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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The 20 Best Super Nintendo Games

It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since the Super Nintendo launched in the US. The Super Nintendo had one of the deepest libraries in gaming's short but storied history. If you grabbed a game off the shelf, you could be pretty much guaranteed that it would be either a classic or darn close to one.
At this point in gaming,  most designers had worked through the kinks of design, having worked out what works and what doesn't through the years of the Atari and the NES. Finally, they were finally able to stretch their imaginations and create games instead of fighting with the system. The fantastic library of the SNES was the result.

Before we start, it's important to note that you can make a case for almost any one of these games as the number one game for the Super Nintendo. I also excluded games that did NOT release in the States, but we'll cover some of those in another article entitled "The Rest." So, if you see a game that you love left off the list, don't worry! I didn't forget about it, unless I did.

20. The Lost Vikings

Blizzard was a relatively young developer in 1992 with very few games under their belt when they launched The Lost Vikings. It's the story of three Vikings who get transported to a futuristic spaceship and must use their unique abilities to get home. Along the way, they complain about being there, threaten each other, and die horrific, hilarious deaths. The puzzles were clever, the animations were sharp, and the dialogue was razor-sharp.

It was really the first sign that Blizzard was more than just a regular developer, and the success they had with this game helped them to raise enough money to make Warcraft. The rest, of course, is history.

19. Super Punch-Out!!

Super Punch-Out!! usually gets ignored in favor of the original NES game, but it really shouldn't be passed over like that. The NES game may have Mike Tyson, but Super Punch-Out!! has far better fighting mechanics, crisper graphics, more fighters, and tighter controls. It may not be quite as hard to beat the Bruiser twins as it is to beat Mike Tyson (or Mr. Dream if you're a total wuss), but Super Punch-Out!! is still plenty difficult.

Simply put, it's a great refinement of the principles laid down in the original. Plus, it's fun beating up on Gabby Jay.

18. Super Castlevania IV

To play Super Castlevania IV now is to see how far games have come in the last 15 years. Simon Belmont moves slowly, his jumps are awkward, and it's hard to control. And yet... it's still so much fun.


Super Castlevania IV sets the mood remarkably well to the point where you feel that you're actually traversing a scary castle led by Dracula. It's great because it takes a lot of the fun concepts from the original Castlevania game and then writes them in big, bold letters to create an experience that you'll never forget.

17. Earthbound

Earthbound took the RPG concept and made it feel real. Instead of being about swords and sorcery, it's in the modern day. Whip-smart humor and wacky references abound. Okay, so the graphics aren't great, and for those who like a little more gravitas in their RPGs (like myself), at first Earthbound appears to be a big goof. As it goes along, though, it gets deeper and stakes get raised higher and higher. It really is a fantastic RPG that brings RPG tropes into the modern day, eliminated random battles (yay!) and sets the stage for the superior Mother 3.

16. Star Fox

For a lot of gamers, this was the first time that we saw real 3-D gaming on a console. Think about that. Up until that point, most games on consoles either faked 3-D using Mode 7 graphics or just eschewed 3D altogether for 2D. Sure, those games looked great, but they were still only 2D. All of a sudden, we were able to play in real, honest-to-non-denominational-deity 3D space battles. Sure, Star Fox was a little blocky and primitive, and yes, it was on rails. Even with those caveats, it really had a fantastic impact on gaming as a whole. If only we would have gotten to play the canned Star Fox 2...

If you want to read the rest of this list, please look here:

15-11
10-7
6-4
The Final Three
The Rest