SNES Classic Edition

Ranking All 21 Games of the SNES Classic Edition

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In lieu of a traditional review I’m going to do something a bit different with the SNES Classic Edition. I’m going to rank all 21 games included in the retro 90s emulator.

The SNES Classic Edition is a great little product that nails the original design of the console and controllers. It’s not without flaws: the short cord range (about 5 ft) can be a big annoyance, and in order to change games and use the rewind and save-state features, you have to physically push a button on the console. But those features also add a lot of modern convenience to classic games, greatly improving accessibility.

As the front-runner for greatest console of all time, the Super Nintendo had some pretty good games. The SNES Classic Edition does a near-perfect job of drawing from a wide variety of genres and gameplay styles to represent some (though not all) of the best games of the era.

Nostalgia can always play a major role. It’s impossible to ignore if you grew up as an impressionable gaming kid in the early 90s, as I did. I played almost all of these titles over two decades ago. Now I’m ranking these games based on how well they hold up today. Intuitive gameplay and controls, aging graphics, and integrated multiplayer will all be a factor. Read More

super mario odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey Launch Party in New York City

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October 27 is one of the biggest release days for gaming this year, with three AAA titles launching today: Assassin’s Creed Origins, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, and Super Mario Odyssey. Super Mario Odyssey is launching for the Nintendo Switch as one of the most anticipated games of the year. Nintendo celebrated the big launch with a road trip across the US, ending in a party in New York City.

The cross-country road trip began in Los Angeles, California. The Nintendo tour bus traveled between major cities such as Dallas and Chicago to meet with fans and give them a chance to play Super Mario Odyssey leading up to its release. Pictures of the trip can be found on Nintendo’s social media accounts on twitter, instagram, and tumblr.

The final celebration took place last night in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, New York. The party featured a costumed Mario and a big dance number with music from the game. Fans could purchase the game at midnight at the Nintendo store.

“Super Mario Odyssey is the must-have video game for this holiday season, and this event was the perfect way to kick off Mario’s latest adventure,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America President and COO. “Video game fans of all kinds will want to dive into this latest Mario adventure as soon as possible.”

Fils-Aime was also on hand to sell the very first copy of Super Mario Odyssey at the Nintendo store.

Super Mario Odyssey is a 3D platformer with a sandbox-style. It’s set to be the next evolution of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy. Mario is joined by a new sentient hat called Cappy. He can throw Cappy at enemies and objects to take control and gain new abilities and solve puzzles.

Super Mario Odyssey is rated E for Everyone. It’s available only for the Nintendo Switch. A Super Mario Odyssey Nintendo Switch bundle is available with Mario-themed Joy-Con controllers for $379.99.

 

super nes classic

Super Nintendo Classic Edition Is Out Today

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The highly anticipated Super NES Classic Edition hits stores today with a retail price tag of $79.99. The retro console comes in at a teeny miniature replica size, two controllers, and 21 games, including the never-before-released Starfox 2.

“Super NES Classic Edition is perfect for any Nintendo fan, retro gamer or anyone who just wants to play some really fun video games,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “And at a reasonable price, the system will be a great addition to any holiday shopping list.”

The Super NES Classic Edition includes an HDMI cable, USB charging cable with AC adapter, and two wired controllers.

The library of included games is very impressive, drawing from huge classic games and series like Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Mega Man, and Final Fantasy. The library includes 13 of the top 14 games I listed in my wishlist for the retro console before they were announced. You can see all the included games in the handy pic below.

All games are available from the start with the exception of Star Fox 2. You’ll need to beat the first level of Star Fox to unlock it.

Super Nintendo

The SNES Classic comes with a few modern features as well. A Rewind feature lets you reverse about a minute of game time to retry particularly challenging sections. You can create up to four suspend points to save your games any time. You can also wrap different borders around the old games to help fill in the widescreen discrepancy.

Nintendo made waves last year with the excitement – then disappointment over the NES Classic Edition. The little retro console came bundled with 30 games, but Nintendo failed to keep up with the incredible demand.

This year Nintendo pledged to deliver more SNES Classic Editions on launch day than were shipped all last year for the NES Classic. I can already personally attest to the difference. I walked into a Target ten minutes after they opened this morning and was able to pick one up after their line of 20 or so people had already gone through.

