Nintendo announced the Super Nintendo Classic Edition today, priced at $79.99 USD to launch September 29th in Canada.
Already people are wondering if they could possibly get their hands on it, and critiquing the choice of games (unless you’re just excited about Star Fox 2). Finding out they are including five feet long cords instead of the NES Classic three feet is a good sign, but I’m sure that’ll be nitpicked as well.
In going with 21 titles instead of 30, this led to a few surprising omissions. I’ve decided to go through what might have been missed and why.
No Puzzle Games
Because they couldn’t get the Tetris license at an affordable cost (at least that’s the assumption) Nintendo had to go with Dr. Mario for the NES Classic. This likely meant that the expected Tetris Attack would miss a release for the SNES Classic. Sure enough, there’s no Tetris Attack. But surprisingly, there’s nothing in the form of a puzzle game on the system.
If they couldn’t get Tetris, they still could have asked Taito for Bust-A-Move, which was a decent arcade port to the Super Nintendo. Hudson has always been close with Nintendo despite the company now being owned by Konami. With a new Bomberman game coming out for the Switch, having something from Super Bomberman would have been a good inclusion. If they wanted to stick with a game they had the easy license to, Kirby’s Avalanche and Yoshi’s Cookie would have been easy titles to go with. I guess they might have felt like a choice between Avalanche and Dream Course and went with the more popular Dream Course.
What? No Chrono Trigger? Of course this is a huge disappointment for a lot of JRPG folks. The SNES Classic is sporting three strong titles from Square Enix in Final Fantasy VI, Secret of Mana, and Super Mario RPG. Earthbound makes four out of 21 titles being JRPGs. Adding a fifth might have been too much Square Enix, or too much JRPG. Square Enix has always been easy with adding Secret of Mana for anyone who wants it, so that was likely a cheap pitch-in. Super Mario RPG was a given. There had to be a Final Fantasy title, and VI was the right choice.
It’s possible that because Chrono Trigger was never released in the U.K. that they didn’t want to add an unfamiliar title, even if it’s one of the greatest games of all time.
As someone who feels FFVI and Chrono Trigger are the two most important videogames in my life, it’s a little disappointing to not see CT on the SNES Classic, but I can deal. I still own Chrono Trigger for my Nintendo DS. That said, would like to know the official reason why it was pushed aside.
Representing every one year cycle
Originally I was going to write that it felt like there were too many launch window titles, but looking at the numbers, if you break it down by September 91-92, 92-93, etc. the breakdown isn’t too bad:
09/91 – 09-92 include Super Mario World, F-Zero, Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Super Castlevania IV, Contra III: The Alien Wars, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Mario Kart).
09/92 – 09-93 titles include only Star Fox and Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting.
09/93 – 09/94 gets you Secret of Mana, Mega Man X, Super Metroid, and Super Punch-Out!
09/94 – 09/95 brings Final Fantasy VI, Donkey Kong Country, Kirby’s Dream Course, and Earthbound.
09/95 – end of SNES you have Kirby Superstar, Super Mario RPG, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, and the unreleased Star Fox 2.
I think there might have been a genuine interest in balancing the years, unlike the NES Classic that leaned hard on the first two years of the system’s existence.
When Kirby’s Dream Course and Super Punch-Out! are the only sports titles, something is a bit wrong. But the NES was a time when we were fine with unlicensed sports titles. It was a bit harder for the Super Nintendo. While we could have seen something from EA Sports or something from Nintendo’s internal sports lineups, there was likely a lot of publishing rights to the teams included that would have made it tough to include Ken Griffey or NHL Stanley Cup.
The surprise omissions were probably Super Tennis and International Superstar Soccer Deluxe (or Super Soccer), but when you get down to it, the Super Nintendo never had the sports reputation that the Sega Genesis did. I can get sidestepping a big genre of games which had a wide variety of fans.
I’m sure there’s a lot of tears shed at the lack of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV, one of the greatest games of the 90s (on both the SNES and in the arcades). I don’t know too many kids who didn’t have it. Getting into two player action on that would have been wonderful.
While there are a few multiplayer titles, Nintendo might have missed the boat in not including some games that would have worked on a Multi-Tap and allowed a way to play them easier than the original Super Nintendo. One of the reasons why the Wii Virtual Console was worth it more than anything else was how much easier it was to play a three player game of Secret of Mana on it than it was in the 90s for the Super Nintendo. You couldn’t find a Multi-Tap (or at least I couldn’t), or justify buying one. With the Wii being so popular, it made playing Secret of Mana the way it was supposed to be played that much easier.
I would have loved to see Super Bomberman 2 on the games list accompanying Secret of Mana with a way to play these games with more than two players. But I guess development costs have to be under consideration. Honestly, I would have rather seen someone like Ogre Battle over Secret of Mana because of the lack of three player support, but that’s me.
The 30 titles chosen for the NES Classic made it pretty definitive. Only going with 21 makes me wonder if Nintendo would consider a SNES Classic II. A second could easily support a lot of games missed out with this.
20 titles that could be in a SNES Classic Edition II include Donkey Kong Country 2, Chrono Trigger, Pilotwings, Sim City, Super R-Type, Gradius III, ActRaiser, Super Adventure Island II, The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Super Mario All-Stars, Mega Man X2, Breath of Fire II, Earthworm Jim, Kirby’s Avalanche, Killer Instinct, Sunset Riders, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Ogre Battle, Demon’s Crest, and Illusion of Gaia. If they want a hook like Star Fox 2, include something like Final Fantasy V translated.
The moment the NES Classic came out, I knew I had to get it for my sister. The Nintendo was her system, even if I played it like crazy as well. But from the moment the thought of “SNES Classic” came in my head, I knew I had to get it for myself. This is a day one purchase, even if I have to wait in line, even without Chrono Trigger, TMNT IV, or Arkanoid 2: Doh it Again.
But am I happy with it? Absolutely. Don’t take these nitpicks as disappointment. HDMI Final Fantasy VI? I’m absolutely thrilled. Super Ghouls and Ghosts with presumably a built in save state feature? I’m loving it. Do I own the entire Super Nintendo catalog on my computer and can play them for free at any time? Sure, but it’s not the same. It just isn’t.
For $80 USD, you’re getting some of the greatest games in videogame history. To nitpick is to be human and care. To complain is to be a spoiled brat (which still makes you human, since robots would be fine with it.)
Much like the NES Classic, if you seriously care about the game selection, you’re just going to mod it anyway. This isn’t for the collector market or the emulation market. This is for everyone else. And I hope everyone else can get their hands on one.
(Main image: Super Castlevania IV cover, Final Fantasy VI art by Zac Gorman, Star Fox official artwork, and Nintendo Power artwork for Super Metroid