You know, I wasn’t that into the Super NES when it came out.
Why wouldn’t I be? I was a NES fanatic, and was a big fan of Nintendo properties at the time, so it seems like I’d be all gung-ho to trade up, right? Well, actually, this was before there was a whole lot of trading games and systems. Anyways, when the rumors of the successor to the NES started floating around, I was less than enthusiastic. I was still pretty happy with my good-old-reliable Nintendo Entertainment System.
So was Nintendo. The higher-ups at NCL were perfectly happy to let the NES ride out its highly successful lifespan as long as conceivably possible. Even in the early 1990s, NESes were selling at near-astronomical levels. People weren’t bored with it, but only a moron wouldn’t have noticed that two of Nintendo’s competitors were already releasing next-generation systems. Namely, these were the Sega Genesis and the TurboGrafx 16.
So, the Super NES was developed largely in response to these other systems, although it had been in the works already. What came was Nintendo’s (for its time) most technologically advanced system ever. The Super NES had exponentially more colors than either of the other consoles, one of the best sound chips ever — arguably better than the N64’s since the N64 didn’t actually HAVE a sound chip. The Genesis did have a faster processor, which is why Gradius III has slowdown and Sonic the Hedgehog doesn’t, but otherwise the Super NES outclassed everything else on the market.
Yet still I wasn’t swayed. I was having way too much fun with Kirby’s Adventure and Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse to worry about any new system or whatnot. Even something like Super Mario World didn’t do much for my appetite. Why would I care about Mario riding around on some dumb dinosaur? I’d already played the best Mario game ever, Super Mario Bros. 3. Confidentially, I still pretty much feel that way, although my feelings toward Yoshi have softened a bit.
I think it was Street Fighter II that finally got me on board. The Super NES version was the only one that could really handle the game, anyway, but it was also the only version available. So, there we were: I had to have one. And, since I got one of those for Street Fighter, I went ahead and picked up Super Mario World, F-Zero and Zelda, and several other classics. And I couldn’t have been happier.
At the time, having four face buttons, two triggers, Start and Select seemed like overkill, but I guess we’ve pretty much learned that this happens to be the near-perfect control setup, with the possible addition of some other shoulder buttons, as nearly every other controller since has been based on it, save for the Wii Remote itself.
Another thing I remember is that the Super NES was full of expensive games, too. RPGs like Final Fantasy III and Chrono Trigger would range from $80-100 apiece. I literally emptied my bank account to afford Chrono Trigger, although it was worth every penny. Star Fox had its own special chip in the cartridge, and even though I got that free Star Fox squirt bottle with it, it was still a bit steep. Overall, I had a blast with my Super NES, and even though I don’t think it was as culturally relevant as either the NES or the Wii have become, it’s still a great system with some fantastic software.