Friday, January 11, 2008

Collecting the Super Nintendo

I love video games and my system of choice is the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES.) The SNES is considered a retro system since it dates back to the early 90's, which would seem to peg me as a retro gamer. This is true I suppose, in practice, but in theory I'm somewhere between the retro and modern gaming camps. A little on each of these groups:

Retro gamers will probably tell you that the peak of gaming arrived sometime in the mid to early 90's with the NES, SNES, Genesis, and the like. The quality and variety of games especially on the SNES is unparalleled. To some this era really seems the golden age of video games. They would say that modern games are simply pushing graphics and sound to more realism and not actually producing better overall gaming experiences.

Modern gamers will point to weak and simple graphics and sound of the older systems and ask how games with such obviously inferior audio and video could possibly compare to the realism of modern games. They'll point to the awesome computing power of modern consoles and the complexity they allow modern games to utilize fully rendered 3-d environments. The Metal Gear Solid, Halo, Grand Theft Auto, and Grand Turismo series and many many more showcase all the new mechanics and game design that set these new systems apart from the retro consoles.

I fall somewhere between these two camps. Although I don't own any systems newer than the N64 (and I don't even play that one), this is more a function of economics than a value judgement about retro vs. modern gaming. To always have the latest several hundred dollar systems and to buy the new games is an immense financial commitment, one far more economically draining than I (or my wife) would allow. In contrast, the SNES can be bought online for $40, many games can be found for $5 and the vast majority of great games can be found for somewhere between $5 and $20. (Some few rare and immensely popular games such as Earthbound, Chrono Trigger, Mega Man X3, Ninja Gaiden Trilogy, and the like can hit $60, but these are only a select few.) While there are no new SNES games being published today, there is a huge catalog of games in existence with many great titles in every genre. A fabulous collection of the system and say 20 or 30 highly playable games could be had for several hundred dollars. This amount will probably buy you a next gen system and nothing else. Although I wont go so far as to say the SNES titles are better than the new games, I certainly believe they are equals, only different stylistically.

So, on to my collection, which is comprised of a solid core of games although it has a very long way to go before I'll be satisfied with its contents. The core of my collection, those classics and excellent games with high replay value, is as follows:

My Core SNES Games:

Super Mario World, SMW2: Yoshi's Island, Super Mario Kart, Earthbound, Super Castlevania IV, Super Punch Out, Uniracers, Rock and Roll Racing, Super Bomberman 1 & 2, Donkey Kong Country 3, Zelda III, Street Fighter 2, Kirby's Avalanche, UN Squadron, Gradius III, Super R-Type, Super Ghouls & Ghosts

I also have a bunch of games that I either don't care for very much or I simply haven't had time to play very much as of yet:

Generic &/or Mediocre Games:

Jack Nicklaus Golf, Monopoly, Congo's Caper, Nickelodeon Guts, Barbie Super Model (Don't ask), Clayfighter, Drakken, Harley's Humongous Adventure, Batman Forever, Pink Goes to Hollywood, Mario's Time Machine, Super Off-Road, Mrs. Pac-man, Pac-man 2, X-men Mutant Apocalypse, NHL Stanley Cup, Mario Paint, Wheel of Fortune, Illusion of Gaia, Buster Busts Loose (Tiny Toons), Super Adventure Island, Ken Griffey Jr. presents MLB

I needed to order an extra RF switch for the SNES to complete a second system I own (that I'll be selling on Ebay) and a couple of other items like a SNES cleaning kit, and I tagged on a couple of dirt cheap classics to add to my collection: F-Zero and Star Fox. Some other games I'd like to add to my collection rather soon:

Games Needed To Round Out My Collection:

Super Metroid, Super Contra III, Final Fantasy 2 & 3, Chrono Trigger, Mega Man X (or its sequels), NHL '94, NBA Jam, NBA Live '96, Super Mario RPG, Harvest Moon, Donkey Kong Country 1 & 2, another fighting game like Mortal Combat or Killer Instinct, Kirby Super Star, Super Mario All-Stars, EVO: Search for Eden, Breath of Fire 1 & 2, Secret of Mana, Lufia II, Ogre Battle, a good football game.

I'm sure there are many more that I'd like, but those are the ones coming to mind this moment. If you are interested in video games but can't afford the major expense of keeping up with the new systems, or if you simply have a soft spot for the old SNES games, you should get out there and start collecting! You'll be glad you did.

My only other SNES content on Splitting Eights so far is this review of perhaps my favorite video game of all time and almost certainly the best 4 player game ever: Super Bomberman.


lloydmeetsgirl said...

I also fall in the middle of SNES and current gaming, for most of the same reasons listed in this blog. Suprisingly, you failed to note what I feel is the strongest feature of the SNES - the controller. Today's controllers ask you you perform 20 functions at once - not only do you need 2 joysticks, but 6 buttons, double L & R's and, the most recent addition, movement. I'll take a single directional pad, XYAB, L & R, and start and select any day.
P.s. I think Super Mario All-Stars needs to top your list. Not as good as Mario Kart, but definately up there.

The Mrs. said...

Hey -- get posting again Mr.
You are up at what, 5:00 in the morning?

lloydmeetsgirl said...
I would have liked to post this in black peppercorn, but I don't have a sign in.

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