The best SNES games EVER vs. the SNES mini library


Let's compare our picks vs. Nintendo's

Destructoid's staff voted on the best Super Nintendo games ever a few weeks back in anticipation of the now-confirmed miniature SNES Classic. Things got a little heated. 

Niero: "Dude, you voted for 31 games."
Holmes: "I was drunk on power."

We assumed 30 games would be bundled with the system, but at an $80 price point the 20 games is reasonable if they were the best SNES games games ever. All peculiar and rare games were considered, and 106 games were nominated. Let's see how our staff's list of must-have games compares to the resold internet roms that Nintendo will be packing in. Oh, and we're going to do this on a single page, because we're not assholes.

Here we go:

#30: Tie: Killer Instinct, Tetris Attack, or Mario Paint? - NOPE, NOPE, NOPE

Let's kick this list off with a tie breaker and two runners-up - none of which were selected to be on the mini.

In my opinion: the SNES port of Killer Instinct and its horn-shaped tits haven't aged that well, and though Mario Paint was mind-blowing at the time it's too limited by today's standards despite having the greatest sound utility. Tetris Attack is a weird reverse sorting take on the classic Tetris formula, and still plays great if you've never picked it up. Here's how this puzzle game manipulates your feelings:

#29. Legend of the Mystical Ninja - NOPE!

A criminal omission, Nintendo. Though probably too obscure for North America despite a domestic release. The fact that you can walk into an in-game arcade and play the first full stage of Gradius alone made this game an essential curiosity for me back in the '90s. It's one of the best SNES co-op games ever: You can explore colorful towns together, waste time in activity-filled shops, learn judo, stock up on items, fight bosses while riding piggy back, and treat yourself to Still-Cool-Era-Konami's Mode 7 pixel-stretching experiments. A few other Goemon games were made, but this gem remains the most tightly produced. The soundtrack is also really something. We can't be friends if you don't like this game, I have to draw the line somewhere. Also, this would be great on the Switch!

#28. Super Punch-Out - INCLUDED!

Much prettier than its near-perfect predecessor, Super Punch-Out could have been hit or miss: Mike Tyson isn't biting anyone in it, the game went a little off-brand by allowing fighters to jump-kick you in the face, juggle, letting a man fight with a wooden cane, and all kinds of other randomness. We saw a little of this in the original game with the Egyptian Magician doing a split-second disappearing act in the first game, but they really went to town with it -- and it worked. With tight controls improving on the core formula, this fighter is still one of the most interesting titles on the console. It's too bad the music's forgettable and doesn't offer much replay value after you've clobbered your way through the ranks. 

#27. Star Fox - INCLUDED!

Nintendo is including the unreleased Star Fox 2 with the mini, which is above and beyond our expectations. You should play it because the later sequel had its Platinum balls cut out. It's furry pew pew magic. I bet somebody at Google is doing a barrel roll.


Midway set arcades on fire (Boom Shakalaka!) with their over-the-top cartoony basketball title, and the SNES port still holds up pretty well. Despite having an official NBA license they dared to really mix it up, and if you indulge the excellent cheat codes things can quickly get interesting. Few modern sports games capture the chaos and excitement of this title. 

#25. Final Fantasy II (IV in Japan) - NOPE

The modern 3D ports of the Final Fantasy series are charming in their own right, but there's just something special about replaying these classic RPGs in their original pixel-perfect glory. Play it again to enjoy one of the least-cheesy Final Fantasy stories ever full of memorable characters, you spoony bard! Final Fantasy IV was one of the first console games to ruin people's lives by incorporating random rare drops from battles. I farmed the Rune Axe for 40 hours and still regret it 20 years later. This won't be on the SNES Classic, but at least III is.

#24. Contra III: The Alien Wars - INCLUDED on the SNES Classic!

