Some of my best gaming memories are playing on Duck Hunt on the NES using a massive bazooka controller that my Uncle had in his collection. I think that’s where my love of Nintendo consoles first started, and since then I’ve owned every single one that they’ve produced. GameBoys, N64, Wii’s; you name it and I’ve got it. Seeing Zelda up on the big screen for the first time and trying your hand at Mario Kart all in glorious colour; those memories just don’t go away! The console that changed it all for me and many other gaming fans out there was the SNES, and although it’s incredibly hard to pick the Best SNES Games of all time from the vast list of titles, I’ve tried to whittle it down to 10 for you to look through and reminisce.
1. Mario Paint
Using a mouse with a Nintendo plastic mousemat might seem like a strange concept on a games console, but this game had hours of fun hidden away inside it. You might find it hard to become the next Bob Ross or Leonardo Davinci (I bet that’s the first time those two have been in a sentence together), but it was great for mucking about doodling your own designs or making bizarre drawings. If you’re a whizz on Microsoft paint like Jim’ll Paint It, then you probably can make anything you want by using this game!
Two of the most memorable parts of this game are the melody maker, in which you use different character faces and emblems as different notes and instruments in a bid to remake classic Nintendo songs, and the fly swatter game which still remains infuriatingly addictive. It might not be a game that you play on religiously for months, but it’s one of the Best SNES Games for letting off steam after losing your temper with Zelda or dying for the 100th time on Super Mario World. Test it out and see what you can create!
2. Super Mario World
Ask anyone who the character is with the red hat and blue overalls, and 99.89% of people will tell you that it’s Mario. He could well be the most famous game character of all time, if not the most famous plumber, and his franchise spans generations. You have to be a pretty dark and moody gamer not to enjoy hearing that ‘yahoo’ or ‘let’sa go!’ whenever he jumps or enters a level, and the controls are also so perfectly simple that anyone could pick them up and have a go.
Super Mario World sold an astonishing 20million copies, making it the winner of the Best SNES Games of all time accolade (in terms of sales at any rate). The storyline is classic; save Peach from Bowser, but this time you have to save Dinosaur Island at the same time. What’s more, you can now play as Luigi and use Yoshi to get around too! Things just don’t get better than this. If you haven’t played Super Mario World then you really need to wake up and get onto eBay, stat; this is one game that you need to play before you run out of real-life 1-Up mushrooms, so to speak.
3. Yoshi’s Island
Yoshi first debuted in Super Mario World, even though he was born in the minds of developers back in the NES days. Thanks to Super Mario World becoming one of the Best SNES Games of all time and one of the best platformers on the console to boot, Yoshi managed to snag his own title on the console, Game critics and players everywhere loved the graphics, the style, the music; everything about this game was a winner. It’s no surprise with Shigeru Myamoto behind the wheel really; everything that man touches turns to video gaming gold! Yoshi is still loved by Nintendo fans all over the world today; my girlfriend always snaps him up when we play Mario Party before I even have a chance to pick him!
The colouring book style setting and scribble drawings in the background add a new texture never before seen in the SNES game world, one that we would go on to see in Yoshi’s Story and feel traces of in Yoshi’s Wooly World. This side scrolling game sees you controlling Yoshi as he jumps, flutters, and eats his way through a multitude of worlds, solving puzzles and grabbing collectibles on the go. You have to get Baby Mario back across all 48 levels and rescue Baby Luigi from the Koopalings, all without losing our little red-capped friend along the way. It’s a brilliant game and on that firmly deserves a place in out Best SNES Games list. Ok, time for something non Mario related next!
4. Star Fox
In a world where side-scrolling 2D games reign supreme, one Fox dares to make a difference. That should have been the title for the advertising slogan, but unfortunately, I was too young to be employed by Nintendo at the time. Thanks to the Super FX chip (everything is’ Super’ in the Nintendo-verse), the first-ever Star Fox game was a 3D forward scrolling space-age shooter, which was a very nice surprise for Nintendo fans and a kick in the teeth to their competitors. Star Fox features the one and only Fox McCloud and his space crew; Falco Lombardi (still the best character name ever), Peppy Hare, and Slippy Toad. It’s based in the Lylat System, and their mission is to defeat the evil Andross from taking over the galaxy.
I’m a big fan of space-age fighter games, and Star Fox still retains all of the tension and excitement that it did back in the day. Firing torpedos at robots and enemy craft is something I’ll never be able to do in real life, so at least I can get my fix in a virtual way. Being able to temporarily speed up and slow down to avoid enemies was a very nice touch and, unlike Rogue Squadron where every altercation with a mountain seems to kill you, Fox’s Arwing has a decent shield around it to stop you from becoming a slice of furry burnt toast every time you crash into the world around you. It’s tricky and it can be stressful at times, but it’s one of the Best SNES Games that I’ve ever played, so I’m sticking it in the list!
