Best of ND 2013: Versus! SNES or N64?

Kyle and Andy debate about two of the most treasured consoles of all time.

By Nintendojo Staff. Posted 12/26/2013 09:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

This story was selected as one of our best from 2013. It was originally published on March 1, during Issue 142.

Kyle England

Hello everyone, and welcome to Versus! This is where various Nintendojo writers debate and discuss all manner of gaming issues. Today, Andy and I are talking about a big question. Which is better, Super Nintendo or Nintendo 64? Andy will be pulling for the SNES while I present the case of the N64. I’ve got my work cut out for me! Andy will get the first word, so take it away!

Andy Hoover

Cake walk time!

If you’re like me, you have a plethora of consoles with countless controllers dangling off cables or sitting about, free from wired constraints. Shapes and colors vary from generation to generation and manufacturer to manufacturer, but I bet there’s something all those controllers have in common: four face buttons on the right side, some sort of directional input on the left, “Start” and “Select” buttons in the middle, and a couple shoulder buttons on top.

Think about it. More than twenty years ago, Nintendo effectively set the standard for what the world would expect from the way it interacted with video games. Sure, certain designs have tweaked the formula, adding a button or two here or throwing in a couple of sticks over there, but the basic shape, layout and functionality is effectively unchanged. Heck, even when Nintendo decided to turn the world upside down with the Wii Remote, they still understood that some games simply require that classic design, and thus released Classic Controller – an obvious throwback to the SNES trailblazer we all know and love.

And I already know what you are thinking: “N64 gave us analog sticks!”

Yes, it did… and they are awesome, but it did it in one of the strangest, most obtuse designs the world has ever seen. Had they just stuck a stick on the SNES pad the world would be a much better place today.

Kyle England

You had to bring up the controller first, didn’t you Andy? I’m already in the hole here. Yes, yes, I must concede to you that the Super Nintendo had an all-around better controller than the Nintendo 64. But that does not count the N64 out, no way! Despite how strange the trident controller is typically considered, I believe it is one the most creative controller designs ever. Nintendo wanted to create an all new way to operate in 3D space by giving us this gamepad of endearing awesomeness. Sure, they could have rested on their laurels and gave us a rehash of the SNES controller, but that would have been no fun at all! Instead we got an iconic controller that came in dozens of amazing colors. SNES can’t boast that.

But what really matters are the games we play using those controllers, right? N64 had games in spades. Yeah, so maybe SNES had some of the greatest games ever made. N64 took those and put them in three dimensions. Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Banjo-Kazooie, Mario Kart 64, Body Harvest, GoldenEye 007… I could do this all day. N64 also rules the land of multiplayer. There is no way you will have as much fun with your friends playing Super Nintendo games. SNES may have the classics, but games on the N64 changed how we play forever, and we haven’t gone back since.

Seriously, play Body Harvest for N64. It’s a criminally underrated game.

Andy Hoover

It would take a fool to deny that N64 had some great games, wrote the book on 3D game design, and introduced the world to the wonder of four person multi-player. But it would take a bigger fool to ignore the fact that SNES simply had more truly amazing games.

Yes, there was Link to the Past, Super Mario World, Kirby Super Star, and all the other Nintendo norms, but those impress with every release, so lets look at what SNES did different. Actually, a lot of those Nintendo norms were born in the 16 bit world: Super Mario Kart was the first mascot kart racer, Donkey Kong Country turned a woman snatching bad guy into banana loving hero, and Star Fox was introduced into the world in all its polygonal glory.

Oh, and I would say that SNES had the better Metroid game, but N64 didn’t have one. I repeat… N64 was completely devoid of Samus Aran.

And let us not forget something that SNES did better than any other Nintendo console – it had third party support! Youngsters might not remember that there was once a time when Final Fantasy was synonymous with Nintendo, and Square even went ahead and released other amazing games, like Chrono Trigger or Secret of Mana. Capcom gave us Street Fighter II, Mega Man X, and perhaps my favorite mix of nostalgia and masochism, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. And maybe this is a little too personal, but I maintain that the SNES era NHL games from EA are the best sports games ever!

Only SNES players could be bad enough dudes to fight ghost and goblins.

And one more thing! EARTHBOUND… and N64 had no Metroid.

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One Response to “Best of ND 2013: Versus! SNES or N64?”

  • 75 points
    Hbomb says...

    Andy’s right. For Kyle’s games argument, the only good game he named was Mario Kart 64. I personally hate the move from 2D to 3D. It was a direction many of my favorite franchises went, and in my opinion, that’s when those franchises went downhill, Mario & Zelda included. Plus, SNES did have the 3rd party support. Yes, I did a N64 episode of Cross Border Gaming (guest-starring ND’s James Stank), but it is probably my least favorite Nintendo console. If anything, it was Nintendo’s awkward transition console.

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