The 30 Games I'd Most Like To See On SNES Classic

All images courtesy VG Museum

Considering Nintendo's bizarre decision-making process, it's nice to hear that the company may be doing the correct and obvious thing and releasing a SNES Classic this holiday season. Here are the games I'd put on it if I were in charge.

Now, I should point out that the existence of a mini-SNES is not official yet, but it's being reported by Eurogamer, which blew the Switch wide open before its unveiling, so… maybe? Super Nintendo nostalgia seems, these days, to be much more powerful than the longing for the days of 8-bit, so such a product could be far more successful than the NES Classic. (That's assuming that Nintendo doesn't manufacture a half-dozen of them and sell them at a single Wal-Mart in Poughkeepsie, which I'm not ready to rule out yet.)

The following is not just a pie-in-the-sky wish list of games I liked as a 90s teen. I respect you too much to inflict that upon you. This is a real attempt at crafting a feasible list of games that Nintendo could re-publish in 2017. So as much as I agree that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time or NBA Jam were pivotal elements of the SNES experience, Nintendo's highly unlikely to want to pay for those licenses again.

And as much as I'd like to, we can't just load the whole damn thing up with Square Enix RPGs. So I've tried to balance out the genres, the mix of first- and third-party software, and single-player versus multiplayer gaming.

1. Super Mario World
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
3. Super Metroid

The SNES only had one (traditional) Mario, one Zelda, and one Metroid, and not only are they three of the best games on the system, they're quite frankly three of the best games on any system that they're available on. Shoo-ins, the whole group of them.

4. Earthbound

The SNES is home to one of the most personal, touching, brilliant role-playing games ever made. Maybe it will even get some new fans by being included in this collection! We can only dream.

5. Super Punch-Out!!

Closer in aesthetic and gameplay to the original arcade games than the NES version, Super Punch-Out!! continues the series' long-held traditions of rhythm-based, pattern-matching boxing action and lighthearted ethnic stereotyping.

6. Donkey Kong Country 7. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

I only ever played the first DKC and wasn't a big fan, but I'm putting it here for you, Rareware fans. Plus its supposedly better sequel. But not the third instalment. This is all you get.

8. Kirby Super Star
9. Kirby's Dream Land 3
10. Kirby's Dream Course

Kirby is a surprisingly popular franchise, so I feel pretty good about three of the SNES Classic's slots being taken up by his games, especially since they're so diverse — Dream Land is a traditional adventure, Super Star is a collection of mini-games, and Kirby's Dream Course is actually a wonderful spin on miniature golf.

11. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island 12. Star Fox

Here's where we get into potential trouble, as Nintendo has never re-released any of its games that originally used the Super FX coprocessor chip. Licensing issues, perhaps? Either way, the release of the SNES Classic should be good enough reason for Nintendo to get all that worked out, because these two games really should be on there. (This would also be a great time for Nintendo to finally release the canceled Star Fox 2, now that I think of it.)

13. Pilotwings
14. F-Zero

Launch games ahoy! Not the fondly remembered classic that Super Mario World was, but still good (and, again, balance out our genre diversity a little more).

15. Super Mario Kart

This reminds me that, unlike what it did with the NES Classic, Nintendo really, really needs to get some extra controllers into the market for SNES Classic. Playing Mario Kart alone would be a bummer.

16. Tetris Attack

I know I said that there won't be any games with licenses that Nintendo has to pay for, but hear me out: This brilliant puzzle game never should have had Tetris in the title to begin with, so this is a perfect time for Nintendo to do its own ROM hacking, take out the T-word, and rename this to Yoshi's Puzzle League.

The NES Classic's game library was just about half Nintendo, half third parties, so I'm keeping that balance for my list. Ideally, Nintendo would deal with as few third parties as possible for this system to keep the business end more manageable. Here are the four outside software makers I think they should be working with this time:

17. Demon's Crest
18. Final Fight 2
19. Mega Man X3
20. Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting

From Capcom's massive stable of Super NES classics, I'd suggest these. There are many Street Fighter games on the SNES, but you really only need one, so let's go with the classic Turbo. I'd suggest the first Final Fight if the SNES version wasn't such an unholy mess; the sequel at least has a two-player mode! I figure one Mega Man is enough, so X3 is probably the best pick. And then there's the wonderful Demon's Crest.

