The Addams Family (SNES)

Pub & Dev: Ocean |March 1992 | 8 MEGS
Pub & Dev: Ocean | March 1992 | 8 MEGS

They’re creepy and they’re kooky.
Mysterious and spooky.
They’re all together ooky.
The Addams Family.
*snap snap*

Released roughly half a year after the Super Nintendo launched in North America, players take control of patriarch Gomez as he madly searches for his missing family members throughout the mansion’s innumerous nooks and crannies. It’s blatantly clear early on that Ocean drew much inspiration from Super Mario World. But hey, if you’re going to copy someone, you might as well copy the best. But that doesn’t automatically equate to a great game. Let’s see if The Addams Family warrants a visit this Halloween.

SAVE YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS

Looking for his brother, Fester
Looking for his brother, Fester
As well as Grave Old Granny
As well as Grave Old Granny
His daughter Wednesday (shout out to Christina Ricci)
His daughter Wednesday (shout out to Christina Ricci)
And of course, among others, his wife Morticia
And of course, among others, his wife Morticia
"Ayyyy... why did I have such a big family??"
“Ayyyy… why did I have such a big family??”

It’s enough to drive Gomez bonkers, the poor sap. Rest In Peace, Raúl Juliá.

AddFam5AddFam5b

 

 

 

 

 

Thankfully, at least you don’t have to find Thing. In fact, Thing even aids you by providing little tips and clues throughout your quest. Talk about giving you a hand… [SMH -Ed.]

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

AddFam6b

A: Game Room
B: Portrait Gallery
C: Kitchen
D: Music Room
E: Old Tree
F: Conservatory
G: Front Door
H: Pugsley’s Den

One of the nice things about this game is that it’s non-linear, unlike many other SNES platformers. Players have the choice of picking their battles by choosing any door at any time. The only initially inaccessible door is the Music Room. That’s where Morticia is held captive and she must be rescued last. Other than that, it’s your choice. Behind each door and world awaits a boss. Defeating a boss either grants you an extra heart or releases a family member. Good luck!

AddFam7

Beginning the game outside the Addams’ residence, you’re free to either enter inside or patrol these ghastly grounds.

AddFam8

Yep, The Addams Family is yet another hop ‘n bop on the SNES. Not that that’s a bad thing you see, especially if you enjoy a good old platformer as much as I do.

AddFam9

Power-ups are scattered about, such as the Fezi-copter. Be sure to grab them as they will aid you in your quest.

Santa Claus had no clue what he was facing here...
Santa Claus had no clue what he was facing here…

It’s a rather difficult game but you’re given plenty of 1UPs.

Ah, that helpful Thing. Pay close attention to the clues
Ah, that helpful Thing. Pay close attention to clues

To say this game has some, ahem, striking similarities to Super Mario World would be quite an understatement.

Part of the fun is finding all the secret hidden rooms
Part of the fun is finding all the secret hidden rooms
Yes, pity the control. But more on that later
Yes, pity the control. But more on that later
No shame in Ocean's game. Oh well, at least it's fun
No shame in Ocean’s game. Oh well, at least it’s fun

Hey, that’s just like the flower power attack in the Mario games…

AddFam15

I prefer the sword over the golf ball. What it lacks in range the sword makes up for in consistency. The golf ball sometimes doesn’t come out as fast as I would like it to, but the sword always delivers and never misses a beat. Power-ups also allow you to take an extra hit without losing a heart, which can prove to be invaluable.

You looking real classy and stylish there, Gomes
You looking real classy and stylish there, Gomes

Although you can tackle the game in any order, you really ought to clear this stage first.

AddFam17

DYK: In other versions of this game, the bird will actually try to shit on Gomez. No joke. But of course, Nintendo of America wouldn’t have it so bird pooping was sadly censored. Bummer.

AddFam18

It’s a HEART BONANZA, but you only get one. What a tease.

Ocean was well aware of this fact, apparently
Ocean was well aware of this fact, apparently
KA-CHING!
KA-CHING

AddFam21

This is easily one of the most generous early game secrets in gaming history. You know a game’s tough as nails when they supply you with 30 1UPs from jump street.

Gomez not the sharpest knife in the drawer
Gomez isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer
You won't hold on to that sword for very long...
You won’t hold on to that sword for very long…

At the end of this hell hole lies an extra heart. To make sure you don’t get it, this world is filled with insane jumps that require the utmost precision and skill (along with some luck). And should you manage to make it all the way to the end, deadly centipedes await your arrival with bated breath.

Don't like the title of this scene, Money SPIDER...
Don’t like the title of this scene, Money SPIDER
Where have I seen those fire spewing plants before?
Where have I seen those fire spewing plants before?
I wonder if anyone ever got a crazy score like 64,000?
I wonder if anyone ever got a crazy score like 64,000?

And Jim Carrey thought HE had a penguin problem! [What is this, 2011?! -Ed.]
And Jim Carrey thought HE had a penguin problem!
[What is this, 2011?!  Mr. Popper’s Penguins :P -Ed.]
Maybe heading off to the Conservatory so quickly wasn’t the best idea, eh? So let’s try the Kitchen instead. This room is appropriately titled Penguin Problems.

Not exactly Super Mario World, is it? [Touché -Ocean]
Not exactly Super Mario World, is it? [Touché -Gomez]
The controls are a touch slippery enough on their own. Combine that now with ice and well, you know the rest.

Those silly, crazy architects...
Those silly, crazy architects…

This secret room can only be accessed by sliding through. This game encourages you to goof around as you never know where or when you might unlock a hidden room stocked full of goodies.

There are a ton of hidden rooms. Be on the look out
There are a ton of hidden rooms. Be on the look out

AddFam31

The boss of this stage is the cleverly named Snowman. He may seem hard at first but he’s quite easy after you figure out his pattern. ProTip: you can bounce off the snowballs. Defeating the Snowman will earn you an extra heart.

Standard platforming 101 clichés abound
Standard platforming 101 clichés abound

Now we enter the Portrait Gallery where Uncle Fester is held captive by the evil witch.

Don't you DARE think it! No turning back now [Oh yeah? Just watch me -G]
Don’t you DARE think it! No turning back now
[Oh yeah? Just watch me -G]
Hook is a slow but solid SNES action platformer
Hook is a slow but solid SNES action platformer
Live by the sword, die by the sword...
Live by the sword, die by the sword…

Those knights are tough. They toss their swords around like vicious boomerangs.

Hmmm, what if I jump?
Hmmm, what if I jump here?
Ah yes sir
Ah yes sir!
Hmm, MAYBE family *IS* overrated....
Hmm, MAYBE family *IS* overrated…
Better stock up on those extra lives
Better stock up on those extra lives

This part is pretty brutal. First, you have to rush since the power-up lasts for roughly 15 seconds. On top of that, you must contend with some evil tight spaces. There’s very little room for error here.

Yay!
Yay!