The NES Classic Edition will also resume production sometime in 2018.

 

SNES Classic

Super Nintendo Classic Edition Announced, Arriving September

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As was previously rumored, Nintendo has officially announced the Super Nintendo Classic Edition. It’s launching on September 29 with an MSRP of $79.99. It is not yet available for pre-order.

Like last year’s NES Classic Edition, the SNES Classic is a retro remake of the 16-bit console. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It comes with an HDMI cable, USB charging cable and AC adapters, and two wired controllers.

The digital retro library is the most important part of the package. The SNES Classic Edition will come with 21 games, including the never-before-released 16-bit sequel Star Fox 2. You’ll actually have to unlock Star Fox 2 as a bonus game by finishing the first level of the original Star Fox.

Without the sad exclusion of Chrono Trigger this library could be considered a Greatest Hits album from what is widely considered to be the greatest console of all time. Likewise many of the included titles, such as Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Final Fantasy III (VI), and Super Metroid are considered some of the greatest games of all time.

Super Nintendo

I had previously written a wish list of 30 SNES titles I’d love to see included in the then-rumored retro console. Of my list, 16 games are among the 21 in the final box.

It’s notable that the SNES Classic Edition includes less games than the NES Classic Edition at 21 and 30 respectively. The since discontinued NES Classic was also $10 cheaper, but only included the one controller.

Last year’s NES Classic Edition was plagued with product shortages throughout its short production cycle, leading to low stock and horrible price gouging from second hand sellers. It was officially discontinued earlier this year. We can only hope the SNES Classic doesn’t suffer from a similar fate.

SNES classic edition

Which 30 Games Should Be On the SNES Classic Edition?

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While we patiently wait for Nintendo to confirm and announce the SNES Classic Edition retro console we can have a bit of fun speculating on which games it should include.

The Super Nintendo was blessed with arguably the greatest gaming library of any console. While Mario, Zelda, and Metroid didn’t start with the SNES, it was where they became titans of the industry. Super Metroid helped create an entirely new genre. Mario began to dip his toes into numerous succesful spin-off series like Mario Kart, which became a series all its own. And The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the poster child for 16-bit gaming nirvana.

The NES Classic Edition came bundled with 30 games, most of which were published by Nintendo. Let’s decide which 30 SNES games should grace the upcoming SNES Classic.

 

1) Super Mario World

Super Mario World

The obvious choice. Super Mario World was the fourth main Super Mario game, and the first on SNES. It took the same excellent platforming gameplay of the Mario series from NES and expanded it in exciting new ways, from hidden switch blocks to ghost houses to ridable Yoshis. Everyone played it and everyone loved it. It’s a guaranteed lock.

 

2) Super Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart

Arcade-like, top-down racers had existed before Super Mario Kart, but none had so perfectly combined tight controls, hazard-filled maps, and that classic Nintendo art into such a beautiful package. It’s funny to revisit the flat tracks after decades of excellent 3D Mario Kart racers, but Super Mario Kart remains a solid racer. The arena battle mode is just as fun as ever.

 

3) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Zelda A Link to the Past

Nearly every modern game developer will cite A Link to the Past as an inspiration. It was the quintessential action-adventure game, and the prototype for the modern open-world RPG. Link hacked and slashed his way around Hyrule and through dungeons. Dozens of Zelda titles later, A Link to the Past remains a fan-favorite.

 

4) Chrono Trigger

Chrono trigger

You can’t make an SNES retro console without one of the greatest RPGs ever made. Chrono Trigger was the resulting collaboration of a dream-team of Japanese artists and developers, and featured a unique time-spanning storyline with a memorable cast of characters. Arguably includes the best original soundtrack in gaming.

 

5) Super Metroid

Super Metroid

Super Metroid was already the third title in the Metroid series, but the first break-out hit. With a huge planet to explore, secrets to uncover, and bosses to fight Super Metroid was a dauntless but rewarding undertaking. Out of all the first-party franchises on this list, Metroid has been the most ill-served by the big N, leading to many excellent indie developers to pick up the slack.

