We still remember Nintendo’s 16-bit console’s contributions to gaming’s golden age even 30 years after its release.
It had the best platformers and Japanese RPGs. Metroidvania and Mario Kart were initially introduced on the Multiplayer SNES.
The SNES has so many classic games that some have been forgotten. The system has one of the best game collections ever, so celebrate it.
- 25. Super Mario All Stars
- 24. F Zero
- 23. Contra III: The Alien Wars
- 22. Secret of Mana
- 21. Super Mario Kart
- 20. ActRaiser
- 19. Street Fighter II Turbo
- 18. Super Castlevania IV
- 17. Donkey Kong Country
- 16. NBA Jam
- 15. Tetris Attack
- 14. Super Punchout!!
- 13. Kirby Super Star
- 12. Final Fantasy II
- 11. Super Mario RPG
- 10. Mega Man X
- 9. Earthbound
- 8. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi Island
- 7. Final Fantasy III
- 6. Super Mario World
- 5. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
- 4. Goof Troop
- 3. Super Bomberman
- 2. Joe and Mac
- 1. Metal Warriors
25. Super Mario All Stars
Nintendo remade its legendary Super Mario Bros. NES games for the SNES before remasters became common.
The box also contained a rare save feature and the super-hard Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2, which had never been released in North America.
Every player should play the first three Super Mario Bros. games, but Super Mario All-Stars is the ideal way to do so.
24. F Zero
The Big N is underrated for inventing current racing games. F-Zero pioneered pseudo-3D racing with SNES Mode 7 graphics, which most racing games use today.
Even in the age of Forza, F-graphics Zero’s aren’t too bad, and the racing is still fast and demanding.
It’s unfortunate that Nintendo doesn’t want to remake the futuristic racer in HD. The series hasn’t had a new game since 2004.
23. Contra III: The Alien Wars
Contra and Super C were NES classics, thus the SNES sequel was much anticipated.
Thankfully, Konami offered a game with even more ludicrous setpieces (such riding a motorcycle and a missile), better visuals than ever, and the series’ typical tough-but-fair difficulty.
The Alien Wars is the series’ best game for a reason.
22. Secret of Mana
Square’s action RPG is remembered for its beautiful graphics, soundtrack, and three-player co-op.
Some claim it surpasses The Legend of Zelda series, yet the combat is occasionally fussy.
If you wish to replay or play Secret of Mana, use the SNES version. Two remakes of the title have failed to capture its appeal.
21. Super Mario Kart
Fun fact: Super Mario Kart began as a nebulous notion to make a two-player racing game to complement F-Zero, which was single-player.
Nintendo discovered one of its largest properties by adding Mario and the gang late in production.
Super Mario Kart’s racing and fighting modes are amusing, but it’s finest as a nostalgic racer. However, the original set the path for all of its better sequels.
ActRaiser’s platforming and city-building are basic. Combining those characteristics with a unique take on Judeo-Christian mythology yields one of the best and most underrated 16-bit games.
Hardcore gamers and developers generally call ActRaiser one of the best games of its time, yet few want to explore its themes.
Similar games like Dark Cloud and Dragon Quest Builders lack ActRaiser’s magic. ActRaiser has been inactive since an amazing SNES sequel.
19. Street Fighter II Turbo
Most 90s fighting games have been forgotten. Street Fighter II follows.
This sequel’s combination system let players think and win when defeat appeared inevitable.
A global cast of instantly famous characters and a pumped-up music make for one of the best fights ever.
The SNES version of Street Fighter II Turbo is the best. It also introduced Akuma to fighting.
18. Super Castlevania IV
Castlevania was already a top NES franchise. Konami decided to make a bigger, better version of the NES games for the 16-bit transition because Metroidvania hadn’t yet been invented.
This Castlevania had stunning graphics, a spooky soundtrack, and smoother handling than the NES games.
Castlevania IV is still the best sidescrolling game, even if many of its sequels have added more exploration and RPG aspects.
17. Donkey Kong Country
By the time the SNES came out, Mario had replaced Donkey Kong as Nintendo’s face.
The huge ape hadn’t starred in a game in years, and Donkey Kong Jr., the original baddie’s son, had only a supporting part in Super Mario Kart.
Donkey Kong Country’s innovative 3D sprites revived the character. No other game matched its detail.
Indeed, few games resemble it. The gameplay isn’t as fluid as other Nintendo games. DKC and its sequels are worth a replay despite their occasional frustration.
16. NBA Jam
Sports games used to be more realistic and less focused on microtransactions.
You used to pick an NBA player (or Mortal Kombat character or U.S. president), head to the court, and continually jump 50 feet in the air to dunk on your opponents while putting the ball on fire.
NBA Jam is barely basketball, but by focusing on motion and pleasure, it become a classic that even non-sports fans can enjoy.
15. Tetris Attack
Tetris was purely for branding. In this new puzzle game, you must match three or more colored blocks as they progressively rise from the bottom.
The two-player mode is the best, but the single-player game is good and features Yoshi’s Island characters. Tetris Attack is a top competitive puzzler.
Nintendo has published two sequels, Planet Puzzle League for the DS and Pokemon Puzzle League on the Nintendo 64.
14. Super Punchout!!
Nintendo didn’t modify anything for the sequel to Punch-Out!!, which is still a classic.
The SNES makes this boxing/professional wrestling with large, crazy characters appear better than ever.
Super Punch-Out!! may be remembered less warmly than the NES original due to the lack of Mike Tyson or the slightly weaker music.