Nothing beats spotting an exit after a particularly hard bit. Whew!

AddFam39

Look, it’s a bookworm. Geddit? A worm. On a book. Alright, I’ll see myself out.

"Glad I didn't eat that bacon cheeseburger!"
“Glad I didn’t eat that double bacon cheeseburger!”

The train rumbles along as deadly floating spikes force you to either duck or jump.

Clearing it definitely puts a smile on your face
Clearing it definitely puts a smile on your face
Looks like a reject from The Wizard of Oz
Looks like a reject from The Wizard of Oz

This is a unique boss fight in that you must team up with your brother to attack the evil witch. Pretty cool stuff.

Thanks for the password, bro!
These precious passwords are much needed

After rescuing your brother Fester, the old bloke urges you to go rescue your wife. Gee thanks. Didn’t think of that one, buddy!

AddFam44

Only after rescuing all family members can you then save your wife, Morticia. Other than that, the game allows you to pick whichever path you wish. Find the best one! By the way, couldn’t big Lurch break the wall there instead of playing the piano? C’mon fella!

The Games Room leads you to Pugsley, the fat lad.
The Games Room leads you to Pugsley, the fat lad
At this point can't say I blame you at all, Gomes...
At this point can’t say I blame you at all, Gomes…

PASSWORD GOOF-UP, OOF!

Bloody hell
Bloody hell

CONTROL THAT TEMPER OF YOURS…

Brtual
Brutal

I’ve played some hard games over the decades and I don’t mind a challenge. But it really irks me when a game is overly difficult due to its control, which I feel is sadly the case here. The control could use some work; it’s a bit too loose for my taste. Gomez slips and slides a bit too much which can often lead to cheap hits and early deaths. Some sections require you to jump at the very last second. Failure to do so results in Gomez’s head bumping the platform above him. This could lead to you falling into a pit. Now thankfully falling into a pit doesn’t equal automatic death (it takes off just one energy bar). They had mercy there, but some of those pixel perfect jumps are just flat out annoying.

"How about a little help here, eh?"
“How about a little help here, eh?”

If you really need help, these Game Genie codes are handy.

Invincibility: 3CA7-A467
Infinite lives: DDA1-A4A7

"Maybe I'll just find me a new family instead..."
“Maybe I’ll just find me a new family instead…”

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID

AddFam51

The Addams Family has a fair smattering of supporters who often cites its non-linear approach and stiff challenge as the game’s highlights. EGM gave it scores of 7, 7, 6 and 5. Super Play rated it 82%. The Addams Family has a pretty good reputation, especially when talking about license video games. Keep in mind that license games were often more miss than hit back in the early ’90s, and this game managed to rise above the muck.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

AdFamCT

Having read quite a few glowing reports on The Addams Family over the years, I was pretty excited when I booted it up for the first time back in 2011. I was expecting a very competent and well balanced platforming adventure. In the end, it was something of a mixed bag for me. I’m just not that big a fan of games where you have to wrestle with the control almost as much as you do with the enemies themselves. For all the cool little moments the game presents, the sloppy control left a slightly sour taste in my mouth. If only Ocean had tightened up that aspect, The Addams Family could have been a nice little gem. Of course, your mileage may vary. There are many supporters of this game, but I just couldn’t get into it as much as I was hoping to. But it’s very clear Ocean put forth a good effort that just lacked a little polish.

AdFamCT2

Yet as much as the control irked me, I enjoyed the rest of the game for the most part. It’s extremely satisfying to knock off the latest boss and earn an extra heart or rescue yet another family member. The last world sports the best graphics in the game. Boss battles are fairly interesting and you could tell Ocean put some thought into this one, rather than it being an afterthought. The final boss is a bit of a joke though, but getting to him is certainly no laughing matter. Thankfully passwords are available along with many lives. One can certainly work through the control issues with a bit of practice and persistence. There is definitely a decent game here, but I’d only recommend it to hardcore platforming fiends. If the idea of lengthy levels, taxing difficulty, freedom to roam around and random secrets galore appeal to you then there’s a solid chance you’ll dig this game. Oh and double everything I said of course if the idea of playing as Gomez gets you all wet with anticipation. Hey, I don’t judge. So yeah, decent game but could have been better. It’s a fun but frustrating Super Mario World clone starring The Addams Family. You could do a whole lot worse than that. Happy Halloween!

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 6.5
Longevity: 6.5

Overall: 6.5

To each his own. Try it out for yourself and see
To each his own indeed
Addams Family Values is flawed but fairly interesting
Addams Family Values is flawed but fairly interesting
Uncle Fester Link to the Past style!
Uncle Fester Link to the Past style!

Plok (SNES)

Pub: Tradewest | Dev: Software Creations | September 1993 | 8 MEGS
Pub: Tradewest | Dev: Software Creations | September 1993 | 8 MEGS

PLOK! (henceforth referred to simply as Plok) is the epitome of the early-mid ’90s. Developed by Software Creations (John and Ste Pickford designed the concept), Plok was a colorful mascot platformer that followed the “attitude” set forth by the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog. Back in 1993, side scrolling platformers starring a mascot with ‘tude was all the rage, and the Pickford brothers were not about to be left out in the cold. The 16-bit age brought with it hopes of new IPs that would flourish and launch brand new tentpole franchises that would satiate both gamers and those who made them. Plok was another in a long line of such. Did it manage to rise above the muck? For the most part, yes. But sadly, despite its good press and mechanics, Plok never quite caught on. Such is the life and fate of video games, eh?

The Japanese cover is bonkers
ALL CAPS AND ! BECAUSE ATTITUDE!

25 YEARS AGO…

So many times the box art teased and taunted me

Like so many SNES games that eluded me back in the ’90s, Plok was one of those games I saw sitting pretty on the shelf every Saturday while out renting games with my old man. As readers of Memories of Renting may recall, my older brother made all the executive decisions when it came to renting. And sadly, Plok was never high on his want list. So it became one of countless SNES games I always wanted to play back in the day but never did.

Even the back cover looked great
Even the back cover had me intrigued

I would always grab the box off the shelf, admire the front cover and then flip it over to the back. It was full of attitude and bright yellow text — exactly the sort of stuff that would attract any 10 year old boy.

PlokEx

One of the greatest things about gaming back in the ’90s was picking up the latest gaming magazine and reading it front to back. Some of those old previews and reviews are burned into my soul. Plok had great press and it looked so good on paper.

THE PLOK!?!
THE PLOK!?!

Of course, part of the appeal was the weird name and design. PLOK was just too fun to say as a 10 year old kid. Magazines took advantage of this “pun” and found clever ways to incorporate it. It was cheesy but that only added to the quirky charm of the character and game.

And then came the ads...
And then came the ads…

Gaming ads were also part of the fun of anticipating a brand new title back in 1993. While this particular ad wasn’t memorable or special, the comic strips were!

