Standing the Test of Time: The Super Nintendo

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) is a 16-bit cartridge-based home video game console developed by Nintendo that was released in 1990 in Japan (known as the Super Famicom)and South Korea (known as the Super Comboy), 1991 in North America, 1992 in Europe and Oceania, and 1993 in South America. It was the second Nintendo home console – following the NES – and brought more advanced graphics and sound than was available with other consoles on the market at the time.

The SNES was the seconds Nintendo console that we, as a family-owned, unlike the NES – which I mentioned in a previous blog both my brother and I got – we had to share the SNES.

From the first game that I played (Super Mario World), I loved this console. The graphics were so much better than I had ever seen, the bright colours drew me in, and I got lost in this new Mario game. I loved how different it was to the Super Mario Bros. that I had played on the NES. Yes, it was very similar gameplay wise, but the look and feel of it were so much better. It felt a lot cleaner without the pixelated sprites – although I do love a good pixel sprite – and the world’s felt so much deeper with prettier backgrounds and clearer sound.

I don’t know how long it was before we got any more games for the console, but there some that always stand out for me, namely; Street Fighter II, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (one of my all-time favourite games), Super Mario Kart, Starwing (or Star Fox), Super Bomberman, F-Zero. Of course, I could go on and list a tonne more games that I loved on this console.

Some games I played on my own, others I played with my brother. I wasn’t very good at most two-player games – I got beaten regularly – but that didn’t stop me from playing them. I would spend hours fighting through Hyrule or trying in vain to perfect Blanka’s moveset. I loved pretty much every game I played on the SNES. I can’t think of any other console that I can say that for.

As I loved playing Duck Hunt on the NES, when the Super Scope was released, I couldn’t wait to play it. I was obviously a lot shorter back then so I had to adjust the sensor after anyone else used it. The games although simple, were addictive and I would spend my time trying to get the high scores – although I never could.

At the time we had the SNES we still had our NES, plus handhelds like the Gameboy or the Gamegear, but this console trumped all, and at every opportunity I would be playing on it.

Over the years, the SNES has been a console that I will go back to time and time again and now stands pride of place on my retro console shelves alongside its newer released mini counterpart.

Some games on some consoles don’t stand the test of time, but for me, the SNES and its games don’t look any worse today than they did when they were released. Of course, there are some games, Starwing for example, that because they were using new technology at the time, when compared to games now, they look very basic and they have aged slightly worse. But games like Mario and Zelda look as great today as they ever have.

When you look at when the SNES was released and how long its lifespan stretches, it’s amazing that back in and around 1996, it was up against more advanced consoles like the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Games like Donkey Kong Country allowed the console to hold its own against 32-bit consoles.

Although the production of the consoles in North America was ceased in 1999, in Japan, it was still produced up until 2003; this was almost up until the release of the PlayStation 2. This just shows how popular and well-loved this particular Nintendo console was and is.

The SNES still has a broad fan base – of which I’m a member – and I can’t see that changing any time soon.

My current collection of SNES games is relatively small – although it does include some of my later favourites; Zombies Ate My Neighbours, Pilotwings, Blues Brothers, Super Smash TV and Cannon Fodder – I do plan on growing it when I can.

Long live the SNES!

What are your memories of the great Super Nintendo? Share your favourite games with me.

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