RVGFanatic Retrospective

RVGFEx13

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

goosebshelf

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

RVGRetro

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.

7YearIt4

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.

NGSteve

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.

RVGFEx31

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 :)

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.

stevecoll38

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!

ObscureSFC50-184

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

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

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

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

CollectStory

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

CollStory

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

Hey, better safe than sorry!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your crown jewel?

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

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

Any other notables in your collection?

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

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

RVGFanatic — why did you start it?

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

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

What do you hope to achieve with RVG?

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

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Any plans for a TOP list at some point?

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

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

Looking forward to it! Any final words?

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

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

My SNES 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!

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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