Earlier this month, RVGFanatic turned all of 15 years old. Opening its virtual doors on January 7, 2007, it’s crazy to believe that it’s been that long. I celebrated another milestone earlier this month as well — January 17, 2006 marked the fateful day that I decided to embark on my SNES resurrection. And this is what truly blows my mind: since the start of my SNES comeback, I’ve been playing it longer than its existence from 1991-2005 (14 years). My SNES resurgence now spans 16 years (January 2006 to January 2022). RVGFanatic is now older as well (15 years). My goodness. Talk about time flying! Although my SNES fever is nowhere near what it was during 2006-2018, I still play it regularly to this very day. With my Player 2 No matter where life takes me, the SNES will always hold a special place in my heart. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane…
LIFE IN THE EARLY ’90s
As a proud kid of the late ’80s to mid ’90s, I grew up during the golden age of gaming. Arcades were amazing and the technological leap from the 8-bit NES to the 16-bit SNES was mind-blowing. Many weekends consisted of my brother, our friends and I gaming to our hearts’ content. It was a simpler time. Those halcyon days forever burn in my soul. I would never want to be 10 years old again, but I’d love to visit for a few hours and be a fly on the wall.
Don’t get me started on the toys and cartoons of that era! Most everyone likes to claim that their childhood was the best time to grow up, but for me, I feel very fortunate to have grown up when I did. Simple pleasures like raiding an arcade hall with your best buds, or gawking at all the cool toys and games in the long aisles of Toys R Us, or strolling through the local video rental store to rent the latest game or movie… those days, more or less, are forever gone. I’m so thankful that I grew up when such entities were at the height of their powers.
My family moved in early 1996, and life got busy with middle school and high school. But in 1999, I bought a secondhand Sega Saturn for $40 from FuncoLand because my brother wanted to play Fire Pro Wrestling: 6 Man Scramble. I had my own motivation in the form of World Heroes Perfect.
It wasn’t long before I became a Sega Saturn diehard. I was obsessed with it from 2001-2005 and acquired 350 Saturn titles during that time. I was a frequent visitor (and even a contributor) to sega-saturn.com. I loved reading all the user reviews and in many ways, I credit that website (along with Rob Strangman’s OPCFG) as early influences for RVGFanatic.
I attended University in the early to mid 2000’s, and had a great time exploring my interests and figuring out who I was. I dabbled in theater arts, performed in stage plays and got my teaching credential. I learned from all the people I met, the friends I made and the varied experiences I had. One of my favorite things about college though was that sweet fat 6 week break that lasted between mid December to late January. It’s always a nostalgic time of the year for me, as it invariably brings back to mind all those fond college memories of just hanging around at home bumming around and doing much of nothing. Just binge watching (horror) movies and playing video games galore until 3 AM almost every night. It was during the winter break of late 2004/early 2005 that I first had the thought of getting back into the Super Nintendo…
One day in the middle of January 2005, I revisited my childhood Hollywood Video. At the time many Hollywood Video stores had a Game Crazy hub inside the store, which served as a video game center where you could buy current and older games. That day I spotted the SNES and some of the juice started kicking up. Also, my Saturn passion was starting to wane during this time period. It had been a strong 5+ year run with the Saturn but I was starting to run out of steam. Somehow, the SNES seemed awfully inviting but for whatever reason I just could not pull the trigger.
Just one short year later, I decided to pull the trigger. The following winter break, I was completely out of the Saturn scene. The SNES drum began beating loudly in my heart, and this time I decided not to ignore it. The desire to play all the SNES games I loved during my childhood as well as all the countless ones I missed but always wanted to play became way too overwhelming.
During my Sega Saturn run, I had a secret weapon. A sort of Weapon X, if you will. My guy, Mike, from Collector’s Cards and Games. He owns a real life store but you can buy online as well. It’s awesome to see that he’s still living the dream, as his website is still up and running to this day. Even better, he hasn’t changed the graphics from the mid 2000s, almost 20 years ago!
