It's crazy to think about it but Nintendo's SNES has just turned 25 years old. A quarter of a century on and the home gaming console still manages to keep itself in the headlines and rightfully so. The home console is labeled as one of the very best ever made and helped jump-start the success of some unforgettable franchises.
Kotaku did a brief rundown of the news, which celebrates 25 years of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It's oftentimes referred to in Japan as the Super Famicom.
The system originally launched with only Super Mario World – a game still hailed today as one of, if not the greatest side-scrolling platformer ever made – and F-Zero. The latter was never quite as popular as Super Mario, but it helped pave the way for simulated 3D raster effects that would become a staple throughout the early and mid 1990s on the Sega Genesis, SNES and Turbo Grafx-16. The 16-bit console wars were in full effect back then and gamers were eating it up.
The original North American and European launch of the SNES actually came with a few extra games that were not present in the Japanese release, namely SimCity, Pilotwings and Gradius 3. The latter two never really became established household names over the years, with Gradius being relegated to off-shoot releases for the niche bullet-hell crowd and Pilotwings mostly only being remembered for Pilotwings 64, which was a 3D reboot of the series for the Nintendo 64. Despite containing a lot of neat little mini-games, Pilotwings 64 never really hit it off big after making its comeback. That's not to mention that it was vastly overshadowed by the far superior Mario Kart 64 and a number of other high-quality titles that kept the N64 a replayable beast throughout the mid and late 1990s.
As for Super Mario World, it helped pave the way to the eventual release of Super Mario 64, which just kept the momentum flowing all the way up until Super Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros. The series stayed quite strong throughout its lifespan and a lot of that was thanks to the replayable, fun-filled nature of Super Mario World on the original SNES.
Now F-Zero is a different beast. It was popular with gamers who loved racing titles. It was hard for me to get over the terrible resolution and nausea-inducing screen effects from the rasterized rotation of the stages. Even still, it was the fastest home console racing game out at the time and helped revolutionize competitive racing on home consoles just until EA swept in with Road Rash.
F-Zero maintained a strong core audience leading up to its N64 days, and topped out with the unforgettably good F-Zero GX on the Nintendo GameCube. Unfortunately the series hasn't made a comeback in over a decade, but lead character Captain Falcon has been regularly featured in the Super Smash Bros games.
It's amazing to think about how far Nintendo has come along in the business since the SNES days back in the early 1990s. It helped pave a way through what's oftentimes considered as the golden age of gaming.