The Top 20 Games of 1991-1995

Somewhat haphazard Top 20 List of video games from the SNES/Game Boy era.

By Nintendojo Staff. Posted 05/01/2012 11:00 7 Comments     ShareThis

1. Super Mario Kart (1992)

This was a close call. The top 3 on my list are in an ever-constant battle for the top slot in this time period. All three of the games that I have mentioned are pure gems and are the best of their respective genres. However, when it came to finding the top slot, it came down to one thing and one thing only– impact. Some may argue that Super Metroid was ahead of its time and is one of the greatest action games of all time and that’s a legitimate reason. Others may say that A Link to the Past was the blueprint for all the great Zelda games since and that it has always ranked upon the greatest games on SNES. And once again, that’s another legitimate bit of reasoning. However, Super Mario Kart gets the top slot because of the legacy that it started and also because it’s one of the greatest racing games of all time.

Super Mario Kart did something that the other two games didn’t quite do– it invented a genre. The kart racing genre had been non-existent until this game came along. It also took the Mode 7 graphics that had been flirted with time and time again and did wonders with it. The graphics may look hokey now, but back then it was nothing short of stunning. This game is what helped bring people together and tear them apart at the same time. It also helped pioneer a few other genres that we may not have realized. This was the one of the first games that did something along the lines of crossovers or having characters from several in-universe games get together to do something silly. Could you imagine someone doing this with Mortal Kombat? (Actually, that would be pretty amusing.) That, in turn, brought out the Mario Sports games, the Mario Party games and even Super Smash Bros.. It may be a stretch to say that it all was traced back to Super Mario Kart, but it’s up there in a list of video games that have had so much impact on the world of Nintendo.

And so, that is why Super Mario Kart is ranked first. It brought a lot to the table and its impact is still felt to this day. Maybe I’ll change my mind a few days from now (not the first time), but I do honestly believe that Super Mario Kart is a very important game.

Why Andrew loves Super Mario Kart

When I mentioned I’d be writing a blurb for Super Mario Kart, I apparently dumbfounded my roommate. “They’re still making Mario Kart games?” he asked, apparently not realizing that red and green shells alike have been pelting the world over for the past twenty (!) years. And what a wonderful twenty years it’s been! Super Mario Kart holds its own even now, as anyone can find from the Virtual Console. The Battle Mode is still tops, second to perhaps only Mario Kart 64‘s Block Fort– and the Feather (predating Roc’s Feather in Link’s Awakening) was useless but hilarious to play around with. But I’m going into favorites here, which is exactly the point of Super Mario Kart: find a character (Koopa Troopa), tap Y+A to shrink him/her down, find a track, and find a friend to pelt your favorite found items at. Thanks for letting us choose, Super Mario Kart. You’ll always be my favorite..

Why Mel loves Super Mario Kart

I feel like I owe an explanation for this list…or at least this slot. Why is it at number 1 compared to other great games like Super Metroid, Super Mario World, and Earthbound? It’s more about its influence and its impact on the gaming world and as much as you guys may think otherwise, there was a HUGE impact. First off, it invented around the neighborhood of three new genres. One of them being the kart-racing genre, which I have no idea where we’d be without that genre. While there had been several racing games before and since, nothing was quite like Super Mario Kart and the series of Mario Karts that followed. This also what invented the Mascot Racer. Where different characters of a single franchise (or maybe multiple) would come together and race around. In a world where people love the idea of crossovers, this helped us all wonder questions that we never wondered but yet still want to see like “who would win in a kart race between Mario and Bowser?” And probably the biggest reason is that without this game, you’d probably not have a lot of the other fun crossover games…well this one and Marvel vs Capcom. These two games helped spawn a ton of video game related crossover games or AU-styled games like Mario Party or Super Smash Bros..

Also, dude, the game is fun. What else is there needed to be said? And I’m partial to the samba styled songs.

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7 Responses to “The Top 20 Games of 1991-1995”

  • 21 points
    Dave Magliano says...

    Can’t really argue with the top 3, but maybe not that order. Super Metroid is no doubt my tops of not just these 5 years, but maybe any year. It stands up well today despite its age. Atmospherically, it may be the best SNES game to stick with you after putting it down, with that soundtrack, the searching, and a slick finale. Good job on the write ups, btw. And kudos for having the guts to put a kart racer number 1, even if I think it should be #3. :)

  • 42 points
    Gaviin says...

    I’m absolutely loving these Top 20 pieces. Reading about the games from the beginning (NES) and early days (SNES) of my gaming “career” (and life) brings back so many memories and confirms that it truly was a golden age of video games.

    Keep ’em coming!

    P.S. Chrono Trigger should have been ranked higher than it was. :)

  • 21 points
    Dave Magliano says...

    And one more thing, really would have liked to see Lemmings get some love here. Was released all over the place, but is still one of the most clever and entertaining puzzlers ever. And with a cool, stylized-classical soundtrack.

    • 1332 points
      Andrew Hsieh says...

      The first time I played Lemmings was on my personal computer, but I definitely remember seeing Lemmings on SNES! Now that was a crazy interface to play Lemmings on. I never was that great at that game.

  • 1244 points
    lukas85 says...

    Yoshi Island is such a good ga,e, i just finished again this week on the 3ds. And i think that the idea for spherical worlds in galaxy has its origins here, in one boss batle you fight a fat black bird in a spherical moon, and you move across the surface. It looks prety cool, as does the rest of the game.

  • 1244 points
    lukas85 says...

    Tecmo Superbowl better than Satar Fox? Sorry guys, but it seems that your american tastes clouded your judgment here.

  • 1244 points
    lukas85 says...

    I get that mario kart was more influential that the other games, but, it was a better game? I dont think so. mario World and Super metroid are better games, sadly i have never played Alttp so i cant argument on that, but i think Suoer Metroid is a Masterpiece and should have been higher than Mario kart. anyway, this is my top 3.

    1. Super Mario World
    2. Super Metroid
    3. Donkey Kong Country

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