This fall is shaping up to be a huge one for Nintendo, as the company is not only releasing the highly-anticipated Super Mario Odyssey for the Switch, but also putting out the SNES Classic Edition, a smaller version of the hit 90s home console. Nintendo has already announced the 21 Super Nintendo games that will come pre-loaded on the system and it’s hard to find much fault with the games they’ve selected.
From seminal titles like Super Mario World and A Link to the Past to big surprises like Star Fox 2 (which has never been officially released), the SNES Classic’s library is pretty much overflowing with masterpieces. Still, anyone who’s ever owned a Super Nintendo knows that the console’s library extended well beyond only 21 games and while Nintendo has covered most of the important ones with the Classic, they’ve also missed quite a few that arguably deserve to be included. Even though I know this is just wishful thinking at this point, here are 15 other games I think Nintendo should have put on the SNES Classic.
*Note that I haven’t taken potential licensing issues into account with this list, as it’s a wishlist and I can do whatever I want with it.
15. Earthworm Jim
Impressive animation, tight platforming gameplay, and a memorable soundtrack are just a few of the reasons Earthworm Jim was adored in its day and the most impressive part is that it still holds up really well by today’s standards. While there were certainly better platformers released on the SNES, Earthworm Jimholds a special place in many gamers’ hearts due to its zany premise and off-beat sense of humor. This is a game in which the main villain was named — and this is no joke — Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt.
They just don’t make games like this anymore (side note: it’s criminal that we haven’t gotten a new Earthworm Jim game since the 90s). It’s also hard to find many games that cast you as gun-toting earthworms in powerful space suit armor, so it also has that going for it.
14. Super Bomberman
Bomberman games really haven’t changed all that much since the 16-bit era — just look at the recently-released Super Bomberman R on Nintendo Switch — which probably helps explain why Super Bomberman still holds up so well. An absolute blast (pun intended) with four players, Super Bomberman was actually the very first SNES to officially support four players, which helped make it a multiplayer favorite on the console.
While later Bomberman titles are certainly more visually dynamic and have added many different modes, Super Bomberman is a pure distillation of what makes the series special, primarily due to its inclusion of Bomberman Battle Mode, which is the definitive mode in the series. Trapping your friends in a corner with a well-placed bomb is a gaming rite of passage and Super Bomberman stands as the SNES party game for that reason.
13. Harvest Moon
When it comes to farm simulators, we have Harvest Moon to thank for essentially creating an entire video game genre. Although working the land sounds like a video game snoozefest, Harvest Moon is surprisingly fun and the first entry in the series still holds up to this day. Planting seeds, harvesting crops, and other farming activities shouldn’t be this addictive, but as more recent farming games like Farmville and Stardew Valley have proven, never underestimate the power of a good agricultural simulation. There are certainly better games in the SNES library, but few can match the blissful relaxation of Harvest Moon, and it would be a great addition to the SNES Classic for that very reason.
12. Kirby’s Dream Land 3
Sure, there are already two different Kirby games on the SNES Classic, but why not throw Kirby’s Dream Land 3 into the mix while we’re at it? Kirby’s Dream Land 3 was released very late in the SNES life cycle, hiting shelves in 1997 after the Nintendo 64 had already been on the market for a year, but it is arguably the best pure Kirby game on the SNES. Kirby’s Dream Land 3 is more of a refinement of the series’ tried-and-true gameplay sensibilities and while it isn’t often considered to be one of the best Kirby games, it still plays well and showcases why Kirby games continue to be one of Nintendo’s most charming and enjoyable franchises.
11. Super Star Wars
Star Wars video games have existed on pretty much every piece of gaming hardware to have been released in the last three decades or so and the Super Nintendo is no different, having been home to a trilogy of film adaptations called Super Star Wars. The Super Star Wars games took the basic outline of each film in George Lucas’ original trilogy and cut them up into a bunch of 2D action-platforming levels.
Like many games of their ilk, Super Star Wars and its sequels based on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are notoriously difficult (as a kid, I couldn’t get past the first few levels in any of the games) but I would jump at the chance to try my hand at these games again on the SNES Classic. While it would be great if all three games were to somehow make an appearance on the console, if I could only pick one it would have to be Super Return of the Jedi, as it’s arguably the most polished of the three and features the most variety in terms of gameplay.
10. Sunset Riders
Video games with Western themes are few and far between, and it’s even rarer to find ones that are any good. Fortunately, Red Dead Redemption isn’t the only good one out there, as Konami’s Sunset Riders for the SNES remains one of the better video game takes on the Old West. Resembling a cross between Contra and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (another classic SNES action game that appears later on this list), Sunset Riders is like a side-scrolling brawler with an emphasis on guns and is even better in two player co-op.
It’s unfortunate that Sunset Riders seems to be better known these days for the controversy surrounding it — Nintendo famously forced Konami to edit some scantily-clad women out and also change the race of some Native American enemies — as it’s a game well worth revisiting and one that arguably belongs on the SNES Classic (but of course never will be).
9. Tetris Attack
One of the best puzzle games ever released, Tetris Attack is actually a re-skinned version of a game known as Panel de Pon in Japan. When Nintendo brought it to North America, they used assets and characters from another popular SNES title, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. In fact, the game doesn’t actually have much to do with Tetris at all, to the point where Henk Rogers of The Tetris Company has actually expressed regret over allowing Nintendo use the license. Despite not being a true Tetris game, Tetris Attack is still every bit an addictive and enjoyable puzzle game, especially if you’re playing in two-player mode. Featuring a clever dual panel-switching mechanic, Tetris Attack has some of the most heated competition of any puzzle game and should have been an essential part of the SNES Classic library.
