It’s small, it’s cute, and it’s packed with some of the best games Nintendo ever made. But, if you’re struggling to get hold of a pre-order of Nintendo’s new SNES Mini console, perhaps you shouldn’t despair too much.
Because, while it is indeed a fantastic box of nostalgia, the ‘Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System’ (to give it its proper, full airs and graces title) is missing a number of key games that any SNES owner of the 90s wouldn’t have been seen dead without.
So here’s our pick of the MIA games that are sadly absent from the SNES Mini. From stone-cold classics to cult curios, raise a glass for some absent friends.
Now this is the big, obvious MIA title that’s not present on the SNES Mini. Often heralded as the finest 16-bit RPG ever created, it had a “dream team” gang of talent making the game, including Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and Akira Toriyama (he of Dragon Ball character design fame).
With its deep combat system, incredible time-travelling storyline and memorable characters, it felt epic in a way that few other games of its generation did. It’s sorely missed on the SNES Mini.
With the franchise running at full steam again, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to top-notch Star Wars games; EA’s Battlefront series now going strong and a host of other impressive-looking titles are waiting in the wings.
But back in the days of the SNES, pickings were a bit slimmer. The “Super” Star Wars series (including entries for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) was as good as it got in the 90s.
Working many elements of the films into a side scrolling platformer / shooter, as well as inventing new scenarios for Luke and the gang (‘member A New Hope’s giant sandworm? Yeah, neither do we), they were bold, colorful and fun takes on the source material. The first title, Super Star Wars, is our personal favorite of the three. There were even some vehicular missions that made use of the console’s state-of-the-art Mode 7 graphics chip.
Another worthy movie tie-in – which were as rare in the 90s as they remain now, given studios’ propensities to cash-in on the latest summer blockbusters. Jurassic Park, while not exactly a classic, remains the best Jurassic Park title there’s ever been.
Imagine a Zelda clone that swapped out Hyrule for dinosaur-filled jungles. And then imagine the game switching into a Doom-style first person perspective when you entered buildings. Surprisingly deep, it’s well worth digging out, even if it didn’t make the cut to the SNES Mini.
This one had bags of personality. Zombies Ate My Neighbors looked like Paper Boy, but played like a Saturday morning TV version of The Walking Dead. Armed with water pistols, you’d explore the neighbourhood gardens, taking out the zombies next door and saving those that hadn’t succumbed to the hunger for human flesh.
Really coming into its own in two-player mode, it’d have been a great co-op title to squeeze into the Mini SNES.
That oh-so-often forgotten Nintendo franchise, Pilotwings first took flight on the SNES in 1990, and was a perfect showcase for the 3D scaling capabilities of the console’s Mode 7 chip.
A simplistic flight simulator, you’d fly around in a light plane, complete skydiving events, soar the skies in a hang glider and even take off on a rocket belt.
Before 3D polygonal gaming had really taken off, Pilotwings offered a sense of speed, scale and three-dimensionality that few titles offered at the time. With its challenge-based gameplay it’s something of a curio these days, but would have been an interesting history lesson for those coming to the SNES for the first time.
The game that launched a thousand allotments.
Harvest Moon was, on the surface, a farming simulator. Sow your seeds, till the soil, water the shoots and reap your vegetable-based rewards. But, even as an action-orientated economics simulator disguised as a JRPG, there was a lot of charm to suck you in. Get married, tend to your animals and improve your house, it’s a title that’s since been riffed on by the phenomenal Stardew Valley and (indirectly) the Animal Crossing series.
This is a real head scratcher – if you had a SNES back in the 90s, there was no better multiplayer game (with the exception of Mario Kart and Street Fighter) than Super Bomberman.
You know the score by now when it comes to this veritable series – explore a maze, lay bombs, trap your opponents, blow them up. From this simple arcade-y premise comes some of the most heated multiplayer gameplay there’s ever been, as every race for a powerup or bomb-cornering opportunity becomes a game of sprite-based Russian Roulette. A timeless title, and a serious omission.
A little-known gem, this one. A quasi-sequel to Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins, Demon’s Crest is a side-scrolling platformer with a horror theme, putting you in the shoes of a winged beastman battling his way through hordes of ghouls.
With wonderfully macabre artwork and some light RPG mechanics that let you beef up your demon’s skills with the titular Crests, Capcom’s title set itself apart from the pack. It’s not as family friendly as the Mario series, but it’s one that deserves a wider audience.
Like your platformers with a side slice of stylish sci-fi? Flashback was your go-to game in the 90s. Part puzzler, part platformer, you had to clamber through its lush future-jungles with care to avoid being taken out by patrolling guards.
With fluid animation and a mysterious atmosphere, this cult classic seemed way ahead of its time, and still feels unique among the 16-bit titles of its day. It’d have added a touch of variety to proceedings on the miniaturised machine.
Just…well…every console needs Tetris, right? And that’s why it’s here. Duh.
Mario should stick to jumping, though…
By Gerald Lynch
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