Earlier today, Nintendo confirmed the SNES Classic Edition is coming in late September. Strong rumors have hinted at the mini-system's existence since April, but you don't have to pretend to act surprised: The news that the mini-console contains Star Fox 2 is a genuine shocker on its own.
In fact, all 21 of the games parked on the SNES Classic are killer (sans "instinct"). I don't have many complaints about what's on the menu, but even as I dust off my pup tent and prepare my queue-up survival kit (Nintendo says it'll have plenty of systems to go around, but I'll believe it when I see it), I can't help but re-scan the list of games with a critical eye and take note of the titles that are lacking.
I understand that certain games are just fated to be no-shows. For example, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time is mired in various levels of copyright hell, and it's not coming out any time soon. But there are still plenty of good candidates that aren't part of the SNES Classic line-up. It makes me stroke my chin and say, "Que?"
The following games need to report immediately to the SNES Classic's front desk:
Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World
Super Mario World is already part of the SNES Classic line-up – as it should be. But Super Mario All-Stars, a top-notch remake of Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 2, and Super Mario Bros 3, is noticeably absent. I vote for its inclusion, but I also want to see the rare version of Super Mario World that was tacked onto Super Mario All-Stars much later in the SNES's life. What makes it different from vanilla Super Mario World? Luigi's reworked sprite and animations, primarily. We'd get to see Mario's younger bro slide down hills on his knees, and spit fireballs out his mouth. What will we do with you, Luigi?
Donkey Kong Country 2
The first Donkey Kong Country game comes installed on the SNES Classic. Good. Great. Awesome game. I think Donkey Kong Country 2 is better than it in every regard, though. The graphics are better, the level design is better, and the music is much better – not to suggest DKC's soundtrack is a slouch, of course.
I also wouldn't mind seeing Donkey Kong Country 3 on the little system. I'm not a fan of Baby Kong (why in God's name would I be), but the interactive world map and temperate setting sets the game apart from its predecessors.
Final Fantasy II / IV
If I was forced to choose between putting either Final Fantasy IV (Final Fantasy II SNES) or Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III SNES) on the SNES Classic, I'd say "Final Fantasy VI" in the exaggerated manner of an opera singer. Final Fantasy VI is meatier than IV, the story's better-written, and the graphics and soundtrack are sublime.
But to quote the little girl in the Old El Paso taco shell commercial, "Why can't we have both?" Final Fantasy IV isn't perfect, but it's still a great deal of fun to blaze through. I should know. I've done it about a billion times.
While some of the games on this list are wishes and dreams, I'm genuinely surprised ActRaiser isn't included on the SNES Classic. This action game / town-building game hybrid was first in line on the Wii's Virtual Console service – though it's since been noticeably absent from the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console services. It's too bad. There's never been another game like Actraiser, and even if the Master's sprite is a little cheesy-looking, talk about a soundtrack that can't be beat. Speaking of Quintet…
Quintet's RPG Trilogy (Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia, Terranigma)
"Oh no, Nadia's going on about Quintet's games again." Damn right Nadia's going on about Quintet's games again, and I promise to keep doing so until we get Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia, and Terranigma in a collection – or until I'm hauled off because I'm old and my incessant ranting about Terranigma is preventing me from eating or sleeping.
Yes, I am on track to become a human Grape-kun, and Quintet is the waifu I'm inadvertently going to starve for. Try not to be surprised when you read about me sixty years from now.
Or maybe Square-Enix will do the noble thing and release the Soul Blazer trilogy in a collection, or on the Virtual Console, or whatever. C'mon guys, don't let me de-evolve into a penguin.
One day, the unique and SNES iteration of SimCity was available on the Virtual Console. The next day, it was gone. Poof. We never got a solid answer about why the game went yoink, but there's a good chance it has something to do with EA owning the SimCity license. It's a shame. SimCity SNES isn't the most in-depth iteration of SimCity, but it's by far the most charming thanks to its uniquely Nintendo touch. Who needs boring kaiju attacks to contend with when Bowser fills the role quite nicely?
Chrono Trigger is one of the best RPGs on the SNES. It's one of the best RPGs of all time, actually. You know it, I know it, dogs know it, Kat knows it. Many of us who fell in love with RPGs thanks to Final Fantasy VI naturally chased its heavy apocalyptic story with Square's shonen time-travelling saga. It'd be nice if SNES Classic owners had the chance to do the same.
Don't let Uniracers' simple graphics fool you. This racing / stunt game was one of the best things to come out of Nintendo's sometimes-regrettable "Play it Loud" era. The 'tude on display is laughable now (you can't name your racer "Sonic" or "Sega" because game deems the names "Not cool enough"), but doing flips off ramps as a one-wheeled cycle is just raw fun.
Interestingly, Uniracers is a rare title because Pixar filed a copyright claim on its unicycle characters. Nintendo lost, and was forced to cease printing the game.
C'mon, Nintendo and Pixar. Work something out so we can play Uniracers again. Kiss. KIIIIISS!
EVO: The Search for Eden
EVO: The Search for Eden is a platformer / RPG that has clear flaws, but is base concept offers more than enough of a reason to keep on playing. Creating and naming your own animals as you evolve, eat, and fight across prehistory is a wild time.
Spend your evolution points wisely, thrive in a hostile environment, and adapt. If you're wise and lucky, the future will look back on your animals as Nature's most successful creations. Imagine school kids being quizzed on your iron-plated dinosaur, the majestic "FARTSTINK." You couldn't leave behind a better legacy if you cured cancer.
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals
The initial release of Lufia II was smacked with a double-dose of misfortune: It came out towards the end of the SNES's lifespan, and it was not as talked-about as Final Fantasy VI or Chrono Trigger. Many of us who love classic RPGs missed out on Lufia II because we'd moved on to other consoles, or we'd spent all our money on the games already available (SNES RPGs weren't cheap!). Lufia II is a great game with thoughtful puzzles and a great story. It deserves a little more recognition next to the SNES's best RPGs.
For more retro SNES loveliness, check out our complete guide to the SNES Classic.