Top 20 Most Wanted Arcade SNES Ports

Credit BlueMario1016 for this artwork
Credit BlueMario1016 for this artwork

This past November the Super Famicom (SNES as it’s known over in Japan) turned 30 years old. But on the North American side, it was on this day 30 years ago (August 23, 1991) that the Super Nintendo made its debut. Naturally, you’re going to see a lot of tribute pieces and articles praising the system’s amazing library of games, as well as plenty of retrospectives sure to bring a virtual nostalgic tear to your eye. Heck, you might even see some Top 30 or Top 100 lists floating around in celebration of the big 3-0. But I’m going to do something a little different. As great as the SNES has been these past 30 years, I can think of more than a few games that never made it to the SNES that would have made the console even stronger had they been. Specifically, I’m talking about 20 arcade ports the SNES should have received but, for one reason or another, never did.

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Arcade gaming in the ’90s was a magical thing to experience as a young kid. There was something intoxicating about being in the thick of an arcade hall, with the flickering lights and glowing screens all vying for your quarters, iconic gaming sound effects galore blasting your ears, the alluring aroma of a cheese pizza wafting through the air. It was a social playground and THE place to be on Friday nights and weekends. All you needed were a few friends and a few quarters and you had a one way ticket to gaming nirvana.

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But it was impossible for all my favorite arcade games of my youth to make the home leap. For many, it was like two ships passing in the night. Never meant to be, never saw the light of day. However you want to put it, these ill-fated arcade greats never made their way home to a Super Nintendo. But first, let’s examine the thrill of arcade to home ports back in the early-mid ’90s…

THE MAGIC OF 16-BIT ARCADE PORTS

Super Street Fighter II was an amazing port
Super Street Fighter II was an amazing port

One of the best aspects about growing up as a gamer during the early-mid ’90s was hyping yourself up about all the arcade ports that companies would develop for the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. Playing the arcade game, loving it, dreaming about a Genesis or SNES port, then reading a few pages (sometimes less) about said port in EGM or GameFan Magazine (or both), and letting your imagination run wild as you studied the small grainy screenshots 20 times over. Rinse and repeat. It was a tried and true formula of that era! You knew both systems lacked the horsepower to replicate an arcade-perfect translation, but you were ecstatic if the home port captured the essence and spirit of its arcade counterpart. And sometimes, there was just enough magic out there in the moonlight for that to ring true.

Nic, most of us are right there with ya...
Nic, most of us are right there with ya!

The gaming world changed when Capcom unleashed Street Fighter II on the SNES in the summer of 1992. Capcom blew everyone’s minds by how well the home port looked, sounded and played. Sure it wasn’t arcade perfect, but it was more than good enough. It was, for its time, phenomenal. It truly felt like a piece of the arcade game was right there in your very own living room.

You didnt need quarters at home ;)
No quarters at home needed ;)

As a kid I remember telling my best friend Nelson, “Man, a quarter per play? If we play the home port of so and so at least 240 times, we’ll match the value of what my mom paid, and eventually get more than her money’s worth!” Because SNES games cost around $60 and 240 multiplied by 25 cents is $60. Ah, the innocence of youth…

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Arcade ports on the SNES, especially those of arcade fighting games during that Golden Age of 2D fighters, became all the rage in the early-mid ’90s. Gamers couldn’t get enough and wanted more and more. If you played a game in the arcade circa 1992 or ’93, chances were that a 16-bit home port was inevitable the following year.

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But that wasn’t always the case. There were many awesome arcade games that never saw a Super Nintendo conversion, for one reason or another. Here are my top 20 arcade games that sadly never saw the light of day on the Super Nintendo.

HONORABLE MENTION: TIME KILLERS

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What would a list be without an honorable mention? I’ll keep it to just one this time, however. Time Killers, admittedly, wasn’t a good game even in its original arcade form. I’m not citing it for its quality of play. This is based upon pure curiosity and nostalgia.

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Released in November of 1992, Time Killers is a weapons-based fighting game with buckets of blood for days. Players can aim specific body parts and cut them off. It didn’t play very well but it was like a 9 year old boy’s perverse dream come to life.

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Almost every fighting game back then had your prototypical Ryu clone, but Rancid was in a class of his own. A punk rocker type wielding a chainsaw. Yeah, he was my guy whenever I plopped a quarter into this vile game.

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A Sega Genesis port was planned but scrapped. Then in 1996, for some inexplicable reason when the Genesis was on life support, Time Killers finally came out. It received overwhelmingly negative reviews (EGM gave it scores of 5, 3, 3 and 3). As bad as the Genesis home port was, part of me still wanted to see a Super Nintendo conversion.

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James Severin from Michigan City did as well!

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According to this response, it appears as though there MIGHT have been plans for a Super Nintendo release but alas, it was never meant to be.

I suppose the world shall never know
The world shall never know… [Thank God -Ed.]

#20: THREE WONDERS

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Released in May of 1991, Three Wonders features, not shockingly, 3 games in 1. The winner of the lot is easily Midnight Wanderers. It’s so good that it could have been a standalone game.

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Midnight Wanderers is one of Capcom’s best lesser known games for my money! There was a Sega Saturn version of Three Wonders released, but only in Japan. Still, I would totally have loved this on the SNES!

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The same protagonists return for a shooting game in the vein of Gradius. Chariot is fine but nothing special.

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The third and final game in the package is a puzzle game by the name of Don’t Pull. It’s definitely NOT Don’t Play as it is perfectly playable and entertaining, but much like Chariot it’s nothing particularly memorable. Three Wonders didn’t make this list for the last two games. Consider those two as the appetizers and the main course being Midnight Wanderers (which has got to be one of the most underrated badass video game titles of all time).

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Speaking of never seeing the light of day, Nightmare Busters was clearly inspired by Midnight Wanderers. Sadly, its planned SNES release was canned and even sadder, it’s an incredibly disappointing game. Although never officially released, there are ways to experience this game. You can if you want out of wild curiosity, but I was crushed by the broken mechanics of this game.

#19: SHOGUN WARRIORS

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One of the earliest arcade games I can recall playing, Shogun Warriors is a massively nostalgic game for me. It features 8 generic characters who don’t even have proper names! They simply go by Geisha, Samurai, Ninja, Sumo and so on. I love the game’s exotic Japanese atmosphere. I was obsessed with Kappa, the green turtle-like creature who could stretch his limbs like Dhalsim and hurtle himself into a rolling attack like Blanka.

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Developed by Kaneko and released in April of 1992, Shogun Warriors was one of the earlier Street Fighter II clones to hit the market. And it plays exactly like how you would expect a fighting game from early 1992 to play. 8 characters, all with 2-3 special moves each, bonus rounds and 4 bosses to battle. There’s a certain charm to how simple this game was. It certainly was inferior to Street Fighter II but I always appreciated the underdogs and had a good time whenever Shogun Warriors and I linked up.

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I remember hoping that I would be able to play this game on my SNES either by Christmas of ’92 or spring of ’93 by the latest. Sadly, as is the case for every game on this list, that wasn’t meant to be. And unlike some of the other games on this list, there’s absolutely no question the SNES could have handled a very spot-on port of this arcade game.

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Instead, Kaneko gave us Power Moves on the SNES in early 1993. It was bleh. Should have given us Shogun Warriors! But I digress…

#18: MARTIAL CHAMPION

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For years Capcom and Konami battled it out for supremacy. Both companies were wildly beloved, produced seemingly an equal amount of fan favorites and were often cited as the top two developers in the industry. Konami dipped its fingers in the fight game with the release of Martial Champion in early 1993.

That US artwork... wow. Lets move on
That US artwork… wow. Let’s move on

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The year was 1993. Every week it seemed as though a new fighting game came out. It was the very height of the 2D fighting game boom. Martial Champion was one of my guilty pleasure favorites that year. I say guilty pleasure because deep down I knew it wasn’t the best. It was decent, but nothing special. I really dug how huge the fighters were, though. And the bright vibrant visuals were always catchy whenever I walked by the arcade cab. I just think it would have made for a fun SNES home conversion. But Konami clearly had other plans.

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I was all about Titi — I know that sounded funny but how can you NOT love a Chinese hopping vampire?! Honestly, I wanted a home port just so I can play as him.

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Never seen a hopping vampire movie before? You’re missing out! I highly recommend Mr. Vampire (1985). It’s essentially the one that started it all, and has never been outclassed. To me it’s the Halloween (1978) of hopping vampire films.

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A home port of Martial Champion was released, but only for the PC Engine. It looked drastically different from the arcade game. I like to believe a Super Nintendo port would have been more faithful.

Hmmm, why does this feel like déjà vu?
Hmmm, why does this feel like déjà vu?
Ah ha!
Ah ha!

Instead of working on a port of Martial Champion, Konami gave SNES fans Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters. That game rocked, but I still wish we got Martial Champion as well. But if I had to pick one, Konami made the right call for sure.

Made the loss of Martial Champion more palatable
Made the loss of Martial Champion more palatable

#17: WORLD HEROES 2 JET

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For a long time, if you’d asked me for my all-time favorite gaming franchise, my answer would have been World Heroes. Both SNES ports of World Heroes and World Heroes 2 were top-notch. So when World Heroes 2 Jet hit the arcade scene in April of 1994, I figured I would be playing it on SNES at some point in ’95. Nope!

