Monday, July 11, 2011
My tribute to the SNES + personal experiences.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, man, it feels like just yesterday when I first got one underneath my Christmas tree back in 1993 along with Super Mario World. I had wanted either a SNES or a Genesis for a while leading up to getting one but since I was so in love with Nintendo’s characters I settled on begging for the SNES though I would eventually get a Genesis some years later. When the system first came out back in late 1991 I didn’t really care all the much because I was still going strong with my original NES and there were tons and tons of games available for the NES at the time with more and more coming out and it took Nintendo a good amount of time to get some good SNES titles on store shelves. It really wasn’t until mid 1992 when I first noticed that a lot of people I knew started getting SNES systems for themselves though those people still seemed to be playing their NES’s as well, so I didn’t complain about not having a SNES quite yet. When I first got bit by the SNES bug was shortly after my friend “Stelfo” got a Sega Genesis for Christmas back in 1992, I saw the graphical difference between the NES games and the Genesis games and the way that Sega’s console handled wrestling and sports titles, but it was funny because even though Stelfo had WWF Super Wrestlemania for his Genesis he would still come over and play Wrestlemania Challenge for my NES. I guess graphics can’t make up for fun-factor, hence why a lot of retro games are a lot more fun than today’s offerings.
Anyhow, I picked up either a GamePro or a Nintendo Power (I forget which) back in the spring of 1993 and remember seeing some awesome looking games for the SNES and after having tried a couple SNES games at different toy stores and a friends house or two I was completely sold that it was the video game system I had wanted. Unfortunately I was told I couldn’t have one until Christmas time, bummer. It was okay though because I was still smitten with my NES and I had a solid 15-20 games for it and still played them all quite often, especially 2-player games with my friends when they came over. Well, after many months worth of waiting (it was painful back then) Christmas was finally here and I received my SNES along with Super Mario World, a game which would be my only game for quite some time, but it was okay because I preferred not to overload myself with too many games at once so I can bond with them. Thankfully I lived not to far from a couple video rental stores and I was able to rent games to see which ones I really wanted to buy, all the while I was still playing my NES quite often but I was only a few months away from selling it along with all the games I had to the local flea market. Sadly, I can’t remember the games I had acquired in order and I don’t even remember all the games I had for the SNES, I do remember one day my father (R.I.P) came home with Mortal Kombat for me in January of 1994 and just about a month after that I saved up some money from shoveling snow in the neighborhood to buy NBA Jam shortly after it was released, but I’m sure I had a couple of games in between owning those two. As time went by I remember getting bored of those games after having played them for months and months on end and I remember really wanting WWF Royal Rumble, which my local flea market had for about $20, so one summer day me and Stelfo walked a couple of miles to the flea market to purchase it. Once we had it we walked back to my apartment and for some reason unhooked my SNES and brought it down the street to my fathers house to go play the game there, to this day I still have no idea as to why we did that but it turned out to be a weird yet fond memory that I will keep with me forever. We must have spent hours playing that game and WWF Royal Rumble became something of a personal favorite of mine, Stelfo even decided to walk halfway across the city one day (no money for the bus?) just to come over and play it with me, that’s the kind of effect certain games had on us when we were younger, it really was something special that today’s crop of games don’t supply me with.
A few more games would come over the next several months but oddly enough my time with the SNES wasn’t that long and I eventually sold it off in the fall of 1994, less than a year after having received it for Christmas. Man, my parents must have been pissed at me for that and I remember getting a Genesis for Christmas of 1994 even though I wanted the Atari Jaguar at the time (yep, THAT Jaguar). That means the time I had with the SNES was less than a year, December of 1993-October 1994, it felt like I had it a lot longer than that though but I guess not. I remember kind of wishing I hadn’t sold off the SNES when in late 1995 a slew of games were coming out for it that I really wanted, I remember going to a Sears store which was right across the street from my school to play Killer Instinct and Yoshi’s Island a few times a week before class, but I didn’t have the SNES anymore and was back playing an NES that I had purchased over the summer. I wouldn’t own a Super Nintendo again until April of 1996 when my friend Billy (R.I.P) brought one over from his house and left it at my place while we turned my room into the ultimate game room, we literally spent every red cent we had on video games and the systems to play them on and had built a collection like I’ve never seen before (a separate blog is needed to explain it). That experience was one of the greatest in my entire life and I can’t wait until I can get that written so my readers can read what the game room was all about. Anyway, we had built up a large collection of SNES games (about 40) and I spent a little bit of time with a lot of them but during that time there are 4 games specifically that I really bonded with, Eye of the Beholder, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Brain Lord, and Saturday Night Slam Masters, all 4 of those games still mean something to me to this day. Once mid 1997 rolled around I had moved and the game room was no more but I still had the SNES and was still actively buying games for it even though I had other gaming systems at the time that required my attention. Around this time I was enthralled with Super Mario RPG and side-scrolling beat em’ up’s like Final Fight, but sadly my time with the SNES was soon coming to a close and by the end of 1997 I sold it off along with all the game I had to a Funcoland/Gamestop knowing that I was soon going to be getting a Nintendo 64.
In 1999 and 2000 I really got into downloading emulators and roms on my computer (I’ve owned most of these games in the past so I don’t feel bad) and was reintroduced to the SNES once again but playing the games on the computer was difficult because I didn’t have a gamepad and was using the keyboard to control the games and the experience was lackluster. I don’t know why I just didn’t go out and buy a gamepad back then, but I have one now and I’ve been actively playing the SNES on both my laptop and my Android based tablet and I’m loving the experience, I’m getting re-acquainted to many games that I once loved as well as discovering new games for system that I’ve never had the joy of playing before (teehee) and I’m really enjoying myself while doing it. Sure, the memories I’ve had with the SNES could never be re-created but I have those stored in my head and I’ll always remember the fun and joy the SNES had brought me and those around me, it’s become a part of me that will live on forever and I’m glad I still am in contact with most of the friends I’ve had back then to discuss and share these memories we’ve shared with. The SNES did very well for itself during its lifespan, at first things were a bit rocky for the system due to the Genesis releasing games at a rapid pace as well as gaining praise due to it’s sports titles and more “grown up” feel, the SNES was slow in getting games to store shelves at first and people were still buying games for the NES in 1991 and 1992. Once games like Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Final Fantasy II & III, and the Breath of Fire series hit store shelves both the media and the consumers quickly began to notice that the SNES was a great system for games involving depth and storytelling, RPG’s soon gained a lot of steam and became a staple in the U.S market despite struggling previously. The two games that seemed to help the most in putting the SNES over the Genesis in sales were Donkey Kong Country and Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario World 2, these games proved that the SNES outmatched the Genesis in graphical power and sound quality and became smash hits for Nintendo’s console that put the final nail in the coffin of the 16-bit war, Nintendo had won and the SNES went out with a bang.
As for the SNES itself, I wouldn’t call it my favorite video game system ever but I would certainly put it within the top 5, the memories I have of playing games such as Super Mario World and Mortal Kombat on it will live forever and I still love to crank open classic issues of GamePro, EGM, and Game Informer to see screen shots and read reviews of games that have graced the platform. Thank you Nintendo for the easy transition from the NES to the SNES, I’ll always cherish the times I’ve had with the console, though my time with it was short it was still full of classic moments that will live on forever.
Reach for the stars and enjoy the ride.
As always I want to thank those who took the time to read my blog, it's much appreciated and you can always check me out at www.twitter.com/manga4life as well as TZ and FUNI.
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