Round Table: Favorite SNES Games

The staff discuss their favorite titles for Nintendo’s legendary 16-bit system.

By Nintendojo Staff. Posted 09/06/2014 13:00 6 Comments     ShareThis

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island Screenshot

Of all Nintendo’s legacy console, Super NES had arguably the best library. From masterful first-party titles like Super Metroid and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, to classic third-party efforts like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy IV, few platforms could match the depth and variety of SNES’s offerings. With our week-long tribute to SNES drawing to a close, the staff discuss some of their favorite games for the legendary console.

Jon Stevens

The SNES game that I loved more than any other has to be Super Mario All-Stars. While Super Mario World had already perfected the formula found in the earlier games that made up the collection, my friend and I still found ourselves hooked on All-Stars for an entire summer thanks to the huge variety that it offered.

This was an age before HD remakes and collections became common, and so having the opportunity to play these great games again with added features and improved graphics was legitimately exciting. It also helped that the games themselves were just so good! While I enjoyed playing The Lost Levels for the first time (it was just too difficult for me at the time!), it was Super Mario Bros. 3 that I came back to again and again– despite the countless lives lost on the Sky!

It is a testament to the Mario series that, for the most part, both All-Stars and Super Mario World hold up just as well today. Despite that, though, I still can’t decide whether I prefer Frog Mario or Yoshi…

Angela Marrujo

While many of you remember the NES as the console of your childhood, the SNES was the console of my generation (a ’90s kid to the max) and what I spent the majority of my time playing growing up.

I have the fondest memories of a lot of games: Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems, Super Mario World, Mario All-Stars, Mega Man X, Super Mario Kart, the Power Rangers games, Maximum Carnage, Tournament Fighters, the Donkey Kong Country trilogy, Mario RPG, Yoshi’s Island, and Tetris Attack.

No, I couldn’t choose just a couple of those titles to mention, because they all got equal play time in the SNES and I have very distinct memories of all of them. Each game brought something unique to the table that made them amazing and incredibly fun in their own right, and I often found myself playing one for a little while and then popping in another, and then another, because I was in the mood to play more than one at a time.

From brawlers to platformers, to racers to puzzle games, each of these games is something special and it would take me an article dedicated to each game to get into what about them I loved and why. Even the most obscure titles, like Cool Spot (did anyone else have that game?) or Home Alone were fun diversions when I wanted to play something a little different.

Then there were the games that weren’t just obscure, but odd, like Mario is Missing! and Mario’s Time Machine. I won’t lie– I just figured out how to actually play Mario’s Time Machine a few months ago after playing it one evening and finally taking it seriously. It took me until the age of 23, but better late than never, right?

And in case anyone is wondering, it wasn’t until I was much older that I discovered A Link to the Past and bought a copy for the SNES (Ocarina of Time was my first Zelda game and what started my Zelda obsession in ’98), so while I didn’t grow up playing it, it too is one of my favorite titles on the console.

Andy Hoover

First, allow me to admit that I too had Cool Spot. While on the surface it might have just looked like a soulless advertisement for 7-Up, it was actually a well designed, and surprisingly challenging platformer that I put a lot of time into, despite one level giving me slight motion sickness every time I played it.

Ultimately, I have to break down my experience with SNES into two periods: the games I played initially, and then the games I would discover later. This first era was largely defined by sidescrolling platformers and beat-’em-ups, like Super Mario World, Yoshi’s Island, Spider Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, and the Donkey Kong Country series.

The other period was when I came back to the system after having discovered my love for the Zelda series along with JRPGs. This was when I came to love Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, and A Link to the Past. It should also be noted that at one point I lent my copy of A Link to the Past to a friend in return for the SNES version of Sim City, which somehow became my favorite version of the celebrated series.

Robert Palacios

Let me join the chorus of those who have played the godliness known as Cool Spot! That game was incredible!
Great graphics, and a cool character. (Puts on Cool Spot’s shades and rollerskates away backwards.)

My all-time favorite game on SNES has to be Street Fighter II Turbo. That was the game that transformed a boy into a man. It was the first game that I felt I had to master, and my training equated into blistered fingers (that D-pad!) and a love that has ceased to wane even after all these years. I won’t say that I love Guile more than my flesh and blood friends and family, but it’s true that his theme does make everything better.

Other gems that I was absolutely bonkers for included Donkey Kong Country and Super Star Wars. Oddly enough, I never was too into Zelda or Mario at this time. I still felt that Mario was the bad guy to DK’s good guy (see: Donkey Kong Jr.), and Zelda was too time consuming. I was too busy training to fight Sheng Long!