21. Super Castlevania IV
22. Contra III
23. Castlevania Dracula X
24. Gradius III

Konami, for all its major flaws, is at least all-in on Virtual Console, so it should be rewarded with four slots on the SNES Classic. Like the NES Classic I think it should have two Castlevania games and one Contra. Gradius III gives the SNES Classic a single outer-space shmup, although you could swap this out with Axelay if you like.

25. Wild Guns
26. Pocky & Rocky

I have a soft spot in my heart for plucky li'l Natsume, and I think two of its SNES games would help to round out the lineup here and add in some two-player goodness: Wild Guns is a cooperative shooting-gallery type game with a Western aesthetic, and Pocky is an adorable top-down scrolling shooter starring a priestess and her tanuki pal.

27. Secret of Mana
28. Final Fantasy VI
29. Chrono Trigger
30. Actraiser

Square Enix, Square Enix. You're the big question: will you play ball? Japan's premier RPG publisher put the original Final Fantasy on the NES Classic (and Final Fantasy III on the mini Famicom released in Japan), so it's clearly not against having its products included on these devices.

I'm fairly sure it would let Actraiser, a brilliant combo of Castlevania-style action and town-building simulation, go for a song. But Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III, and Secret of Mana? One thing's for sure — when would-be buyers say that they'd kill for a SNES Classic, these are the games they're saying they would do a murder for.

And that's my 30. For the statisticians among you, some numbers:

  • Games with multiplayer: 14/30.
  • By genre (roughly): 12 Action, 2 Action/Adventure, 1 Fighting, 1 Puzzle, 4 Shooting, 4 RPGs, 5 quote-unquote "Sports," and 1 Magically Undefinable.
  • Games that have already been released on some platform's Virtual Console in the U.S.: 26/30.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to let me know; just please don't say Shaq Fu.



      Most definitely Shadowrun
      Other games I would like to see;
      Illusion of Time
      Secret of Evermore (I actually liked this one !! )
      R-Type 3
      Super Double Dragon
      Rock n Roll Racing
      Black Hawk (or Blackthorne to the US crowd)

      Definitely Shadowrun.

      Some others:

      * Actraiser
      * Axelay
      * Chronotrigger
      * Contra 3
      * Desert Strike
      * Donkey Kong Country
      * Final Fantasy 6
      * Final Fight
      * Illusion of Time
      * Megaman X
      * Mighty Morphen Power Rangers
      * Mortal Kombat 1 & 2
      * Secret of Mana 1 & 2
      * Shin Megami Tensei 1 & 2 (translated to english)
      * Sim City
      * Soul Blaser
      * Starfox (Starwing in PAL territories)
      * Street Fighter 2
      * Super Castlevania 4
      * Super Ghouls'n'Ghosts
      * Super Mario Allstars + Mario World
      * Super Mario Kart
      * Super Metroid
      * SWIV
      * Terranigma
      * Tetris Battle Gaiden (translated)
      * Turtles in Time

        SWIV! I totally forgot about that bad ass game! Thanx!

    If Square-Enix is onboard, this will be so
    much win. Having said that, would happily give Super Mario World, Metroid, Yoshi's Island and the like another go in a heartbeat.

    I wonder if the Japanese version will have some of the Satellaview games.

    Given the madness of the Western versions, if such a model appears on Amazon I'll just nab it there.

    Bones can only knit so fast.

    "Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island 12. Star Fox
    Here's where we get into potential trouble, as Nintendo has never re-released any of its games that originally used the Super FX coprocessor chip."

    I think you better check out Super Mario Advance 3... A rose by any other name and all that.

    I'd throw in Terranigma, Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Parodius and NBA Jam: TE.

