Welcome to the second Retro Reminiscing article (you can read the first here). This journey back into Retro Gaming past is about the Super Nintendo.
The Super Nintendo (SNES) was a revolutionary machine. It took Nintendo to a different level and to a new generation of gamers. Released on the success of the 8-bit NES, it competed directly with SEGA’s Mega Drive (Genesis).
The SNES was a 16-bit console released in 1990 in Japan and South Korea (as the Super Famicon), 1991 in North America, and 1992 in Europe and Australasia.
It was a global success and became the best-selling console of the 16-bit era. Over 49 million SNES consoles were sold worldwide, though it didn’t quite reach the heights of 61.9 million sales from the NES.
The SNES is still popular today. Retro Gaming enthusiasts are keen to buy the originals from eBay and Gumtree. The SNES Mini is a new emulation console which comes pre-loaded with 21 games, easily plugged into a HDMI slot (here it is).
Some people even build their own SNES emulator using the excellent Raspberry Pi kit.
The games were iconic.
I’m going to revisit three of my favourites and talk about some of the other top games:
Super Mario All Stars
Think Nintendo, think plump plumber.
This was a compilation cartridge featuring gaming’s favourite tradesman, as well as his brother and mates.
The game offered a chance to try out four different Mario games. You could laugh at the basic graphics of Super Mario 1. Marvel at the flying Mario in Super Mario 3. Try out the Lost Levels of Mario, and more.
Another cool feature were the secrets and cheats. It was possible to skip parts, find new worlds and all sorts of other cool features by using various cheat codes.
A version was released in 1995 with Super Mario World included (as pictured) – this is the one to get as the 96-level packed World is regarded as the Mario game!
This airborne masterpiece was so addictive. The game centred on you passing various tests to get your licence. This could be a reasonably simple plane landing, to a jetpack manoeuvre, or skydiving.
The graphics were bright and smooth and the game was just so playable. It is still one of the first cartridges I pop in the console these days.
Newer versions of Pilotwings have also appeared on the Wii and Switch.
A fun way of building up a productive area on a map, and then destroying it quite easily. No, we aren’t talking Brexit, we are talking the first in the long line of Sim games.
Sim City was popular on a number of platforms, but the SNES was perfect for me. It was easy to control and coordinate all building features, and there was no overload of detail.
Ultimately it was an arcade-style city simulator. You took over as Mayor and build new regions for your city. Expand amenities, build commercial outlets. Then decide on how much residents will pay for tax, try and keep them happy whilst expanding further. Natural disasters would come and go, you could even trigger your own when bored.
Very honourable mentions:
I still remember the hype that surrounded the launch of this game. Looking back, it was completely justified.
Streetfighter 2 was a revolution in the beat-em-up genre. Quick matches and button-bashing combos led to bloodshed and violence like nothing we had seen before (in a friendly, cartoony manner obviously).
This pacy racer saw you do battle with three other spaceships, flying around (literally) a race circuit in order to reach the coveted chequered flag.
You had to avoid damage from the other ships and tracksides (which drained your ships energy), though you could get a little boost and recharge from another ship which hovered above you at certain points (pit lane style).
A great arcade racer which has been re-released a couple of times. Other racers like WipEout bear a striking resemblance to this classic.
Well let me tell you something brutha! I loved playing this game against my mates or the AI. I remember being blown away by the photo-realistic image of the Hulkster as the game loaded, only to be a little disappointed that those graphics didn’t quite follow through to the game itself.
The game was pretty simple but had a number of different match options and a roster of wrestlers to choose from. There was no storyline as such, but if you were looking for an arcade beat-em-up with a bit more glitz than SF2, this was the one to choose.
Super Mario Kart
This outstanding game (reloaded in ’92) that narrowly missed out on my top three. Mario Kart was bright, quick and fun. Weapons ranged from turtle shells to banana skins, and your opponent racers could include Bowser, Koopa and more.
You would start by choosing from one of eight Mario character drivers. You would move on to race in multi-level cups/grand prix races in single player mode. There were also time trials available in the game.
This game is truly iconic. It spawned several sequels on different platforms, and is still fondly revered as one of the best ever games.
What were your favourite Super Nintendo games?
P.S. Did anyone have a Super Scope? Did anyone pretend it was a bazooka? No, nor me.