The release of Super Metroid on the Virtual Console last month marked the first time I played the game, as in 1994 I was a dumb kid who was too busy renting games like Family Dog or Road Runner's Death Valley Rally. The number of classics I owned and played far outweighed the dross, but the occasional classic did slip by thanks to such ill decisions, and Super Metroid was one of them.
It did not take long for me to fall in love and to see exactly where those who declared it the best game ever were coming from. The game has more polish than Poland, and one detail in particular made me literally say, out loud, while playing, "Okay, this is like the best game ever."
And that detail is this:
Samus has different sprites for facing left and right.
It did take me a little while to notice, but once I did I stopped playing, got down on one knee and held out a ring to Super Metroid. The baby is due in May.
Sagat can't decide which eye is blind, Vega is ambidextrous, and Morrigan can't even get a sprite update every five games.
Samus, though, Samus has a cannon on her right arm. Even her wall jump sprites are different for left and right walls.
Such things do not make or break a game, but if you see a little detail like that, odds are you're playing a winner.