The success of last year’s NES Classic Edition clearly took Nintendo by surprise. The company was completely incapable of meeting demand, leaving many people unable to buy what became the must-have gift of the holiday season. Now Nintendo has given its SNES the Classic Edition treatment and promises it’s going to build way more than it did last year.
Having grown up with the SNES (OK, we had a Sega Genesis and my best friend had SNES), it’s easy to assume that everyone knows what it is and why people are so excited that it’s back. After dominating the 8-bit era with the NES, Nintendo came late to the party with its sequel. The SNES launched in ’90 in Japan, ’91 in the US and ’92 in the UK. The Genesis had a two-year head start in almost every country, but Nintendo’s second-generation home console was worth the wait.
The SNES arrived with Super Mario World and F-Zero, among other titles. The former is regarded as one of the greatest games of all time while the latter had faux-3D graphics with fluidity and speed unseen on a console before. For the next five years or so, some special games graced the system: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Kart, Metroid, Final Fantasy III, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, Star Fox. I could go on, but essentially, short of Sonic and a few other Sega exclusives, Nintendo destroyed the competition in terms of quality, with dozens of games that have stood the test of time.
That puts the SNES Classic in different territory than its predecessor, which, nostalgia aside, featured many games that, for obvious reasons, aren’t up to modern standards. While I utterly adore Metroid, trying to introduce someone to the original today is tough. But nearly all the games Nintendo has included in its latest console are as enjoyable today as they were when they were first released.