    Turf out Pocky and Rocky, F-Zero, Gradius III and one of the Castlevania games.

    Oh, just download them roms.

    Oh, just hack together something retro that's already out.

    Oh, there will never be enough for me to get one.

    Oh, this is just a blatant cash grab.

    Oh, why would anybody want to play crappy games from the 90s anyway.

    Oh this oh that. Whine whine whine.


    Kohler's got the right of it, we shouldn't be expecting Nintendo to try and please everybody and then ending up pleasing nobody.

    It's going to have a curated list of games, no matter what you say.

    I wouldn't mind this strategy though:

    SNES Classic: Sports edition

    SNES Classic: Platformers edition

    SNES Classic: Licensed Movie Crap edition

      SNES Classic: Licensed Movie Crap edition

      I'm not sure if this is the best or worst thing, but I'd want one

        Me too - thru could also name it SNES Mini "the Games you rented from the video store edition"

    Didn't Nintendo just discontinue the NES Classic?

      Probably for this exact reason. To retool the factory to make mini SNES's. then next year they will discontinue the SNES for a mini N64. The title of the Mini NES always suggested it was the start of a range of products. you can't expect them to make them all indefinitely.

        Not indefinitely, but they're still selling out at all stores and going for high prices on eBay. Seems very silly that they're discontinuing a product thats selling more than their other consoles. My guess is they've canned it due to how many people are hacking their own ROMs onto them, and if thats the case, they'll not likely be making a SNES one anytime soon...

    The lack of Battletoads is concerning, sir.

      Yeah, Battletoads and Killer Instinct were SNES staples.

      Not the biggest problem with buying a $100 system to run $5 worth of games on hardware less powerful than the average microwave clock though.

    Even though it's only a compilation of NES games i'd like to see super mario all stars.
    And Plok. And Bubsy.

    Oh God. I need to go dig up my old library. So much good SNES shit that easily stands the test of time.

      [When Transientmind finally does so, he finds said collection replaced with a jar of Vegemite for each game]

        They would make a movie about my wrathful vengeance in such a scenario, but it'd never make it past our censors.

          Hahahaha! Do your worst! Violence doesn't work on me! You have to get creative!

            I'm going to manufacture some stats to prove overwhelming support for outmoded, debunked marketing and distribution techniques abandoned as exploitative and anti-consumer by modern companies years ago, and successfully pitch them to Nintendo, who will use them to inflict misery upon the gaming community.

              Er, what? I already know that Nintendo hasn't changed since the 1880s.

    Who has the household space to keep buying this shit?
    Does everyone have HDMI adapter boxes and unlimited space under their TV’s?
    Does it not annoy you having 500 unnecessary (cabled) controllers laying around the house?

    I just don’t get it. Nintendo HAS a flagship console that’s also a handheld and can run all these games. The last three phones I owned can run all these games!
    The Switch comes with not one but TWO controllers designed to mimic a SNES controller. Most people who’ll buy this have already rebought these titles somewhere between one and five times already.

    I swear Nintendo fans are the biggest chumps on the planet, EA are consumer friendly compared to these guys.

      I don't ever understand this angst people have towards a corporation. It's like Nintendo's a bank or an insurance company.

      Did a SNES fall on you from a great height as a child?

        It’s nothing against the NES, or the SNES, or the N64! I love those machines.
        It’s because they have a monopoly on their own content (1st party games) and they drip feed it to their fans in the most complicated, annoying, anti-consumer way possible.

        There’s about 2000 ways they could provide you with this content without making you buy a stand-alone machine, it’s just a comical waste of money and resources. Couldn’t the games be packaged as a $20 download on the Switch to encourage people to buy them? Couldn’t they have done that on the struggling WiiU, or Wii…. or Gamecube?

        If Nintendo can make $1,000,000 selling a great product to 100,000 people; or the same amount selling a shitty, overpriced, intentionally hampered product to 10,000 people; they’ll take the second option every single time.