Click if on desktop or zoom if on mobile
Click if on desktop or zoom if on mobile

PlokAd2

There was just something so damn cool about the Plok ads that still resonate with me 25 years later. Yes, that lovable strange little critter turned 25 earlier this month! In a day and age where so many of our 16-bit favorites are celebrating 25 year anniversaries, it’s sad that this one flew under the radar. Though, I suppose that’s only fitting.

Happy 25th, PLOK!
Happy 25th, PLOK!
Aw, still so cute
Aw, still so cute
Homer Simpson-esque
Homer Simpson-esque
We havent forgotten! Be happy, dont worry!
We haven’t forgotten!
Don’t worry, be happy!
WHOA. OK, that escalated quickly
WHOA. OK, that escalated quickly
Here, your flag. See? Its all good
Here, your flag. Cheers!
Its your birthday and you can punch if you want to!
“It’s my birthday and I can punch if I want to!”
UM... alrighty then
UM… alrighty then. This party’s getting freaky!

THE STORY GOES…

[Can I get this in simple picture form? -Ed.]
[Can I get this in simple picture form? -Ed.]
Courtesy of the almighty Super Play :)
Courtesy of the almighty Super Play :)
Its a silly plot but hey, its all about the gameplay!
It’s a silly plot but hey, it’s all about the gameplay!

WHAT THE PLOK!?

Eat your heart out, Rayman!
Eat your heart out, Rayman!

RaymanPlok

Rayman, originally released in September of 1995 (2 years after Plok), is another character that fires his fist. But Rayman has gone on to enjoy a rather notable franchise with his latest hit being the critically acclaimed Rayman Legends. Oh what could have been. Plok Legends, perhaps? Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Sorry, Plok! [Take your unwanted sympathy and go PLOK yourself -Plok]

PlokEx7

Plok can even turn himself into a buzzsaw or collect presents to reveal a mystery power suit! It’s slightly reminiscent of Magical Quest: Starring Mickey Mouse, but the big difference is the power suits in Plok are temporary.

PlokEx10

I wish you could switch back and forth but reducing their usage time does make it feel a thousand times more powerful and precious when you do get one.

I like how they incorporated a movie theme
I like how they incorporated a movie theme
Remember when instruction manuals were cool? Definitely one of the joys of gaming in the 90s
Remember when instruction manuals were cool?
Definitely one of the joys of gaming back in the ’90s!
Definitely one of joys of gaming back in the 90s!
The little guy can even ride various vehicles!
This was nearly 25 years before Super Mario Odyssey!
This was nearly 25 years before Super Mario Odyssey!
Talk about being ahead of the times!
Talk about being ahead of its time!
Hmmm... déjà vu indeed
Hmmm… déjà vu indeed
True, Yoshi's Island (October 1995) did it, too...
True, Yoshi’s Island (October 1995) did it too…
Plok still came out 2 years earlier
Plok still came out 2 years earlier
Granted, Plok had nothing like this :P
Granted, Plok had nothing like this :P
But Mario inspired Plok so yeah. Fair trade-off
But Mario inspired Plok so yeah. Fair trade-off

GOOD OLD DAYS…

I wish somebody would have told me babe Some day these will be the good old days All the love you won't forget And all these reckless nights you won't regret Someday soon your whole life's gonna change You'll miss the magic of these good old days
I wish somebody would have told me babe
Some day these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget…
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
Someday soon your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of these good old days…
Don't adjust your TV -- Plok goes black and white! It speaks to the game's unique charm and quirkiness
Don’t adjust your TV — Plok goes black and white!
It speaks to the game’s unique charm and quirkiness

PLOK THIS AND PLOK THAT!

PlokPlok1

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a hint of Tequila Song mixed in with a harmonica here that makes the opening title screen a very cool and memorable one.

Plok2Plok2b

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving his homeland of Akrillic, Plok hops on a raft to make the sojourn to Cotton Island. Maybe whoever took his flag took it there. Only one way to find out!

Plok3Plok3b

 

 

 

 

 

Picturesque and made entirely of soft fabrics, Cotton Island is famous throughout Poly-Esta for its gorgeous sunsets. Plok has some cool moves. For example, holding down while on a slope allows him to slide. Fire his limbs to take care of the pesky Shprouts.

Plok4Plok4b

 

 

 

 

 

Beware of wild rolling logs! They come at you fast and furious. His regular jump barely clears the hurdle.

Plok5Plok5b

 

 

 

 

 

Somersault to safety. It allows you to catch way more air. On the downside, you can’t attack in this state but it’s great for leaping over enemies and obstacles. Each stage ends with a flagpole. OK, so much for talking trash about Super Mario Odyssey copying Plok

PlokGagPlokGag1

 

 

 

 

 

Recurring gag in the form of anything but his flag being raised! It’s good for a grin. Plok is filled with bits of humor.

Plok6Plok6b

 

 

 

 

 

Plok6cPlok6d

 

 

 

 

 

Touching that icon turns our little hero into an indestructible spinning ball of steel, whizzing across the islands of Poly-Esta at breakneck speeds for a few short seconds. Anything caught in his path is turned into Shish Kebab.

Plok7Plok7b

 

 

 

 

 

Occasionally, you’ll see presents laying around. These bad boys turn our hero into a really bad boy.

Plok8Plok8b

 

 

 

 

 

Hiding in little nooks and crannies can be a lifesaver. Just make sure you don’t press down here or else Plok will slide off! Although there’s no way to preview what lies ahead by scrolling the screen up or down, the collectible shells indicate where you can safely jump and land. Brilliant.

Plok9Plok9b

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of brilliant, Plok utilizes an energy bar system. Magic fruit can be found throughout the game and recovers four health bars. However, if you strike them once or twice, they grow bigger and refill your health even more. Just make sure you don’t get too greedy or else they will pop, leaving you with nothing! I love it when a game puts a slight twist on something otherwise so routine and basic.

Plok10Plok10b

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of slight twist, this… er, OK this is pretty standard stuff. Still, I always love seeing arrows composed of collectible items pointing in the direction one should go. And hey, instead of blocks they used a rope… yeah… that’s all I got.

Plok11Plok11b

 

 

 

 

 

Colorful and zany, Plok is like a Saturday morning cartoon (or an acid trip) come to life. Watch out for Rockyfella who disguises itself as a landmark but quickly pops out of the ground with vitriol.

Plok12Plok12b

 

 

 

 

 

Formerly failed acrobats, Milton and Marshall Bobbins now roam the islands of Poly-Esta as thugs for hire. The Bobbins Brothers are rumored to be working under the Flea Queen. Some people say there used to be a third brother, Irving, who left the act many years ago due to “creative differences.”

Plok13Plok13b

 

 

 

 

 

Tougher than a $2 steak (shout out to Good Old JR Jim Ross), the Bobbins Bros (now there’s a real tag team wrestling name) are brutal. Usually platformers ease you in with an easy first boss fight. Not so here. Good luck!