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Yes, I’d argue it was the sleeper hit of 1994. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, as seen above. But despite the positive reviews and desire for a Super Nintendo translation, it never materialized. Possibly it was because it would have been released a little too late in the system’s life span — the 32-bit “next gen” consoles were fast on the move by 1995. The other reason could be perhaps sales of World Heroes 2 on the SNES indicated diminishing returns.

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It’s a shame it never came out because Jet introduced faster gameplay (hence the name), 2 new playable characters (Jack and Ryofu) and brand new special moves for certain fighters. Janne for example now has a stunning phoenix attack. Jack, by the way, was based off the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper.

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For fans of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Ryofu was based off legendary warlord, Lu Bu.

Fuumas new explosive attack fits his personality
Fuuma’s new explosive attack fits his personality
Brokens electric attack now can extend
Brocken’s electric attack can now extend
Who doesnt want to play as Hulk Hogan?
Who doesn’t want to play as Hulk Hogan?

World Heroes will forever hold a special place in my gaming heart. Oh, and oddly enough, there WAS a port of World Heroes 2 Jet… on the Game Boy of all systems!

Its actually pretty damn impressive
It’s actually pretty damn impressive

The fighters have adopted a cute chibi look. Surprisingly, all 16 characters remain intact. For a Game Boy port, it plays amazingly well. It makes me only wonder even more how great a Super Nintendo port would have been. But hey… technically… you can hook this game up to a Super Game Boy and play World Heroes 2 Jet on a Super Nintendo. Fact: I have done that before and it is quite a damn good fighting game. I just wish it received the full 16-bit SNES treatment!

#16: TOP HUNTER

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A delightful 2 player romp, Top Hunter is unique among its peers for a few reasons. The first being that you can execute special moves with Street Fighter II-esque commands. There are also super special moves because it was 1994 and why not? Another cool feature is the ability to switch between the foreground and background. These aspects added some depth to what would have otherwise been another side-scrolling co-op action platformer. Oh, and some of those bosses are crazy!

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The SNES has its fair share of fun co-op games; Top Hunter would have fit in beautifully. The graphics are quite detailed so there definitely would have been a dip there. But I like to think the SNES could have handled some version of this game in a satisfying manner.

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It did come out in the summer of 1994 though, and that period seems to be a cut-off point for the SNES. By virtue of the fact that by the time a port of a mid ’94 arcade game is ready for release on the SNES, it’d be spring or even summer of 1995. By then the 32-bit monsters were already gnawing at the door. Perhaps developers and publishers alike knew it did not make sense from a cost-effective perspective.

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Whatever the reason may be, I think we can all agree Top Hunter would have been a welcome addition to the Super Nintendo’s amazing library!

#15: BUCKY O’HARE

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As a kid growing up during the peak of Saturday morning cartoons, I was lucky to witness many fantastic shows. From Transformers to ThunderCats, I gobbled them all up like a sugary bowl of frosted cereal. There were many lesser known and underrated cartoons that flew under the radar, however. In late 1991, I was introduced to Bucky O’Hare. Based off a comic series in the mid ’80s, I fell in love with the quirky characters and space-based battles. Not surprisingly, like many cartoons during that time, someone snatched the right to make a video game out of it.

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Even better, that company was Konami. In such reliable hands, Bucky O’Hare was a terrific 4 player shoot ‘em up that would have been great on the SNES, even as a 2 player game. But, we all know how that turned out…

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Curiously, Konami did release a Bucky O’Hare game on the 8-bit NES in early 1992. It’s often cited as one of the system’s best “hidden gems.” While I’m happy Konami gave us that stellar game, I’m also a bit saddened that they never made a Super Nintendo version of any kind. Bummer indeed!

#14: WILD WEST C.O.W.-BOYS OF MOO MESA

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They say the only things certain in life are death and taxes. Add to that Konami making badass games out of cartoon IPs during the early ’90s. The cartoon series made its debut in September of 1992; the arcade game came out only 2 months later. I remember watching the cartoon. It was one of those shows I always wanted to like more than what I actually did. The arcade game, on the other hand, did not disappoint whatsoever.

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With up to 4 player simultaneous mayhem, Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa was a rollicking good time. It plays similarly to Konami’s other run and gun, Sunset Riders. Some people even see this as sort of a spiritual successor. Alls I know is it’s yet another stellar Konami game from the early 1990s. What else is new?

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The fact that Sunset Riders (September ’91) received a SNES port (October ’93) and a DAMN GOOD one at that… makes this omission a harder pill to swallow. But it makes sense when you factor in that the show went off the air in late ’93, and a port would have been released no earlier than ’94. Unless it’s a super popular IP, such things can have a short shelf life with only a small window to capitalize.

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“This town ain’t big enough for both of us,” the old saying goes. That rang true as only Sunset Riders saw a SNES home port. Forced to pick one, I can’t argue with Konami. I just wish there was room for both.

#13: BASEBALL STARS II

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One of the most beloved baseball games of all time, Baseball Stars II is loads of fun. Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball is my favorite baseball game of all time, but Baseball Stars II gives Griffey a run for its money.

We loved the 8-bit NES version as kids
My brother and I loved the 8-bit NES version

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We could only imagine how awesome a 16-bit port would have been. Sadly, that was a swing and miss… [I see what you did there -Ed.]

#12: CADILLACS AND DINOSAURS

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In the early ’90s Capcom could seemingly do no wrong. That continued with Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, a wild beat ‘em up that, much like the name suggests, affords you the opportunity to drive fancy Cadillacs and beat up agitated dinosaurs. It was simple and so, SO ’90s. It was perfect.

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Capcom converted many of their early ’90s beat ‘em ups to the SNES. Games such as Final Fight, Knights of the Round, The King of Dragons and Captain Commando all received ports that ranged from pretty good to very good. Major bummer that this wasn’t one of them!

#11: CYBER-LIP

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There are few things I enjoy more than some classic run and gun action. Contra was always one of my favorite NES games. And Contra III: The Alien Wars was perhaps even better! Cyber-Lip is definitely no Contra, but man would I have loved to play this in the comfort of my living room back in the early ’90s.

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Released in November of 1990, this is the oldest game on my list. The Super Famicom just made its debut over in Japan during that time. Imagine Cyber-Lip as an early launch title to go along with the Super Nintendo in North America circa September 1991! The units it would have sold… what a missed opportunity.

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Featuring some of the most memorable and craziest looking bosses I’ve ever seen, Cyber-Lip left a definite impression on me. More than 30 years later, some of those unforgettable visuals are still vividly seared in my mind. Seriously, whoever created that boss design above is one sick and twisted individual. There are better examples of this type of game out there, but to me few are as nostalgic!

#10: SPINMASTER

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Ever since playing NES games such as Rygar and Yo-Noid, I’ve always been a fan of games where your main weapon is either a yo-yo or a boomerang-like weapon. Data East’s Spinmaster satisfied that itch and more!

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I couldn’t help but stop and gawk at this game anytime I came across it in the arcades back in late 1993. The graphics were so rich and colorful. It looked like a Saturday morning cartoon come to life. There’s something about the aesthetics of Spinmaster that really speak to me. And it just looks like the kind of game that would have fit perfectly on the SNES! Toned down of course, as was always the case with arcade conversions, but still capturing the essence of the arcade original.

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Data East was a solid company back in the ’90s. They weren’t on that magical Capcom or Konami tier, but you could almost always count on them to deliver something worth your precious quarters.

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While Spinmaster may not top many people’s minds when talking about favorite arcade games from the ’90s, it’s one of those games that I always had to plop a quarter (or two) into whenever I spotted it in the wild. Be it some random pizza joint or even a laundromat, it was always fun to play especially with a friend fighting the good fight right beside you.

#9: NIGHT SLASHERS

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Speaking of the devil Data East, in early 1993 they combined two of my most favorite things: horror and beat ‘em ups. And it was, as you can surmise, glorious. Who didn’t want to dispose of rotting zombies and various monsters of all sorts? It was bloody, brutal and simply splendid.

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Unfortunately, like all games on this list, Night Slashers and the SNES were like two ships passing in the night. This was before Nintendo loosened up on their family friendly image circa mid-1994, allowing SNES games to take on more of a violent nature if need be. What a shame too, as this would have been a hell of a fun game to play at home with a friend.

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Thankfully, the selection of excellent beat ‘em ups already on the system softens the blow of missing out on this port. Games such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, Return of Double Dragon and Final Fight 3 are all great examples of the genre. Still, none of those games stand up to Night Slashers in the way of offering gruesome and visceral satisfaction. A shame we never saw a SNES port, indeed.

#8: VENDETTA

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One of my favorite arcade games in 1991, Vendetta by Konami is often times the game I have in mind whenever I think about beat ‘em ups. To me there’s just something quintessential about Vendetta that warms my beat ‘em up loving heart. For one, I love being able to play as either the clone of Mr. T or Hulk Hogan. Right off the top, you simply can’t beat that.

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Another huge win for Vendetta were all the cool weapons littered throughout that you can use to even the odds. Knives, guns, spiked baseball bats, wooden crates, garbage cans, whips, beer bottles, chains, barrels, hell even bags of flour! As a kid it blew my mind the insane number of weapons available at your disposal. Vendetta was all about having a good time.