 

6) Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country

Easily the most graphically impressive game of its time, Donkey Kong Country was the go-to title to show off what the SNES could do. Utilizing full CGI instead of pixels, the levels were gorgeous and fun, and the cheery, head-bobbing music was super groovy. The game was so successful it spawned two sequels and introduced the world to the extended Kong family.

 

7) Street Fighter II Turbo

street figher ii

Fighting games were all the rage at the arcades. When popular fighting game Street Fighter came to consoles, people came in droves. The roster of fighters featured a fun international cast with a variety of powersets, from Blanka and Chun-Li to Dhalsim and Ryu. I was more of a Mortal Kombat man myself, but Street Fighter’s presentation was unmatched.

 

8) Final Fantasy III

Final Fantasy VI

One of the first RPGs I ever played is still one of my all-time favorite games. Final Fantasy VI was released in the US as Final Fantasy III. Confusing name change aside, it delivered a stirring, epic fantasy story by focusing on the large cast of characters. It also includes one of gaming’s best villains in Kefka, the Joker-esque clown.

 

9) Earthbound

earthbound

People weren’t sure what to make of this odd modern-day RPG that later became a cult classic thanks to lead character Ness’ inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Earthbound is actually known as Mother 2 in Japan, with the first game arriving on the Wii U virtual console for the first time in 2015. For a localized title Earthbound is shocking well-written and satirical, and holds up incredibly well.

 

10) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

Yoshi's Island

As a sequel to Super Mario World, Yoshi’s Island was a jarring change of pace. This time you controlled Yoshi as you escorted baby Mario through hazardous levels that featured as many puzzles as platforms. It was a divisive sequel at the time, but taken on its own is a fun game that spawned its own Yoshi-centric series.

 

11) Star Fox

Star Fox

Star Fox looks pretty rough by today’s (or even yesterday’s) standards, and its modern legacy isn’t that great. But the original Star Fox game gave us some solid 3D flight simulation that was previously regulated to high-powered PCs. It also featured that classic Nintendo charm, with a cast of memorable furry companions. Do a barrel roll!

 

12) Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

super mario rpg

Before Sony mucked things up, Square Enix (then Squaresoft) and Nintendo were so chummy back in the 80s and 90s that they produced this magical JRPG starring gaming’s biggest icon. The Mario world was fully represented in a massive turn-based RPG, featuring Bowser, Peach and some new characters as companions. One of my favorite games on the Super Nintendo.

 

13) Secret of Mana

Secret of Mana

Secret of Mana looked like any other JPRG but with one major difference: battles played out in real-time. The action-RPG hybrid emphasized the hacking and slashing aspects of RPG within a colorful fantasy world. It also uniquely featured local co-op, allowing up to two friends to control the other two AI party members.

 

14) Mega Man X

Mega Man X

The Mega Man series exploded on the NES, and the series continued with the new ‘X’ moniker on the SNES. Mega Man X continued the same brutal difficulty and boss fights but added fun new abilities, like wall-climbing, making each level a rewarding adventure.

 

15) NBA Jam

NBA Jam

These days sports games are all about hyper-realism, with accurate team rosters and real-world physics. Back in my day, we had President Bill Clinton as a secret unlockable character in our basketball games! NBA Jam featured only 2-on-2 matches, but did have the NBA license. Most importantly it was fast-paced and fun as hell. Bonus points for the amazing arcade-like announcer, who gave us the infamous phrase: “He’s on fire!”

 

16) Super Mario All-Stars

Super Mario all-stars

Nintendo was milking its older games as early as the SNES era. Super Mario All-Stars included the first three Super Mario games on the NES, as well as The Lost Levels, which could be considered the real Super Mario Bros. 2. Considering how difficult acquiring an NES Classic Edition is, I wouldn’t be remiss if this 4-in-1 pack were one of the 30 included titles.

 

17) Final Fantasy II

final fantasy iv

Also known as Final Fantasy IV, yes JRPGs names were very confusing in the 90s. Compared to the first Final Fantasy on the NES, this sequel was light-years beyond, offering a compelling story starring an ex-bad guy and his new allies. Final Fantasy IV would set the stage for Squaresoft’s seminal series for decades to come.

