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
The Ys series is one of the longest running franchises in gaming — yet it’s not nearly as well known as the Final Fantasies and Zeldas of this world.
This is a shame, because not only does Ys represent developer Falcom arguably at its finest, the series as a whole has also been key in the development of the action RPG as a subgenre.
It also holds the dubious honour of being one of the most remade series of all time, refreshing and rewriting its various installments long before the concept of the HD remake ever reared its head.
Let’s take a look at the main series’ various releases in chronological order and see how it’s developed.
Continue reading Ys: Introduction and History