        I mean I get that people want a physical mini-SNES and that’s fine- but there’s other pricing options that don’t involve stand-alone hardware (that fucks the planet BTW) that would allow their fans to play the games they want and Nintendo to make a profit.

        They just go WAAAAY out of their way to make it hard to be a Nintendo fan.

          All fair points, and I agree with you. However - these are gonna sell like hotcakes, and they're gonna make substantial profit. From a business perspective, it's a no brainer. I won't be supporting it though.

            I know they’ll make a huge profit, I’m just saying that they’ll make that profit in a way that sucks for their fans.

            It’s the same decision making process that governs the way their price all their hardware, their policies on region locking, their policies on “perceived value” that prevent resellers from discounting their games, their policies in staggered release dates… in all cases they make decisions that make being a Nintendo fan expensive and difficult.

            It IS possible to make huge profits by providing good products to a broader audience at a fair price.

          And now I'm in the unenviable position millions of other internet commenters are in of trying to be seen as continuing the conversation, and not as 'defending' as so many people would say one does if they attempt to address what you've raised.

          Seriously though, it's the broader issue of content curation and the way a business handles it. Nintendo have a problem all their own, thanks to their own success, I suppose.

          A lot of people who aren't us yearn for plug-and-play consoles. This sort of strategy isn't for everybody, but Nintendo sees a market there, obviously.'

          Who the hell is talking outwardly and openly about the NES Classic's games in forums like this, like we do about games just released or about to be?

          Sites like Kotaku/etc that revolve around games being 24/7 news makers simply do not see Nintendo and its stuff fitting into their business models as much as say, Steam or titty games on the Vita. That's just the way it is. So while we may not the fruits (we want) of Nintendo's labour, others seem to be.

          I don't equate a fan of a sport to instantly like, worship, and obey everything that sport's corporate entity does, but in games we seem to lash out at anybody who dares to be positive about - yes, at the end day - company decisions.

          Similarly, I can like one or two Marvel movies but overall dislike what Marvel the movie company has been doing, in a business sense, over the period of time they've all come out.

            As I said above, it’s not just content curation in this case.

            Have a look at the consumer friendliness of their policies on:
            Hardware pricing- making a profit on hardware at the expense of sales. Bad for the consumer.
            Software pricing- ‘perceived value’ model prevents customers from accessing cheaper software. Bad for the consumer.
            Region locking- most resistant of the big three. Allows them to stagger release dates and overcharge in each region. Bad for the consumer.
            Provision of classic software- drip feeding classic software, reselling multiple times, generally making life suck. Bad for the consumer.

            In every case, they could chose a win/win business model that would have provided a better, more accessible product to a broader audience. They ALWAYS choose the anti-consumer option and it makes being a Nintendo fan a massive pain.

            Unfortunately, because (as you noted) so many of us are zealots who simply refuse to hold them to account for their business practices they continue to make a healthy profit by behaving like assholes.

            Also Microsoft got plenty of attention (and articles like this one) when they released 30-odd Rare Replay games across 6 systems for $30.

              What about all the factory people working under slave conditions to put together the consoles as well?

              I don't think reaching for such extreme examples helps your case.

              Again, Nintendo's a business that you think did something like BP did during the oil spill. Those are bad policies, people and the environment actually suffered.

              The ramifications of business decisions and debating whether they are good or bad seems to be where every video-game news story on the planet seems to head.

              Something as innocuous as postulating what could feature on a console not even actually announced - literal vapourware - gets us here.

              That's bananas.

              I can't tell, is Microsoft the world's best or the world's worst for Rare Replay from where you sit?

                BP?!? What?
                Obviously I’m talking about a game company here.

                I don’t know how those four examples are ‘extreme’. The pricing and availability of a product is kinda a key interaction between a games business and the consumer.

                You tell me if MS deserves props for Rare Replay:

                30 games for 30 bucks, including six last-gen titles and HD remasters of Banjo Kazooie/ Tooie and Perfect Dark (with online play added).

                For that price on the Nintendo store I could buy:
                The 6 year old remake of Star Fox 64 on 3DS; or
                Two emulated N64 games on the Wii.