 

18) Super Castlevania IV

super castlevania iv

Castlevania was already a well-known franchise on the NES before this 16-bit title launched. Super Castlevania IV is a psuedo-remake of the original game, featuring whip-cracking vampire hunter Simon Belmont battling demons and gothic monsters en route to Dracula. Advanced whip controls and new levels outside the castle helped make this the best Castlveania title until the PlayStation era.

 

19) Mortal Kombat II

Mortal Kombat II

Mortal Kombat on a Nintendo console? Yes indeed! Mortal Kombat is sadly known more for its bloody controversy that sparked the violent video game discussions of the 90s. But MKII is a remarkable fighting game, with a fluid range of motion and satisfying move set for each fighter. Finish Him!

 

20) F-Zero

F-zero

Without F-Zero, there is no Super Mario Kart. F-Zero was one of the first games to use the simulated 3D graphics of the SNES, called “Mode 7.” It featured arcade racing action in a cool sci-fi setting with equally awesome music.

 

21) The Lost Vikings

The Lost vikings

Blizzard Entertainment is more synonymous with Warcraft and Overwatch, but in 1993 they developed a unique side-scrolling puzzle-adventure game called The Lost Vikings. You had to use all three viking’s unique abilities to defeat enemies and overcome traps. I prefer the excellent 1997 sequel, but the original is more iconic. Fun Fact: The viking trio are represented in Blizzard’s MOBA, Heroes of the Storm.

 

22) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

Turtles in Time

Beat ’em ups were a dime a dozen during the 16-bit era, and most were mediocre. Turtles in Time continued the excellent legacy from Turtles II and Manhattan Project on the NES and Arcades. Local co-op beat’ em up reached its shell-shocked zenith as you traveled throughout iconic time periods battling the Foot clan.

 

23) Demon’s Crest

Demon's Crest

A criminally underrated game and one of my personal favorites, Demon’s Crest let you play as  one of the demons from Ghosts ‘N Goblins in a dark world of skeletons and death. It was an awesome mix of Metroid and Castlevania, featuring Mode 7 travel between locations, tons of hidden secrets and demon forms, and multiple endings.

 

24) Rock ‘N Roll Racing

Rock 'n roll racing

Another great classic Blizzard title introduced nine-year old me to Black Sabbath. Rock ‘N Roll Racing featured midi-quality classic rock songs, a hilariously over-the-top hard rock announcer, and top-down racing with lasers and spikes. In short: it was an instant classic.

 

25) Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals

Lufia II

JRPGs flourished in the 16-bit age, so I’ll understand if you missed the relative late arrival of Lufia II. This turn-based RPG featured a unique dungeon system where enemies moved only when you did, and a memorable generation-spanning story that still haunts me. And don’t worry about seeking out the original inferior game, Lufia 2 is a prequel anyway.

 

26) NHL ’94

NHL '94

NHL ’94 is still considered one of the best sports video games ever made, which is both very sad and a testament to how excellent this game is. The controls were intuitive and fun, and up to four players could join in for fast-paced skating action. If you play only one hockey game, make it this one.

 

27) Sunset Riders

Sunset Riders

How do you make a better Beat ‘Em Up? Give everyone guns! The co-op arcade action was vibrant and exciting as you traversed through classic Wild West scenarios with either pistol or shotgun.

 

28) Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon

The original farm sim arrived late in the SNES life span. It provided a uniquely peaceful gameplay experience compared to the extreme explosions that permeated 90s gaming. With the popularity of Stardew Valley, it seems like a no-brainer to include this classic farming game on the SNES Classic.

 

29) Super Punch-Out!!

super punch-out

Super Punch-Out followed the Nintendo path of “take a solid game from the NES and put Super in front of it.” Super Punch-Out had the same great fighting rhythm of its predecessor but with a fun new cartoon art style and goofy fighters.

 

30) Jungle Strike

Jungle Strike

Part strategy game, part shoot ’em up, the Strike series let you pilot a helicopter as a special forces hero. It was basically a 90s action movie with large top-down maps and fun tasks to accomplish. The first and third games, Desert Strike and Urban Strike are all pretty solid.