Nintendo’s new retro system includes a never-before released game, plus some of the odder elements of gaming in the 16-bit era.
While its insistence on doing things its own way can sometimes make Nintendo a stubborn company, recently it’s been giving fans exactly what they want. Want a brand-new Zelda game available at launch for the Switch? Sure! A real-life Super Mario level as part of their tie-up with Universal Studios Japan? OK!
And now the company’s surging goodwill is rising even higher, thanks to the announcement of the official announcement of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition.
▼ While the system itself has gotten smaller, the two included controllers look to be an exact match to the original spec units.
A follow-up to last year’s phenomenally popular NES Classic Edition, the Super NES Classic Edition is a miniature recreation of the, well, classic video game system (which launched in the early ‘90s, before “console” was the standard parlance) which comes loaded with a number of hit games from the era. Nintendo isn’t being quite as generous this time around, as the SNES Classic Edition contains 21 games, instead of the even 30 for the NES version. However, whereas the 8-bit lineup had a few questionable inclusions (only the most hardcore historians were itching to play the non-super Mario Bros. or NES Galaga), the SNES Classic Edition’s library is incredibly strong.
The North American and U.K. versions will let you play:
● Contra III
● Donkey Kong Country
● Final Fantasy III
● Kirby Super Star
● Kirby’s Dream Course
● The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
● Mega Man X
● Secret of Mana
● Star Fox
● Star Fox 2
● Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
● Super Castlevania IV
● Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
● Super Mario Kart
● Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
● Super Mario World
● Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
● Super Metroid
● Super Punch-Out!!
▼ Yep, eight of the 21 titles begin with “Super.”
In case you missed it, of special note is the inclusion of Star Fox 2, a game that was developed for the SNES, completed by Nintendo, but never released. So even if you’ve got no interest in “old” games, the SNES Classic Edition offers something new.
Still, the primary appeal here is retro fun, and Nintendo has gone above and beyond in delivering on that. Not only do you get a collection of landmark games from the 16-bt era, the SNES Classic Edition is an opportunity to relive the frustration of Japan-exclusive titles and releases. The Japanese version of the mini system, called the Nintendo Classic Mini Super Famicom, also comes with 21 games, but only 16 of those align with the North American/U.K. set.
Gamers in Japan won’t get to play EarthBound, Kirby’s Dream Course, Super Castlevania IV, or Super Punch-Out!!. Given that the Punch-Out!! franchise has always had a larger following in the West, it’s not a surprise that Nintendo left it out, but scrubbing EarthBound, which was released as the middle installment of the popular Mother franchise in Japan, is a curious choice.
▼ Whereas the Japanese Nintendo Classic Mini Famicom had scaled-down controllers, the Nintendo Classic Mini Super Famicom’s are full-size.
Also missing from the Nintendo Classic Mini Super Famicom is Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, but that’s because it gets replaced with the upgraded semi-sequel Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers. Also exclusive to the Japanese system are Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Super Formation Soccer, Panel de Pon (which was repurposed into Tetris Attack outside Japan), and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, which revives the proud tradition of teasing English-speaking 16-bit gamers with an untranslated Japanese RPG.
Again, I can’t overemphasize how Nintendo has gone all out recreating the experience of being a gamer in the 16-bit era, as the regional differences also mean you can enjoy griping about box art differences and whether Final Fantasy III or Final Fantasy VI is the proper way to refer to the series last new mainline installment on a Nintendo system.
▼ My God is the cover for Seiken Densetsu 2 (Secret of Mana) gorgeous.
Oh, and although the U.K. and North American versions share the same library of games, the U.K. does get the rounded, colorful Super Famicom-styling for its Super NES, just like it did in the ‘90s, as opposed to the aesthetically awkward North American design.
The Super Nintendo Classic Edition launches on September 29 in North America and will cost US$79.99, and on the same day in the U.K. for an as-yet undisclosed price. Meanwhile, the Nintendo Classic Mini Super Famicom hits stores in Japan on October 5 for 7,980 yen (US$72). Clamoring for a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition is expected to start by mid-October at the latest.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he wishes he could go back in time and break his teenage mind by saying yhat in the future, he’d be able to buy 21 SNES games for 80 bucks.