                The 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time costs more than twice as much.

                I couldn’t think of a better way to illustrate a point.

                  I us minority I guess there is just something special about Nintendo games. The whimsy and charm, the colours, the *gameplay*. I won't argue that they are great at business, cause I think it's pretty clear they're not.
                  But these mini consoles, myself and many others I know, simply want them to look cool on our shelves, I know I'll barely play it when ( if lol ) i get it. Hell, I have an emulator with every goddammit SNES game there is that I don't touch.

                  You've abandoned your point and any attempt at making one that means anything to what we were talking about.

                  You've again shown you've got a barrow to push by calling other people in this thread silly names and dismissing whatever it is they have to say.

                  If you want to talk about the SNES Mini in the terms that the article is, or we have been - again, keeping in mind the bloody thing hasn't been properly announced, we're talking about literally nothing - then I'm happy to do so.

                  Until then, I still don't see the relevance of half of what you're putting up. What on earth does abusing people replying to your irate comments accomplish?

          You are missing the point. The options to acquire those games more conveniently and less expensively exist. The mini-line is pretty much a collectors item for people who /wants/ them. They are not "making" anybody buy it and it's not intended to replace a potentially more consumer-friendly product.

          It's like criticising the Mini brand of cars and the people who buy them because why wouldn't they just buy an SUV instead? Not everybody prizes maximum efficiency/practicality/whatever over any other aggregated value.

            Sad apologists like you are the reason they overcharge.

            "The options to acquire those games more conveniently and less expensively exist."

            Really? Where?

            Last I checked NES games are $6.50 on the WiiU Store. SNES games are $10.40. I think those prices are the same across all platforms and regardless... It should be the best, cheapest most convenient place to access these games as their most recent console to have a Virtual Console.

            By my calculations that makes the mini NES game collection $195 and the mimi SNES game collection $312.

            I can't fathom how deluded you have to be to feel the need to justify their pricing and options.

            They still make great games, but they price shit to gouge suckers like you instead of selling at a fair price to a larger market.

            I'm part of that larger market who's blocked out by stupid pricing and you're the one getting hammered paying insane prices. We're both losing, and you're apologising for them.

              So what would you price them? 10c each or something? Only because you disagree with their pricing (whilst not knowing /any/ of the factors involved in that decision) you feel the need to insult me? Like I said, it's a collector item. They'd be stupid not to charge what the collectors are willing to pay.

              You think I am an apologist but I don't have a miniNES myself nor plan to get one as I don't see enough value in it for me as what I'd be paying, in that I agree with you. The difference is that I can see and understand when a non-essential product is targeted to a very specific market that doesn't include me and I don't feel the need to make a stink about it.

                I’m not annoyed about the mini NES or SNES. Like you said those are collectors’ items and $100 is fair for them.

                It’s the pricing of the games so that there’s no reasonable alternative that’s ridiculous. Making people buy multiple separate, novelty mini-consoles to play games that require the processing power of your average microwave clock should be seen as offensive to their customers when they have FLAGSHIP CONSOLES that cost $350+ that they either aren’t available on or cost several hundred % more to access.

                Like I said above, if MS can charge $30 for 30 Rare games that include 6 last gen titles and three HD remasters with additional features from the N64 era- it makes it kinda hard to excuse Nintendo for charging $190 for 30 emulated NES games or $320 for 30 SNES games. Really, games that are 30+ years old should be less than $1.

                I’m a huge Nintendo fan, but I’m just not paying that. I bought the new Shadow Warrior off Xbox Live last week for less than the price of a NES game.

                That’s unnecessary, anti-consumer bullshit, right? As a Nintendo fan you can see that it’s bullshit?

    Illusion of Time.

      Combo pack of Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore and Illusion of Time would be mad.

        Except all of those games are made by different companies and/or are not in the same series.