Fun Fact: Tetris Attack was remade as Pokemon Puzzle League for the Nintendo 64. Fittingly, it’s also an incredibly addictive and fun puzzle game.
A wholly unique game that feels like a mash-up of two very different genres — action platforming and city-building — ActRaiser doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the SNES’s most original titles and deserves a chance to be discovered (or rediscovered) by a whole new generation of gamers. Published by Enix and developed by Quintet, ActRaiser still stands as a blueprint for how to successfully marry two seemingly disparate game genres (and has some great boss fights to boot) and is a cult hit that deserves to reach a wider audience; something that the SNES Classic would certainly make possible.
7. Mortal Kombat II
While Street Fighter II Turbo Hyper Fighting is the better overall fighting game — and I’m very happy that it’s present and accounted for in the SNES Classic library — the absence of Mortal Kombat II feels like a missed opportunity to have two of 16-bit era’s best fighting franchises represented on the console. Mortal Kombat II is arguably the best entry on the console, introducing the violent fatalities that made the franchise so popular, while also featuring a ridiculously good stable of fighters.
In many ways, you could even call MKII the best game in the entire series, as every facet of its design played to what made Mortal Kombat so viscerally enjoyable to begin with. Mortal Kombat II also managed to destroy its predecessor in terms of overall quality, as it looked and played better, and also didn’t neuter the whole experience by censoring the violence.
6. NBA Jam
BoomShakaLaka! NBA Jam is not an authentic recreation of professional basketball and yet, it’s still one of the most entertaining basketball games ever made. NBA Jam is all about style and sports heroics, which means that it reguarly turns into a contest between superpowered basketball players. Which, for the record, is awesome. 2-on-2 arcade basketball has never been better. It’s NBA Jam, son!
5. Zombies Ate My Neighbours
A creative top-down zombie shooter with smart level and weapon design, Zombies Ate My Neighbours is an early LucasArts gem that is infinitely more enjoyable in two player mode. It helps that the game was released long before zombies began dominating pop culture and overstaying their welcome, as Zombies Ate My Neighbors certainly had its own unique style. Presented in a goofy B-movie format, ZAMNnot only featured enemy zombies to take down, but also a number of other enemy types reminiscent of those found on the big screen, including a giant baby boss. Plants Vs. Zombies certainly owes a debt to this one.
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
Considering Nintendo is going out of its way to pack in two controllers with the SNES Classic, it’s surprising that one of the console’s best couch co-op experiences isn’t anywhere to be seen. Still one of the finest co-op beat ’em ups of all time, TMNT IV: Turtles In Time is simply a blast to play, especially with a buddy in tow. A port of the popular arcade brawler, Turtles in Time remains one of the most authentic Ninja Turtles games ever made, capturing the spirit of the cartoon perfectly.
Featuring simple but responsive brawling gameplay and a time-hopping premise that sees brothers Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo visit the dinosaurs, the wild west, and even the distant future, Turtles in Time is simply a fun video game and sometimes, that’s enough.
3. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
Nintendo made the right call in making Rare’s Donkey Kong Country one of the SNES Classic’s 21 included games, but I really wish they had found room to include that game’s sequel as well, as it’s arguably the superior game. Originally released in 1995, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest swaps out DK for Diddy’s girlfriend Dixie Kong, whose unique move set opened up all sorts of new gameplay possibilities. Dixie could fly (or at least glide) around the environment by spinning her hair, which was more interesting than Donkey Kong’s basic-looking move set.
The level design is arguably stronger too, with more richly detailed and varied environments (the amusement park sections have always been a personal favorite of mine). As already mentioned, it’s great that Nintendo at the very least got Donkey Kong Country on the SNES Classic, but it would have been great to jump right into its superior sequel after playing through it again.
2. Super Mario All-Stars
Perhaps it’s cheating a bit to include a compilation on this list, but I don’t see anything wrong with the idea of the SNES Classic having more Mario games, do you? Originally released in 1993, Super Mario All-Stars was one of the best purchases you could make on the Super Nintendo as it includes some of the best games ever made. The compilation includes enhanced versions of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels.
There was an even better version released the following year that included all of those games, plus Super Mario World. Considering Super Mario World is already on the SNES Classic, there wouldn’t really be any point in including the later version of All-Stars, but the game in any form definitely should be on console.
1. Chrono Trigger
How Nintendo missed this one, I’ll never know. After all, the SNES was a bastion for fantastic JRPGs and Chrono Trigger remains one of the greatest ever made. Many games from the 16-bit era do not stand the test of time, but Chrono Trigger has aged like a fine wine and deserves to be called a masterpiece. The game itself is RPG nirvana, delivering an excellent battle system and interesting time-hopping narrative that has no less than 13(!) endings, an incredibly ambitious feat for a game released in 1995.
In some ways, Chrono Trigger represents the end of a JRPG golden age, as it was not only released near the end of the SNES’s life cycle, but also counted a number of legendary game designers among its development team, including Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy), Yuji Hori (Dragon Quest) and Akiria Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball.