Best SNES Games: Popular Titles You Enjoy Playing (Even in 2021)

snes games

Much like the predecessor, the SNES or Super Nintendo Entertainment System was a popular console that defined the whole era of retro gaming. With the tremendous success of the NES, it’s not hard to see how the next generation became highly-anticipated among fans especially after the 80s model was touted as the savior of the video game industry.

The SNES received inputs from many technology giants which worked for various aspects of the console, including the graphics and music. Although the NES had enjoyed major success, the follow-up still faced direct competition from others, such as Sega Genesis. But fortunately, the SNES proved to be a reliable machine, so there was no reason to sweat it.


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The SNES saw a major improvement in various aspects, making it a total upgrade from the previous console. The extra four more buttons were a nice addition, but that’s not its best value. The strongest point was the specs it had to accommodate the complex games released along with it, some of which were widely acknowledged as the best SNES games of all time.

You know Super Metroid or Earthbound right? This console is responsible for the birth of many classics, including Super Mario World and Donkey Kong. To this day, this version of Mario remains a favorite installment of the franchise. Meanwhile, the Donkey Kong Country was lauded by critics for its advancement in graphics.

People still know and play these games, part of it because emulation has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Playing classic games is not just a dream anymore. Nope, you don’t have to fix the broken SNES you brought years ago. You can play them on an updated version of the old console released a while ago.

The Best SNES Games of All Time 


1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Many critics said that A Link to the Past is close to perfection. The first game that made its way to the NES had a good start. From there the developer added more intricacies to the gameplay, storyline, and graphics.

It later culminated in the new release of Zelda which easily became a favorite of the franchise. The follow up to the original, The Adventure of Link, received mixed reviews from fans especially with the side-scrolling platforming.

The disappointment quickly turned into exuberance when the company came up with the next game which had been released in Japan as The Legend of Zelda 3: The Triforce of the Gods. It was a total improvement and ported onto a console which had 16-bit graphics, which was the SNES.

Despite the fact that this is the third game of the franchise, it has many elements that later would be paramount for the game development. The Master Sword aka the sword that’s heavily linked to Link did its first evil’s bane ability on this game. Mind you, hookshot also made its first appearance here along with other essential equipment like Pegasus Boots and the Ocarina.

2. Super Metroid

Zelda isn’t the only game in which the highly-acclaimed version came after the original. Metroid also followed the same path. After the first and second games that many thought to be unfinished and needed more exploration, it dropped a bomb with Super Metroid. The game is seriously addictive.

Fans and critics agreed that it indeed offered an awesome experience, but what exactly made it the way it was? Great graphics and music are often cited as the main factors that contribute to the quality of the game. It takes about 24Mb of storage, which was large at that time.

The designers didn’t waste the opportunity to take graphics to the next level. The passages look more complex unlike the ones of the original Metroid. They seem to play close attention to detail. Basically, they didn’t let any byte go to waste. Another reason to love this game is that it has well-incorporated tools and weapons. They aren’t just made for destroying the enemies.

Many of the weapons in the character’s arsenal work as multifunctional items. They have hidden uses that take time for us to realize. The Super Missile, for instance, has the ability to knock the enemies off the walls and ceilings. And of course, the superb game design is also worth-shouting about.

3. Super Mario World

Super Mario World was released as part of the SNES. It was yet another game that saw a major improvement. Some even go as far as to say it’s the best installment of the franchise. Speaking of the gameplay, the brothers were still on a mission to save Princess Toadstool. Only this time, the game took place in the Dinosaur Land.

Another difference was it introduced a new character named Yoshi, who continuously offers help the player to get through all the obstacles. It was Takashi Tezukad who took his time directing the game with 14 of his friends. They all worked together to make adjustments to the game, so that it could be ported effortlessly onto the new console, the Super Nintendo.

It’s not easy because they had to comply with the deadline. All the problems didn’t stop them from creating what would later be touted as one of the best Super Mario games. Even to this day when graphics have advanced in leaps and bounds, Super Mario World remains a brilliant work with such a striking level of detail.

4. Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country stood out among other games released in the 90s thanks to the 3D graphics. Rare had a lot of work to do because it’s not easy to make 3D rendered images work for a console that was meant for 2D graphics. The studio already started on the project by 1993 by means of Silicon Graphics Workstations.

However, these devices came with a few notable issues. First, they weren’t cheap. Second, they also produced a lot of heat during operation. The price and overheating issues made it hard to work with these computers. They would need special air conditioners to dissipate the heat. Luckily, the studio overcame the problems because Nintendo saw a promising future for the technology.

