To my shame, despite having ready access to it — I bought it on the Wii’s Virtual Console storefront, I own a SNES Classic, and now it’s available on the Nintendo Switch’s online service — I had never played, let alone beaten, Super Metroid until this week.
I have now corrected this glaring oversight, mind you, which puts me in an excellent position to contemplate how this genre-defining game from 1994 remains just as relevant and playable an experience today as it once was.
Super Metroid is an absolute masterpiece. You probably don’t need me to tell you that. But I’m going to anyway. Let’s take a closer look at why it’s such a masterpiece.
Continue reading Super Metroid: Grown-Up Nintendo
“You should see this. It’s just like having an arcade machine connected to your television.”
Those were the words my brother, ten years my senior, said to me one time he came home from his job on a ’90s gaming magazine, pulling a Super Famicom out of his bag.
While the system didn’t quite live up to those lofty expectations in some regards — particularly as it got a bit older — there were certain games that, once I had my own Super NES and some games for it, reminded a younger me very much of those words. And Star Fox was one of them.
Continue reading Star Fox: All Ships Check In!!
“Which Mario Kart is best?” is one of those questions that can start bitter, terrible arguments. Or at the very least, send you into an endless cycle of analysis paralysis as you contemplate which one actually is the “best”.
Do you prefer Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s “best of everything” approach, blending brand new tracks with classics from yesteryear with a twist? How about Double Dash’s team-based mechanics? 64’s early attempts to move the series into true 3D?
For everyone, the answer is different, and I can’t even give you a definitive answer on my own preferences. But one thing we can hopefully all agree on is that even if Super Mario Kart for Super NES isn’t your favourite Mario Kart, it’s probably the most important.
Continue reading Super Mario Kart: Defining a Genre
Stunt Race FX — or Wild Trax, as it was known in Japan — is not a game that gets talked about nearly as much as many of its contemporaries.
There are a number of reasons for this, chief among which was that it released in 1994, when excitement for Sony’s PlayStation — originally intended to be a CD-ROM-based add-on for the Super NES, lest we forget — was reaching a fever pitch; the 32-bit system would release later that very year, wowing everyone with its smooth, texture-mapped polygonal graphics, high-quality audio and impressive arcade ports.
As with many things that got overshadowed at their time of original release, however, Stunt Race FX remains a fascinating piece of Nintendo history that remains worth exploring.
Continue reading Stunt Race FX: A Last Hurrah
It’s weird how some memories stick with you for the longest time, for seemingly no reason whatsoever.
Prior to picking up a copy again recently, I hadn’t played Top Gear on the Super NES since the early ’90s when it was first released. And yet upon firing it up I confirmed something I had suspected for a while: its music had indeed been stuck in my head for nearly thirty years.
I was also pleased to discover that Top Gear is indeed still a whole lot of fun — and a great example of a type of racing game that has been rendered largely obsolete by the advances in technology over the years.
Continue reading SNES Essentials: Top Gear
Super Mario World marked the point at which “Mario games” were no longer really one series, though this didn’t become obvious until much later in retrospect.
Still, the fact that its sequel was called Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island rather than Super Mario Bros. 5: Yoshi’s Island should have tipped you off a bit… and if that didn’t work, then the fact that you didn’t actually play Super Mario would definitely do the job.
The “rebranding” that Yoshi’s Island ultimately underwent was a good idea though, because although having elements in common with its predecessor, it’s a distinct type of experience in its own right. And one of the best platformers on the SNES.
Continue reading SNES Essentials: Yoshi’s Island
One of the biggest sources of playground arguments in my youth was whether Super Mario World or Sonic the Hedgehog was “better”.
I owned a SNES, so I should have been firmly in the Team Mario camp, but at the same time my brother was working on games magazines and regularly brought consoles home with him for us to try out — including a Mega Drive with Sonic the Hedgehog. And as such I learned to appreciate both on their own merits.
While less outright “impressive” in terms of spectacle than Sega’s classic — a fact that Team Sonic liked to rely on in aforementioned arguments — Super Mario World was certainly a game that kept me coming back for more. And for my money it remains one of the best Mario games — perhaps one of the best platformers — of all time.
Continue reading SNES Essentials: Super Mario World
Nintendo’s new miniature SNES Classic system is here, and it’s a historically significant release for one big reason: Star Fox 2.
Fully developed but never released due to its completion near the end of the SNES’ lifespan (and the subsequent birth of the Nintendo 64), Star Fox 2 has existed in limbo for a long time now. A few times over the years, ROMs claiming to be the full game have shown up, but they’ve generally been early alpha or beta builds, not offering quite the full experience that Nintendo originally intended for the game.
Now, in 2017, we can finally play Star Fox 2 in its original form as it was always intended to be played. Was it worth the wait?
Continue reading SNES Essentials: Star Fox 2