The Definitive 50 SNES Games

Super Nintendo

Image: Super Nintendo by Supa-F Photography.

Welcome to the Definitive 50 SNES Games! In this new series, I count down the top 50 greatest games to appear on the Super Nintendo. Each game gets its own video and write up.

Strap in, for the next 50 weeks I will take you on a mystical journey through the best ammunition Nintendo had for the 16-bit console wars.

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

One “legendary” title, better than any other, takes the groundbreaking, innovative design of its predecessors, and fuses it with the added power of the Super Nintendo, to fully realize …
>> Continue Reading
>> Buy on Amazon

2. Final Fantasy VI

Kefka’s cackling laugh. Ultros’ amusing flair. Terra’s tragic past. Celes’ post-apocalyptic struggle. Locke’s roguish charisma. These are but a miniscule sample of all the memories which flood back … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

3. Chrono Trigger

Produced by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and written by Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii, Chrono Trigger embodies the best aspects of the RPG genre, while simultaneously … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

4. Super Metroid

No game on the Super Nintendo is as dark, atmospheric, foreboding, or lonely as Super Metroid. It introduced gamers to a fusion of the challenging gameplay of its … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

5. Super Mario World

This Super Nintendo launch title brought the massively popular Mario platformer formula to the 16-bit era with stunning results … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

6. EarthBound

The original title, known as Mother in Japan, was released there on the Famicom in 1989. It was planned for a North American release, even getting a complete translation, but it never came out … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

7. Super Mario Kart

This kart racer, really the progenitor of all kart racers, invaded store shelves on September 1, 1992. The title went on to sell 8 million copies, spawning one of the most successful … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

8. Super Street Fighter II

When Capcom unleashed Street Fighter II: The World Warrior to arcades in 1991, they changed gaming. The arcade scene had its next juggernaut, and no stack of quarters was safe … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

9. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Action elements have been incorporated into numerous RPGs over the last 15 years, including everything from the Tales series to the Paper Mario series, and all of that was started by … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

10. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

Yoshi’s island is a slightly different take on the typical Mario formula. In this game, the player takes control of Yoshi in an effort to rescue Baby Luigi, and return the Mario brothers to … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

11. Donkey Kong Country

Rare and Nintendo’s collaborative experiment with pre-rendered video game art using Silicon Graphics equipment blew minds, raising the bar for what was expected of visuals … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

12. Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy II, or as it is more accurately known, Final Fantasy IV, was released on November 23, 1991 in North America, introducing to the West a story and character driven RPG unlike any … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

13. Secret of Mana

Surprisingly, this title cannot be credited with kicking off the beloved Mana series. That honour goes to the 1991 GameBoy game Final Fantasy Adventure, to which this title is a sequel … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

14. Donkey Kong Country 2

DKC 2 is a perfect sequel. It takes what worked from an original title, dials up everything that was awesome, and blends it all with a healthy dose of new ideas to keep things fresh … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

15. Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen

You begin The March of the Black Queen as head of a liberation army, out to free the continent of Zetegenia from the clutches of Empress Endora … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

16. F-Zero

The futuristic racing game sub-genre was born on the Super Nintendo’s Japanese launch, dated November 21, 1990 with F-Zero … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

17. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

Krang, using his giant exosuit, has stolen the Statue of Liberty. Worse yet, Shredder has commandeered the TV airwaves just to laugh at the TMNT … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

18. Star Fox

Without the polygonal power of the 64, Star Fox had to rely on the Super FX chip for its graphics. As a result, the game is letter boxed and sports a shoddy framerate. For its time, however … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

19. Donkey Kong Country 3

DKC3 is a side-scrolling platformer which adheres strongly to the tenets of that genre. Levels generally progress left to right in a linear fashion, as baddies are jumped on … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

20. Super Mario All-Stars

The original Super Mario Bros. rewrote the way games were designed and played. There’s no doubt that that title alone sold millions of NESes … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

21. Mortal Kombat II

The original Mortal Kombat slammed arcades in 1992 and changed video games forever in the process. The game’s release helped fuel a video game moral panic in the early 1990s … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

22. NBA Jam Tournament Edition

Heating up! He’s on fire! Monster Jam! These are just a few of the classic over-the-top voice-overs by Tim Kitzrow, NBA Jam‘s announcer and true star … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

23. Breath of Fire

This game takes place in a medieval world populated by both humans and anthropomorphic animals. You begin the game with Ryu, a member of the near-extinct Light Dragon Clan … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

24. Mega Man X

Upon picking up Mega Man X for the first time, I immediately realized the appeal of the series, and what had kept fans coming back for so many installments … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