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Up to 3 friends can join you for the mayhem and destruction. A Super Nintendo port would surely have been reduced to just 2 players, but it still would have been a blast. I loved all the locales too, with my favorite being a goddamn grocery store of all places. That’s the kind of ingenuity I want in my beat ‘em ups!

#7: SUPER PUZZLE FIGHTER II TURBO

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Arriving in arcades in May of 1996, the SNES was already nearing life support in North America at that time. So one might think a conversion of Puzzle Fighter to be highly unlikely. I would agree had it NOT been for Capcom releasing an amazingly competent port of Street Fighter Alpha 2 on the SNES in late ’96. I could easily envision Capcom doing the old 1-2 punch combo releasing BOTH titles that holiday season as one last hurrah, but perhaps they decided instead to put all their SNES eggs into one basket. Puzzle Fighter pits Street Fighter and Darkstalkers characters against one another, all in the name of gem smashing supremacy.

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Each of the 8 characters have their own gem patterns, which added to the game’s strategy and replay value. Chibi renditions of the fighters stand center stage and perform their special moves on one another when players execute big combos. It all added to the fun and charm of Puzzle Fighter. It’s one of those simple games that is easy to pick up but hard to put down.

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And not being a particularly demanding game in terms of graphics and specs, I’m sure Capcom could have easily converted this for a quick buck for those still clinging to their SNES that holiday season of 1996 (surprisingly more people than you think because some were not ready, for one reason or another, to move on to the 32-bit systems just yet). I sure wish that were the case, because Puzzle Fighter would have given Tetris Attack a good run for its money as best puzzle game on the SNES!

#6: SAMURAI SHODOWN II

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Samurai Shodown (known as Samurai Spirits in the Land of the Rising Sun) made waves when it landed on the arcade scene back in the glorious summer of 1993. Similar to Shogun Warriors (featured earlier on this list at #19), Samurai Shodown is set in feudal Japan with a focus on weapon-based combat. It caught many an eye with its unique aesthetics and atmosphere. The sound effects of swords clanging and slicing flesh were haunting! Even the smallest details, such as the whipping wind sound effect of Haohmaru’s tornado projectile, is seared in my memory bank nearly 30 (!) years on. A scaling effect had the camera zoom in when combatants were in proximity of each other, and would pull back to show the scope of the battlefield when the fighters were farther apart. Either view was awe-inspiring and further helped to separate Samurai Shodown from the rest of the fighting game pack.

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With a fantastic foundation already in place, the sequel blew the door off the hinges with 4 new fighters, more special moves (including super special attacks with the RAGE meter), advanced techniques such as ducking and rolling, and easter eggs just to name a few. Samurai Shodown II was the pinnacle of fighting game nirvana in late 1994. That was around the same time the SNES received a decent (but not spectacular) port of the first Samurai Shodown. Gone was the scaling and humongous fighters. The fighters were sadly reduced to a pint size, and some censorship issues marred the SNES port. Still playable, but definitely missing some of the key aspects that made the arcade original so fun and special.

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But as we saw with the SNES ports of Fatal Fury 2 and King of the Monsters 2, there are some examples of mediocre (or even awful) first ports in a series that received a far superior sequel port. I am of the mindset that Samurai Shodown II would have been one of the best fighting games on the SNES. Alas, the world shall never know.

#5: ELEVATOR ACTION RETURNS

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Most of us who grew up gaming in the late ’80s are likely to remember Elevator Action on the 8-bit NES (although it began its life in the arcades in 1983). An interesting game in theory, I never quite liked it as much as I was hoping to. More than 10 years later (1994), Elevator Action Returns rectified all of the previous game’s shortcomings. The game I always pictured in my mind wanting the NES version to be finally came to fruition, and it was nothing short of amazing.

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Taking on a grittier atmosphere, as one of 3 agents you navigate the various stages shifting elevators, blasting bad guys and blowing shit up. The game tickles the imagination in a way that most games can only dream of doing. Among the many things I love about this game are all the little touches, such as graffiti sprawled on the walls. My favorite being CRUSH THE OLD ORDER!! It really transports you to a far-flung dystopian world that’s corrupt beyond repair, dripping with evil and decay at every nook and cranny.

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Few things are as satisfying as blowing up a box of explosives in a hallway and seeing a bad guy come out of the door right on cue, thereby setting himself aflame. Even better? Seeing his friends follow suit one after another, lighting each other up like a trail of birthday candles! Elevator Action Returns has a subtle sense of dark humor that adds to the overall enjoyment and really elevates it (sorry) above the rest. Who knew crushing enemies underneath an elevator could be so much damn fun?!

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Best of all, you can save the world with a friend in tow. Each of the agents have their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as a special attack, to increase replay value. The game is short and sweet, and one I often revisit. Sega Saturn owners were lucky enough to receive a flawless port. It’s one of my top 10 Saturn favorites — I replayed it so much in the early-mid 2000’s and still play it once in a while to this very day.

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Still, I would have loved to play Elevator Action Returns on the SNES back in the ’90s with my gaming pals. There aren’t enough quality 2 player run ‘n gun experiences on the SNES, and EAR would have been a much welcome addition.

#4: WWF WRESTLEFEST

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I grew up watching the WWF religiously with my uncle, brother and best friend. I loved the larger than life characters and the zany circus world of professional wrestling. In the summer of 1991, we were graced with the presence of WWF WrestleFest at our local arcade. The huge sprites, the insanely colorful visuals and the ability to play as the heroes of my childhood (such as Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior) made WrestleFest a damn near religious experience.

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WrestleFest quickly took on sort of a mythical status within my gaming crew in the early ’90s. As ardent wrestling geeks, we poured countless quarters into the machine as we punched, kicked, scratched and clawed our way to the top. It’s one of those special games that’s definitely in my Mount Rushmore of “Oh man, how I wish this came out on the SNES!”

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It has some of the greatest aesthetics I’ve ever seen in any game, ever. The wrestlers were big and beefy just like they were in real life. The blue mats with the classic old school WWF logo really popped, and the short yellow energy bars (with red indicating the damage  inflicted) made it visually very satisfying to look at. It’s exactly how I picture a WWF arcade game to look like (don’t get me started on the crappy aesthetics of WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game…)

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Sadly our hopes and dreams were crushed when a home translation never materialized. Instead, SNES owners were “treated” to the very forgettable WWF Super WrestleMania. Some small form of redemption appeared in 1993 with WWF Royal Rumble and WWF Raw the following year, but neither could hold the jock strap of WrestleFest.

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A Super Nintendo port would come with much (graphical) sacrifice, but I bet it would have been a competent effort easily worth one of our birthday or Christmas bullets. Alas, CARD SUBJECT TO CHANGE

#3: THE SIMPSONS ARCADE GAME

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In 1991, both The Simpsons and Konami were on fire. Neither could seemingly do any wrong. So when the two mega brands joined forces, you knew the end results would be nothing short of phenomenal. And that’s exactly what eager arcade goers got with (un)arguably one of the most memorable arcade games of all time.

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Playing as one of either Homer, Marge, Bart or Lisa, The Simpsons Arcade Game perfectly captured the zaniness and wacky appeal of the popular cartoon show. Few things could rival corralling 3 buddies and bashing your way through Springfield.

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I can’t tell you how many quarters my friends and I wasted lovingly spent on this game. It was just one of those games that whenever you saw the arcade cab, you JUST had to play it. There’s an instant pick up and play factor to it that reminds you of why you love video games so much. At their core, video games should be fun distractions that help to take your mind off the real world and transport you to a magical land where clogged six lane highways and bills don’t exist. Few did that better than The Simpsons Arcade Game.

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Obviously, a SNES port would require some scaling back. No 4 player mode. Less animations. Lower quality of sound and visuals. All perfectly acceptable. My buddies and I were ready for the “inevitable” home port. Therefore, a small part of us collectively died when it sadly never did.

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As much as never being able to play this on our SNES crushed us, there was another Konami brawler based off another highly popular IP that cut us even deeper…

#2: X-MEN

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In 1991 my friends and I were absolutely obsessed with Marvel’s 1991 trading cards. We bought packs like crazy at a local card shop by the name of Triple Play. Each pack, costing only $1, contained 12 cards. It was awesome because $1 was easy enough to wrangle from your parents on any given day. Then you’d head to Triple Play, buy a pack or 2, check out your new goodies and negotiate to trade away your doubles for that elusive card still missing in your ever growing collection. This, mind you, was all conducted while waiting excitedly for the Street Fighter II line off in the corner to die down. It was a foolproof recipe for a perfect lazy Sunday.

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In early 1992 Konami dropped yet another gem, this time featuring the incomparable X-Men. To say that my friends and I were over the moon would be the understatement of the year. Up to 6 players can team up and take out Magneto and his vile lackeys. My ride or die character? Colossus. Always Colossus!

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Confession time: There was a time in 1992 when I was being an outright prick. My friend and I used to cruise the arcade hall, and whenever we saw a little kid playing X-Men, I would walk right up to his control panel and spam the special attack button. This unleashes a powerful attack BUT at the expense of a little health. So I would basically drain the poor guy’s health bar to zilch and then he’d die in quick fashion. I remember doing this maybe 2 or 3 times, and laughing with my friend as we ran off. I don’t know why I did that — I’m certainly not proud of it and usually was a goody two shoes by all accounts. I guess it was a phase I went through and I just had to get it out of my system. To this day I can still see Colossus spamming his special attack. Poor kid. If you’re reading this, I apologize for being an asshole. I know it’s an apology 30 years too late, but yeah.

