With the Super NES Classic Edition now available, nostalgia for Nintendo’s beloved 16-bit console is at an all-time high. And really, why shouldn’t it be? Despite being over a quarter century old, the Super Nintendo is still widely considered to be one of the greatest gaming systems ever made and is closely associated with what is often referred to as gaming’s “golden age.” Nintendo’s purple and grey box was home to a frankly absurd number of incredible games, with all-time greats like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Final Fantasy VI making their debuts on the SNES.
While gaming has evolved dramatically since the SNES’ early-90s heyday, the console and many of its games have aged surprisingly well. The move from the 8-bit NES to 16-bit afforded developers the tools to truly take a leap forward in visuals and game design. The color palettes became more varied, sound design became beefier, and gameplay in general became more ambitious in the SNES era.
Now that the SNES Classic is out, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the console and take a look back at some of its best titles. All 21 games that appear on the SNES Classic’s library are included on this list, but there are also a ton of other great SNES games that, for whatever reason, didn’t make the cut. Without further ado, here are rankings of the 40 best SNES games of all time. As always, we welcome your feedback and don’t hesitate to sound off in the comments below about what some of your favorite SNES games are and which ones you feel should have made the list that didn’t.
*Didn’t Make The Cut
A flight-sim game, Pilotwings certainly isn’t a game that appeals to everyone, but it’s hard to dispute its influence on the SNES, especially from a graphical standpoint. One of only three games available when the SNES first launched, Pilotwings is often considered to be the ultimate tech demo for Nintendo’s 16-bit console. The game used the Super Nintendo’s Mode 7 capability to simulate 3D graphics, which in turn made Pilotwings a pretty convincing flight-sim for its time and offered a nice challenge for would-be pilots. Admittedly, there are many superior SNES games out there — which is probably why it didn’t make the cut for the SNES Classic — but based on historical significance alone, Pilotwings remains an important and influential title in the console’s library .