Previously on My Gaming History…
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (or SNES, which will allow me to be lazy), was introduced to North American audiences way back in September of 1991. And I actually can’t remember when I got my hands on one.
I know it wasn’t right away. Because I still had the classic NES. Why did I need a new video game console. In fact, I may have still had the old Atari 2600 lying around somewhere. So I certainly didn’t need a third console… Except that I did.
I can’t say I always agree with Barney Stinson’s claim that “newer is always better.” However, when it comes to video games… that’s often a correct assumption. Not always… but quite often.
And seeing the gorgeous 16-bit graphics available with the Super Nintendo, it made that old NES look like straight up garbage.
Don’t get me wrong… To this day, I love a whole slew of games found on the 8-bit Nintendo. I’ll forever look back on that system with fondness. But that Super Nintendo just called out to me. 11-year-old Aaron needed that console.
Like I said, I have no idea when I actually got my hands on my own SNES. It must have been a while, though, because any time my family went into a store that had a Super Nintendo on display, I would go and play Super Mario World to my heart’s content. You don’t see those display models in stores too often anymore… do you? I’m actually asking. I don’t hit up department or electronics stores too often, so I don’t know if they have PlayStation 5s or Nintendo Switches on display for potential buyers to test out in the store these days.
But they sure did with the Super Nintendo. Heck, even Lowe’s, a home improvement store, had an SNES display model.
I just didn’t have the available funds to get my own when it was first released. I mean, $199.99 was a lot of money for an 11-year-old. Who am I kidding… $199.99 is a lot of money for a 41-year-old…
I must have either purchased one for myself or received the console as a gift at some point before 1993. Because 1993 is the year that Super Metroid was released and I know for a fact that I bought that game the week it came out. So I must have had my own SNES for some time before that, because I had already had time to master Super Mario World.
When I say “master” Super Mario World, I mean I beat every level available in the game and found every secret exit in every single level. I crushed it. That’s the last time I’ll be able to say I “mastered” a game in the Super Mario Bros. franchise.
In fact, I would dare say the Super Nintendo was the last console I owned that allowed me to feel like a confident gamer. Because at some point after that, as we moved through the following console generations, something in me just lost interest in being good at playing video games. It isn’t that I lost interest in video games as a form of entertainment. But as we’ll discover with future posts in this series, I would start to bore easily…
But let’s not look to the future yet… It’s still the early ’90s and the Super Nintendo is still brand new to me. And I’m loving every second of it.
Nintendo introduced a couple of peripheries for the SNES. One came in the form of the Super Game Boy, which you would plug into the SNES like a regular game cartridge, but then you would slide a Game Boy game into the smaller slot in the Super Game Boy. This allowed you to play Game Boy games on your TV screen and sometimes in color. The color thing only happened if it was a game designed with the Super Game Boy in mind.
Another fun addition to the Super Nintendo came with Mario Paint, which included a mouse that would plug into the second controller port of the SNES. With Mario Paint you could obviously paint pictures. But beyond that, you could animate your own cartoons and create your own musical score to go along with your animations. That one really gave the creative side of the brain a lot to work with.
Now… Let’s talk about games.
I already mentioned Super Metroid, which I definitely purchased during its first week of availability. To this day, I consider it one of, if not THE best video game ever made. It is incredible. The graphics and game design are beautiful. It takes a story that has grown during the two previous Metroid games and expands upon it in a way that makes sense. And it challenges the player to maneuver Samus Aran through an intricate maze to find items and power-ups and encourages one to do so as quickly as possible, with multiple endings that depend on how long it takes to complete the game. I’m certain I’m not the only one who feels like this is one of the greatest games of all time.
Super Mario World, of course, was super fun. It was followed up some time later by Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. The sequel was… I mean… I thought it was okay. It was very different than any Mario game to that point because it really wasn’t Mario’s game. It was Yoshi’s game. Oh… you might not know who Yoshi is… Yoshi is the little green dinosaur that Mario rides in Super Mario World. He can also make Yoshi stick out his tongue and eat things by hitting him in the back of the head. Animal cruelty if you as me. But Mario has a history of animal cruelty. Remember his role in Donkey Kong, Jr.?
Yoshi’s Island didn’t get a lot of replay for me because I thought it was fairly annoying. The premise has Yoshi and his brethren trying to transport Baby Mario throughout the game and any time Yoshi is hit, Mario is knocked off and into a floating bubble and he cries the entire time until Yoshi catches him again. One of the most annoying sounds in the world has got to be Baby Mario crying. That may have been when I decided I didn’t want to have children of my own.
For me, the other big Nintendo franchise came with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which, I’m sorry to say, is also the final Zelda game I have ever played. There have been many amazing games in the franchise that have come and gone since, I just never got my hands on them. That said, A Link to the Past remains my favorite from that particular franchise.
Another game that I thoroughly enjoyed from the SNES era was called ActRaiser. I’m not sure how popular that one was when it comes to the history of video games, though I know it got a sequel. ActRaiser was almost like two games in one. The bulk of the game put you in the shoes of a deity tasked with helping people develop their civilizations. While doing this, you control an angel/servant who would fly around and fight off demons that would try to destroy or hinder the growth of those civilizations. That was always my favorite part of the game because it’s the part I found most fascinating. The rest of the game was like a classic side-scrolling platformer where you take over an avatar that has to get through a stage destroying enemies and facing some kind of boss. The sequel took away the RPG aspect and stuck solely to the side-scrolling stuff. So I didn’t much care for ActRaiser 2.
Other titles worth mentioning are Final Fantasy II & III (which were actually Final Fantasy IV & VI in Japan), Donkey Kong Country and its sequels, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, the Mega Man X series, and of course, the original Super Mario Kart. Where would the world be without Mario Kart?
That’s all I have to say about the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Did you own an SNES back in the day? What were some of your favorite games? There were a ton of them, so I know there are a lot I left out of this post. Have you felt nostalgic enough to pick up the SNES Classic that was released in recent years? Let me know what you think down in the comments below!