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So I’ll take ownership and full responsibility. My terrible actions led to some bad karma, which then nixed any chance of a Super Nintendo port. At least Capcom gave us X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse in late 1994. It’s nowhere the same as the X-Men arcade game in terms of quality, but it was at least pretty solid in its own right. Hey, sometimes you gotta take what you can get, right?

#1: DARKSTALKERS

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The year was 1994. I was in the 5th grade and at the height of my childhood prime. Fighting games were still on top and my love for monsters and all things macabre were at an all-time high. So it was a match made in heaven (er, hell?) when Capcom released Darkstalkers in the summer of 1994. Featuring 10 monstrous characters, ranging from clones of Dracula to Frankenstein to a werewolf and more, it was a true monster mash of epic proportions.

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To simply label Darkstalkers as “Street Fighter II but with monsters” would be doing it a gross disservice. It has its own distinct feel that made it so fun and unique to play. The visuals and aesthetics were all top-notch as we came to expect from Capcom in the ’90s. Hell, I can still hear the memorable music and sound effects loud and clear in my head to this very day.

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Like many of the other games on this list, a SNES port would have been scaled down by a great degree. Fewer frames of animation, less vibrant colors and other sacrifices would have been necessary to fit it all on one tiny 16-bit cartridge. But I believe it could have been done successfully. The monsters would be smaller and the speech samples would have less impact but man would I have loved to play this on my SNES in 1995!

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Some of the more gruesome parts, like Bishamon slicing his opponent in two, would need to be cut (sorry, no bad pun intended). But especially knowing what Capcom managed to pull out of the SNES with their stellar port of Street Fighter Alpha 2, Darkstalkers would have been a cinch for the Big C.

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Capcom didn’t do much wrong in the ’90s or on the Super Nintendo, but never releasing a Darkstalkers port tops my very short list of things they misfired on. But given all the great SNES titles they bestowed upon us, this glaring omission is a forgivable sin. Still, a competent Darkstalkers port would probably have been one of the top 5 fighting games on the SNES.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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Thankfully, many of the games on this list has been made playable on the Nintendo Switch. And there are few, if any, imperfections. Still, there’s no accounting for how priceless it would have been if all these games came out on the SNES when we were kids in the ’90s. Because even though all Super Nintendo ports of arcade games had some degree of flaws and warts, a good number of them managed to capture the feel and essence of what made their arcade counterpart so much damn fun to play. And it was that special feeling of bringing them home from the rental store (or Toys R Us) for the first time and being blown away that you were playing a variation of the arcade game you loved so much in the comfort of your very own living room. There was something pure and magical about that. It’s a time capsule to what is a very nostalgic period of our lives for many of us reading this. So long as the home port represented the arcade game moderately well, we were as ecstatic as vampires crashing a bloodmobile. So here’s to 30 years of the Super Nintendo kicking ass and taking names. What a damn fun journey it has been. But as great as it was, it would have been even better had these 20 games come out. Yet for all the great home ports we missed out on, let’s remember how lucky we have been over the past 30 years. To this day, the SNES for my money still boasts one of the best gaming libraries ever assembled. Happy 30 years, SNES!

We shall never forget those halcyon days...
We shall never forget those halcyon days…

Craigslist Memoirs

Wow, it’s hard to believe we’re now in the year 2020, and even harder for me to fathom that RVGFanatic turned 13 years old earlier this month on January 7, 2020. My baby is now a teenager! :P But in all seriousness, with well over 200 SNES reviews and a slew of random articles written over the past 13 years, it’s been quite the ride. Usually, I would probably roll out some kind of retrospective, but there’s been plenty enough of those over the years! Instead, I’m going to repost (and slightly retweak) one of my earliest articles from my original site: Craigslist Memoirs. There will be a small update at the very end, because just earlier today, January 30, 2020… I had my first Craigslist transaction for the first time in over 12 years! Enjoy this trip down memory lane…

1. OLD FRIENDS AND OLD GAMES
Saturday, March 25, 2006 @ 12:27 PM

Timing is everything...
Timing is everything…

In January 2006 I was struck hard by an overwhelming desire to revisit my childhood in the form of one, the Super Nintendo. There were so many great games from my youth I wanted to play again and even more that I always wanted to play back in the ’90s but never did. Early 2006 was a special time. Most SNES games sold for a measly $5. There was a paucity of nostalgic collectors back then; the market had yet to explode. It was a classic case of right place, right time. I acquired most of my SNES games on the internet, but I also bought more than my fair share in real life. And there’s something special about that. It’s kind of like playing a video game with your buddies in the same room rather than online play. There’s a purity to the real life exchange that simply can’t be beat. I’ve had some great deals and met some interesting cats in those early days of 2006. One of my favorite memories was the day I ran into an old college acquaintance while out hunting.

March 25, 2006. 12:27 PM. Two months into my SNES resurrection, I left my house that Saturday afternoon full of hope and optimism. Burnt out on Saturn gaming, it was during a long University winter break that the urge to play my childhood favorites, and discover the gems that I missed back in the day, hit me like a ton of bricks. But I digress. Back to March 25. The night before I made my local rounds on Craigslist and found an ad of some guy liquidating all his old 16-bit games. I emailed him and he promptly replied, asking me to come visit his store (a good 45 minute drive both ways) on Saturday to browse his selection. He promised to give me a good deal.

And so the next morning I was off on yet another trek. I fondly recall those early hunting days. There was sort of a magic to it all… like the possibility that anything could happen and any game on my want list was lying out in the open. Having a want list of literally hundreds meant a good chance I was always going to find something. It was a peaceful spring Saturday morning. Listening to my blaring music, windows rolled down, driving all over town to reclaim bits and pieces of my childhood… there was something very ‘romantic’ about those early days.

Upon my arrival I met Aaron, the guy whom I had been in contact with. He looked oddly familiar… I couldn’t escape the feeling that I’d seen this fool somewhere before. As I browsed his SNES offerings it suddenly hit me. I had a college class with him back in the spring of 2002! In fact, we were groupmates for the final! How’s that for a weird little story? It had to be destiny.

He was looking at me sort of funny too. It had been four years since we seen each other. As we looked at each other my memory started flowing back to me. For our Final we had to share with the class something we were passionate about (it was a rec class). I talked about my love for playing basketball. At that time my love with the game was at its peak (thanks largely to Coach Butler and 9/11). Meanwhile, Aaron shared with the class his passion for video games, which included Nintendo, Sega and even the Atari Jaguar.

As I stood there recalling to myself exactly who this guy was, as if on cue, he came over to break my train of introspective thought.

“Finding everything good?”

I answered his question with a question of my own. “Hey man, didn’t we take a rec class together in college like four years back?”

“Man, I knew you looked familiar! … Steve, right? Yeah I totally remember that class… easiest A+ of my life! How the hell ya been?”

We chewed the fat for a while. So random and crazy! Turns out Aaron’s dream has always been to own his very own game store. And at just 22 years young, he was the manager of this little gaming store. I was happy for him. We were never best buddies in college but we were cool, and just seeing him randomly on this day and finding out that he achieved his dream at just 22 years old, that was sweet. It’s always nice to run into an old face and find them doing well in the game of life.

Found my shining knight...
Found my shining knight…

I eventually brought these four games to the counter. I was so excited to dig up Knights of the Round; it was my first time in two months spotting a copy in the wild. Such good childhood memories spent playing it and Super Baseball 2020, which I also bought and ironically it’s now actually the year 2020 — hey where are my robot baseball players?! Never got to play the SNES port of Power Instinct but I always wanted to. Aaron gave me a good deal. Knights of the Round was priced at $8 but he sold it for $6. Power Instinct was $8 but he took $4. Super Baseball 2020 went for just a measly $1 (!) and Super Soccer Champ ran $2.

What a wild trip, all courtesy of my checking Craigslist the night before. Little did I know I would run into an old face from my early college days, see that he was doing well and that life had been good to him, and get a nice little deal in the process. Driving home that Saturday afternoon, I rolled down the windows with the radio blaring. There was such a feeling of excitement in the air back in those early days of retro game hunting. It was a fascinating time in my life; I was getting ready to wrap up college and look to the future, yet at the same time I was also looking to the past. Glancing over at the four games sitting on my passenger seat, a big fat smile crossed my face as old fond memories of playing them began surfacing. It was the perfect drive home. Those early hunting days… man, I’ll never forget those exuberant days. The feeling of excitement in the air… reclaiming my childhood… running into old faces… crossing want after want off the list. Good times indeed they were.

2. MY NEXT (SHADOW)RUN
Sunday, March 26, 2006 @ 4:45 PM

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No rest for the nostalgic! The very next day I drove out 45 minutes to meet a guy for Shadowrun. At the time it was going for about $15-$20 and the guy was offering it for $10. It wasn’t the greatest deal factoring in gas, so why did I do it? It was a lazy Sunday late afternoon and I felt like going for a drive, hitting up the local Game Crazy stores in that region and looking for more SNES games to add to the ever growing library. At that time, I was just a couple months into my Super Nintendo resurrection. There were two Game Crazy locations near his place, and I knew even if I found nothing, I still had Shadowrun to come home with. Good stuff, I figured. At the second Game Crazy I bought Inspector Gadget for $5.39, which was a harder to find game and a decent deal at the time. It wasn’t mint but that was alright by me. I was just happy to cross off yet another want.

