Tony's Top 10 Super Nintendo Games
Tony from Podcasters United shares his personal Top 10 games for the Super Nintendo!
Writing a Top 10 list can sometimes feel like a daunting task, especially when trying to compile a list for a console as popular as the Super Nintendo. While preparing my list I was worried that it would look the same as all of the other lists out there, but I also wanted to avoid trying too hard to be different just for the sake of standing out from the pack. So pushing my anxieties aside, I put together a list that I felt happy with, and while many of the usual suspects do appear on the list, as the saying goes “Que sera sera”. Now with all of the formalities out of the way, I present to you my top 10 favorite SNES games of all time.
10. Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse
Pluto has gone missing and it is up to Mickey to save him from the evil Emperor Pete. Through your adventure, you go through eight different worlds while gaining new costumes that grant you helpful abilities along the way. There is the magician costume that shoots bursts of electricity, a firefighter costume that blasts a powerful stream of water from its hose, and a cliffhanger costume with a grapple to surfaces to swing from.
Unfortunately, this gimmick doesn’t live up to its full potential, but the game is still very charming and has a quick and breezy playthrough. There are two other games in the series, (The Great Circus Mystery and Magical Quest 3: Starring Mickey and Donald, the latter of which only saw a release in the West on the GameBoy Advance) that greatly improve on the concept and add two-player co-op, but Magical Quest: Starring Mickey Mouse is my favorite of the three if only for nostalgic reasons.
There is nothing more satisfying than spending hours building the perfect metropolis, only to destroy it all with a click of a button as you gleefully watch fires, floods, earthquakes, tornados, and Bowser completely tear down the city. Meanwhile, your loyal aid Dr. Wright runs around on your screen in complete panic as he helplessly watches all of the senseless destruction unfold.
The developer Intelligent Systems did an excellent job bringing SimCity from PC to console and simplifying things enough making it easy for anyone to quickly learn the basics fairly easily, making it the perfect pick-up and chill game. Of course, there are far more advanced versions of SimCity available on other platforms, but it is still an impressive accomplishment that the game played as well as it did and remains my favorite version of the game.
8. Street Fighter II
At the time this was the closest you were going to get to “arcade perfect” on a home console that wasn’t the Neo Geo. I am not at all a competitive person and in turn, the fighting genre has never been a favorite of mine. While I did spend many hours learning how to do fatalities in the Mortal Kombat games and marveled at the pixelated gore, my interest quickly waned once the novelty of the ultraviolence wore off.
I would always return to Street Fight II though, and I guess it also helped that it was one of the few fighters that I was actually good at (shout out to my main girl Chun Li!) and it just simply felt better to play than any other fighters out at the time. There are better versions available on the console that added different modes, an improved combo system, and more playable characters however, vanilla Street Fighter II in all of its simplicity will always remain my favorite.
As far as launch games go, F-Zero was top tier. Many were first introduced to the series thanks to Captain Falcon being a staple character in Super Smash Brothers, however, I remember seeing the commercial for F-Zero for the first time and it absolutely blew my mind.
The races are always fast-paced, each track is more dangerous than the last, a soundtrack that only adds to the adrenaline already pumping through your veins and it is all wrapped in a futuristic/cyberpunk setting that would be synonymous with the series. The only downside is that there is no co-op, which is something that later games in the series would rectify, but despite that flaw, F-Zero remains one of my favorite racing games of all time.
6. Secret of Evermore
A classic story about a boy and his dog that wander into the lab of a scientist and end up getting themselves thrown back in time. The game borrows the battle system from Secret of Mana and lets you switch between both characters at any time. There is also a crafting system of sorts, throughout your adventure you collect materials and resources to make items, potions, and casting spells.
The worlds you explore are oozing with atmosphere, with your dog changing breeds to match each new time period you get thrown into and every village/town you visit has its own story to tell. It all comes together to create a fairly interesting, if not flawed gameplay experience. The game is far from perfect, the hit detection can sometimes feel off, it lacks a co-op mode (which can be added in via romhack), and has its fair share of bugs. Despite all of its shortcomings, I can’t help but find the Secret of Evermore very charming and enjoyable.