Plok14Plok14b

 

 

 

 

 

Plok14cPlok14d

 

 

 

 

 

Surprise, surprise. Plok’s flag is nowhere to be found on Cotton Island so he heads back home to Akrillic. Here a quirky new gimmick presents itself. Hit targets with your limbs. After doing so, your limb gets attached to a hanger nearby. Retrieve it if you can before moving on because you’re going to need all the limbs you can get. This gimmick, as you can imagine, sets up some interesting scenarios where you have to use your brain as much as your brawn.

Plok15Plok15b

 

 

 

 

 

Plok15cPlok15d

 

 

 

 

 

Another new gimmick comes in the form of fleas. Each level now has a set number of fleas you must kill before you can exit the stage. Some fleas are out hopping about, but most are in eggs that will soon hatch. Be sure to dispatch of them quick! You can also collect hornets which can attack and kill enemies, but they’re pretty dumb. Still, just another wrinkle to Plok!

Plok16Plok16b

 

 

 

 

 

Although Plok looks like a “kiddy game,” do not be fooled. It is one HARD son of a bitch. It’s a shame there’s no password system, because this is a prime example of a game sorely in need of one.

Plok17Plok17b

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever you do, be sure to hang on to all your limbs. Your health is based on an energy bar, not how many limbs you have… BUT the more limbs you leave behind the harder it will be to defend yourself and ultimately survive.

ADE DUE DAMBALLA

PlokHardPlokHard1

 

 

 

 

 

Scratching your head wondering what’s going on? That’s typical after the first 10 minutes with this game and constantly dying. Plok is no walk in the park. To make life easier, there’s a Child’s Play option that reduces the speed and health of enemies. You won’t get to play some of the harder levels on this mode though, but at least you’ll get to see most levels you otherwise might not on Normal.

PlokHard2PlokHard2b

 

 

 

 

 

Normal mode doesn’t allow you to destroy logs and other rolling obstacles. Your limbs will sail through them harmlessly and hopelessly. Child’s Play, however, does allow you to clear the path for an easier adventure.

WHAT’S THE PASSWORD? … AH SHIT

PlokSecPlokSec2

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, there’s no password system in Plok. But maybe there’s some sort of level select cheat? Nope, sorry. There is, however, a cheat that will take you to the 6th stage. It’s not much but it’s better than nothing. Jump in the water on the first stage and then hit the magic fruit three times.

PlokSec2bPlokSec2c

 

 

 

 

 

Boarding his helicopter, it’s a race to the finish. Spiky obstacles block the path but it’s easy enough. Still, what a shame to have so many levels and no password system in place.

You're gonna need this and more...
You’re gonna need these tips and more…
No passwords is such a punch to the gut...
No passwords is such a punch to the gut!
Damn you, Pickford bros! :P
Damn you, Pickford bros! :P
I just want to see this damnit!
I just wanna see this, damnit

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID

PlokCrit

Plok was well received by the critics of the time. EGM gave it scores of 9, 8, 8 and 7. Super Play rated it 90%. Super Play was notorious for being harsh with their review scores, particularly on “me too” platformers. The fact that they doled out a massive 90% to Plok speaks volumes.

PlokEx19

Plok is also generally beloved within retro gaming circles. Fans have been clamoring for a sequel for decades. But so far, no más. Still, with the Nintendo Switch and so many old IPs coming back to life over the past couple years, never say never. Hey, one can dream!

No PLOKKIN way, you say? Let us dream, damnit!
No PLOKKIN’ way, you say? Let us dream, damnit!
One day, like the Ploxterminator, hell be back
One day, like the PloxterminatorHE’LL BE BACK
Back to rule the throne :P
BETTER WATCH YO ASS, RAYMAN :P

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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

The fall of 1993 was a fun time to be a 10 year old kid. Both 16-bit systems were going strong and you had platformers and fighting games coming out left and right. As a fan of both genres, this pleased me to no end and made scouring the glossy pages of EGM and GameFan a monthly religion. I’ll never forget all the colorful previews of Plok and seeing the box at my local rental stores. Those giant orange yellow letters P-L-O-K always seemed to call out to me… but alas… my older brother called the shots 25 years ago and it was never meant to be. Years and years later, I assembled a massive SNES collection and began playing through them one at a time. For some reason, although Plok was always near the top of my to-play list, I always had the urge to play something else. Whether it was B.O.B. or Harley’s Humongous Adventure, Plok sat there patiently waiting. Once again, its big bold letters called out to me. I could always see it in the corner of my eye… and in the case of the picture above, literally. Finally, it was earlier this month that it hit me. Plok turned 25 PLOKKIN’ years old. It shot right up to the top of my queue. After finally playing it at long last, I can honestly say it turned out to be almost exactly as I imagined it being a quarter of a century ago…

PlokEx23

Plok incorporates a lot of quirky little gimmicks. From donning power suits inspired from famous movies to manning vehicles of mass destruction, there’s always something zany to do. Small wrinkles are peppered in throughout the game to keep it feeling fresh. Whether you’re increasing the power of a health refill before consuming it, launching hornets at enemies, turning into an indestructible spinning ball of steel or collecting your various limbs off a hanger, Plok never has a dull moment. And whatever you do, avoid going torso only at any point. Poor Plok will bounce helplessly about if you lose all his limbs and he’s stripped down to the nitty-gritty. It may be comical at first to see the Plokster bouncing around only on his torso until you realize it’s a golden ticket to an early grave.

PlokCrit3

The graphics are amazing. It’s colorful and full of vibrant life. The music was handled by the legendary Tim Follin, so you know that’s on point, too. The only real complaint I have is the lack of a password system and how the game can be insanely difficult. The control is responsive for the most part, but it does seem to suffer slightly from the occasional pixel perfect jump. There are some frustrating leaps of faith too that don’t always have collectible shells to show you the way. It’s still a very good platformer, but it’s not quite in that upper echelon.

Morning wood makes Plok blush
Morning wood makes Plok blush

The list of 16-bit mascot platformers that challenged Mario for the crown but failed to live up to expectations is long and well detailed over the past 25 years. Bubsy is the poster child for that but there were many others. Plok managed to do what only a select handful could. Not only did it rise above the ranks of mediocrity but it’s a legitimately good game. It’s no Super Mario World but hey, what really is? Happy 25th anniversary, Plok, and here’s wishful thinking for a long overdue sequel.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 8
Longevity: 6

AwardsOverall: 8.0
Silver Award

 

Rockyfella you look familiar...
Rockyfella, you look familiar…
Pickford bros also responsible for Equinox!
Pickford brothers were also responsible for Equinox
"TEQUILA!"
“TEQUILA!”

BatRub

My SNES Comeback

SNESArt

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

IN THE BEGINNING…

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

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

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

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

Damn right I did
Damn right I did

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

Cue the flashback montage!
Cue the flashback montage!