Though considerably less iconic than the first, there's arguably no other 16-bit game that can touch the over-the-top boss battles in this game. For example, you start Stage 4 in a flying motorcycle shooting aliens, then you fight a futuristic tank, then giant alien ships attack you, then you jump onto a helicopter and fight a grappling hook ninja, then the helicopter shoots a bunch of missiles that you have to hop from and hang onto while fighting the boss. It sounds like asking your baby cousin to invent the ultimate action video game, and it works. Unfortunately the game is very short. 

#23. Zombies ate my neighbors - NOPE

The stupid title surely worked against it, but it was fun and fairly straightforward co-op game. There was also this giant baby. Grab it on the Wii Shop if you're curious. A fair pass.

#22. Super Mario All-Stars - NOPE

This probably shouldn't have made the list, but few Super Nintendo games delivered so much gameplay and value on a single cart. Nintendo chose not to bundle Super Mario All-Stars with the SNES Classic and I'm not even mad. 

#21. Super Castlevania IV - YESSSSSSSS

Belmont horse thighs on an disproportional torso goes slowly tippy-toeing across oversaturated marshlands and castles, set to the most insecure rendition of the Castlevania opening stage theme song. If you can get past all that it's one of the better Castlevania games of the era. It's no Symphony of the Night, but it's a great way to spend a few hours.

#20. Super Street Fighter II Turbo - SORTA!

They put in Hyper Fighting. Here's the Wikipedia page for details on the port.

#19. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest - NOPE!

The sequel had more polish and depth than the original, though less popular and iconic. Nintendo made a hard pass.

#18. ActRaiser - NOPE!

ActRaiser, if we're honest, is a weird one. If you were following Nintendo Power in the '90s your face was melting at the sight of the colorful boss battles and god-game world building, but the final product never really made both of these modes cohesive. The sequel was an even bigger mess, though even more gorgeous, with a punishing difficulty. ActRaiser still holds a dear spot in my heart but I'm cool with playing it through once every 10 years. I don't need it on this console.

#17. F-Zero - INCLUDED!

The essential Nintendo racing game for those that don't care for Mario Kart

#16. Earthworm Jim - NOPE!

#15. Aladdin - NOPE!

#14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time - NOPE!

#13. Mega Man X - YES!

Tony Ponce pre-order confirmed.

#12. Kirby Super Star - YES!

We also get Dream Course, so that's 2/5 Kirby games on the SNES. Darren said: "Calling Dream Course "not the worst" is heresy/fightin' words."

#11. Super Mario Kart - YES!

#10. Super Metroid - YES!

Chad Concelmo, who now works at Nintendo, got his start here on Destructoid. He used to write this amazing(!) column called The Memory Card, and the first installment was Super Metroid. Check it out in our Golden Archives. It's great stuff. Hell, I should bump some of those on weekends.

#09. Secret of Mana - YES!

The Super Nintendo was the definitive RPG gamer's console, and I'm really happy so many of these classic role-playing games have found their way on the Classic. Secret of Mana is a slow, rewarding burn that will demand a full 40 hours from the average person, but there are tool-assisted speed runs under two hours. Insane.

I used to date a college-level circus gymnast who was really into their Muelle de San Blas album. She had the equivalent of yellow fever but for hispanic people. In the old country, we call that chimichangas. 

#08. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - In!

Raise your hand if you've never played this game because it looked too weird and made your feel like Uncle Miyamoto touched you wrong. I bet a lot of people have never played through this and it's a wonderfully creative game. 

#07. EarthBound (Mother 2 in Japan)  - INCLUDED on the SNES Classic! 

Nintendo surely knew that the internet would implode if this one wasn't included. Modders would be in line at Toys R' Us dropping their screwdrivers and sniveling sleeplessly to jam that shit in there as fast as their little burned fingertips could allow.  

Few SNES franchises still have as many active fans today as the Starman series. Earthbound, despite its deceiving adolescent looks, has some fucked up darkness to it and some of the most witty writing in this console generation. If you've never picked it up I strongly advise sticking with it until you get the fourth party member. If it hasn't pulled you in by then you're dead inside and get way too offended easily at dinner parties.

