It’s remarkable to see how much video games have evolved over a very short period of time and there’s still no end in sight for what’s possible in the medium’s future. The impressive milestones that current gaming consoles have reached would be impossible without the foundation that’s been built by older hardware, like the Super Nintendo, which are now viewed by many to be retro relics of the past.
A lot of the franchises and ideas that made their debut on the SNES are still crucial to Nintendo’s current gaming slate. There is no shortage of Super Nintendo games that feel lost in the past or require extensive attention and patience on the part of the player, but some SNES games are perfect for short gaming sessions that won’t leave anyone aggravated.
10 Star Fox Pushed The Super Nintendo’s Boundaries To Shocking Places
The Star Fox rail-shooter series has continued to be a mainstay for Nintendo, but the series likely wouldn’t have the legendary reputation that it does today if the Super Nintendo original wasn’t such a striking deviation from the norm. Star Fox’s use of the Super FX chip presented a whole new style of graphics that was ahead of its time in the 1990s. The SNES Star Fox establishes all of the series’ staples, but the game’s branching narrative and alternate routes means that it can be quickly finished. There is a lot of extra content to discover, but Star Fox can also be reduced to a short gaming session.
9 Super Castlevania IV Is A Triumph Of The Genre That’s Fun, But Not Toothless
Konami’s Castlevania is still going strong and the successful Netflix animated series has only increased the gothic horror series’ popularity. There’s still debate over what’s the superlative Castlevania experience, but the SNES’ Super Castlevania IV is still viewed as one of the series’ most satisfying entries. Players control Simon Belmont through 11 levels which all boast a decent level of difficulty, but are far from impossible. The game’s biggest hurdles stem from the endurance match of bosses that the player needs to defeat towards the end. However, seasoned players will still be able to vanquish Dracula in a single sitting.
8 Super Punch-Out!! Is A Fun Game To Master
The original Nintendo Entertainment System’s Punch-Out!! still holds the title as one of Nintendo’s most punishing video games. The Punch-Out!! series has largely been dormant, but a Wii sequel and Little Mac’s addition as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. is proof that Nintendo hasn’t forgotten about the series.
The Super Nintendo sequel, Super Punch-Out!! finds the proper difficulty balance. There are 16 opponents to defeat who are spread out across four circuits. Like in its predecessor, these boxers all have their own quirks and weaknesses, but once the player figures out their patterns it becomes a game that’s easy to breeze through.
7 Mega Man 7 Perfects The Series’ Gameplay With Some Of Its Most Exciting Content
Capcom’s inventive Mega Man series was a staple on the NES and Game Boy, but the Super Nintendo’s first mainline Mega Man title is Mega Man 7. The Mega Man X series gets a lot of attention for Super Nintendo action-platformers, but Mega Man 7 is just as impressive. It’s a very satisfying swan song to the core before it transitions over to the PlayStation. Much like with the previous Mega Man games, this sequel can be easily conquered in a few hours for those that know how to properly sequence their Robot Master attacks. The game’s password feature also makes it even easier to maintain one’s progress.
6 Super Mario Kart Confidently Kicks Off A Celebrated Franchise
The racing genre has proliferated in fascinating ways. Many franchises have steered towards more realistic driving experiences, whereas Nintendo has found endless worth in their sillier, heightened Super Mario Kart games. Some franchises take some time to find their footing, but the Super Nintendo debut for the kart racer is an incredibly special racing experience (although the same can also be said for the SNES’ F-Zero). Super Mario Kart’s various cups can be completed within an afternoon, but it’s the multiplayer and the mastering of the game’s courses that brings players back for more.
5 Final Fight Is A Beat-’Em-Up Fighter That Knows When To Leave The Party
The Sega Genesis might have been a better home for fans of the beat-’em-up genre, but the Super Nintendo at least had the Final Fight games as their response to Sega’s Streets of Rage. Final Fight focuses on the fundamentals and there are three separate characters that players can control through these violent environments.
Final Fight does everything right, but there are only six levels to play through — meaning this final fight won’t necessarily be a lengthy one. Final Fight’s Cody has even made his way into the Super Smash Bros. series as a guest fighter.
4 Pilotwings Is A Relaxing Entry Into A New Genre Of Gaming
Sometimes a video game feels more like a glorified tech demo or a proof of concept rather than a full experience with a complete story. Pilotwings has had an interesting life across different Nintendo consoles. It’s a series that was created by Shigeru Miyamoto as a creative spin on the flight simulation genre. Pilotwings for the Super Nintendo is a very calming experience. There aren’t too many levels to work through and it’s a game that focuses more on its design and concept than strenuous challenges.
3 Earthworm Jim 2 Trades The Challenge Factor For Ingenuity & Change
Earthworm Jim deserves tremendous respect for being an original platforming mascot who is extremely outside of the box, but still able to build a video game franchise that spanned multiple gaming generations and even had an animated series. The original Earthworm Jim is a very challenging action-platformer, but much of this difficulty is removed in its sequel, which is both shorter and puts more of a focus on experimental level designs. There’s very little of the traditional levels that defined the original game and these new stages, which rely on different gimmicks, aren’t very long.
2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time Is Bite-Sized Beat-’Em-Up Bliss
Fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series have lots of options to turn to when it comes to video game adaptations. Some of the most successful Ninja Turtles titles started in the arcade, which is the case with the Super Nintendo’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time. This is viewed by many to be the best Ninja Turtles title for the SNES, as well as one of their stronger beat-’em-ups in general. Even the weakest of gamers will be able to complete the game’s six levels in an hour or two.
1 Another World Tells A Gripping Sci-Fi Story That’s Unlike Anything Else On The SNES
Another World, which is also known as Out of This World, is one of the most unique games on the Super Nintendo. It’s a refreshing change of pace as far as adventure games are concerned and it has a lot more in common with the point-and-click genre of adventure games that dominated PCs. Another World has a very striking art style and unconventional gameplay mechanics that push the player to solve problems in new ways. Another World is a breakthrough in gaming and it’s been celebrated as such, but this ambitious experiment also translates to a short adventure that can be completed in a few hours.
NEXT: 10 Super Nintendo RPGs That Defined The Genre
Next Metroid Dread: 10 Things It Does Better Than Any Other Metroid Game
About The Author
Daniel Kurland (1309 Articles Published)
Daniel Kurland is a freelance writer, comedian, and critic, who lives in the cultural mosaic that is Brooklyn, New York. Daniel’s work can be read on ScreenRant, Splitsider, Bloody Disgusting, Den of Geek, and across the Internet. Daniel recently completed work on a noir anthology graphic novel titled, “Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Noir: A Rag of Bizarre Noir and Hard Boiled Tales” and he’s currently toiling away on his first novel. Daniel’s extra musings can be found @DanielKurlansky on Twitter.