JANUARY 15, 2005

MarioJanuary

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

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

DPSteveSNES

I ended up not buying it. So I carried on sans SNES and concentrated on finishing my Sega Saturn collection in 2005. Then a funny thing happened. My Saturn passion, which at one point seemed endless, gradually faded. In late 2005 I found myself playing it less and less but even more telling, my heart was no longer in it. The burnout was real.

CHILDHOOD DREAMS REALIZED

SteveAct

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

FALL 2005

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

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

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

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

My independent movie debut!
My independent movie debut!

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

SatBomb-10

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

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

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

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

JANUARY 2006

"FIRE!"
“FIRE!”

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

DPSteveSNES2

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

7YearIt19

I didn’t have long to just sit there and get all mushy. Clicking on the seller’s other items, I also won Prehistorik Man, Ignition Factor and Fatal Fury Special all within the next 10 minutes. Now that I had time to digest things a bit, my mind was running at 200 MPH. I really did it. I was back in! One minute I went from having zero SNES games to having four! The next day I bought five more titles. Not one to stop there, I was back at it again two days later with five more. The games were a mix of childhood favorites, games I missed out on, or games I always was curious about but never got to play. It was an exciting time with a want list literally in the hundreds, left-and-right buying and building up my brand new SNES library. But there was one slight problem you see — I didn’t buy the system itself yet! That’s when I found a friend online to sell me one for $39. He also had over 20 games I was interested in, so it became a bulk buy of epic proportions. The final damage? $192. YOU DAMN RIGHT it was worth every last dime!

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

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

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

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

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

SCHOOL’S BACK IN SESSION

SchoolIoG

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

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

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

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

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

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

JuPar2-b

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

10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

ImportSummer5

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

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

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

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

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

GCRece

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

GC-Rece1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JANUARY 30, 2006

RainonWindow

I remember this fateful rainy Monday afternoon quite well. It was around 12:45 PM. I was sitting at home waiting for my big SNES package as well as my Advanced Acting class at 1:30. I’ll never forget the sight of the UPS man carrying a huge box to my door through the whipping rain. My baby has finally come home! The raindrops pelted my window and looked like melting silverware. I had 45 SNES games waiting in the wings to be played, and now, after a good seven or eight years, I finally had a Super Nintendo again. Alas, with class beginning in less than an hour, I had no time to delve in. Oh how badly I wanted to just stay home and have one major binge session. Reasoning got the better of me when I decided if I already waited this long, then surely a couple more hours wouldn’t kill me, right?

SNES-Journey

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

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

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

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

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

CLOSING THOUGHTS

FotBSNES3

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

stevesnescol

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

FotBSNES2

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

SNES Classic Edition

It's happening
It’s happening

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

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

SNESClassic

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

1. CONTRA III: THE ALIEN WARS

stevecoll200

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

2. DONKEY KONG COUNTRY

dkc-iceagealley

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

3. EARTHBOUND

stevecoll190

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

4. FINAL FANTASY III

stevecoll33

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

5. F-ZERO

fzero-sandocean

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

6. KIRBY’S DREAM COURSE

stevecoll68b

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

7. KIRBY SUPER STAR

stevecoll68c

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

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

alinktothepast-rain

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

9. MEGA MAN X

stevecoll213

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

10. SECRET OF MANA

stevecoll120

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

11. STAR FOX

stevecoll132b

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

12. STAR FOX 2

StarFox2Classic

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

13. STREET FIGHTER II TURBO

stevecoll152

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

14. SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV

stevecoll155

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

15. SUPER GHOULS ‘N GHOSTS

GNG4

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

16. SUPER MARIO KART

stevecoll158

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

17. SUPER MARIO RPG: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN STARS

stevecoll159

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

18. SUPER MARIO WORLD

supermarioworld-iggyscastle

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

19. SUPER METROID

supermetroid-crateria2

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

20. SUPER PUNCH-OUT!!

SupPOCrit3

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

21. YOSHI’S ISLAND

stevecoll160

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

TOP NINE SNUBS

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

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

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

1. ACTRAISER

stevecoll

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

2. CHRONO TRIGGER

stevecoll16

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

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

dkc2-gustyglade

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

4. THE LEGEND OF THE MYSTICAL NINJA

stevecoll71

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

5. POCKY & ROCKY

stevecoll104

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

6. SUNSET RIDERS

stevecoll153

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

7. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES IV: TURTLES IN TIME

stevecoll164b

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

8. TETRIS ATTACK

stevecoll162

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

9. ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS

stevecoll178

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

10. KEN GRIFFEY JR. PRESENTS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

stevecoll62

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

SUPER FAMICOM CLASSIC EDITION

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

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

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

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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

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

stevecoll141

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

stevecoll216

EXTRA EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

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

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

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

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

Super Mario World (SNES)

Pub and Dev: Nintendo | August 1991 | 4 MEGS
Pub and Dev: Nintendo | August 1991 | 4 MEGS

Today marks the 26th anniversary of Super Mario World (based on the Japanese release). November 21, 1990. That was the day the Super Famicom launched in Japan along with Super Mario World, and gaming was never the same again. It’s crazy to believe it’s been 26 years. I figure there’s no better time than now to examine one of the best Super Nintendo games ever created. And sure, there’s nothing new to be said about this game that hasn’t already been said the past 26 years but being a fansite dedicated to all things SNES, it would be a crime not to have a Super Mario World review. So Mario and chums — here’s to ya!

HE DEFINED AN ENTIRE GENERATION

3 of the finest 8-bit Nintendo games around
3 of the finest 8-bit NES games around

If you were like me and grew up in the ’80s, then you too grew up on 8-bit Nintendo. Which meant you got to experience all the joys of the Mario games as a youth. All three titles were finely tuned and fantastic. Mario was beloved by all and went on to become a household name. Together, the faction of Nintendo and Mario dominated the ’80s. But as long as the universe has existed there is one undeniable truth. Time passes, and change is inevitable. As the ’90s approached and our old best friend, the 8-bit NES, began showing its age, the rumblings could be heard. There was a new “super” system just over the horizon. Double the bits, and hopefully double the awesomeness. It was the Super Nintendo. And it’s fitting that the system would debut with a 16-bit version of Mario. The stage was set, then, for continued video game domination. And once again, the fans were the winners.

NOW YOU’RE PLAYING WITH SUPER POWER

Mario dominated living rooms everywhere
Mario dominated living rooms the world over

Confession time: I didn’t play through Super Mario World until 16 years after its Japanese release. I remember growing up watching my brother and his friends playing it, but I never really did. I’d just sit there and watch the older kids go at it. Even through just watching it, you could feel the energy in the room. The year was 1991. Things of the old guard were going the way of the ill-fated dinosaur. The future was now. Childhood favorites “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage were giving way to younger superstars like Bret “The Hitman” Hart and “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. Godzilla at the time seemed dead (to an eight-year-old with no knowledge of the Heisei series). And another dear old friend from the ’80s was gasping its final breath. As the 8-bit Nintendo faded off into the sunset, in came riding a brand new cowboy. And with it came Super Mario World. A fitting passing of the torch, the Super Nintendo made its debut with an old portly friend spruced up in 16-bit trimmings. It was nothing short of video gaming magic.

