Video Games | Pop Culture | 90s | Retro
12 Of The Best Super Nintendo Games We Played As Kids
Released in North America in 1991, Nintendo's Super Nintendo Entertainment System (or SNES) is one of the most popular video game consoles of all time. Anyone who grew up during that time definitely remembers sprinting to someone's house to take turns on games like Super Mario World or fight each other in Mortal Kombat 2.
With rumors of a remake of the system gaining traction, we figured we'd take the time to list out our favorite games on the system.
1) Super Mario World
The game that launched a million consoles, it's impossible not to think of this masterpiece of platforming when talking about the SNES. Featuring better graphics, a bigger world and tons more secrets than past Mario games, this one has earned its place both in history, and our hearts.
Best of all, it introduced what would become one of Mario's most beloved characters even to the present day: Yoshi! That's right, this was the first appearance of everyone's favorite long-tongued dinosaur, and he would go on to star in plenty of his own games pretty soon after.
2) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
After going in a completely different direction from the original on Zelda II: The Adventure of Link back on the NES, Nintendo went back to what everyone loved about the series in the first place with this epic adventure.
With a story taking place before the first game (hence the title), this return to Hyrule won everyone over with its massive world, clever puzzles, spooky dungeons, and above all else, tons of secrets meant to be shared between kids on the playground.
3) Mega Man X
Mega Man was one of the most recognizable video game mascots of the 90s. However, by the time the SNES was released, the franchise's formula was already starting to get a bit tired. Capcom needed to reinvent the character, and the result, Mega Man X, is one of the best action platformers of all time.
Mega Man X takes everything awesome about the series and ramps it up. The story went from a cute robot fighting other cute robots to an all out robot civil war. The action was faster and tighter than ever, and the levels were even more sprawling and epic than ever before. Best of all were the secrets, like getting Ryu from Street Fighter's Hadouken and one-shotting bosses with it!
4) Super Metroid
After wowing gamers worldwide with the reveal that she was a woman in a powersuit, Samus Aran returned to planet Zebes to fight the Space Pirates one more time in Super Metroid.
With an eerie but wondrous sci-fi atmosphere and an assortment of powerups you would use to find new parts of places you'd already been to, Super Metroid had all of us scratching our heads for hours whenever we got stuck. This was before the internet too, so we either had to figure it out or buy the strategy guide.
5) Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
The first game brought the character back from just being an arcade leftover, and the third one added a cool overworld to explore. For my money though, Donkey Kong Country 2 is possibly the best platformer on a system that had dozens of them.
With Diddy Kong and newcomer Dixie Kong trying to save DK from crocodile pirates, the game took place across tons of cool, pirate-themed levels. It was colorful and fun, but at times could also be frustratingly hard. I'm sure at least a few people lost a controller or two to this game.
6) Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III)
Released in the West as Final Fantasy III thanks to some of the previous games not making it over, this Final Fantasy is still considered by many to be the best in the series.
With a massive cast of characters and an intense plot that even dealt with themes like murder, slavery, and suicide, the journey to save the world from the machinations of Kefka Palazzo was probably way more mature than we realized at the time. Of course, this maturity has helped it endure over the years.
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7) Kirby Super Star
Promising "8 Games In One!" on the box (when in reality it was just multiple sections in the same game), everybody's favorite pink puffball got his biggest and most awesome adventure to date on the SNES.
Kirby could absorb more abilities than ever, complimenting ones like "Fire" and "Sword" with weird ones like "Yo-Yo," "Ninja," and "Jet." Good thing too, because his challenges and enemies were bigger than ever, making this a game that was fun to come back to again and again.
8) Super Mario Kart
The first entry in what would go on to become the most beloved racing game series of all time, Super Mario Kart had one crazy premise. Namely, "What if the Mario characters decided to stop fighting each other, and RACE!" It even had multiplayer!
What probably looked really strange on paper at the time would go on to sell millions of copies worldwide, and laid the foundation for both our and future childhoods with a blockbuster franchise that continues today. Red shells have been ruining our day since 1992, and we couldn't be happier about it!
9) Disney Games
We're cheating a bit on this entry, but there were seriously so many awesome Disney games on the Super Nintendo that it's impossible to pick one. Whether it's original titles like Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse and Mickey Mania, or adaptations of your favorite movies and TV shows like Aladdin, The Lion King, and Goof Troop, there was something for everybody.
What could be better than following up a run of Saturday morning cartoons, or even a movie on a VHS player, than by grabbing a controller and playing through the cartoons yourself? Nothing! That's what.
10) Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
A collaboration between Nintendo and Squaresoft (the creators of Final Fantasy), Super Mario RPG was the best of both worlds. You had the colorful characters and worlds of a Mario game, mixed with the sprawling story and battle system of something like Final Fantasy.
This match made in gaming heaven was not only amazing at the time, but it resulted in even more amazing games we enjoyed as kids. Nintendo would go on to create both the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series as a result of this, meaning lots of Mario-themed roleplaying goodness for years to come.
11) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
This "sequel" to Super Mario World put Yoshi front and center in an adventure to reunite Baby Mario with his brother, while protecting him from the forces of Baby Bowser. While the premise may sound too cutesy, this game was pure magic.
This game ultimately turned Yoshi into the multi-talented dinosaur that we all know today. His egg-throwing, adorable flutter kick, and ground pound all started here. It was so cute and fun it almost made up for having to listen to Baby Mario scream when you got hit.
12) Super Mario All-Stars
Yeah these were technically old games, but if you were someone who didn't grow up in the 80s, they were all new to us! This collection of Super Mario Bros. 1 - 3, which also included the super-hard Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 (released here as The Lost Levels), would actually go on to be one of the best-selling games on the system!
Better still, Nintendo later started releasing update copies of the game that also included Super Mario World, meaning you got all the Mario goodness you could possibly handle. The collection has clearly stayed popular over the years; it was even re-released on the Nintendo Wii back in 2010!
What's your favorite SNES game?