I sent my guy Mike an email late Tuesday morning (my God, I was up at 3:42 AM… damn, those 6 week college winter breaks were the freaking best). January 17, 2006 is the fateful day I officially got back into the Super Nintendo. As the email stated, I thought my game buying days were over. Little did I know!
The very next day I enthusiastically shared my news with the good folks over at Digital Press. The stage was set for my greatest gaming adventure yet. I was so ready to revisit what I’ve always considered, and still do as a matter of fact, the best damn gaming era that ever existed.
These were among the first SNES games I bought. As you can see, back in early 2006, most of these games were only $5. Some as cheap as $4 or even $3. 2006 was truly a golden age where for the price it would cost to rent these games back in the ’90s, you could now own it for just as much.
Unfortunately, Art of Fighting was purchased from his store so we removed that from the list. On the bright side, I looked at the list again and added Great Circus Mystery and Joe & Mac. My wife and I actually replayed Joe & Mac earlier this month. Crazy that the SNES port just turned 30 years old. We enjoyed it a lot and I think it holds up pretty well, in spite of the slowdown.
January 26, 2006, was another unforgettable day for me. It was a cold and rainy Thursday night. My SNES package had yet to arrive from Mike, but it was only a short handful of days away. Feeling nostalgic as well as curious as to what SNES gems I might find waiting for me, I decided to drive to my old hometown and revisit my childhood Hollywood Video. Did I also mention that this fateful day was the 10 year anniversary of the day I moved? Yep, the stars were all aligning…
I’ll never forget being at a red light, with the rain dancing down from the heavens, and seeing this glorious lit up sign emblazon the night. This was back in 2006 where, even though the video store was quickly going the way of the dinosaur, you could still find them kicking and clawing to the very bitter end. You knew it just couldn’t last forever, so you cherished the moments you had left. It was a wonderful time in my life where I was getting ready to embark on my teaching journey while revisiting my gaming past. A special time in life where I was existing in multiple planes constantly. Part of me was looking back just as much as I was looking to the future. It’s hard to describe, but I love balancing those two dichotomies.
Game Crazy did a Buy 2 Get 1 Free deal on retro games back in those days. That night I picked up Art of Fighting (the game I wanted from Mike but someone beat me to the punch — how quickly that was set straight), Clay Fighter, Mortal Kombat II and Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 (which I got for free). All 4 games for just $16 or so. Like I alluded to many times in the past, 2006 was a gold mine for SNES fans as most of the games were dirt cheap to acquire.
Right afterward, I revisited my childhood home. My parents rented the place out to some tenants. I wasn’t close to them, but they knew I was the son. I share all this because in the summer of 2020, after my wife and I got married in July that same year, we took over the house. That’s right. I currently live in my childhood home with my wife, and we have our first kid due in June of 2022. It’s a boy! Super excited to start that adventure of parenting alongside my wife. And in my childhood home no less. We remodeled it so it doesn’t look too much like the home I remember living in 25+ years ago, but that’s even better because we’ve upgraded and modernized it to a fair degree!
Speaking of boys, Mike’s SNES deluxe package arrived only 4 short days later. It arrived on a Monday. January 30, 2006. Another super nostalgic day for me. Unfortunately, it was my first day back at University, so I had to wait until class was over to dive in. But man, I waited this long so what’s a few more hours?
Backtracking a bit, one of my biggest regrets with my Sega Saturn fandom was that I never really documented my Saturn journey. With the SNES it was a chance at redemption. So I started a journey to do just that! My wife chuckled when she read it…
Shout out once again to my man, Mike! He was my guy and helped fed my Saturn and SNES passion in the early-mid 2000’s. Crazy that his website today looks the same as it did 20 years ago…
And here’s the beautiful day that my SNES baby arrived. And I still get that lovely feeling these days seeing the mailman stroll up to my door. Except instead of video games, it’s now books
Damn, less than 3 weeks in and I already amassed 85 SNES games. I was a beast in those days! Hunting and buying games left and right. Like I said, most were $5 or less back in those days, so it was hard to pass up!