It was a joy to finally play it for myself
It was a joy to finally experience it for myself

10 years ago (November 19, 2006) I sat down to play Super Mario World with the intention of beating it in mind. It was an absolutely glorious experience. What took me so long? This may shock you but I was a weird guy [was? -Ed.]. Sure I appreciated the Mario games growing up, but mainly I would watch my brother play them. I was always a big fan of the lesser known games and have been that way my entire life. But after returning to the SNES on January 17, 2006, I knew this was a second chance at gaming redemption. And I knew it was time to right a 15+ year wrong. I turned off the computer, plopped onto the sofa, kicked my feet up and finally booted up Super Mario World. And what followed was a week filled with some of the best single-player gaming moments of my life. It was a sheer joy to play through. Hey, better late than never!

THE STORY GOES…

That blasted princess. Some folks just can't stay outta trouble...
Oh Princess. Some folks just can’t stay outta trouble

smwrev5

smwrev6

Quite obviously, to play classic games like Super Mario World!
To play classic games like Super Mario World!

GAME BASICS

Mario can do it all, the fat chap
Mario can do it all, the fat chap
Lots of different ways to take out the opposition
Lots of different ways to take out the opposition
Remember when game manuals were awesome?  And in color?
Remember when manuals were great and in color?

New to the Mario universe is this magical cape. It possesses great power. You can spin attack the enemies with it, and you can also take to the skies.

Of course, there's always the good ole hop 'n bop
Of course, there’s always the good ole hop ‘n bop
One might argue that these guys can be tougher than the bosses!
These guys can be tougher than the bosses!
Plenty of items to mess with. I love the Grab Block
Plenty of items to mess with. I love the Grab Block
Happy 26th birthday, Yoshi!
Happy 26th birthday, Yoshi! You getting old…
Variety is indeed the spice of life
Variety is indeed the spice of life
It's cool how there are big and little Yoshis
It’s cool how there are big and little Yoshis
Mario's various powers
Mario’s various powers

smwrev18

Mario and friends came to Dinosaur Land hoping to catch up on their R & R. Instead of course they find themselves in a world filled to the brim with danger.

smwrev19

It’s a long and tough road ahead. But a wise person once said that an arduous journey begins with one step [That was me, clearly -Ed.]

smwrev20

Progress is made in a linear fashion although you can backtrack and even skip ahead, provided you know how! *wink wink*

The Koopalings are back, in addition to evil ol' Bowser
The Koopalings are back in addition to evil ol’ Bowser
One big happy (ugly) family
One big happy (ugly) family
So that's how they prep for battle. I approve
So that’s how they prep for battle. I approve

THE ADVENTURE BEGINS

smwrev24
Note: This pic was created back in November 2010

smwrev25

Indeed, Mario didn’t come alone to this rodeo. Yoshi, a rollicking reptile with an appetite for menacing meanies, will help carry Mario through some tight jams. Though he’ll quickly run for the hills the second an enemy hits back.

smwrev26

smwrev27

Ah, memories of junior high...
Ah, memories of junior high…
Too close for comfort
Too close for comfort

Gigantic Banzai Bills come flying at you in the very first level. You had to listen closely for the warning sound and either duck or jump. We all know what a great game this is, but I feel the visuals don’t get enough love for their time. Pardon the pun but shots like these point to the game being no slouch in the graphic department!

smwrev30

smwrev31

Maybe some day Yoshi will get his own game...
Maybe some day Yoshi will get his own game…

Yoshi wasn’t created simply for marketing cosmetic purposes. He gave you an extra hit and some added offensive firepower as well.

"Damn I shouldn't have eaten that cheeseburger..."
“Damn I shouldn’t have eaten that cheeseburger…”

smwrev34

smwrev35

It's the little details that stay with ya
It’s the little details that stay with ya

Remember how cool it was seeing those little platforms dipping when you stood on them too long?

Mario is a serious headbanger. Good thing for his fluffy hat
It’s a miracle Mario doesn’t have a concussion…

One of the most bizarre enemies on the roster, this smiley cactus dude can be gobbled up by Yoshi piece by piece. Do you remember the sweet sound that accompanied it? Some morbid humor can be found when only its head comes crawling after you, smile fully intact (!)

Mac returned the favor all right...
Mac returned the favor all right…
Mario moonlighted as a ref back in the day
Mario moonlighted as a ref back in the day

smwrev40

At certain points you can switch over to the other side. Definitely added an extra dimension to these parts.

I love the details carved into that huge pillar
I love the details carved into that huge pillar

I’ll be saying this a few times because I feel it bears a little repeating: the visuals have a nice depth to them. Sure it didn’t blow you away back in August 1991 like F-Zero did, but it’s plenty solid in its own right.

Love those red doors. Time for our first boss fight
Love those red doors. Time for our first boss fight

Doesn’t that pillar looks thick like a redwood tree? The convincing sound of them crashing down only adds to its brilliance.

Beating Iggy is no "Biggie"  [HAR HAR HAR -Ed.]
Beating Iggy is no “Biggie” [HAR HAR HAR -Ed.]
Iggy Iggy can’t you see.
Sometimes your words just hypnotize me.
And I just love your flashy ways
Guess that’s why they broke, and you’re so paid.

A tap of Miyamoto's wand and you had gaming magic
A tap of Miyamoto’s wand and you had gaming magic

smwrev45

smwrev46
Part of the “secret” is not showing them your butt
See?
See?
It's a classic formula that somehow never gets old
It’s a classic formula that somehow never gets old
Gotta love those yellow question boxes too
Gotta love those yellow question boxes too
Talk about killing seven Goombas with one shell!
Talk about killing seven Goombas with one shell!

Another example of Miyamoto magic: knocking out a string of bad guys with a single shell. Completely satisfying.

smwrev51

smwrev52

smwrev53

Feet fail me not!
Feet fail me not!

The castle dungeons are filled with hazards galore and will put your hand
eye coordination and platforming skills to the ultimate test. With silky smooth control and stellar sound, Super Mario World set the bar, and set it damn high.

smwrev55

smwrev56

Somewhere Bowser's thinking can't find good help
Somewhere Bowser’s thinking can’t find good help

smwrev58

Big ol’ Morton is boss number two. This time it’s a more traditional boss battle, requiring 3 hits to eliminate him.

