Nintendo has halted production on the NES Classic Edition, much to nostalgic collectors’ chagrin. But if that decision was made in part to clear shelves for a Super Nintendo Classic Edition, as reported by Eurogamer, then we’re all in.
The SNES catalog is unparalleled, home to some of the most influential games of all time. While opportunities to pick up and play some of the best SNES titles are rampant, that hasn’t stopped senior reporter Allegra Frank and news editor Chelsea Stark from feeling like they’ve missed out in a big way by never owning the actual system. As lifelong Nintendo fans, that empty spot reserved for the SNES in their Nintendo console collections brings them pain each day. Below, they discuss how much it would mean to them to finally have an affordable way to close the gap.
Allegra: Kids don’t always make the best choices when it comes to video games. As an eight-year-old, I had the choice between two consoles as my very first: a new, expensive, shiny PlayStation 2, or a cheap, fading Nintendo 64.
I have never regretted my decision to pick up that N64, curious as it may have been to my parents and everyone else who had always been told that newer is better. What I do regret is not dipping even further back into gaming history with my first system and springing for a Super Nintendo. Although its launch predates my entire existence by a good three years, the SNES has always stood out to me as something phenomenal.
I knew of games like Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World and Final Fantasy 6 before I’d ever even owned a video game myself. I knew that they were monumental, medium-defining titles, even if I had little context for what that really meant. But because the N64 had Pokémon games, I obviously sprung for that.
Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to grow up playing Chrono Trigger and EarthBound and Kirby Super Star instead of Pokémon Snap and Banjo-Kazooie and Kirby 64. Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t trade all the hours I spent with those games for anything. But I know I have a big gap in my gaming knowledge because I missed the SNES era when it was happening, partially for no fault of my own.
As someone who actually was of game-buying age when the SNES came out, Chelsea — why the heck didn’t you own one?
Chelsea: “Game-buying age” is pretty generous. I was born in 1984, and was lucky that my parents were curious about video games and thought I’d be into them. I received an NES for Christmas in 1988 or ’89, and then a Sega Genesis not long after.
But my parents couldn’t really see the need for another video game system when the Super Nintendo came out a year later. I was pretty damn happy playing Sonic games, and my best friend had a Genesis too. My parents made a lot of game buying decisions for me based on franchises I was already into — for better or worse, depending on your thoughts on which version of Aladdin is better. I weirdly lucked into playing some of the Genesis gems like ToeJam and Earl and Ecco the Dolphin thanks to a lot of trips to Blockbuster. In short, I didn’t know what I was missing.
It wasn’t until later that we finally did get a SNES; it was just before the Nintendo 64 would launch and become my obsession. I still played a couple essential titles. My brother and I passed the controller for hours on Donkey Kong Country, for instance. But I missed out on so many games that I didn’t realize I would love. I finally played — but never beat — A Link to the Past on Game Boy Advance. Chrono Trigger came to my DS in 2008 or so, and I finally played EarthBound last summer. (I liked it so much that I dove into the Mother 3 fan-translated ROM shortly after.) There’s something about these games that is so magical, and so exploratory, that I wish I had played them as a kid.
Do you think that matters, Allegra? Can we still enjoy this as much now that we have too many games on our plates?
Allegra: I think that the success of the NES Classic Edition — and our mutual excitement for an SNES-themed follow-up — proves that these classic Nintendo games are still fun without the cloud of childhood nostalgia. Sure, a healthy sense of childlike wonder might make games like Ice Climber and Zelda 2 seem a little better. But the first time I ever played many of the games on the NES Classic was when I was already reaching my cynical teen years. A good game is a good game, I’d say.
I think that’s especially true for the Super Nintendo era. Those games are far more technically impressive than the NES’ 8-bit titles, from gameplay to even just their expanded color palettes. I feel like I need to play the best SNES games, even in 2017. I’ve never really felt like I needed to play the original Super Mario Bros. on NES, by comparison. (Super Mario Bros. 3 is a different story.)
Chelsea, should a Super Nintendo Classic Edition arrive on your doorstep during the holidays this year, do you see yourself getting psyched to play it? Would a mini-SNES packed with all the games you missed out on get you as excited as that Genesis of yours did, back in the day?
Chelsea: If the lineup is good, hell yeah. I realize a lot of the best SNES games are just as likely to come from third parties, but I’d be happy to devote a weekend to diving back in. Yes, I can emulate all this stuff, but this feels a little closer to playing it all like we used to, instead of setting up legally sketchy ROMs on my tablet. Hopefully this time, they’ll make enough consoles so everyone who wants one can get one.