Nintendo released the NES Classic last year — a box resembling the original NES that was loaded up with 30 classic 8-bit NES games — to more than a little fanfare. In fact, it got more attention than Nintendo expected or wanted to deal with — they discontinued the NES Classic long before they had satisfied demand, leaving a lot of classic gamers wanting. Well, they’re back for round two with the SNES Classic this year, and we’re all waiting to see just how many Nintendo will actually produce.
The SNES, Nintendo’s follow-up console released in 1991 in North America, helped take gaming into the 16-bit era. It represented the peak of the rivalry between Nintendo and Sega (with their Genesis console), and like any good business rivalry, that gave us some of the best games of all time. A lot of those were on the SNES, and you can play them again this fall.
That’s when Nintendo will start selling the SNES Classic. It’s the same drill as last year — the console looks like the SNES, but instead of taking cartridges, it’s preloaded with a selection of games from the excellent SNES library. The games will all play in HD over an HDMI connection, and the console comes with two wired SNES controllers — good news, because there are some primo multiplayer games on this list, both competitive and co-op.
As you’d expect, most titles are first-party Nintendo games (we’ll have a full list at the end). Super Mario World and Super Mario Kart are on there, and Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Donkey Kong Country are all essentials.
Star Fox is there, too, but Nintendo has something even more intriguing — Star Fox 2. If you are certain there was never any game with that title, you are right. Nintendo started developing it for the SNES, but never got around to finishing it — we ended up with Star Fox 64 for the Nintendo 64, and we’re not complaining. Nintendo is saying you’ll need to beat the first level of Star Fox on the SNES Classic to unlock Star Fox 2, which is the first new SNES game in who knows how long.
There’s also a good list of third party games, including some of those multiplayer gems we mentioned. Street Fighter 2 Turbo: Hyper Fighting will make good use of that second controller, and the Square RPG Secret of Mana is a pretty good co-op time. Meanwhile, Final Fantasy III (aka Final Fantasy VI) is on the shortlist for greatest RPG of all time, and Mega Man X and Contra III are two of the great third-party sidescrollers.
But, I’m not getting out of here without addressing the elephant in the room. I appreciate the inclusion of Final Fantasy III and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, but how, in a selection of games including Square titles, is Chrono Trigger not on this list? I cannot fathom why easily one of the best SNES games and best games overall was left off, but if I ever find out, I will be sure to report back.
Heinous snub aside, the SNES Classic looks like it’ll be a pretty solid buy. For the 21 games (including a brand new one) plus the two controllers, you’ll have to spend $80. The console comes out on September 29. We have no idea how many Nintendo is making, or if they’re going to be sold in waves like last year (they will be available in some retail locations, but we don’t know which yet). We’re assuming Nintendo has learned some lessons from the NES Classic, but we won’t know for sure until it’s go time. Until then, you can keep tabs on it on the SNES Classic page and salivate over the full list of games included:
- Contra III: The Alien Wars
- Donkey Kong Country
- Final Fantasy III
- Kirby Super Star
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
- Mega Man X
- Secret of Mana
- Star Fox
- Star Fox 2
- Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
- Super Castlevania IV
- Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts
- Super Mario Kart
- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
- Super Mario World
- Super Metroid
- Super Punch-Out!!
- Yoshi’s Island