The company decided to take part in its development and it paid off. For the period it was released, the game is a technical marvel. It revolves around two protagonists, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. The two characters couldn’t be any more different although they’re both primates.

Donkey Kong is bigger and has more power to ward off the enemies. Meanwhile, Diddy has speed on his side. They work together as a team throughout the adventure.

5. Chrono Trigger

Seeing how well-received this game was by fans and critics alike, it wasn’t much a surprise because the project was backed by not one, but 3 geniuses. These talented people came together to create what would be heralded as one of the greatest RPGs ever.

They were Hironobu Sakaguchi, Yuji Horii, Akira Toriyama, people behind the creation of renowned games like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Dragon Ball Z. Chrono Trigger has strong elements that makes it memorable, such as stunning graphics and engaging gameplay.

Don’t call yourself a Nintendo fan if you haven’t played this game. To say it’s good would be an understatement. It’s simply one of the best Super Nintendo games. The main character is Chrono and the story took place in the year 1000AD. During his visit to a carnival, he met new friends, Marle, and Luca who developed a teleportation device.

There was an incident when Marle wanted to try the machine. The pendant she had was messing with the device, which resulted in her being sent back in time. Chrono and Luca felt the need to find their missing friend, so they travelled across eras in hopes to reunite with her again. Although the game wasn’t a monster success Super Mario World was, it ranks quite high among the best-selling SNES games.

6. Street Fighter 2: Turbo

The first version of Street Fighter 2 the World Warrior was released in 1992. It includes 8 characters with different fighting styles and moves. Only once year later, the second SF2 game found its way to the SNES. This time the game was called Street Fighter Turbo.

The twelve characters had to fight each other in a big fighting tournament. The 8 characters that made an appearance in the previous game were back. The player was also given the opportunity to play with characters that previously showed up as bosses. They are Sagat, M. Buson, Vega, and Balrog.

The gameplay isn’t different from fighting games we see today. Every match has two players fighting against each other. On top of the screen, there are health meters for both of the characters. Kicks and punches will reduce the opponent’s energy gauge. And when the health meter complete runs out, the character will lose.

FAQs – SNES VIDEO GAMES


1. Can a SNES play NES games?

The SNES has its own set of games. You can’t use it to play games from the previous console because the connection isn’t the same. However, you can take advantage devices like the FC Twin that can play NES and SNES cartridges.

2. What’s the difference between the SNES and NES?

In terms of design, you can tell the difference although they look a bit similar. The specs are where the true comparison begins. The SNES saw an upgrade from previously utilizing a 8-bit processor to a 16-bit processor on this new system.

The latter can operate on 16 bits of data at a time, making it ideal for games with more complex graphics.

3. What games are on the SNES?

There are tons of games on this console with over 700 titles being officially licensed. But if we’re specifically talking about sales, then you’ll see famous games like Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country on the list.

Other titles you can find on the system include Super Mario Kart, Street Fighter II Turbo, Final Fantasy VI, Star Fox, Simcity and much more.

4. What is the SNES Classic Edition?

It’s a new console that pays homage to the original SNES. The console is a blast to the past. If you’ve always a big fan of the SNES, but have no option to play the games because the console is broken or nowhere to be found, you can buy this version, instead.

Despite looking like a miniature version, the attention to detail is impressive. But it’s a modern device, so there are elements that make it work as one, such as a HDMI port for connection with television sets and a micro USB port to deliver power to the device.

5. Do I need cartridges to play on the SNES Classic Edition?

No, the console comes preloaded with games. There’s no need to buy cartridges to play your favorite games because it has many of them, including Earthbound, Final Fantasy III, Kirby’s Dream Course, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, to name a few.

Final Thoughts on SNES GAMES


November 21, 1990 marked the release of the SNES. The console was released in several markets, such as Japan, North America, South America, Australia, and Europe. Although it faced direct competition from others, it managed to become one of the best-selling consoles at that time. It was designed by Masayuki Uemura, the person responsible for the first generation of Famicom.

The Super Famicom was a hit in Japan as evidenced by how fast the first units were selling. It eventually made its way to North America in September 1991. In terms of design, it looks a lot like the one released in Japan. One of its biggest appeals apart from the utilization of 16-bit graphics is the inclusion of Super Mario World, one of the best SNES games of all time.

It’s so much fun to play and also groundbreaking in a number of ways. Judging by the specs, the SNES is a major upgrade over the predecessor, but specs aren’t everything. There are elements that contribute to how much of a technical marvel this console is.

The SNES gave a room for developers to come up with enhancement chips in cartridges. This, in turn, affects the level of complexity that games have to offer.

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