It’s impossible to find a better arcade boxing game than the pattern-based fights.
13. Kirby Super Star
Despite its popularity, Kirby games are often criticized for being too short and lacking in content.
Kirby Super Star is an outlier with seven unique gameplay segments and two multiplayer minigames.
It’s one of Kirby’s most diversified and deep games, if not the SNES’s.
Despite being recognized as the series’ greatest, none of the sequels have tried to replicate Super Star’s gameplay.
12. Final Fantasy II
Because the second and third games weren’t released in the U.S. until years later, it wasn’t called Final Fantasy IV until later.
Final Fantasy II was light years ahead of the first, introducing the Active Time Battle system and dramatic storyline.
Final Fantasy II on the SNES has aged well, but later ports that improved sound, visuals, and most critically, translation, are the greatest way to experience this treasure.
11. Super Mario RPG
Square produced so many outstanding RPGs in the 1990s that Nintendo wanted to work with them.
Square developed one of the SNES’s funniest and best-looking games in little over a year, despite the two studios’ haste. Super Mario RPG is a top RPG and Mario game.
Despite its success, Square and Nintendo have never made another Mario RPG. Nintendo and its partners developed the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi titles without Square’s involvement.
10. Mega Man X
By the early 1990s, the original Mega Man series had six NES games.
Mega Man X revitalized the series with a more mature protagonist and faster gameplay that let him dash and climb.
The fundamental battle and option to choose which robot master to face next kept Mega Man X true to its roots.
While X2 and X3 on the SNES are terrific games, Capcom has yet to top the original Mega Man X as the best game in the franchise.
In the 1990s, console RPGs meant questing through medieval fantasy worlds, so most gamers weren’t ready for EarthBound.
Ness’ sci-fi plot is amusing, witty, weird, and self-referential. It’s about saving the world and understanding western civilization from an outsider’s perspective, which is unique in video games.
The Wii U, New 3DS, and SNES Classic make this classic accessible after it sold poorly in the US and became a collector’s item. Nintendo may eventually release Mother 3, a Japan-only sequel.
8. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi Island
Yoshi’s Island shows how Nintendo only makes sequels when it has new ideas.
A sequel to Super Mario World with the same gameplay in new worlds would have sold millions, but Nintendo chose to focus on Mario’s dinosaur friend, Yoshi, and his ability to swallow and spew objects.
The new hand-drawn aesthetics set it apart from Super Mario World (and the rest of the SNES catalog). Yoshi’s Island may be SNES’s best-looking game.
Yoshi’s Island, promoted as a sequel to Super Mario World, spawned a series of dinosaur-themed platformers, none of which are as good as the original.
7. Final Fantasy III
Final Fantasy III—now VI—changed RPGs forever.
The late 19th-century steampunk setting proved that fantastic RPGs didn’t have to be set in high fantasy realms.
The bad guy’s victory transformed Final Fantasy games.
However, its telling is remarkable. Even with 16-bit sprites, the game seems cinematic.
6. Super Mario World
In the 1980s and 1990s, each new Mario game was supposed to revolutionize video games.
As much as we liked the NES Super Mario Bros. games, World’s vast linked map and many mysteries were unprepared for.
The cape power-up wasn’t as groundbreaking as Mario’s raccoon suit, but Yoshi introduced several new Mario game strategies. The graphics and sound were unmatched on the NES.
Nintendo’s Mario games haven’t improved since Super Mario World. The New Super Mario Bros. games’ graphics and four-player co-op can’t beat this famous platformer.
5. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Zombies Ate My Neighbors is one of LucasArts’ SNES crown jewels from its days as a creator, not a Disney subsidiary.
Zeke and Julie must avoid being eaten by horror movie creatures while saving their blissfully ignorant neighbors from the apocalypse in this two-player game.
Even now, the SNES game’s design and depth are impressive. Any SNES-owning duo should play.
4. Goof Troop
Goof Troop is a crazy adventure game featuring Disney’s Goofy and his adorable son Max exploring Spoonerville’s different environments.
The game emphasizes riddles, and one of its strongest features comes from a Disney IP design limitation: Goofy and Max cannot physically strike their enemies during each level’s boss confrontations.
They use their environment and tactical posture to destroy their adversaries because streetfighting would be odd. This makes for great teamwork and satisfying gameplay, making this game a classic.
3. Super Bomberman
Super bomberman was amazing because it encouraged teammate betrayal. The game’s grid has destructible and non-destructible walls and enemies.
Players can wander around the area and drop bombs at their feet to explode a few seconds later, blowing up opponents, destructible walls, or other players if they are still there.
In the game’s conventional mode, players can work together to proceed through the level or backstab each other.
In the combat mode, which supports 1 to 4 players, the goal is honorable frontstabbing. Best PVP co-op from the past.
2. Joe and Mac
Joe and Mac is like a Stone Age Super Mario. Players play either of the titular duo and travel levels full of foes to face a monster, generally a giant dinosaur.
Many SNES users recall it as an enjoyable co-op game, even if critics didn’t like it.
With a companion, you can get your pal murdered and pretend it was a mistake, making the occasionally clumsy gameplay more enjoyable.
Anyone with a copy of Joe and Mac and a working SNES should try it to see how mid-range games were back then.
1. Metal Warriors
Metal Warriors is a groundbreaking SNES game with Japanese mech-anime graphics and modern-looking cutscenes.
In a deeply constructed narrative set in 2102, players control Lieutenant Stone as he pilots a range of mech-suits with diverse playstyles and systems to fight the Dark Axis invading Earth.