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Then I drove to his place to pick up Shadowrun. His house was on this lone stretch of road, kind of isolated and in the middle of nowhere. I was a bit paranoid at first naturally, but at no point did my “alarm in my gut” go off. Thus, I kept proceeding… of course, maybe I was just young and (game) crazy. Just normal slight paranoia, I told myself. But it was getting dark…

As I pulled up this long stretch of road, I saw him walking out of the driveway. He looked nothing like what I imagined, based on our phone calls. Scruffy looking fella in his mid 20s. I handed him a $10 bill, he handed me Shadowrun (which was in great condition), we thanked each other and I drove away, happy to be heading home at long last. It was a scenic drive and I had no idea that first weekend of Craigslist dealings would lead to a spring and summer full of them…

3. RAINING GHOULS ‘N GHOSTS
Friday March 31, 2006 @ 3 PM

Less than one week removed from my first Craigslist dealing, I was back at it again. This time it was a 20 minute drive. I was going to meet Kevin to buy some Genesis games for $20. Based on the titles he had, it was a hell of a deal. In February 2006, I bought a Genesis to complete my 16-bit journey. I felt it was only natural. However, no sooner than 7 months later, I sold my Genesis and all 130 games. I just couldn’t get back into it like I hoped — not like how I did with the SNES. The last Genesis game I sold? Ghouls ‘N Ghosts — one of the games Kevin sold me. I suppose it was only fitting. But I digress.

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Kevin and I met up at a local grocery store. I remember it well. It was 3 PM on a Friday afternoon, and it was raining cats and dogs (or ghouls and ghosts, if you will). I met Kevin in the parking lot. He waved over to me as he sat in his red Toyota pick-up. I suppose he could tell who I was based on my nostalgic (and searching) eyes. Standing outside his truck, umbrella in hand, I watched as he spoke fondly of the games he was selling to me, mentioning how they had been sitting up in his attic for years and years now, and how they were all purchased brand new back in the day. A small cute beagle stood on the passenger seat, its head tilted as it looked at me quizzically. I bought all five games for $20.

Kevin told me these games were bought back when they first came out. He told me how much he loved them but alas it was time to move on. He picked up Ghouls ‘N Ghosts specifically and said, “This is one of the best games I’ve ever played.”

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It was this experience that really tuned me into what Craigslist was all about. There are a ton of older guys out there, who still have their old games lying around in the attic somewhere. They just don’t have the time or energy to list them on eBay, so instead dump them on Craigslist in hopes of selling them off quick and easy. Usually looking for the first suitor. And not really looking for equal value either.

So there I was, holding an umbrella as the rain was cascading like crazy. As I handed him a twenty, he told me how happy he felt knowing that no longer would these games collect dust and someone was finally going to play these masterpieces once again.

I’ll always remember this because it was a great deal, sure, but it was nice to meet the people behind the games as well. It’s the human element — something you can’t get through eBay.

Two days later… I had my fourth Craigslist experience, and boy… was that one something else…

4. THE PAUL GIAMATTI EXPERIENCE
Sunday, April 2, 2006 @ 2:25 PM

Around this time I was going through the final stages of getting rid of some excess Saturn games. 23 American games in their bulky cases to be precise. Saturn fans KNOW what a big pain in the butt such an ordeal would be. 1). These largely common and unwanted games have a value of very little 2). Their bulky fragile cases make it a bitch to ship and not break.

So after my three successful Craigslist romps, on Saturday April the first I posted an ad of said undesirable games. Chris called me Sunday morning around 10. He and I agreed on the price of $125. I was pretty shocked, because that was WAY better than I was hoping for! That meant I would get about $5.43 per title. Factoring in 1). he’s coming here 2). I don’t have to spend time packaging the games 3). or spend money on shipping — I was over the moon with his offer. I don’t know why he wanted such bad games, but he was clearly a Saturn fanatic who wanted to round out his collection with the more fringe titles of its library. AKA exactly who I was back in the early to mid 2000’s.

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I was waiting outside my house talking to a friend on the phone. At 2:25 he pulled up with his girlfriend. She stayed in the car while he walked up to my porch to greet me. Wow. He looked EXACTLY like the actor Paul Giamatti. In fact, I was almost expecting Thomas Haden Church to come popping out of the backseat going, “C’MON MILES! LET’S GO FIND SOME CHICKS!”

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I had the box of 23 Saturn titles lined out for him. As he sat down to further examine the box, he and I chatted about the Sega Saturn. He asked if I had Panzer Dragoon Saga — assuming I might be one of those ex-gamers with “gold in the attic.” I told him I had it but it wasn’t for sale :P At the time it was going for around $150 for a complete mint copy. I just did a quick eBay check and in 2020 it goes for around $850!

Halfway through the process he told me, “Wow you’ve kept these in great shape.” He looked like a kid in a candy store as he was opening each case, removing the disc and examining them up to the light.

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I just love when everything fits perfectly, like those games did in that box. I threw in some extras for him. He asked if I had any blank cases for sale with no cracks. I had five, sold him each for a buck. So in all, I walked away with $130, a lot less clutter off my mind and another memorable experience courtesy of Craigslist.

Before he left, I asked him if the lady waiting in his car was his wife. He looked at me and said with a smile “I’m hoping so.” I wished him the very best and watched as he carried the box to his trunk. His girlfriend waved at me and I waved back. What nice people.

Another awesome Craigslist deal in the books. It’s more than simply exchanging goods, although that is the main goal. The rest is a mere bonus if you meet a guy as nice as Paul, er, Chris!

"What can I say Conan, I just love the Sega Saturn!"
“What can I say Conan, I just love the Sega Saturn!”

5. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASS… MAGAZINES
Sunday, July 23, 2006 @ High Noon

CollectStory

Yeah... no thanks!
Yeah… no thanks!

CollStory

That's a nutty day I'll never forget!
That’s a nutty day I’ll never forget!

Looking back on it all, I definitely wouldn’t do that today. I think it had a lot to do with being young and dumb. I was a lot bolder then, willing to drive long distances and meet God knows who in the name of immortalizing my childhood. It was just the excitement of getting back in the fandom, getting out there and reclaiming bits and pieces of my childhood. Safety was not a priority — getting the goods was. Like I said, there was an energy and buzz to those early hunting days that will never be replicated, and I’m glad those days are over with. I’m so happy to be retired from collecting video games. I got back at a good time too, when things were still cheap and affordable. Prices these days are outrageous!

Here are some of the magazines and guides the guy sold me:

Hey, I remember that Jeff Rovin guy!
Hey, I remember that Jeff Rovin guy!
He wrote one of my favorite childhood books!
He wrote one of my favorite childhood books!
Ah, good times
Of all places, my dad bought me that book here!

Back in the late ’80s to early-mid ’90s, Suncoast was a staple of my childhood. It was always the first store I visited whenever my mom or dad took me to the local mall. It was en route to other classics such as SOFTWARE ETC., Walden Books, B. Dalton, Sam Goody, and of course, the awesome CYBERSTATION arcade hall on the upstairs wing.

This was THE place to be on a Saturday night back then
This was THE place to be on a Saturday night back then

Upon hitting Suncoast, I would raid their vast horror and Sci-Fi section, drooling over the mesmerizing horror movie boxes and reading the back of every Godzilla VHS box I could find. There was a definite sense of idyllic innocence to those olden days that a small part of me still misses to this day. Jeff Rovin’s Monsters book was one that my friends and I devoured each time they visited my house. Fun times :)

We probably memorized the book word for word!
We probably memorized the book word for word!
So many cool vintage ads. It blew our little minds
So many cool vintage ads. It blew our little minds
As well as fun myths and legends!
As well as fun myths and legends!

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Love the artwork
Love the artwork
Can't beat this stuff, no sir
Can’t beat this stuff, no sir

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The seller and I flipped through each guide as we reminisced about the good old days. We exchanged shared memories and the like. It was an incredible stroll down memory lane. The final guide at the bottom of the box was Chrono Trigger. He flipped his lid when he saw it, admiring it for what felt like an eternity.

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“A whole decade ago,” he started. “A whole summer bro. Summer of ’96… was totally devoted to this game. This guide helped me like you wouldn’t believe. Have you played Chrono Trigger before?”

“Not yet…”

“WHAT?! Oh man, are you in for a treat. Damn. I’m jealous. I wish I could play this again for the very first time. You’re gonna have a blast with it.”

We stood there further recollecting past gaming memories, and how fast the years go on by. Finally, the discussion of price came up.

“I tell you what, you can have everything for twenty five bucks.”

Twenty five dollars?! Nice.

“Wow, that’s a great deal. Thank you bro.”

“Ah don’t worry about that. I know they’re going to a good home, and that’s all I could ever ask for them,” he smiled. “Someone who will love ‘em as much as I once did. That’s what it’s all about.”