DAMN RIGHT
DAMN RIGHT

smwrev60

Yes Yoshi, I know. At long last the title most synonymous with Super Nintendo gets a review on RVGFanatic. Yoshi’s Island superior? Hmm, we’ll see about that… in due time…

smwrev61

smwrev62

smwrev63

smwrev64

I love me some Vanilla Dome. It’s not as “vanilla” as its name might suggest. Some sweet old fashioned platforming levels with a great atmosphere make it one of my favorite areas in the entire game.

Hey look, it's Luigi! Not really...
Hey look, it’s Luigi! Not really…

smwrev66

smwrev67

smwrev68

smwrev69

Midnight munchies will get you every single time
Midnight munchies will get you every single time
Thank you, Chris Daughtry
Thank you, Chris Daughtry
Talk about having a bullet or two with your name on it
Talk about having a bullet or 2 with your name on it
Lemmy's castle is filled with danger, like this Magikoopa
Lemmy’s castle is filled with danger
Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor
Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor

smwrev75

smwrev76

Brings back some memories of Whac-A-Mole, eh?
Brings back some memories of Whac-A-Mole, eh?

smwrev78

On to the Twin Bridges we go, AKA section 4 of the game. Can you find the two secret stages in this world?

smwrev79

smwrev80

Some folks don't know what rhetorical means
Some folks don’t know what rhetorical means
Quickly now... the spiked ceiling is descending!
Quickly now… the spiked ceiling is descending!

smwrev83

smwrev84

Nice Godzilla impersonation, Ludwig
Nice Godzilla impersonation, Ludwig
Ever heard of a mint before?
Ever heard of a mint before?
smwrev87
Proof that Mario likes to get high

Next up is the Forest of Illusion. Almost every section of the forest maze includes multiple exits.

smwrev88

I’m generally not the biggest fan of underwater stages in platformers, but there’s something about the underwater levels in Super Mario World that does it for me.

After all, he's no hedgehog...
After all, he’s no hedgehog…

smwrev90

The controls are super smooth and responsive
The controls are super smooth and responsive
Not quite a photo finish, but still a tantalizing victory
Not quite a photo finish but still a sweet victory

Even the exit gates serve an extra purpose. Depending on how high you can hit it, extra points are awarded. Miyamoto left no stone unturned.

smwrev93

Pressing "R" to scroll the screen is a lifesaver here
Pressing “R” to scroll the screen is a lifesaver here
Mmmm... Yoshi-flavored ice cream, my favorite
Mmmm… Yoshi-flavored ice cream, my favorite
Oh those crazy Japanese...
Oh those crazy Japanese…
Heard it's on Baskin Robbins' secret menu in Japan
Heard it’s on Baskin Robbins’ secret menu in Japan

Getting the switch block is like carrying around a precious golden egg. Every movement you make is done with extra precision and calculation. Every change in direction, even the slightest shift as you navigate your way through, is critical.

Lions, tigers and BOWSERS, OH MY!
Lions, tigers and BOWSERS — OH MY!

Festive though they may be, with Bowser there’s no such thing as fluff. Everything has its own purpose. This one? Mainly the sole purpose of killing you.

"Yep, I'm stoned out of my mind..."
“Yep, I’m stoned out of my mind…”

A more up close and personal look yields some pretty interesting yelps between the two.

smwrev101

smwrev102

smwrev103

"I don't always kill... but when I do... I prefer MARIO"
“I don’t always kill… but when I do… I prefer MARIO”

Indeed, Mr. Roy thinks he’s the most interesting Koopaling in the world. Why just ask him if you don’t believe me.

smwrev105

"I know you feel like the walls are closing in on you..."
“I know you feel like the walls are closing in on you…”
What a diva Roy is. On the bright side, such lovely sprite scaling!
What a diva, that Roy

Roy’s quite the drama queen. Talk about someone who knows how to ham it up.

Look, it's Rat Mario!
Look, it’s Rat Mario!

At the end of each successfully defeated castle, there’s a little cutscene. Post Roy’s is one of the best. Poor Mario gets charred for all of his hard work!

smwrev110

Said it before and I’ll say it again. I love the way this game looks. More importantly, I love the sense of soul, spirit and adventure that the Nintendo staff carefully infused it with.

smwrev111

Welcome to World 6, Chocolate Island. Here you’ll find dino critters of all shapes and sizes.

Italians are indeed hot heads... *rimshot*
Italians are indeed hot heads… *rimshot*

smwrev113

I guess this settles it. Soccer > baseball [Duh... -Ed.]
I guess this settles it. Soccer > baseball [Duh… -Ed.]
Yeah, and it only took me 250 tries to figure out, grrr
Yeah and it only took me 250 tries to figure out, grrr

smwrev116

Huh, bail money? I have no clue, sorry...
Huh, bail money? I have no clue, sorry…
Hands down, Mario's got one of the best backsides in the BIZ
By far he’s got one of the best backsides in the BIZ
Ahh, those tricky sneaky Nintendo bastards...
Ahh, those tricky sneaky Nintendo bastards…
Best.slide.ever
Best.slide.ever

[And I reckon it's all "downhill" from here... -Ed.]
[And I reckon it’s all “downhill” from here… -Ed.]
smwrev123

These little cheese-esque hills descend, so unless you wish to be lava soup, keep Mario moving!

smwrev124

Finally, we arrive at Wendy’s castle. And what a castle it is. All sorts of traps lie in wait to snag Mario for good.

Somewhere I can still hear Van Halen's JUMP blaring
Somewhere I can still hear Van Halen’s JUMP blaring
This house of horrors is not for the faint of heart
This house of horrors is not for the faint of heart
The SLIGHTEST miscalculation... *slices throat*
The SLIGHTEST miscalculation… *slices throat*

Or perhaps "MAMA MIA!"
Or perhaps “MAMA MIA!”

smwrev130

[You like Super Mario World's visuals? Who knew -Ed.]
[You like Super Mario World’s visuals? Who knew -Ed.]
[What am I paying you? Oh right, nada. Carry on -Ed.]
[What am I paying you? Oh right, nada. Carry on -Ed.]

Without her army backing her she's not so tough is she
Without her army behind her she’s not so tough
Wendy's posse is MIA. What 'chu got now, WENDERS?
Wendy’s posse is MIA. What ya got now, WENDERS?
Ah, memories from a bygone era
Big Bacon Classic >>> Baconator

Back in the glorious late ’80s to mid ’90s, I ran with a group of folks who were my brothers and sisters. Our monthly family friend sleepovers were in a word, legendary. My gaming group gave me countless memories. One that sticks out occurred in 1993. There were about 20 kids that night. My older brother, myself, Sushi-X and his brother Zack were assigned the mission of buying burgers for all. So we hit up a local Wendy’s. The guy we affectionately called Sushi-X (for his intense love of Street Fighter which matched that of the EGM persona) ordered 30 (!) Big Bacon Classics (now defunct). Behind us was a lengthy line of folks. The ones immediately behind us, an elderly couple, shook their head at one another and bickered, “I told you, Hank! We should have gone to Red Lobster!” They stormed off and a couple of the other people behind them left as well. Standing off to the side of the cash register, I watched in bewilderment as Sushi-X single-handedly drove off the customers. We brought the loot back home and crowded around the Sony TV in the living room to watch Saturday Night Live and enjoy our burgers. There was such an abundance of Big Bacon Classics that 10 were left in the fridge for a midnight snack. Every time I drive by a Wendy’s these days, I can’t help but think of that Sushi-X memory and the night of our epic bacon feast. Thanks for all the memories, Game Crew and Dave Thomas :)

WHAC-A-HO! I always wanted to say that  [HUMPH! -Wendy]
WHAC-A-HO! Man, I always wanted to say that…
smwrev137

Before you can pass through to the Valley of Bowser, you must contend with this evil Sunken Ghost Ship.

smwrev138

"WHEE!"
“WHEE!”