        It would make more sense if:

        - Pack with Secret of Mana and (finally) an official English localisation of Seiken Densetsu 3
        - Pack with Soul Blazer, Illusion of Time (known as Illusion of Gaia in the US) and Terranigma
        - Secret of Evermore as a standalone thing (it's not connected to the Mana series at all)

        Other games on my wishlist would be:

        Donkey Kong Country (all three, even though the third one is the weakest it's still a great game), Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, Super Metroid, A Link to the Past, Castlevania: Dracula X, Super Castlevania IV, Super Punch-Out!!, Mortal Kombat II, Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Mario Kart, Tetris Attack, Chrono Trigger, at least one of the SNES Final Fantasy games (FFVI if I needed to choose one), F-Zero, Starwing (Star Fox to Americans), Unirally, TMNT: Turtles in Time, The Lost Vikings 1 and 2 (seriously 2 is fantastic), Killer Instinct, Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, Zombies ate my Neighbours, Blackthorne, Plok, Clayfighter 1 and 2, Claymates, Earthbound, Flashback, Jurassic Park, Mega Man X, Revolution X, Super Smash TV, Super R-Type, Super Bomberman 3 or 5 (pick one), Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Super Mario RPG, Zool, Hagane, Contra III, Micro Machines 1 and 2, Desert/Jungle/Urban Strike, Eye of the Beholder, Breath of Fire 1 and 2, Lufia 1 and 2, Theme Park, Civilisation...

        Uhhh...I think I've gone over my limit...

      Oh god I thought no one else shared my love for Illusion of Time! It's firmly locked in my memory bank as a 12 year old kid. Such nostalgia.

    I forgot True Lies and Unirally...and Bubsy and NHL... now I'm just being greedy.
    TBH it doesn't matter what games they release on it from a consumers point of view, as long as they have a basic level of Youtube comprehension we'll just add our own libraries to the console like we did with the mini nes.

    Terranigma, if only to give it a release in the USA.

    Why restrict it to 30 games? The NES arguably didn't have a huge selection of top quality titles to choose from but the SNES has a plethora of them. Why not put in 40 games?

      Why even sell one when you can sell a Snes Classic 2 to your hungry consumers ;)

    The two Mutant League games, Shadowrun, Super Star Wars (all three, please), Lemmings, the Lost Vikings, Micro Machines 2, Madden 96, NHLPA Hockey 93, NBA Jam, Star Fleet Academy, SimCity, Ultima 7, WITWI Carmen Sandiego? and Zombies Ate My Neighbours.

      Zombies! Such a great game.

      UN squadron, anyone played that?

    Whatever we get, hopefully they wont make a pitifully short amount of them

    Last edited 20/04/17 1:12 pm

    Super Mario RPG would make a Mini SNES a 100% buy for me.

    C'mon, how about Zombies Ate My Neighbors or Ghoul Patrol ?

    Super Mario Allstars, 4 games for the price of 1. The remastered graphics and music more than make up for the repeat inclusion from the NES Classic.

    If the controller is still wired on this thing then Nintendo can go fuck themselves.

      As much as I echo this sentiment we know it will be to tie in with the whole "retro" vibe.
      How about a compromise? A 5 mtr cable this time round hey guys? Or a 10 mtr HDMI? My eyes are cactus enough without having to sit 3 feet away from my tv..and Lord help me when it gets wall mounted.

        Nah, I know wired controllers are the historically accurate thing, but in that case the games should all come on cartridges and it should have a coax cable to plug into the TV's antenna socket.

        It's 2017. Wireless controllers are non-negotiable.

    I'm not even going to add more titles, because this article and comment section already got me like I'm twelve years old again

    Just download Hakchi3 and add the whole library onto it

    I hope that Nintendo realizes that no-one in "the west" cares about football, baseball, hockey and basket outside North America. If they have to add a sport game better be soccer this time around (Perfect Eleven, Fifa, Sensible Soccer?).

    P.S. the North American mini-SNES will be physically different from the other western versions, so why not also choose different games, as they did with the Japanese mini-NES? (no Maddens in the mini-famicom line-up).

    Last edited 20/04/17 8:20 pm

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