Hell! The Chrono Trigger guide, which I was looking for at the time, one ended at $40 on eBay a few weeks earlier! He helped me carry the two boxes to my trunk, which included the crapload of Nintendo Power magazines from their glory 16-Bit days (not shown).

We chatted for another minute before I told him to enjoy the surprise birthday party later tonight which he had mentioned during our conversation earlier. He told me to take care of the guides. It was another great Craigslist story.

I cannot begin to describe what it was like driving home that day. It wasn’t just the incredible deal he gave me… it was the sheer experience itself. You definitely can’t get that human connection through online purchasing. Oh, and I finally did play Chrono Trigger not that long after. What a game indeed…

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6. THE GREAT EGM SCORE
Wednesday, May 16, 2007 @ 4 PM

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This was it. The final Craigslist transaction of my career (or so it was for 12+ years). I owned all the EGM issues from 1992-1994 but was missing much of 1995. Randomly one night I decided to browse Craigslist. As luck would have it, I found a guy selling off his old EGM issues, all of which were mint and even still had the wrapper. He sold me 16 issues for $29. I was happy and at this point in mid 2007, I was pretty much done with my collection. It was a good way to go out.

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EGM’s quality started to decline in 1995, but they were still a decent read. I actually thought they were decent up through 2003. But I digress. I bought this lot mainly for the ’95 issues, but I didn’t mind the mint ’94 doubles.

7. THE REUNION
Thursday, January 30, 2020 @ 4:30 PM

SpyCamp

As readers may know, I’ve been on a major book binge as of late. I’ve always loved books as a kid and last year, I rekindled that love. So one night I decided to hit Craigslist randomly to see what books I might find. I found someone selling the Spy School series by Stuart Gibbs. It’s a popular series for middle grade readers. We agreed to meet outside a local post office.

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She was a nice lady and the transaction took all of 15 seconds. We greeted briefly, I handed her a 20 and we thanked each other. It was a crazy day because my girlfriend JUST moved in last night. I wanted to get home to make sure she was adjusting OK but she told me to take my sweet time and do what I need to do. There was a local bookstore nearby that I hadn’t visited yet, and it advertised used books for cheap. I spent about an hour there and by the time I drove back in town it was dark already. I decided to buy pizza for me and my girlfriend. Getting out of the car, I saw a lady in her mid 30s disciplining her son, who looked to be 7 or 8 years old. She was laying into him pretty harshly, and I remember thinking to myself, “DAMN. I wonder what that kid did to deserve that!”

I head into the store and the cashier tells me my pizza is about 5 minutes away. Then the door opens and in walks the same lady who was yelling at her son just half a minute ago. She looked oddly familiar, and the pizza place has a screen where their patrons’ names are listed. She was listed as “Judy.” Oh my gosh, could it be? Judy from high school?! My biggest crush senior year!?

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I looked at her. “Judy??”

She looked back. “Yeah… hey! Oh my God, Steve!?”

What followed was a lot of life updates and reminiscing for the next 5 minutes that we both waited for our pizzas. It was our first time seeing each other in damn near 20 years! She married her high school sweetheart, has two kids and the whole nine. I was so happy for her, and she was so happy for me that my girlfriend just moved in last night. What a random and crazy experience! What a way to close out my Craigslist career. You really can’t top that one!

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Thanks for the memories, Craigslist.

And glad you didn’t kill me :P

RVGFanatic Retrospective

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It was on a cold and rainy Sunday night 12 years ago that RVGFanatic first opened its doors. As cliché as it may sound, I remember it like it was only yesterday. January 7, 2007. As I write this, it’s January 7, 2019. Wow. RVGFanatic is 12 years old. Come next January, it’ll officially be a teenager! That’s crazy, but I digress. I remember thinking two years ago what a huge milestone the 10 year anniversary was. Very few gaming fan sites last a few years, let alone a decade or more. For a myriad of reasons — whether the webmaster burns out, loses interest or both — this kind of longevity is rare. As you may well know, I can be very sentimental and nostalgic. With that in mind, there’s no better time than now to reflect back on the past 12 years and the history of RVGFanatic.

GOING BACK… WAY BACK

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I fell in love with Goosebumps on a fateful late afternoon in the fall of 1993. We had to write book reports. Once completed, your classmates could then read your thoughts on any given book. My classmates would often tell me how much they loved reading my reviews. The reviewing craze began…

THE INTERNET AGE

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I first used the internet in 1996. Remember AOL? [LOL -Ed.]. I grew up on horror films so one of the first things I did online was sign up to post on the forums over at horrormovies.com. It wasn’t long before I joined video gaming forums. I always had a blast sharing my thoughts with random strangers. It paved the way for what would eventually become RVGFanatic.

THE BIG VIDEO GAME COMEBACK

Not an uncommon sight on any given day back in 2006
Not an uncommon sight on any given day back in 2006

The late ’90s saw a departure from video games for me. But I came roaring back in early 2001. That began my run with the Sega Saturn — I amassed 350 Saturn games through the summer of 2005. Then in early 2006 I returned home to the Super Nintendo. Receiving packages of games left and right from various places all over the internet, I was a man on a mission to reclaim bits and pieces of my childhood. I had a burning desire to preserve the memories for myself, and hopefully one day my future children.

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I had plans to create an all-encompassing Saturn topic on various forums featuring pictures, reviews, related stories and memories. But I burned out on the Saturn in the summer of 2005 and the topic was never meant to be. So when I began my SNES resurgence in January of 2006, it was a chance at redemption! I regretted not tallying a record of my Saturn buys: dates of purchase, prices and any interesting stories. My SNES comeback gave me a chance to do things right second time around. I charted every SNES purchase and had plans to launch a topic in the near future detailing my SNES reviews, memories and stories.

You live and learn
You live and learn!

By the summer of 2006, roughly 6 months into my SNES renaissance, I had acquired 400 (!) SNES games. There was just SO much to play. The timing to launch my SNES topic didn’t feel right but still I wanted scratch that itch and create a series of SNES-related impressions in one fashion or another. Thinking back to how much fun I had writing about obscure Sega Saturn imports earlier in the decade, it hit me like an ACME 16-TON weight.

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And so I launched a topic dedicated to reviewing obscure Super Famicom games that came out only in Japan. It was a win-win. The topic gave me a creative outlet and served as a stopgap, giving me time to play through my SNES library on my own terms rather than feeling rushed.

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Furthermore, what I didn’t realize at the time was that the obscure Super Famicom project was the impetus to launching RVGFanatic. The insane amount of unique content I had ready to go was key in spurring me along. It’s always harder to start from scratch than it is to have a bunch of content already waiting in the wings.

TAMING THE BEAST

GodzKD

Launched on September 8, 2006, my obscure Super Famicom topic became a bigger hit than I anticipated. It stirred a ton of retro gaming discourse. Originally I’d planned for my topic to go no further than Halloween 2006. But I kept buying more obscure Japanese games and the thread became so popular I didn’t want the ride to end. Around October someone suggested I compile everything and put it on a site. I didn’t give it much thought at the time as I was content posting my reviews on various forums. But then came the fateful evening of December 16, 2006. Digit Press member Pete Whitley had these inspirational words for me.

PeteWhit

For some reason, those string of magical words resonated deeply with me. I didn’t know anything about designing a site. Posting on message board forums was easy and good enough for me. But Pete Whitley made a damn good point. I spent hours gathering hundreds of screenshots and reviewed so many obscure games that a website — something more permanent and prominent than a message board topic that was bound to fade to obscurity over time — made perfect sense. With that firmly in mind, I spent that holiday season of 2006 tinkering around until finally deciding Pete Whitley was right. But there was only one problem left: what the HELL do I name this sucker?!

NAMING THE BEAST

RVGJWBest

I was stumped on what to call my pending site so I asked around. My buddy JVGFanatic had 3 suggestions. The first was Retro Fire. It had a nice little punch but it didn’t quite gel for me. His second was Obscuretro. I initially thought it was a clever mashup of “obscure” and “retro.” But thankfully I slept on it and decided not to. The spelling was funky and although my site would be heavily built around obscure Super Famicom impressions, I knew the main bulk would eventually consist of SNES reviews. Super Metroid isn’t exactly obscure! His final suggestion was tongue-in-cheek but right away it clicked. JVGFanatic, AKA Japanese Video Game Fanatic, suggested RVGFANATIC (Retro Video Game Fanatic). Done!

LAUNCHING THE BEAST

GodzillaKDCT

Opening on January 7, 2007, the first day had a little note welcoming readers. The next day I posted my first review in the form of Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen. It was only fitting since that was the first game I highlighted in my obscure Super Famicom topic. After clicking on PUBLISH, my dad called to ask if I could drive him down to the auto repair shop to pick up his car. There was a light rain that Monday night as I recall the vigor of knowing that someone somewhere was viewing my content and among the first visitors to do so. I was floating on cloud 9 as I drove my dad on that wet drizzling freeway. It’s a moment in time that I remember fondly to this day, even 12 years later.

My first ever site banner!
My first ever site banner!
Second banner
Second banner

RELAUNCHING THE BEAST

RVGFEx32

RVGFEx2

Spread the word around. Guess who's back in town!
Spread the word around. Guess who’s back in town!

