As somebody who has got progressively worse at video games with age, I’ve always subscribed to the view that Super Nintendo is without a doubt the best console ever made.
I regret very few things in life, but the day after my 8th birthday when I sold my SNES to my best friend after receiving a PS1 is one of them. A huge regret, but I was taken in by football games with commentary, 3D graphics, and the fact it could double up as a CD player.
My friend was less foolish than me. Whilst he may have upgraded his consoles, he refused to part with our (I still claim part ownership) beloved SNES. One day when we were 16, we decided it was time to blow the dust from the cartridges and strap ourselves in for a snession (Super Nintendo Session).
This was meant to be a one-off thing, but we enjoyed it so much that snessions started to become a weekly occurrence. Things got serious when we started buying games off EBay at 17, then we got to 18 and realised everybody in our year had girlfriends.
There can be no doubt that the SNES was a brilliant console, but did the games last the test of time or were we just playing it for the sake of nostalgia? This was a question that had to be answered, so we dug out the old girl for one last snession.
Yes I was right to think that Super Mario 64 was crap and that Mario was in his prime on the SNES. I don’t care if he can turn 360 degrees, that’s not what Mario is about, its about being a rock hard plumber.
Super Mario World is quite simply one of the best videogames ever made. It has the ability to send me into giddy fits of euphoria every time I unlock Star World, conjuring up memories of finishing my homework and being allowed that magical half an hour before dinner time to play videogames.
Super Mario All Stars also deserves a mention. The All Stars collection contained 4 games from the NES that were given a face-lift, which are all mighty fun to play. Super Mario World 2, Yoshi’s Island, is a laugh but doesn’t quite have the same effect on me (maybe because I bought the game when I was 17).
However, Mario Kart on the SNES is painfully slow. Like a fine wine, Mario Kart is something that has got better with age.
Even the most ardent retro gamer would find it a struggle to argue the case for footie games on the SNES. I wish I could sit here and tell you that Striker and Sensible Soccer offered me the same enjoyment as FIFA, but that would make me a liar.
That’s not to say the football games don’t have their charms, let’s not forget FIFA International Soccer and the striking exploits of the mighty Klaus ‘He scores when he wants’ Hoeflich. Hoeflich was a player I held in such high regard that I used to pretend to be him in the playground and was heartbroken when I was informed that he wasn’t real.
And Sensible Soccer wasn’t all bad. In exchange for the bird’s eye view (which pretty much ruined the game-play), the bizarre game allowed you to play with the illustrious ‘The Pizza Team’. I just cannot imagine this feature existing today.
‘Striker’ may not have much on FIFA when it comes to fun, but boy oh boy does it have one of the best theme tunes of all time! I’d recommend FIFA do away with their soundtrack all together and just use intros from the Striker series.
So here’s the thing; my mum never let me play beat-em-ups when I was 6. So, when the SNES got it’s first renaissance back in 2006, we hastily purchased all the classics; Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat, and Killer Instinct, to see what we had been missing.
Sadly not much, but that might be because, by the time I got my PS1, my mum had relaxed her stance on fighting games. Tekken 3 was included in my 8th birthday PlayStation bundle and I became just another mindless desensitized kid practicing moves in the playground.
The games themselves are pretty much like all fighting games I’ve experienced, you button bash your way through each match up, you might win a few games, until you come across somebody who actually knows how to play and you are easily swept aside.
I know all of the games mentioned above hold really special places in a lot of people’s hearts, but sadly not mine.
The good, the bad, and the Pilot Wings
I remember being fascinated by Zelda: A Link To The Past when I was a kid. The game just seemed like it could go on forever, the whole light and dark world concept blew my little mind and I’d spent countless hours trying to work out ways for Link to be able to go in the water without loosing health (I don’t know why I was so fascinated with that aspect of the game, but there you go).
I remember getting pretty far with it and I was on track to complete the game for the first time. Sadly, I dropped the cartridge and all of the memory deleted. I just couldn’t bring myself to start again.
With that in mind I must have been a lot brighter when I was a kid because there was no way I could complete the first mission without going onto YouTube and watching some whizz kid do it first (shoot me serious gamers, what are you going to do?).
The Donkey Kong series and Star Wing have both aged gracefully and are still mighty fun to play.
There are some serious turkeys, which need to be buried in the same landfill where the infamous E.T Atari game was laid to rest.
Let’s start with Pilot Wings. What the hell was going on there? A game where the objective is to achieve your pilot license! Fantastic! Why not go the whole hog and make us sit an exam whilst you’re at it as well? Bart’s Nightmare is a crappy Simpsons game and is near impossible to complete. Another World is meant to be a gaming classic, but I was clearly never adept enough to get past the first level.
So what did I learn from all this? I learnt that I love Super Mario World as much now as when I was 6 and nostalgia has nothing to do with it. I can’t play GTA for toffee and I suck at FIFA. I’ll never be able to appreciate the X-Box in the same way serious gamers do now, but that’s why the SNES is so important to me. It stops me becoming a wanky video game snob who can’t appreciate videogames as a valid art form. If you have one, dig it out, blow off the dust and strap yourself in for a snession.