#06. Final Fantasy III (VI in Japan) - INCLUDED on the SNES Classic! 

We're stoked this made the cut on the mini. Final Fantasy III was the role-playing game that gathered all the good ideas from the 8-bit and 16-bit RPGs that came before it and shot a thousand miles past them. It's a game so well balanced and full of memorable characters that to this day certain old farts will call it their favorite Final Fantasy ever. There have been a number of great remakes of these earlier titles worth checking out if you're younger than my frying pan set and have trouble appreciating this glorious sprite party.


#05. Super Mario World - IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL NOT TO!

Toys"R"Us had Super Mario World's title screen playing on loop behind a glass panel three months before the system was for sale, and I would ride my bike for half an hour every weekend to just look at it. It's still one of the best video games ever made.

Ok, we're getting close to the end!

Dun. Dun. Dun.

The next four games actually tied for first, so let's do them alphabetically:  


#04. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - INCLUDED!

Donnie Darko's in it, you'll love it. Easily one of the most beautiful games of the era, it still holds up with the best of them -- not to mention having one of the best soundtracks in the history of gaming. Crank your stereo speakers up and listen carefully to the left and right channels of this one particular track

#03. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars - YES!

Can we talk about how terrible the title of this game is? Imagine if every spinoff game had the genre in the name, like Plants vs. Zombie Not iPad Game Shooter or Blizzard Electronic Card Game. Luckily the game wasn't horse shit. Another great RPG on this console, I can't believe it! 

#02. Donkey Kong Country - YES!

Raise your hand if you've thought about gently pouring maple syrup into your significant other's eyes when this song came on ever so gently. 

And the last one ....

#01. Chrono Trigger - NOT INCLUDED. 

This is a joke, right? 


*Pans somberly to the rain beating softly on the window*

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My fat ass to ride bike during a common spring,
For I had sold my Genesis for an SNES.
For school I could not be awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved Chrono Trigger.
Then- in my stormy childhood, I had drawn;
This EGM fan letter contest I had won,
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the robot, or the frog,
From the goddamn random encounters, 
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the most powerful oven ever made,
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And Cloud's haircut later stole the form
When the rest of the roms were blue
An incomplete SNES mini was in my view.

How are we paying for $4 for SNES games, buying twenty of them at that price in 2017, and this is not one of them? Edgar Allen Poe, on his dying breath, said it was the single best SNES game ever made here evermore. The list is too good for that exclusion to have been decided by a slight of hand. I can only imagine what business shenanigans led to it not being included (usually licensing or way too much money being asked). 

We're done here. The aftermarket is going to have "fix" that one.  

Chrono Trigger aside, the SNES Classic is by and large what we had hoped for.

Here's how we voted:

It's unclear if Nintendo's two engineering sloths will be allowed to work with the gaming bunnies that poop 3DS variations every few seconds, so if you're hoping to get your hands on this console I would make a blood sacrifice, set Amazon alerts, mark your calendar, and send a basket of scented summer soaps to your local scalper. These are going to fly off the shelves. Preorders in the UK are already fucked.

Did we miss any of your favorite games? Let us know what got robbed.

[Header image artwork by SeriousDesigns.]

You are logged out. Login | Sign up



Niero Gonzalez
Niero GonzalezMeat Vessel   gamer profile

I keep Destructoid weird. Also I'm a playable character in Retro City Rampage, look: (along with the whole 2009 Dtoid Editorial team) Sometimes I have a villainous mustache My dog CoCo chec... more + disclosures



Filed under... #Destructoid Originals #features #Hardware #Nintendo #SNES #Super Nintendo



You're not expected to always agree, but do please keep cool and never make it personal. Report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community team. Also, on the right side of a comment you can flag nasty comments anonymously (we ban users dishing bad karma). For everything else, contact us!