BEASTLY DIFFERENCES

The last lost review!
The last lost review! Blackthorne on October 15, 2015

My original site had text that would wrap around the pictures. I was always fond of that, but my OCD often kicked in and I kept editing reviews and articles until they aligned perfectly with the margins. That I do *NOT* miss! I’m a lot less OCD with WordPress :)

RVGFEx27

BYE BYE TEXTING

RVGRetro6

I did a lot of text-embedded shots on my old site. They were fun but it took a lot of extra work. Once I moved to WordPress I was able to use PNG images instead of JPG. It saves me a ton of time and while part of me misses the text-embedded shots, ain’t nobody got time for that!

RVGRetro6b

The quality difference between JPG and PNG images is stark.

JPG. Colors all washed out. Ew
JPG. Colors all washed out :(
Wow, it's not even close
PNG. Night and day difference!

RVG’S DIGEST
~THE BEST OF RVGFANATIC~

7YearIt13

Everything I’ve written since 2007 has meant something to me in some way, but certain ones have resonated more with me than others. With over 300 reviews and articles written over the past 12 years, narrowing it down to just 35 favorites wasn’t easy…

ADVENTURES OF HOURAI HIGH

EarthBRe130

Laced with some of my most memorable high school memories, this isn’t just a review of an obscure Japanese RPG but rather an inspired look back at our formative years. Sometimes you hit lightning in a bottle and Adventures of Hourai High is a classic example of everything coming together just right.

BRET “THE HITMAN” HART

BretHartHoF

One of my childhood heroes, I honored Bret Hart on his 60th birthday by recapping his unforgettable 2006 Hall of Fame speech. Join us for a magical evening where Bret will regale you with legendary tales from a bygone era. From epic stories involving Mr. Perfect, Owen Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bret’s speech is more than a celebration of wrestling — it’s a celebration of the indomitable human spirit.

CHRISTMAS MEMOIRS

fifight118

When you’re a kid, video games and Christmas just go hand in hand. I’ve had some great experiences through the years that I recollected here.

COLLECTION Q&A

BoF2col

I answer questions about my collection as well as share some old war stories from the early days of hunting and what buying SNES games back in 2006 was like.

CONTRA

contrashot15

The game that cemented me as a gaming fan for life, I can’t count the number of times my brother, uncle and I alternated turns to save the universe by blasting alien scum to Kingdom Come. Growing up in the late ’80s was a glorious time thanks to iconic hits like Contra.

CONTRA III: THE ALIEN WARS

7YearIt6

Few sequels ever live up to the hype, but this one does. Featuring a reimagined plot inspired by 1987’s Predator, Contra III proves that if it bleeds we can kill it.

CORRIDOR 7: THE ALIEN INVASION

NewCorr7

From the Alien Wars to the Alien Invasion we go. A Wolfenstein 3D clone, Corridor 7 was a guilty pleasure childhood game and likely would have found more success had Doom not come out months prior. I was lucky enough to score an interview with the game’s programmer, Les Bird, and ask him some burning questions I had been curious about for nearly 25 years.

EARTHBOUND

SPTop100-40

Whimsical and profound, EarthBound is one of the best experiences I ever had on the SNES. Expressing my thoughts in a way that would do even a modicum of justice to this coming-of-age adventure was a tall task. Fortunately, I felt I somehow captured the game’s essence and spirit. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi to it that makes it my favorite review of all time.

FOR WHOM THE BELCH TOLLS

Nelson64

Have you ever had a best friend that you just grew apart from? Find out what happens when Stu Cutler, Tim Taylor’s old best buddy from college 15 years ago, hits town for an impromptu reunion. Will the good times roll on, or will the past be the only remaining bond?

GOOSEBUMPS

Goose-B4

Goosebumps cemented my love for literature and things that go bump in the night. This article highlights my journey with R.L. Stine’s best selling series and all the fun spooky memories forged along the way.

GUNMAN’S PROOF

gunproo187

One of my favorite SNES games that doesn’t get enough love, this review was a massive labor of love and came out better than I could have hoped for. Gunman’s Proof is what you’d get if you merged EarthBound with the Wild West.

HALLOWEEN

IconicHall12

Halloween is an iconic franchise and easily my favorite horror movie (series) of all time. Join me for a nostalgic jaunt down memory lane where the Boogeyman could be lurking behind any corner…

HALLOWEEN MEMORIES

memhall111

This article highlights some of my fondest Halloween memories. From a nod to John Carpenter’s Halloween to a full breakdown of Doug’s Halloween Adventure to one of the greatest nights of my life… Halloween 1994.

HARLEY’S HUMONGOUS ADVENTURE

harlpick

As far as SNES action platformers go, this one is just alright. But as far as reviews I’ve written go, this is hands down one of the most memorable. That’s thanks in large part to Brian Greenstone, who programmed Harley’s Humongous Adventure and was kind enough to answer some questions.

HUNTING THE BOOGEYMAN
ADVENTURES WITH MY BEST FRIEND NELSON

MeNelly1

Nelson and I were best friends growing up and have known each other for 30 years. This article highlights our various adventures through the years, including that fateful weekend I spent at Nelly’s in the summer of 2016. Our hope was to catch up and hang out at Disneyland with Mickey Mouse. Instead, in a moment of pure serendipity, we unexpectedly found ourselves a boogeyman — THE BOOGEYMAN — as we ran around Haddonfield (AKA South Pasadena) chasing a ghost from our past.

JESSE’S GIRL

JessGirl116

Women. For thousands of years these perplexing and complex beings have mystified many. Since the dawn of time man has struggled to find the right partner in the game of life. This classic tale from the early days of Full House epitomizes man’s search for such; full of wonder, hope and heartbreak.

MEAN GENE OKERLUND

MeanGeneHOF51

For anyone who grew up with the WWF during the late ’80s to early ’90s, Mean Gene Okerlund was an iconic fixture and a comforting voice in our lives. Recently, Mean Gene sadly passed away at the age of 76. To honor and commemorate his life and legacy, I transcribed his 2006 Hall of Fame speech.

MY SNES COLLECTION

stevesnesco

Celebrating RVGFanatic’s big 10 year anniversary (January 2017), this article features an in-depth and comprehensive look at my Super Nintendo library. It’s full of stories, recommendations and so much more. This is my favorite piece ever written (so far) in the 12 year history of RVGFanatic.

MY SNES COMEBACK

SNESArt

January 17, 2006 was the day I bought a Super Nintendo and began my SNES resurrection. I had one in the ’90s so this was a homecoming for me. 12 years later, here I highlight those early days of 2006 and what it was like to get back into the fandom. Spoiler alert: it was fucking glorious :)

NIGHTCRAWLER

NightCraw94

X-Men: The Animated Series ruled the ’90s. Sure the animation was a little awful at times but it had serious heart. Perhaps nowhere was that more apparent than the surprisingly-deep-for-a-Saturday-morning-cartoon episode of Nightcrawler, where Wolverine encounters not only the titular mutant but his own faith as well.

OF MASTODONS AND MEN

OMAM64

My favorite TV show of all time, this Wonder Years episode is all about identity. Being self-aware in whatever stage of life you are is the key to growth, peace and happiness. Relationships can be a beautiful thing… provided that both parties are ready and compatible. Kevin Arnold and his newly minted girlfriend, Julie Aidem, finds out the hard way that sometimes… LOVE HURTS.

REMEMBERING 9/11 AND COACH BUTLER

butler42

In the face of tragedy, everyone grieves in their own unique way. Some people eat. Some focus on material possessions. Some cry and mourn. Others play basketball. This is a harrowing account of my experiences surrounding 9/11, the day after and one unforgettable teacher that left a lasting imprint.

SNES HALLOWEEN SPECIAL

KOD3

Halloween and Super Nintendo are two of my favorite things, so mashing them together only makes sense. The SNES is often perceived as a “kiddy” system with very few dark and mature titles. I attempt to bust that myth by highlighting 35 SNES games that, although some are more kid friendly than others, are all perfectly suitable to play during the month of October.

SNES PARTY GAMES

stevecoll154

Back in the old days there was nothing more thrilling than huddling around a TV playing video games with some of your best friends. The SNES is home to a plethora of party games. From the usual suspects to the more obscure, I hope this list inspires you to try out a new game or two the next time you have some buddies over.

SUPER MARIO KART

sumaka59

A true classic through and through, Super Mario Kart is one of the best 2 player games on the SNES. The added text in the screenshots turned out really well too, which is something I used to do during the earlier days of this site.

SUPER MARIO WORLD

HateWhen

Originally published on “Me-Mario Day” 2012, Super Mario World was an intensive labor of love. It took me painstaking hours to embed all the text into the game’s screenshots, but it was worth it. Because in the end you have a quirky and unique review of a masterpiece that has been reviewed a thousand times over. I always try to make my work stand out from the pack. After all, have you ever been coinblocked before? It’s the pits, really.

SUPER PLAY’S TOP 100 SNES GAMES

superplayset

Super Play Magazine was a British publication (1992-1996) dedicated solely to covering all things SNES. Essentially, it’s sort of like the “SNES Bible.” In issue #42 they listed their top 100 SNES games. I replicated that list so that everyone could read it. And apparently everyone did; this is one of the most popular links here.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST

alinktothepast-rain

Originally published in May of 2007, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was one of my earliest and biggest reviews. Much like the timeless game itself, this review (I dare say) has stood the test of time. On cold nights if you listen quietly enough, they say it’s still raining something fierce in Hyrule…

THE MODE 7 YEAR ITCH

Combatribes-Swing

Last January I celebrated RVGFanatic’s 11th anniversary by reposting this from my first site. It details 7 reasons why I love the SNES now as much as I ever did at any point in history. How the hell did I avoid burning out these past 13 years? Besides being mental, this article perfectly explains why I still love the SNES so much even to this day.

