The Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Greatest Console Ever(?)
When I was about 13 or so, the greatest video game system EVER made was released, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. This was the first home console to give arcade quality graphics. That was a huge leap forward in home gaming. Where the NES gave us classics like Super Mario Brothers, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania and many, many others, the SNES took them all to the next level, both graphics, and gameplay wise. Stereo quality sound and music rounded out a system that to this day, is the best I’ve ever owned.
The NES. The first for many of us.
The NES was a staple of school yard discussion at this age. “Which system do you have?” The NES ruled the roost. The Sega Master System wasn’t even an option for some kids. If you never left my hometown, you might not even know it existed. Funny thing is, no matter what system you had, adults would still call it a Nintendo. I was less fortunate than some, and while the guys in my class were talking about their NES, I was still playing on my ATARI 2600. Eventually, my family got a NES, and there was no looking back.
Gameboy, the original gaming brick.
Fast forward a few years, and many gaming hours, and I brought home my SNES that I bought all by myself. I had it unboxed, plugged in, and powered on within 5 minutes. Mario never looked better up to this point in my mind. Being able to pick up and throw turtle shells was amazing. Getting Yoshi and powering him up was so cool. For the time, it was a huge leap forward for gaming. Next came Contra 4: The Alien Wars. An amazing entry into the Contra saga. The next 2 games that stood out the most for me are arguably (not really, they just are) the best games for the SNES. The Legend of Zelda, a Link to the Past, and Super Metroid. Both games literally took hours of my life, and I have never been more willing. LttP was such a great game, and not short at all. It was the first Zelda game I ever played start to finish, and it was worth every moment. Super Metroid was actually the 3rd installment in the Metroid series. Metroid 2: The Return of Samus was a Gameboy game and I played the hell out of that one multiple times. Super Metroid was even better, although I wouldn’t have thought that possible.
Why wouldn’t you want to play mobile games at home?
Speaking of the Gameboy, Nintendo released a game changer accessory called the Super Gameboy. It allowed you to play Gameboy games on your SNES in color (kind of). Another truly amazing peripheral from the house Miyamoto built that broadened your SNES library with what were essentially old games. This also allowed me to play The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. A GB game based closely on Link to the Past. Custom frames also let you turn your gaming into a “movie” of sorts for some of the big N’s mascots. Other game included custom frames if you played your GB game on an SNES.
My first ex wife (yes, first) had a Sega Genesis, which I inherited after having one for a brief time through a trade. While it never had the processing power of the SNES, it did have some amazing games and solid gameplay. Honestly, SEGA in my mind, was always the bridesmaid to Nintendo. Second place time after time. Both systems had hits and misses. Any time a game came out for both, while graphics on the Genesis, and even some of the story/plot points and content would be completely different, that doesn’t mean any of them were necessarily bad. Just a bit weaker.
The Genesis and 32X in all of its glory.
Now, this is not a beat down of Sega by any mans. I loved the Genesis. Sonic the Hedgehog was a GREAT franchise, and Sonic 2 owned my soul for awhile, I played it that much. However, where Nintendo was happy with only 1 add on, SEGA went with 2. The fist was the 32X; an add on that would give the Genesis stronger processing power, and even better, closer to arcade quality graphics. The problem with the 32X, was that there was minimal support. It could have really been a game changer; but they just didn’t follow through. A fact back then that still holds true today, 3rd party support will make or break a console.
I can play SNATCHER on this!.
Fast forward to one of my favorite add ons of all time, the SegaCD. The first disc based system (addon, whatever) available widely in the US. The storage, processing, and memory potential added by the CD drive, for the time, was awe inspiring. For the first time ever, full motion video, games like Mad Dog Macree were playable. The Dragon Quest game was available as it was in the arcade. Up to this point, none of those were available on the mass marketed (not prohibitively expensive) systems. If you had both the 32X and Sega CD, you were either rich, spoiled rotten, or both.
Have a huge system that plays pretty much everything.
Now, to be fair, back in the old days, mobile gaming was not nearly as prevalent as it is now. The Gameboy had the market cornered. Nobody could compete with that monochrome, non backlit 8 bit goodness. Then, SEGA decided to rock the boat with the Game Gear. A full color, backlit, 16 (ish) bit screen with Sega’s greatest transported to a small, portable, battery sucking device that was awesome. Except that it took 6(!) batteries that only last a couple hours tops.
There was even a TV adaptor!
Last, but not least, was the NOMAD. You could actually take your Genesis games on the go. The actual cartridges would plug in and you could play them away from your TV. I never had one, but I wanted one.
Home gaming on the go.
Sega tried everything they could to corner the gaming market. Too bad it didn’t last…
The SNES stayed active and awesome for years until the competition got too heavy. The N64 came later to missed results, while Sega floundered and suffered through multiple failed console releases. This was also around the time SONY became a gaming juggernaut. While the SNES wasn’t my first or last console, it was my favorite.
What was your favorite console from when you were younger?
Don’t forget to follow and subscribe to stay connected to all of our content!