Today is a very special day. On this day, twenty years ago, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System hit U.S. store shelves. And the rest is history. No doubt, most of you have fond memories of the system and its amazing library of games. If you didn’t experience the SNES back in the day, you are to be pitied. Grab a friend with the console, find one yourself, or download an emulator. As a gamer, you haven’t lived until you’ve played SNES games, some of the best games of all time.
But you’ll hear all about how great the SNES is this week on countless sites and podcasts. So, instead of wasting your time, I just want to share a little story with you all. It’s the story of how I got my SNES.
Disclaimer: my story is not this epic...it does not have opera
First of all, before the console got into my house, I didn’t want the thing. By the time I was interested in getting something to replace our old NES, around ’96 or ’97, the Super Nintendo had had its day in the sun. Or so I thought. The N64 had just come out and it was all I could think about. Who wanted to play 16-bit, 2D games anymore? I wanted the hot, new thing. I wanted the beauty of the N64′s polygons (which, ironically, are not so beautiful today).
My brother, Sean, though, didn’t. He wanted the good, old SNES. So, when Christmas rolled around, it was a tossup. We had no idea if we’d be getting a new console at all, let alone the one of our choice. But when we woke up Christmas morning there was a large, wrapped box sitting under our tree, in just about the right shape. I can’t remember which one of us tore the paper off first, but I do remember Sean bursting into tears. Can you guess why? I’ll give you a minute…
Sean was upset because he thought we’d gotten something we didn’t. The revealed object was a Super Nintendo, but it was in a misleading box. The second-biggest hit on the platform, Donkey Kong Country, had been bundled with the system, and, when we saw the box, Donkey and Diddy Kong were staring back at us, in full 3D glory. It must have been easy for a six-year-old to make the mistake, but Sean was under the impression that we had gotten an N64. I quickly explained to him that the reality was otherwise, that he had gotten what he wanted, but I’ll always retain that moment in my mind, when Nintendo’s sly marketing scheme almost ruined Christmas.
The object of my obsession
Having just averted disaster, we proceeded to play the SNES nonstop. In all honesty, I was bummed the N64 hadn’t arrived, but, hey, a new system is a new system. And I became enamored with Donkey Kong Country. For the next few months, it was my first priority. We got new games and played the heck out of them too, but DK Country would always be a thorn in the back of my mind. I was never able to conquer it until much later, just this year, in fact. And, to be frank, I cheated. But it was worth it to see the credits roll by, at long last. DK Country will always be one of my favorite games, and I’ve spent a ton of quality time with it.
*the first part of my Let’s Play of Donkey Kong Country, fully annotated for your viewing pleasure*
Over several years, we amassed a humble amount of games for the system and eventually sold everything off in order to upgrade. After all, the SNES is extremely easy to emulate and ROMs are just as easy to find. So why keep the system? Well, in retrospect, I wish we had kept everything. Money comes and goes, but great memories are forged in singular moments. And it’s nice to have the objects to go with the memories.
But I’m not too choked up about it. I still go back and play SNES games often, and there are many I have yet to experience. I suspect the same is true of you. So, this week, I challenge you to play ONE Super Nintendo game you’ve never played before, as well as go back to your favorite Super Nintendo game for a little while. I know you won’t regret it.
And if you think the SNES is completely dead, then have I got news for you. Hyperkin, the makers of many retro devices, are putting out a new handheld SNES, christened the SupaBoy, later this year for a price of just $80. As well as being able to play all SNES games, the handheld will have two SNES controller ports and you’ll be able to play it on your television.
The SupaBoy is supa fly!
Even with the unusually incredible lineup of modern games coming down the pike this year, I’m more excited about the SupaBoy than anything else. I can’t imagine anything better than being able to play the original version of Final Fantasy 6 or Chrono Trigger on the go. There’s just something about the thought of playing on the bus with a huge cartridge sticking half-way out of an enormous handheld retro game system that makes me grin. I’m interested to see if Super Game Boy will be supported; I wouldn’t mind an excuse to go back and play Pokemon Blue in full color.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for today, folks. I hope you learned and laughed a little. Please rate and comment to your heart’s desire. I may be publishing some more SNES related content this week, we’ll see. Until next time, may you know the joy of walking a familiar neighborhood.