Resident Evil and even Sweet Home, this was Capcom’s first original “horror” franchise. And a mighty fine one it is, too. Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts sports a high difficulty (but somewhat overrated in my humble opinion, at least, on easy mode). Featuring stunning graphics (mind, for 1991 standards) and sound, this game always delights and is a reminder of the Super Nintendo’s early GLORY days. You absolutely can’t go wrong giving this some October play time.

#31: THE TWISTED TALES OF SPIKE MCFANG

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The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang is a super short yet sweet game that you ought to play if you haven’t already. It’s so criminally short that it can be beaten in a measly 3 to 4 hours. Players control Spike McFang, a young vampire warrior in the making. A very good game that scores high on the fun and quirky scale.

#32: WARLOCK

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Warlock has a nice creepy, ominous atmosphere going for it. It’s not the greatest game around, but it’s got its moments. There are various spells at your disposal and there is some strategy and sorcery at play here. Not your typical hop ‘n bop platformer, which I appreciate. Give it a try. A low key under the radar choice.

#33: WOLFCHILD

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You transform into a wolf and shoot down bad guys like empty tin cans sitting on a fence. Wolfchild is a bit reminiscent of Werewolf (NES) and perhaps even Altered Beast (Genesis). Decent fun to be had and worth playing through at least once for the diehard SNES fanatic. A forgotten game that was lost in the me-too SNES crowd of early-mid 1990s, but not forgotten to RVGFanatic!

#34: WOLFENSTEIN 3D

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While this game may not seem like a “Halloween title” right off the bat, I ask you, where else can you pump mutant chunks full of lead in a mere matter of 10 seconds? In my book, there are few adrenaline rushes on the SNES quite like the one that Wolfenstein provides. With its many menacing monsters and large labyrinths, this is a solid choice to play during the Halloween season. Besides, you gotta love its scare-inducing sound — I’ve flinched more than once when turning a seemingly innocent corner only to be greeted by the loud crack of gunfire and a gravelly, sharpSTOP!”

#35: ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS

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What a perfect game to end this list. It’s impossible to talk about Halloween SNES games and not think of Zombies Ate My Neighbors almost immediately. When this game dropped on our laps back in late 1993, man, none of us knew what a cult classic it would become. It goes along perfectly with all the horror movies you’ll watch throughout October as many of its enemies are knock-offs of various horror movie villains. Whether it’s the evil doll Chucky, the lumbering brute Jason or cheerleader snatching aliens, it’s a veritable who’s who of horror movie icon lore. Zombies Ate My Neighbors shines best when playing with a buddy. It’s couch co-op gaming at its finest. It may feel cheap at times, but with a skilled friend in tow it’s still one zombie blasting good time. Perfect, indeed, for the Halloween season.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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Ah, Halloween. How I love thee. There’s just something magical about this season that I absolutely adore. I hope you enjoyed going through this list, recalling old Halloween Super Nintendo favorites in addition to maybe discovering a few new titles to add to your Halloween mix. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for both Halloween and the Super Nintendo. Both have given me countless memories over the years, and deep down inside, there’s a little robust 10 year old boy still yearning for one last great American Halloween adventure. There’s nothing like watching horror movies at night and playing some of these SNES games as I count down the days to Halloween. With that said, there’s really only one thing left to say…

HAPPY HALLOWEEN Y'ALL!  MWAHAHA!  ^_^
HAPPY HALLOWEEN Y’ALL!  MWAHAHA!  ^_^
Halloween and Super Nintendo -- good times
Halloween and Super Nintendo — good times