The Nintendo Switch is just a few weeks from release. In honor of Nintendo and all that it’s brought to the gaming world, The Life of Gaming has decided to count down the top 10 games from each of Nintendo’s home consoles. Be sure to check back each week and see if your favorite game makes our list!
Today, we move on to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
With the success of the original NES, and the history of Nintendo single-handedly saving the video game industry from a cash in 1983, the Super Nintendo had a lot to live up to. When August 23, 1991 arrived, people were ready for the next generation – a 16-bit generation.
While it wasn’t as successful as the Nintendo Entertainment System, it still sold over 49 million units in its lifetime. It also brought with it many great new IP to the forefront. Similar to the previous generation, it created even more amazing memories.
Here is our list of the Top 10 games on the Super Nintendo.
Released: November 1990 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
In the words of the great Ricky Bobby, sometime we just “wanna go fast”. F-Zero‘s popularity was derived from the break-neck speed it granted to players. It was unlike anything we had ever seen before in video games – thanks to the Mode 7 Graphics chip. It’s amazing that something this technologically impressive was a launch game for the newly furbished platform.
Set in the year 2650, F-zero allowed you to take control of one of four futuristic racers, including the Smash Bros. favorite, Captain Falcon. Due to it’s high-octane speeds, the game required a trigger finger and lightning reflexes, as you barreled around corners, bumped into your completion, and flew through the sky. The hook is that you had to place over a certain number to stay alive after each lap. Otherwise, your vehicle would go down in flames.
Over the years, multiple games have been made in the series. However, the last game released way back in 2003, with F-Zero GX on the Gamecube (we don’t count the mini-game included in Nintendo Land). While games like Fast Racing Neo on the Wii U can slightly numb the pain (and the upcoming semi-sequel Fast RMX on the Nintendo Switch), fans have been clamoring for a new game in this futuristic racing series for years.
09) Secret of Mana
Released: August 1993Publisher: Square Developer: Square
I had a hard time deciding which Square RPG I would include on this list. After much thought and debate, I had to go with Secret of Mana. My reasons include the games unique real-time battle system, beautiful score, and the ability to play in co-op, which is still somewhat unique for deep RPGs. Also, the game was absolutely gorgeous for the time.
Interestingly, Secret of Mana started it’s life as a sequel to Final Fantasy Adventures for the Game Boy. As far as the story goes, it’s an RPG classic. The game begins in the most fantastical of ways, with a boy following a disembodied voice, and pulling a magical sword from a stone, unleashing monsters into an unsuspecting world. He and his companions are then set on a quest to stop the ancient sorcerer Thanatos.
While it may sound cliché by today’s standards, Secret of Mana was very unique for it’s time. Selling over 500,000 copies in the US alone (1.83 million copies worldwide), the game became a great success, and went on to release a sequel in 1995. If you are interested in checking this game out, it released on the Wii Virtual Console in 2008, and was ported to smart phones in 2009.
Released: June 1995 Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: HAL Laboratory
Our second RPG on the list, Earthbound, didn’t become successful until many years after it’s original release. While the game is now considered a cult-classic, it didn’t start out that way. Many people, myself included, didn’t even know about this fantastic game until Ness made his appearance as a secret character in the original Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64. What made matters worse, was that it was a sequel to the Japan-only Mother series (and we wouldn’t get the original until Earthbound Beginnings released on Wii U in 2015).
Unlike the RPG mentioned above, Secret of Mana, Earthbound follows the more traditional RPG-route for gameplay. What really makes this game standout, however, is the story and it’s cast of memorable moments and characters. The game follows our hero Ness, and his three friends, Paula, Jeff, and Poo on their epic quest. In the opening moments of the game, a bee from the future tells Ness that he must collect melodies in a Sound Stone to stop the evil alien menace know as Giygas, from destroying the world.
The game even features a post-credit scene, making fans desires for Mother 3 even greater. While this game has never been released in America, many signs are starting to point in that direction. With the previously mentioned release of Earthbound Beginnings on the Wii U, hopefully, we can continue this great saga in the near future.
07) Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
Released: November 1995 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Rare
While Donkey Kong Country released in 1994 to great praise, it was the sequel, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, that took the series to the next level. Improving it in every way possible, it took the level count from 6 worlds to 8, added Dixie Kong’s ability to hover, and had one of the best soundtracks of any game on the Super Nintendo. This game was platforming precision at it’s finest.
The game is called Donkey Kong Country, but where is the big ape-man, himself? He has been kidnapped by the evil King K. Rool, of course! It’s up to Donkey Kong’s faithful pal Diddy Kong, and his girlfriend Dixie Kong, to smash-up K. Rool’s Kremlin army, and save the day. This game includes the great graphics from the original, inventive platforming stages, and the teeth-clenching mine-cart mission you remember in your nightmares. If you’re only going to play one Donkey Kong Country game on the super Nintendo, it should definitely be Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest.
06) Star Fox
Released: March 1993 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
My love for Star Fox runs deep, and it all started with the original Star Fox on the Super Nintendo. Powered by the Super FX graphics chip, this polygonal on-rails star-fighter with anthropomorphic animals stole my heart and made me smile. While it may look rough by today’s standard, growing up this game made my imagination soar. There was nothing else like flying through the sky in your own Arwing.
Set in the Lylat system, the evil Andross is threatening to destroy the galaxy. It up to Fox McCloud and his team of mercenaries, know as Team Star Fox, to save the day. Every character in this game had their own unique personality, and that’s what really made the game shine. The wise Peppy Hare, the rough-and-tumble Falco Lombardi, and the easily-frightened Slippy Toad, all made you grin with their humorous commentary and faithful companionship. This game was also great for multiple play-throughs as you could change which planets you visit, depending on certain actions you take throughout the game. While future installments do improve the formula, this one is still worth going back to, even if it’s just to see where it all began.
05) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Released: October 1995 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
So, what makes Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island so great? Well, a lot, actually. Instead of going the easy route, and making a direct sequel for Super Mario World, Nintendo decided, as they often do, to shake up the formula. While Mario is technically in the game, in baby form, this is the Yoshi show. He controls much heavier than Mario, and his ability are completely different. He can even transform into different vehicles.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island is a colorful romp through the world of Yoshi’s Island. The music is so happy and upbeat, that you’ll actually find yourself humming along even when you aren’t playing the game (editors note: music from this game is currently my phone’s ringtone) . This game also relies heavily on collectibles. You will be searching high and low for red coins, bouncing stars, and floating question mark clouds. If you love collect-a-thons like I do, you will absolutely adore this game.
04) Super Mario Kart
Released: September 1992 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
I can’t count how many amazing memories I have with my brother growing up playing Super Mario Kart. The crazy thing? He’s not a fan of video games. Super Mario Kart is the kind of series that surpasses any inhibition someone may have about playing games. It’s completely accessible to anyone that wants to give it a try, but also hides a challenge for those that take the time to dig a bit deeper.
Instead of making a normal racing game, Nintendo decided to create an entirely new genre – Kart Racing. By placing our plump plumber into a motorized kart, along with the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom gang, Nintendo struck gold. Every kart and tune, every turn of every course, gamers have burned into their memories. However, beyond all that polish, the thing most gamers look back most fondly on is Battle Mode. Chasing your friends around the track, trying to pop their balloons, brought out the competitive nature in even the most subdued individual.
Super Mario Kart is seeing it’s 9th iteration with the release of Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch this April. After that many releases, you’d think the well would run dry. Yet, when you have a formula this great, it’s completely understandable why it’s still one of Nintendo’s top performers.
03) Super Metroid
Released: April 1994 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
30 year after stepping on to the gaming scene, Nintendo fans still hold Samus Aran close to their hearts. The reason this female bounty hunter is held with such high regard is simple – Super Metroid. Taking everything they learned from the original Metroid on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo made an impeccable sequel. From music, to sound effects, to scenery – the world of Zebes never felt so alive.
Picking up after the events of Metroid II: Return of Samus on the Game Boy, Super Metroid finds Samus once again returning to Zebes. This time, to take on the evil space pirate, Ridley, and his abduction of the Metroid larva retrieved from the previous adventure. The game featured the expected planet exploration, but this time had an automapping feature, an inventory screen, and the ability to fire in all 8 directions. While that may seem small, it vastly improved on the originals formula.
This game is the reason we have the term “Metroidvania”. This game is the reason Samus Aran will live on in gaming history. This game is reason fans are still clamoring for a new Metroid adventure. We can only hope we see the return of this faithful bounty hunter in the upcoming console generation.
02) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Released: November 1991 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
The original Legend of Zelda, while an amazing achievement for its time, made you feel lost in a hopeless world, never knowing which direction to turn. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past made you feel like a true hero on an epic quest. This is the game that made Link legendary.
From the moment you leave your home on that fateful rainy day, Link’s life would never be the same – and neither would The Legend of Zelda. This is the game that built the lore of the seven sages, introduced us to returning items like the Hookshot and Master Sword, gave us the ability to switch between the Light and Dark worlds, and, being a prequel to the original, set in motion what would become The Legend of Zelda timeline. This the Zelda game that propelled the series into the stratosphere.
It improves simple combat options, such as turning arrows into an item, changing Link’s sword attack from a stabbing motion into a deadly sideways swipe, and allowing Link to move in all 8 directions. The boss battles were epic, the world was sprawling, and the soundtrack was memorable. If you’re new to The Legend of Zelda, this is a great place to start. This is the game that made video game history.
01) Super Mario World
Released: August 1991 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
It’s amazing that the number 1 game on our Top 10 Super Nintendo Games list is also the game that launched with the system. That’s how good Super Mario World actually is. It took the formula Nintendo used in past games and perfected it. When you ask someone their favorite Nintendo game, the answer normally comes down to Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World. Over 30 years of amazing titles put out by Nintendo, and it still comes down to two very important games.
Super Mario World takes our favorite plumbers out of the Mushroom Kingdom and throws them into Dinosaur Land, the home of the Yoshi (plural of Yoshi is Yoshi, right?). The game keeps traditional power-ups, like the fire flower, but also introduces the fan-favorite cape. Unlike the flying raccoon power in Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario can now glide through the sky with cape in-hand (although it takes a decent amount of skill to activate properly).
Instead of traditional boss battles, this game introduces us to the Kooplings – Larry, Morton, Iggy, Roy, Lemmy, Ludwig, and Wendy O. Super Mario World is also filled to the brim with secrets. Who could forget the first time they unlocked Star World? Or found their way out of the infuriating ghost forest? This game took platforming and perfected it, and it’s the many memorable moments sprinkled throughout that have made this game unforgettable.
Since its original release, Super Mario World has been re-released 4 times on Nintendo platforms, and we keep on buying it. I have a feeling that if it was released 444 more times, we’d all still be buying it on any device we could get our hands on. There is a reason many consider Super Mario World the greatest game of all time, and why it’s our number 1 game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
So, what’s your favorite game on the Nintendo Wii? Which game did we leave off the list? Let us know in the comments down below!