My grandpa used to tell me all the time that money doesn’t grow on trees. I used to tell him “You’re right. They don’t, because they grow out of thin air, and I know this because Super Mario World told me so.” Then, he’d look at me sideways and say, “Son, you’re a special boy.”

"Y'know, I could always find a new girlfriend..."
“Y’know, I could always find a new girlfriend…”

Once you’ve escaped the Sunken Ghost Ship you’re ready to brave it all and step into the deadly Valley of Bowser. I hope she’s worth all the trouble, Mario.

smwrev141

But in this case they serve a purpose by breaking the wall
But they serve a purpose here by breaking the wall

[GRR, good help is so hard to find these days -Bowser]
[GRR, good help is so hard to find these days -Bowser]
smwrev144

smwrev145

smwrev146

You’ll need Yoshi in Valley of Bowser 4 if you wish to nab the key to the Star Road.

Ah, the legendary Star Road
Ah, the legendary Star Road
Love this artwork!
Love this artwork!
Larry's castle sees the return of an old friend
Larry’s castle sees the return of this old “friend”

smwrev148

Who wants a yummy steaming bowl of Koopaling soup?
Who wants a yummy bowl of Koopaling soup?

The battle against Larry is highly reminiscent of the one with Iggy, way back in the first world. Defeat him and then face the KING.

smwrev150

You can either spin cape the hell out of them or...
You can either spin cape the hell out of them or…
... jump on their head and heave the suckers sky high!
Jump on their head and heave the suckers sky high!
Ooh, so ominous and spooky
Ooh, so ominous and spooky

Isn’t it great how those red glowing eyes peer on in the background there? OK, so they were added in by yours truly. Still, one of my favorite moments in the entire game. It’s just so incredibly atmospheric.

One of the best shots I've ever taken. #MONEYSHOT
One of the best shots I’ve ever taken. #moneyshot
smwrev155
Hey, can you really blame the guy?
26 years later and both this game and SNES still standing strong!
26 years later and still standing strong!
Or Skeletor, Rita Repulsa, Megatron, Cobra, Doctor Wily...
Or Skeletor, Rita Repulsa, Megatron, Cobra, Dr. Wily!
Oh Mario... what a gullible lad you are
Oh Mario, so gullible. Is it really worth it hmmm?
Suddenly it all makes sense. Carry on, playa
Suddenly it all makes sense. Carry on, playa
*cough* I'll uh... just let y'all use your imagination...
*cough* I’ll uh… just let y’all use your imagination…
[You pervert. Tsk tsk. Nothing of that sort here... only a kiss -Ed.]
[You pervert. Tsk tsk. It’s just a kiss -Ed.]

EXTRA EXTRA: READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Did you know? Pretty cool stuff. See if you can do it
Did you know? Pretty cool stuff. See if you can do it
It's the game that keeps on giving
It’s the game that keeps on giving

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID

Mario leapfrogged his competition with the greatest of ease
Mario leapfrogged his competition with ease

Super Mario World earned high marks just about everywhere. In EGM’s 100th issue (November 1997) it ranked #11. EGM gave it scores of 99, 9 and 9. EGM reviewer Martin Alessi wrote, “I’ll take 96 levels of Mario over 20 of Sonic any day!” Nintendo Power placed it #16 on their Top 100 list in issue #100 (September 1997) and later bumped it up to #8 in issue #200. Super Play Magazine had it at #4 in their own Top 100 SNES Games list (issue 42, April 1996). Super Play scored it a massive 94%. While fans have long debated whether Super Mario World or Super Mario Bros. 3 is superior, Super Mario World is an exemplary example of the platforming genre done right and then some. It was the perfect game to debut with the Super Nintendo 26 years ago. And it still holds up incredibly well to this very day. You can pop it in now in the year 2016 and still be in awe of its smooth gameplay, crisp control and various nuances. It was a masterpiece then, and remains so to this very day 26 years later.

Super Mario World placed a lofty #11 on EGM's Top 100 List
EGM issue #100 (November 1997)

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Super Mario World was, is and forever will be a classic
Super Mario World was, is and forever will be a classic

Early Sunday morning, November 19, 2006. 10 months into my SNES resurrection and two days before the game’s 16 year anniversary, I at long last powered up Super Mario World. I had never beaten it before. Early that Sunday morning I shifted my way through the darkness, determined to atone for past sins. In the riveting book The Kite Runner, Rahim Khan’s piercing words over the telephone haunts Amir. “There is a way to be good again.” I happened to be reading through that novel when I was going through this game for really the first time. As sad as it may sound, it was exactly how I felt about finally playing and beating this masterpiece. “There is a way to be good again.” It was my gaming redemption.

Story of my life!
Story of my life!

Going through Super Mario World for the first time in 2006 was a bittersweet feeling. I wished I hadn’t waited so long to finally beat it, yet I was thrilled at the opportunity to redeem the gaming missteps of my youth. As I waded my way through every castle, fortress and hill valley, it was almost as if I had taken a time machine back to the early 1990s. This game reaffirmed my love for this classic genre, as well as for this amazing system. Over the past 25 years the Super Nintendo has given me a bevy of memories. Somehow, it was always playing in the backdrop of my youth. Getting back into it in 2006 was the greatest decision of my gaming career. Thomas Wolfe was wrong. You can, indeed, go home again. And as I ventured back to the roots of my childhood, I recalled all the characters (i.e. Sushi-X from my Game Crew) and favorite games. It wasn’t just about reminiscing, though. I had another mission firmly set in mind… to travel down the gaming roads I never did back in the day but should have. And these pathways have opened up a whole new treasure chest of gaming memories for me to carry on forever. Super Mario World is a rare gem of an adventure I shall always cherish. Gaming redemption never tasted so sweet.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Longevity: 9

Overall: 10

Platinum Award
Platinum Award

You can’t talk about Super Nintendo’s very best without citing Super Mario World. It’s a timeless adventure that exudes excellence from top to bottom. A quintessential platformer, Super Mario World deserves its rightful due place on Super Nintendo’s Mount Rushmore.

 

smwrev168