Robert Marrujo

Super Mario All-Stars is also a personal favorite of mine. I’d played all the Super Mario games on NES, but seeing everything remastered in 16-bit graphics (that’s something you’ll never hear again) was just so cool. At that point, I had no idea Lost Levels was the real Super Mario Bros. 2 from Japan, so I thought it was an actual assemblage of missing levels from some far-off realm. It’s sad to say, but All-Stars is probably the sort of undertaking that will never be done again: a remake of four games, one of which making its first appearance in the West, all in one package!

The Cool Spot love on here is also not escaping me (it better not, Angela and I grew up together!). It was one of many oddball games that comprised SNES’s library. So many licensed titles of the time were better than the drivel that hits the market nowadays. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers by Bandai, The Death and Return of Superman by Blizzard and Sunsoft, Batman Returns by Konami, Taz-Mania also by Sunsoft, and Maximum Carnage by Software Creations– the list just goes on and on. Some of these are admittedly not true classics, but they’re quality games nonetheless that I wish someone would figure out how to get on Virtual Console.

My all-time favorite SNES games, though, are the trilogy of Donkey Kong Country titles. I got such a blast from those three titles. I can vividly remember how blown away I was by the visuals. It’s easy to take polished graphics for granted now when basically every game coming out is HD, but at the time, the DKC games were freakishly realistic looking. It was also refreshing to get a platformer in the vein of the Super Mario Bros. titles, as Nintendo (outside of Yoshi’s Island, which was pretty different) essentially stopped making those sorts of games and these were the next best thing. Of the three, Donkey Kong Country 2 is tops, especially because it has the best soundtrack of the three (let the debates begin!).

What are you favorite SNES games? Let us know in the comments!

6 Responses to “Round Table: Favorite SNES Games”

  • 745 points
    OG75 says...

    My personal Faves:
    Super Metroid
    Super Mario World
    Super Mario Kart
    Super Castlevania IV

    If you hadn’t noticed, all of the above titles are “super”!

    Honorable mentions to Starfox and A Link to the Past.

    Like Andy, my SNES experience can be broken into two eras, the second of which where I discovered JRPGs.

    After reading this feature, I might have to track down a copy of Cool Spot!

  • 87 points
    chrisbg99 says...

    A Link to the Past
    Super Metroid
    Super Mario World
    Donkey Kong Country 2
    Yoshi’s Island
    Mega Man X2
    Turtles in Time
    Chrono Trigger

  • 156 points
    excaliburguy says...

    While I have very fond memories of Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country 2, my favorite SNES game I didn’t play until recently: Fire Emblem 4. Oh, Japan. Why do you keep good games to yourself?

  • 1570 points
    penduin says...

    This page is not complete until Actraiser and Star Fox are mentioned and praised for their excellent gameplay, their groundbreaking visuals and their to-this-day-unsurpassed music.

    You’re welcome. :^)

    I would buy HD remakes of both of those games in a heartbeat, but I’d rather just be able to play their original versions on Wii U since they are perfect as-is. :^) Seriously Virtual Console, get your act together!

    But, my single most-played SNES title was probably Mario Paint. I used that to add titles and animation to videos I made for years and years. Mario Paint was the most fun way to make cartoons until Flipnote Studio. (Oh Flipnote Studio 3D, where art thou?)

  • 745 points
    OG75 says...


    I did mention Star Fox. Granted, as an honorable mention, but I absolutely love that game. Also, I kicked myself for not writing Actraiser in my original post. One of my favorites of all time. The Wii U’s virtual console will not be complete until it contains these two games. Sure, Actraiser is on Wii-mode, but c’mon Nintenddo.

    And what’s up with Nintendo not being able to emulate the FX chip on virtual consoles? Is this true? Is this the reason we don’t see Star Fox (and Stunt Racer FX!) on virtual consoles?

    • 1570 points
      penduin says...

      Sorry, I noticed your mention of Star Fox right after I posted. :^)

      As for Super FX emulation, it’s so ridiculous. There are open-source emulators out there written by enthusiasts in their spare time which emulate the behavior of that hardware with ridiculous accuracy. I don’t know if the results are 100% pixel-perfect but I can’t tell, and I’m very, very picky. There’s no way Nintendo itself, with a huge head start on knowing the ins and outs of Super FX tech, couldn’t emulate it just as well. Or passably well. Or at all.

      My guess is that Nintendo’s Virtual Console staff is woefully understaffed and lacking in the power or management to do interesting work, being told instead “Get DS emulation running so we can pathetically trickle out one title a month for that too.”

      Of course it could be pure statistics too. Maybe there’s no technical hurdle at all in getting Super FX games on VC, but the guys in charge have never managed to hit those little spots on the dartboard when deciding which game to release next.

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