THE SUMMER OF IMPORTS

FHNelly

The summer of 1994 was one for the ages. Particularly that one innocent weekend in June where my best friend Nelson and I discovered some amazing Super Famicom imports. The rest, as they say, is history.

THE TALE OF THE LONELY GHOST

TotLG48

Are You Afraid of the Dark? (I wasn’t until I watched this show, thanks Nickelodeon!) is one of my all-time favorite TV shows. This is a spooky tale about a prank gone horribly wrong and the sins that trap us. But what can set us free is L-O-V-E. The Tale of the Lonely Ghost is as much terrifying as it is touching.

TOP 50 OBSCURE SUPER FAMICOM GAMES

ImpGH

As September 2016 was rapidly approaching, it dawned on me that my topic about obscure Super Famicom games was about to turn 10 years old. To honor the occasion I decided to rank my top 50 favorite obscure Super Famicom games. I had a blast doing this and received a ton of positive feedback. This is the most viewed link on RVGFanatic!

WOLFCHILD

Wolfchild89

Similar to Harley’s Humongous Adventure, Wolfchild is a classic case of average SNES game but memorable review. This is thanks to Simon Phipps, Wolfchild mastermind, for participating in an exclusive interview I was lucky enough to conduct.

WWF MEMORIES

WWF78

It’s no secret that I’m a huge wrestling fan. Or as I like to joke with my girlfriend, I’m just a slight fan. I grew up watching the WWF and looked up to larger-than-life icons like Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. Throughout my life, wrestling has always been there for me in one fashion or another. I’ve been a fan for over 30 years now, and although the product fluctuates in terms of quality, I’ll be a fan for life. This article delves into my epic WrestleMania 31 weekend, my top 10 favorite wrestlers and my favorite wrestling moments of all time.

YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD NINTENDO MAN

NESFamily

The late ’80s was such a different and innocent time. I’ll never forget all those weekends my dad took me out to rent the latest video games. My go to spot was classic Evergreen Video. It was the quintessential mom and pop shop. Tom, the owner of Evergreen, was like an uncle to me and my brother. Tom lived the American Dream until one day he, along with Evergreen Video, mysteriously vanished. But I’ll always have the memories. Tom, I hope you’re doing well, wherever you are.

FEEDBACK OVER THE YEARS

RVGFEx10

Thank you Allistair for advocating for me! It means a lot and I am humbled. I’m not as well known as HG101 or Sega-16, but I think I did pretty well these past 12 years.

JANUARY 10, 2007

Love the site Steven! You’re gonna drive me to the poor house trying to find all these obscure games, lol.
~Pete Whitley

My man, Pete! Thanks for the inspiration to start this site. I might have never done it if it weren’t for your encouraging words back in December 2006.

RVGFEx7

Ah yes, the Sega Saturn Saga. Thanks for the support William!

JANUARY 24, 2007

Hey Steven, nice place you put up here. Once I get the OPCFG back up and running, I’m definitely linking to you. Nice work!
~Rob Strangman

Rob! Thanks for inspiring me with the OPCFG. That was one of the earliest gaming fansites I can remember and it left an impression on me for sure.

RVGFEx8

Why thank you, Lis. Glad I was able to open you up to some of the “forgotten” games of the vast SNES library, such as Brandish and Hook. As long as I keep writing, I’ll maintain the passion!

FEBRUARY 14, 2007

I just wanted to drop you a line and tell you that I think your work so far is amazing. Your reviews are refreshingly free of laziness, even if the game isn’t particularly deserving of such overwhelming effort. Further, real life blog-ish entries like Jessie’s Girl and the second half of Santa Haas are truly touching. It’s always one of the highlights of my day when I can come home from work and find a juicy update or two.

Keep it up and please try to not get bored.
~Mercatfat

Brother, it’s now been 12 years. Guess I didn’t get bored after all ;)

RVGFEx5

Thank you Rich for the heartfelt message. I’m glad you’re able to relate and that so much of RVGFanatic resonates with you. I think there’s a bunch of us who grew up during the late ’80s to mid ’90s who share similar childhood memories. Ah yes, my Memories of Renting article was one of the earliest articles I wrote (March 2007) and remains a popular one to this day. Good times indeed.

MAY 10, 2007

Hi. Not sure how I stumbled across this site but bloody hell I’m glad I did. Kinda reminds me of a time in gaming when magazines like Mean Machines and Super Play were big, and sarcasm and humor played a big part of gaming journalism, before the 32-bit boom when everything started to get all serious. Good times. Anyways, rad site dude. Got it bookmarked.

Cheers.
-Butane Bob

I’m bloody hell glad you did as well ;)

RVGFEx6

Wow Mike. Bro, you and I go way back. Your sincere and genuine praise means a lot because I know you’re one that’s hard-pressed to impress. I’m glad RVGFanatic resonates so deeply with you. As I’ve found out through the years, although these stories are mine, many others have had similar experiences that helped to shape who they are as well. Rock on, brother.

JULY 28, 2008

I don’t know if I told you how much I love RVGFANATIC, but I’ll say it again if I hadn’t before. Even though they are your stories and memories, they really do evoke the nostalgia of my own SNES experiences. Thanks and keep the site going!
~Garin

Thank you Garin. I feel like we all had that one best friend, that one crazy uncle, or that one classic mom and pop shop where we rented games each weekend. Writing about such memories helps to keep them alive for not only myself and my readers but future generations as well.

RVGFEx21

Nice, a shout out from London! Ah yes, the long lasting summer evenings of childhood. There’s something profoundly serene about those magical nights from long ago. I’m glad my work is able to capture some of that!

RVGFEx23

Appreciate the kind words, Will. I’ll try to update even more frequently in 2019!

RVGFEx24

Hearing that my work reminds people of the glory days of EGM brings a virtual tear to my eye. I loved EGM and those old gaming magazines. If my work encapsulates even just a TINY bit of that ’90s magic, then mission accomplished!

RVGFEx22

I’m flattered. Thank you. Your compliments read just like an Amazon review! :P

RVGFEx19

We made it, Rob! 10 years, now 12 and counting. Where does the time go? It’s nuts that RVG is older than the 2009 photo challenge going around!

RVGPra2

VKC, you’ve been my biggest advocate (especially on Reddit) and I appreciate your support. It’s one thing to amuse and entertain, but it’s another to lift someone up. I can’t believe my gaming stories and memories have the power to do that for you but I am so happy that they do. Keep on trucking, bro!

RVGDale

RVGDale2

Thanks Dale for the amazing support! I’m glad RVGFanatic resonates with you and I’m humbled that you ranked it 9th on your top gaming highlights of the year.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

PlayMario

12 years in the game and counting — it’s been an incredible ride! So what’s next? The obvious answer is more SNES reviews and articles! I’m hoping to add some Switch reviews in 2019. I also want to write some more reviews for the Genesis, Saturn and Dreamcast even. But as always, the vision remains the same: commemorate the SNES by sharing my reviews and remembrances. The ultimate goal is launching my own personal SNES top list. It’s been 13 years in the making and I see myself hopefully getting that done in the next couple years or so. I’m really excited because it’s been my longest term project to date and has been my biggest goal with RVGFanatic since day one. I can’t wait to eventually share it. I also want to write more SNES articles in 2019 and beyond as those are always fun to write and read back. Here’s to another 12 years of RVGFanatic, and here’s to an awesome 2019 :)

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

SuperMultitap

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

MultitapSNES2

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

FotBSNES3

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

CrystalBeansMP

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

SoMMP

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

SoM2MP

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

4PlayerLogo

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

BakutBM

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!

BarkSUAJ

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

BattleCross3

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

BombBDaman

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.

BombBDaman2

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

bsoobg42

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

CSSOMP

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

ChibiIsla

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

CoronMP

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

dreamcourt3

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!!

fighters-history-mizoguchi-kikiippatsu-j_00083

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

FireStrikerMP

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

GekitouBPWMP

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

GoGoDLMP

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

HatTrickHero2MP

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

stevecoll59

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

NBALiCom

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

stevecoll218

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

NWarpD

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

PeaceKeepersMP

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

PiecesMP

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!

GnomeSquishMP

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

ObscureSFC50-115

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

SNESParty

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.

stevesnesco

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.

ExpenSNES

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.

KevandMe

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…

ObscureSFC50-216

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.

Goosebset

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

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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

JuPar2-b

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.

Well, it certainly helped that my parents still owned the place and rented it out to some tenants. I wasn’t close with them but they knew who I was. So when a lady opened the door I asked if I could use the restroom since I was passing by the ol’ neighborhood.

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 fondly. The lady and I spoke for a good 15 minutes or so about the house and my memories there.

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.

7YearIt19

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.

SteveCollzzz3

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!

ExpenSNES

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!

stevesnescol

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.

BoFIICollec

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 ;)

superplayset

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

GTAyo

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!

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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.

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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 did 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!

Blocking and leveling up 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