25. Super Castlevania IV

The story goes that every 100 years, good’s powers fade, and Dracula is resurrected. Well, he’s back, and it’s up to you, as vampire slayer Simon Belmont, to take down the blood-sucker … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

26. Kirby Super Star

Fans familiar with Kirby’s other outings will not be surprised by the basic gameplay of this title. Super Star plays much like the NES and GameBoy games that came before it … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

27. Illusion of Gaia

The story here is exactly what you’d expect from an RPG of the era. Will seems like a normal boy, until we find out he can do things his friends can’t, specifically: move objects with his mind … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

28. R-Type III: The Third Lightning

Among the numerous shoot-em-up, or “shmup” scrolling shooters of the 16-bit era, perhaps none stands taller than the monolithically difficult R-Type III: The Third Lightning … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

29. Super Punch-Out!!

Nintendo’s famous Punch-Out!! series began life in the arcades of the 1980?s before being introduced to its mainstream audience with Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! on the NES … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

30. Super Smash TV

This overhead shooter’s “twin-stick” arcade controls map perfectly to the symmetrical Super NES game pad’s layout. I highly recommend this title to anyone who is a fan of today’s popular … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

31. Killer Instinct

This is one wild 2-D fighter, with a story and characters to match. A mega-corporation known as Ultratech has set up a tournament in which human fighters battle it out with Ultratech abominations … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

32. ActRaiser

In ActRaiser, you take on the role of the Master as he quests to recover his strength and restore his power. This will be accomplished by taking back the Earth from the clutches of the demon Tanzra … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

33. Harvest Moon

The famous Harvest Moon franchise began on the Super Nintendo. The first entry in the series, simply called Harvest Moon, was released in North America in June of 1997 … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

34. Contra III: The Alien Wars

Once again, players take control of two hardened action heroes as they fight the evil Red Faction aliens. This time, it’s the year 2636 the aliens have come to Earth … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

35. Pilotwings

This is a single-player affair broken up into a series of eight training lessons, with a couple of secret command missions thrown in as well. Each lesson consists of … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

36. SimAnt

Unlike most games designed by the legendary Will Wright, including Sim City, there is a small amount of story, and an end point, to SimAnt. Although it is still very much a “sandbox” sim game … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

37. Zombies Ate My Neighbors

The story here is simple, and hilarious. Players take control of Zeke and Julie, a couple of suburban kids on a mission to rescue their neighbors from the swarms of … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

38. U.N. Squadron

This hard-as-nails side-scrolling shoot-em-up, or “shmup,” began life as a Japanese arcade game named Area 88 … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

39. Metal Warriors

It is the year 2102, and Earth is under attack by the Dark Axis. It’s up to the Metal Warriors to beat back the evil dictator Venkar Amon and drive his forces off Earth … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

40. Uniracers

Uniracers, or Unirally as it is known in Europe, takes 40th place on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games. It was developed by DMA Design, the studio which would go on to create Grand Theft Auto … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

41. Earthworm Jim

Earthworm Jim‘s story and artistic direction are famously bizarre. Although none of this is explained in the game, Jim’s origin story is that he was a normal earthworm who … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

42. SimCity

Gameplay in the SNES version of this classic largely remains unchanged from its PC roots. The player is tasked with the role of mayor of his or her own city … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

43. Aladdin

Players take control of Aladdin himself to guide the famous street rat through many of the events and scenes of the film. The play mechanics should be familiar to anyone who … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

44. Rampart

Rampart feautes a unique blend of genres, including strategy, shooter, and puzzle. A session of Rampart always begins with the selection of castles and placement of cannons … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

45. Rock N’ Roll Racing

Rock N’ Roll Racing‘s presentation is rightfully famous. The game’s name refers to its pumping sound track, which features instrumental versions of rock classics like … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

46. Aerobiz Supersonic

In this game, the player takes the role of an airline CEO. Depending upon the difficulty selected, that player’s objective is to lead his or her company to corporate dominance … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

47. Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Super Return of the Jedi allows players to battle their way through the pits of Jabba’s palace, the sands of Tatooine, the forests of Endor, and the halls of the Death Star … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

48. Mario Paint

Mario Paint‘s most obvious use is as an art program, highly reminiscent of MS Paint. Users can create images using a variety of brushes, textures, and tools … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

49. Super Baseball 2020

Super Baseball takes the standard baseball formula and gives it a unique, streamlined, and more arcade-y feel. Only one stadium is available to be played in, and it is known as Cyber Egg Stadium … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon

50. Stunt Race FX

Kicking off the Definitive 50 SNES games is Stunt Race FX. This polygonal racer was released in July of 1994, and was the second game to make use of the Super FX chip … Continue Reading

>> Buy on Amazon