I remember gamers and collectors lamenting the price of SNES games around 2011 or so. I was super lucky in that I beat much of the crowd and was bit by the SNES bug years before the scene got super crazy. But as you can see from Mike’s email above, the SNES was “real hot” in early 2006. But luckily for me, prices had yet to skyrocket through the roof like they would in the years to come. As always, life is always about timing!
As an aside, years and years later, I hit up Mike again to buy a few more SNES items to round out my collection. This was his reply:
It’s always nice to be remembered. As Mike shared here, a lot changed between 2006 and 2014. SNES was in ultra high demand and the nostalgia bug was hotter than ever, with many 30 something year olds longing for the past and having a larger disposable income. Mike used to sell me SNES boxes and manuals by the boatload for $1 each. Not no more! And you can’t blame him. Sellers change their prices as items change in terms of supply and demand. I’ll always look back fondly on those early years. In particular, 2006. That’s where it all started (again) for me.
In the fall of 2006, after being back in the SNES scene for 9 months, I started a topic on various gaming forums entitled Steve’s Obscure Super Famicom Impressions Thread. Every 2-3 days, I updated the topic with my thoughts on the more obscure Japanese only Super Famicom games. It ran through December and was a major hit, stirring much retro gaming discourse. Eventually the topic became such a monster that loading a page became very cumbersome as I often posted hundreds of photos and the thread was starting to grow too big for its own good. I never considered a website, not because I didn’t want one but because I don’t have a lot of technical know-how. That’s when a Digital Press member by the name of Pete Whitley gave me the ultimate encouragement to push forward.
And that’s when the wheels started churning. And sure enough, guess what. it was winter break of University again. And as such, big moves happen during those glorious 6 weeks off. With many friends and colleagues cheering me on, I tinkered with a website during those late December nights in 2006. I kept tinkering and tinkering, realizing that a website IS possible…
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 15 years later.
WHAT THE FUTURE BRINGS…
Since 2020 or so, my SNES updates have been fairly sparse. Most of my work these days revolve around book reviews and remembrances. I’d like to get back to writing more SNES reviews and articles. But with a boy due in June (our first baby!), I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to update. I’m going to push forward however and keep RVGFanatic alive one way or another. Here’s to another 15 years, right? But in all seriousness, there is something I’ve been wanting to do for over 16 years now. And it’s a promise I fully intend to see through…
Some of my long time readers may recall that over the years I’ve stated that my ultimate goal with RVGFanatic has always been to publish a personal top favorite SNES list. It’s something I’ve been working on and tinkered with since January 2006. In fact, a few of you may even remember that I teased the launch way back in the summer of 2017, saying that it would come online October 2017…
Better 5 years late than never, right? I was hoping maybe last August for the Super Nintendo’s 30th anniversary in North America, but that didn’t work out. So maybe third time’s the charm. Also, I’m putting it out there in the universe. It’s going to finally happen at some point in 2022. I even have a teaser promotional ad ready for your viewing. Drum roll, please…
Being an ambitious nut and wanting to show off as many viable titles as possible, I’m not aiming for a top 100 list. Not even top 150. But 200. TWO HUNDRED. Are there even 200 SNES games worth playing? In my book, obviously yes. Maybe the backend selections are merely for the diehard SNES fans out there, but I have a list of 200 SNES games I consider to be my top favorite on the system. And I shall reveal those entries as 2022 progresses. I’m excited to finally share my SNES list with you all. And I appreciate the support and love you’ve given me over the past 15 years!
I can’t believe RVGFanatic is now 15 years old and counting. I’ve had the gaming time of my life collecting and playing the Super Nintendo for nearly 2 decades now. Although my passion for it burns differently today than how it did from 2006-2018, I’ll always fondly remember all the good times I’ve had with the SNES over the years. I’m excited to eventually introduce it to my son. It’s also been an absolute blast having a platform where I can share as well as document my random nostalgic thoughts on books and gaming. I very much see RVGFanatic as that local mom and pop store still standing on the corner chugging along year after year. And I hope to update it over the next 15 years! Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and prosperous 2022. Until next time, take good care!