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.

The Joy of the NES

The Nintendo Entertainment System or NES was released back in the ’80s and was the first console that I ever owned – we did have a Commodore 64 as well, but I have no idea when that was bought.

My NES was given to me for Christmas. I remember the day when both me and brother unwrapped our console (apparently we weren’t very good at sharing) although I don’t know how old I was – I’m going to go with I was either 2 or 3…maybe…who knows.

We got the bundle that had Mario Bros., and I spent the remainder of the day playing that – even though at that age I really couldn’t play it well to save my life…who am I kidding? I still can’t.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that I loved that console. I would spend hours playing Mario and eventually other games.

Despite having our own consoles, my brother and I would regularly play together. If we played Mario, I would be relegated to playing as Luigi, which probably made me like him more than I do Mario now. I was happy to be the taller green dude – a cosplay that I might actually be able to pull off.

We eventually had quite the library of games, and at times – like now – it was difficult for me to choose what to play. A couple of my favourite games were based on some toys that I collected at the time; Micro Machines and Monster in my Pocket.

As with Mario, I spent hours playing these games with both my brother and my dad, and as with Mario, I wasn’t very good at them.

Duck Hunt was another of my favourite games that we had – we only bought this, later on, my mum didn’t like the idea of it having a gun controller. But I loved Duck Hunt, and I was actually good at it! I spent ages shooting ducks and shouting at the dog for laughing at me when I missed – damn you!

The NES was a permanent fixture in our house for many years, it would be plugged into the old CRT TV in the lounge, and I would play while my parents watched.

I have no idea when we got rid of our NES’ – they probably ended up going to a car boot and being sold to some lucky person.

When I decided I was going to collect retro consoles, the NES was one of the first ones I wanted to get. I’d have to buy all the games for it again, but I had to get it when I found a cheap one on eBay.

My rebought NES now sits with all my other retro consoles in the game room – well, it will when they’re unpacked from their boxes when we’ve moved (I can’t wait for that.)

It will take me a while to rebuild my game collection, mainly because people are charging a fortune for some of them.

Not long after I bought my NES, the Mini NES was released, so I figured why not?

The Mini NES was a mini version – no kidding – of the NES that comes with 30 preinstalled games, some of which I’d never played and would cost a lot if I were to try to buy physical copies for the original NES.

Along with the Mini SNES and Commodore 64, the NES sits happily on my shelves as a reminder of some truly excellent games.

All in all, the NES was a brilliant introduction to the world of consoles, and it will also stick in my mind for that reason.

What are your memories of the NES? What games did you enjoy playing on this system?

Moonlighter – Sales and Slashing (A Review)

Last year we discovered a new game; Moonlighter.

We watched a trailer for this delightful little dungeon crawling shopkeeper game and straight away we knew that it was our kind of game. It was reasonably cheap for a physical copy, so we went ahead and ordered a copy.

When it arrived, I was knee-deep in We Happy Few, and although I was really into it and wanted to finish it, (it had been on my ‘to-play’ pile for a long time), I couldn’t wait to get Moonlighter going. Luckily I could stick it in to install and still play We Happy Few for a bit.

Once it was installed I was in there.

When the game starts you find yourself in a dungeon – one that looks like it’s straight out of Zelda: A Link to the Past – you’re in control of the main character Will, and you have to fight your way through a few screens of enemies until you get overwhelmed. At this point, you’re unsure as to whether you’re supposed to fight or just give in so this bit was a cause of much confusion.

When you’re pulled out of the dungeon, you find out that you’re tasked with running your grandfather’s shop Moonlighter, but that Will harbours a secret yearning to become an adventurer and hero.

The way that the game separates the two tasks is quite good, by allowing you to adventure at night and then run your shop during the day – which you need to do, to earn money, to upgrade your gear so you can fight your way through the dungeons.

It’s such a simple premise when you think about it, but it works so well and is extremely enjoyable.

The shop bit is a fun addition to what may have been an average dungeon crawler. Not only do you sell the things you find in the dungeon, but you also have to adjust prices to customer demand and even do tasks for them. It’s all about fine-tuning your selling price and not flooding the market with a particular item. Oh yeah, and there are thieves you need to stop whilst your busy serving customers…bastards.

Along with upgrading your weapons and gear, you can also buy upgrades for your shop to allow you to buy more selling and storage space. There are also several upgrades for the town where your shop is situated, businesses like potion shops and blacksmiths that will help you along your dungeon adventure.

The dungeon side of things is all simple. There are 4 types of dungeons which have various kinds of enemies of varying difficulties. As you complete one dungeon by defeating the boss, the next one opens up to you.

Inside the dungeon, there are a total of 3 floors (including the boss at the end of the third) in which you need to get through. You don’t have to get through them all in one go as you gain a pendant that will allow you to save your progress, leave the dungeon, and then go back later. This is useful as the one thing that you can’t upgrade through the game is the size of the bag you carry that stores the items you pick up through the dungeons. This is good in a way because it makes you think about what you’re picking up and making space for the more valuable items, customer quest items, or things you need for the upgrades.

Throughout most of the game, you’re on your own in the dungeons. But there are eggs that you can pick up, that hatch a little buddy. This buddy will follow you around and help you fight enemies.

We enjoy a good trophy hunt and Moonlighter provides some fun trophies to get, some of them are a little on the hard side due to not being able to save and redo bits. In particular the ones where you have to kill the bosses without being hit; this requires a lot of practice, and another where you have to kill each boss by using your trusty broom for the last hit. The platinum may be just out of reach to all but the seasoned adventure, but if you’re so inclined it does add the extra playability after you’ve finished the main story.

Overall, Moonlighter is excellent. It’s not too taxing and is quite a good stress reliever with its retro graphics, slow pace, and soothing soundtrack. For the price that this game is, it’s well worth it and maybe a bit more. I would definitely give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and recommend it to anyone that asked.