The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), usually simply referred to as the Super Nintendo, was Nintendo’s 16-bit home console video game system that released after the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and before the 64-bit Nintendo 64 (N64). It arrived on the gaming scene at the unique point in video gaming history, when Nintendo began to see true competition (Sega), and when they had the distinct opportunity to both create new franchises (Yoshi, Star Fox, Mario Kart, etc.) yet build sequels onto characters the world had only just first seen on the NES (Mario, Link, Metroid, etc.).This meant that the Super Nintendo could flex its muscles and show off its improvements over the NES by giving old favorites new looks, yet also release excellent games on their own merits. While the designations for “greatest of all time” can and will be endlessly debated, there are a few cartridges that especially stood out as exemplary examples of the SNES library.
Super Mario World
Continuing the vastly popular and effective format of the Super Mario Brothers series of games, the World entry introduced Yoshi, expanded the overworld idea first provided in Super Mario Brothers 3, and hosted upgraded graphics along with well-received original power-ups, such as Mario’s new yellow cape. It proved to be a blockbuster smash hit, often bundled with the system, and set entire new paradigms for Mario games to come.
The Super Nintendo may have represented a golden age of the console role-playing game genre, and there is perhaps no better example than Chrono Trigger, a deep, brilliant adventure developed by now-legendary group Square. Incorporating plot elements of royalty, time travel, endtimes, and others, it also featured a battle system slightly different than the usual RPG fare, and obviously showed that its creators were passionate about making this title stand out in the minds and hearts of gamers everywhere. Hardcore video game enjoyers should make every effort to check this title out and enjoy being fully immersed in its incredibly rich experience.
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Although Ocarina of Time is widely considered to be the best of the Zelda games, and even sometimes claimed as the Greatest Game of All Time, it was actually A Link to the Past that set the standard that even let Ocarina be made. Remember, for the NES, the original two Legend of Zelda games were quirky, flawed, very different from each other, and
had yet to provide Link with a solid, coherent, recognizable, legendary identity. That would all change with Link to the Past, in which Ganon returns, the Master Sword makes its appearance, the idea of parallel worlds (a theme now running through several Zelda games) is brought into play, and other rewarding interactions exist. A Link to the Past was a superbly excellent game in its own right, and crafted the legacy that future Zelda titles had to emulate.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
When Square teamed up with Nintendo to create a role-playing game that featured flagship platformer superstar Mario and a recognizable cast of characters, doubts concerning its quality would have been understandable. After all, Mario had only ever been a jump-around kind of guy, on two-dimensional quests. But Super Mario RPG won over an entire new legion of fans, and spawned successful sequels, because it was just a flat-out awesome game. It paid appropriate due respect to the canon that the characters established, yet flawlessly and comfortably introduced new supporting cast members that provided the deep, artful, heart-affecting flavor that a true RPG great needs. Super Mario RPG delivered the goods just as well as any other legitimate RPG, then added its own quirky take on the Mushroom Kingdom universe.
Honorable Mention: F-Zero
F-Zero was a sci-fi racing game that stood out from other racers because of its eye-opening originality in its concept and execution. It gave players a new perspective into how speed could be translated onto a television screen, with super-fast races tearing over massive tracks in an airy, futuristic setting. F-Zero definitely gave way to sequels, and even one of its drivers, Captain Falcon, is now immortalized as among the cast on Super Smash Bros. games.