5. Super Mario Bros. 3
After that short Mario break, it’s time to jump back in with another great title from the series. Selling 17 million copies, Super Mario Bros. 3 is the third best selling game on the console, so if you’re questioning its inclusion in our Best SNES Games list, then hopefully that will put you straight! Features in this game such as the world map and some of Mario and Luigi’s moves would go on to become signature elements in future titles in the series, so it’s fair to say that it was a pretty groundbreaking title!
By Controlling either Mario or Luigi, you can jump and stomp your way through the different courses in search of Princess Toadstool and several other Kingdom leaders in an attempt to rescue them from, you guessed it, Bowsers and the Koopalings. When do those guys ever rest, and why don’t they try kidnapping somebody else for a change! Super Mario Bros. 3 saw the pair using new abilities such as the Super Leaf that gives Mario the ability to float and glide through the air. It’s another classic in the series and one that you should crack out the next time you sit down in front of your SNES.
6. Street Fighter II – The World Warrior
This game tried to destroy me a number of times, but I desperately wanted to become the world warrior (which I finally did when I was about 16. No biggy). Fighting as Blanca, Guile, Ryu, Ken, Dhalsim, E. Honda and the rest of the Street Fighters was like nothing that I had experienced before on a computer game. To this day, I still don’t know what Blanca’s deal is, and I can’t think about Yoga without seeing Dhalsim’s massive arms. And how hard was the bullfighter dude at the very end of the game! Capcom sure now how to make good punch ’em ups!
The controls are pretty simple if you want to kick and punch your way to victory, but with a plethora of special moves up our heroes sleeves (expect for Blanca who doesn’t wear sleeves), you can pull out some insane techniques that will make it impossible for your opponent to gain the upper ground. Each fight follows a ‘best of three’ system and the person with most health will win if no-one defeats their opponent in the last round. FUN FACT – I was in a band called ‘Hundred Hand Slap’ for a little while. None of us wore Sumo skirts though; we might have been more popular if we did.
7. Super Mario Kart
This game doesn’t really need an introduction, or any write up to follow it if I’m going to be perfectly honest, but I have a word count to hit…so…lets…give…it…a…go. Accelerate,
Even though the graphics are a little dated now and the players look a little squashed, the gameplay and the racing format that we have come to know and love is exactly the same. It’s a timeless classic and one that I’m definitely going to be showing to my future kids to let them know where kart racing began. This game would go on to influence Mario Kart 64, arguably the best title in the series, and many other racing games across all of the other platforms.
8. Super Metroid
Samus Aran couldn’t be more kick-ass if she tried. A space soldier in a robotic suit that uses a plasma cannon to defeat alien monsters; it doesn’t get much better than that. Samus travels to Zebes to take an infant Metroid creature from the hands of a notorious space pirate named Ridley. If you were still wondering whether this is a good game before the last sentence, then hopefully that will have convinced you that this is another one of the Best SNES Games of all time.
You can fire your plasma cannon in eight different directions as you travel through the different levels, using your grappling hook to swing over canyons and pull objects towards you. The Morph Ball has always been one of my favourite functions linked to Samus’ suit, especially because you can plant bombs while you’re rolling! And don’t get me started on the massive enemies and bosses that you come up against; those guys just don’t know how to die! Samus is a space-age heroine of epic proportion, and her games are all highly rated by the global gaming world. One small leap for space soldiers, one giant leap for Nintendo-kind!
9. The Legend Of Zelda – A Link To The Past
Zelda games are my childhood (and my adulthood if I’m being perfectly honest). Link is one of the greatest characters of all time and just as influential as Mario when it comes to pushing new Nintendo consoles (there’s a reason why the Switch launched with BOTW!). A Link To The Past see’s our green-garbed crusader trying to stop his arch-nemesis Ganon from being released by an evil wizard. It follows the alternate reality in which the Hero of Time did not succeed, which for all you non-nerds out there means that Ganondorf is trapped in the Sacred Realm with the triforce pieces, but in his beast form, named Ganon. The Sacred Realm is now the Dark
Whether you understood that top bit or not doesn’t matter; the fact is that this is a stellar game and one that everyone needs to play at least once in their lifetime. It’s the first title where we come into contact with
10. Donkey Kong Country
Shigeru Miyamoto might not have liked the pre-rendered graphics on this game, but Donkey Kong Country will forever be one of the Best SNES Games of all time in my humble opinion. I used to play this game with my cousin all the time, taking it in turns whenever one of us died or lost a life. Riding Rambi the rhino and shooting around levels using the barrel cannons was so amazing, and there’s something about a kick-ass fighting squad of apes defeating walking crocodiles that will never stop being awesome. King K. Rool might not be as well known as Bowser or Ganondorf, but he’s still a tough cookie to crack!
I still don’t know why King K. Rool stole all of Donkey Kong’s bananas, but he was messing with the wrong ape when he took those sweet yellow snacks away from Kong’s jungle house. Players must take the duo through the different levels and collect as many bananas as they can while trying to avoid and/or defeat the minions along the way. It’s a fast-thinking fast-paced adventure game that I still love playing today, and when I think of the SNES, I always think about Donkey Kong Country and those blasted blasting barrels first.