Earth is under attack by space invaders and the fate of the entire planet rests in the hands of a boy and his three friends. The story is very much about adolescence and growing up, which spoke to me at the time since I had just entered middle school and was quickly entering that awkward age of uncertainty.
Following Ness, Paula, Jeff, and Poo through their strange, often confusing, sometimes scary adventure into the world of the unknown was something that more than resonated with what I was feeling at the time. Earthbound was one of the games I played the most on the SNES (I grinded for hours to get the Sword of Kings) and remains one of my favorite JRPGs of all time. Earthbound was essentially my gateway drug to JRPGs, with a modern setting and quirky cast of characters instantly drawing me in.
4. Final Fantasy 6
It’s Choccobo’s, espers, and Moogles in the third, but really sixth entry in the long-running JRPG franchise. The Gestahlian Empire is thirsty for the power of the Espers and the resistance group known as the Returners are doing whatever they can to stop them, as the ancient War of the Magi looms to repeat itself.
There are a ton of characters that join your party throughout your adventure, every one of them is fully fleshed out, each with their own detailed backstory that makes them all feel important to the story being told. The character that stands out the most is the main antagonist Kefka, at first he seems like nothing more than a spineless weasel, but at the pinnacle point of the game, he turns out to be so nonchalantly evil that he would make even the most sinister villains blush. Final Fantasy 6 is easily my favorite game of the entire franchise and quite possibly my favorite JRPG of all time.
3. Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong makes his triumphant return in this beautifully crafted 2D platformer that kicked off a new franchise and brought everyone's favorite gorilla back into the spotlight. I will never forget the first time I turned the game on and was in absolute awe over the character models, there was nothing quite like it at the time and it was an incredible feat by Rare and remains impressive to this day.
Like any good platformer, the game can be tough as nails and will put your reaction time to the test. This will always be my favorite of the DKC trilogy and remains one of my favorite 2D platformers of all time. My podcast was lucky enough to interview former Rare character designer Kevin Bayliss a while back and while I was unable to be a part of the interview, I am forever grateful that a gaming industry legend took the time out of his day to answer our questions.
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Link once again has to wield his sword to save Hyrule, only this time he finds himself shifting between two different realities to complete his quest. The game takes this concept and executes it perfectly, with Link using hidden portals that are scattered around to traverse through both worlds, turning Hyrule into a puzzle of its own.
There are plenty of dungeons to explore, secrets to find, and new gadgets to help Link in his quest to once again put a stop to Ganon’s devious plans. A Link to the Past perfectly kicks off the formula that would continue to be used and expanded upon in all future games in the series. I have always been very fond of The Legend of Zelda since the original was released on the NES and the third entry of the quickly growing franchise took everything that made the previous two games great and combined them into what is arguably the best game in the series.
1. Super Metroid
Samus’s next mission brings her back to Zebes, the planet is now completely rebuilt and she finds herself fighting the space pirates that she once thought to be destroyed and is more determined than ever to eradicate the Metroid once and for all. The atmosphere is top notch and the exploration is better than ever, with Samus gaining awesome new abilities to aid her as she delves deeper into the depth of Zebes.
There was no competition for my number one pick, not only is Super Metroid my favorite game for the SNES, it is also my favorite game of all time for my favorite console of all time. I was always a big fan of the series, I played through my brother's copy of the original Metroid several times over and also had Return of Samus for the Gameboy, so I was beyond hyped when I first found out that Super Metroid was coming out and right on time for my birthday no less. Super Metroid is the game that defined the genre that bears its name and remains the greatest videogame of all time.
There is a lot more that could be said about all of these games, but I had to keep things as simple as possible and I hope I was able to justify my selections clearly. I am not at all trying to claim that this was some kind of definitive list, everyone has their favorites and there is never a right or wrong answer when it comes to this type of thing. I would love to hear about your top 10 SNES games or any grievances you have over my list either by reaching out to me personally (@TonyGearSolid on Twitter) or simply by leaving a comment below.
About The Author:
Tony is a lifelong game collector, Batman fan, and enjoyer of B-movies. He is also the co-host of the podcast PlayStation Rumble, alongside fellow PlayStation enthusiasts (and sometimes adversaries) Jamie and Joshua.
Podcast Twitter: PSRumble
Podcast e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal Twitter: TonyGearSolid