Super Metroid and Zelda on SNES.


During the past week we've been playing the heck out of the SNES Classic, including on our livestream.


As someone who never owned a SNES as a kid--I did have a Sega Genesis, though--, it's been enlightening. I thought I'd rank how the games stack up in 2018 as someone who never played these games.


21. Kirby's Dream Course



Release Year: 1994


While a neat idea, this game hasn't aged well. It feels clunky compared to today's standards and has physics that'd make Stephen Hawking roll in his grave.


20. Star Fox 2



Release Year: 2018


It all makes sense why this game was canceled right before release: it would have looked silly back in 1995. It definitely looks silly now.


19. Star Fox



Release Year: 1993


I'm convinced that nobody can play this game for more than 10 minutes without desperately wanting to turn it off. While an important game in 1993, it plays horribly now.


18. Super Ghouls'n Ghosts



Release Year: 1991


The difficulty of this game somehow seems worse than ever. However, it's the obtuse attack mechanics that really make this one tough to recommend spending your valuable time with.




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17. F-Zero



Release Year: 1990


This game released during the first year of the SNES, so it's not surprising it doesn't rank well on this list. It's definitely playable, but between the d-pad controls and general feel of piloting a speeding vehicle in a retro environment, it isn't nearly as fun as most people remember.


16. Super Mario Kart



Release Year: 1992


As with F-Zero, this era of racing game plays really poorly in today's age. Even the weapons are clunky to use.  That said, it's still kind of enjoyable to play just because it's Mario Kart.


15. Super Punch Out!!!



Release Year: 1994


This one is a bit of fun, even if the gameplay is overly simplified.




14. Super Mario RPG



Release Year: 1996


The combat in this game feels worse than it should. However, a lot of the RPG elements make it playable enough that I can see someone playing through the 16 or so hour game.


13. Kirby Super Star



Release Year: 1996


Okay, now we're getting to the great stuff.


Kirby Super Star is a ton of fun.  By this fourth game in the series, Nintendo really hit its stride with Kirby. Inhaling enemies and copying abilities is strangely addictive.


12. Donkey Kong Country



Release Year: 1994


I'm not sold on the visual style of this game, especially when compared to Super Mario World, but it's super fun to play. The thing that has surprised me most is how different it manages to feel compared to the Mario series. It's clever and has great music.




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11. Contra III: The Alien Wars



Release Year: 1992


My god, this game is somehow even harder than I anticipated. That said, it feels extremely cohesive. I'll proboably never beat it, but I'll be damned if I don't die at least 1,000 times trying.


10. Earthbound



Release Year: 1994


This game is the reason I got the SNES Classic. There's so much to like about this game, whether it be its sense of humor, characters, or visual style. The game is definitely grindy, and has one of the worst UIs I've experienced in the past decade, but I can somehow look past that. 


9. Mega Man X



Release Year: 1993


I played this game for a couple hours at a friend's house back in the early 90's, so out of all the games on this list, it gives me the most nostalgia. Even disregarding that, the gameplay has aged well, and the gameplay hook of beating bosses to unlock new abilities is fantastic.


8. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior



Release Year: 1991


During our eBaum's World livestream this week we spent a lot of time punching the hell out of each other in this game. It holds up well, to a point where it actually is comparable to modern fighters, minus some of the added complexity. I'm not even into fighters, so you can imagine how solid this game is to rank so highly.


7. Super Castlevania IV



Release Year: 1991


This is a great game that blends side-scroller with action and a good dose of RPG. I remember playing Simon's Quest as a kid and it had me hooked.


6. Secret of Mana



Release Year: 1993


Now we're in the big leagues.


This game has surprised me more than any other on the list. I knew it was popular, to a point it got a remaster, but I had no idea it was this good. The graphical style reminds me of Stardew Valley, which is a good thing. The combat is clearly way beyond its time. It also gets going much quicker than your average RPG.




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5. Yoshi's Island



Release Year: 1995


These classic platformers are unsurprisingly still good. Even with that in mind, this game's balance of Mario-style gameplay along with Yoshi skills is a near masterpiece. 


4. Final Fantasy VI



Release Year: 1990


I've somehow plunged 20 hours into this game so far. I'm not even sure why, to be honest. Maybe it's the great character development. Perhaps it's the legendary soundtrack. Or, it's the fact that it actually has a world map, unlike modern Final Fantasy games. I'm not sold on the game quite as much as some people (Final Fantasy VII is better), but I finally understand why so many people rank it among the best games of the 90's.




3. Super Metroid



Release Year: 1994


This game is so dang good. It's a lot more like Alien than I was expecting. Considering I love that series, it's safe to say it won me over within the first five minutes.


I'm addicted to rolling around as a little ball. I'm addicted to blasting rockets at aliens. I'm also addicted to getting new abilities. Yeah, I'll be beating this game soon, you can count on it.


2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past



Release Year: 1991


I can't even believe this game came out in 1991. It feels virtually identical to A Link Between Worlds, which came out 22 years later, indicating how well Nintendo mastered the formula decades ago. Every time I get a new tool Nintendo finds a way to use it in dozens of different ways.


1. Super Mario World



Release Year: 1990


This game is ridiculously good. I guess that's not too surprising, but I'm actually having more fun with the game than Super Mario Odysssey, and that's saying a lot.