Thanks to the retail sleuthing of Destructoid's resident lovely boy Jonathan Holmes, the long-rumored SNES Classic Edition is shaping up to be a sure thing. Concrete details at this stage are in short supply (much like the system’s predecessor) but I feel confident revealing one more juicy tidbit: Super Mario World will be on it. You heard it here first, folks.
Outside of a few strange outliers (who exactly prefers Super C to Contra?) the selection of games included on the NES Classic was pretty dang solid, if a little too safe. For all the boneheaded moves Nintendo made with this previous plug-and-play console, kudos must be given to them for allocating nearly half of the selection to titles from third-party publishers; they were clearly aware that Mega Man II and Castlevania are more essential to the NES experience than Urban Champion will ever be. Due to the increase in third-party influence during the 16-bit era, maintaining this balance of representation is even more crucial than before.
So the question is: which third-party games absolutely NEED to be on the SNES Classic Edition for the most authentic experience? Which ones scratched itches for you that Nintendo’s own releases never could? Is there a title more deserving of being hailed as the system’s crowning achievement than Super Metroid? There are no wrong answers (except Aero the Acro-Bat).
Below are a few of my personal picks.
Legend of the Mystical Ninja
I could fill an entire list with Konami classics, so for variety’s sake I’ve chosen this goofball oddity to represent them as a whole. My origins as a complete weeb can be traced back to the moment I popped a rented copy of Mystical Ninja into my Super Nintendo; its unabashed Japanese-ness combined with its addictive cooperative gameplay provided a truly unique experience back in the day. There just isn’t anything else on the system that looks, sounds, or plays quite like it. Plus, the long-running Ganbare Goemon series dearly deserves more recognition, and putting it on store shelves alongside more popular brands is a great way to accomplish that.
Secret of Mana
Secret of Mana was the first RPG I ever played. My father picked it to help the family satisfy our craving for more Zelda, since we’d collectively conquered A Link to the Past over a dozen times. Much confusion resulted in the household (why do numbers pop out of enemies when you hit them? What the heck is ‘leveling up’?) but one thing was for sure: it was a damn good time. A lengthy, multiplayer Zelda-like was a godsend back in the day, and aside from some jankiness it holds up quite well. Since Square-Enix doesn’t seem keen on localizing that mouthwatering Mana collection for Switch, this would be the next best thing. Here’s hoping the SNES Classic has three-player support built in!
The SNES SimCity is far from the peak of its series, but there’s something quintessentially Nintendo about this version; the controls and interface are perfectly streamlined to be controller-friendly, and the soundtrack is superbly catchy. Nearly three decades later, this entry remains one of the best ways for new players to get into the genre, which makes it perfectly suited for a casual-geared collection. The game’s tutorial character Mr. Wright has even appeared in Link’s Awakening and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, so it only seems fair for him to stand proudly alongside Nintendo’s stable of mainstays again. And if EA’s ever going to get their much-vaunted “unprecedented partnership” with the company off the ground, this would be a damn fine place to start.
By no means do I believe my list to be definitive; I purposefully left out a few of the more obvious answers with which I have no personal connection, to give the real experts a shot. I look forward to hearing your reasoning as to why your favorite SNES games should be included!