VIDEO GAMING ARTICLES
What Is The Best Video Game System?
by: Kevin Scripter
Certainly the Playstation One has had a number of game
hits and sold millions of units with tough competition
from both Sega (Dreamcast) and Nintendo (N64), but no
game system has enjoyed more exclusive game titles and
more old-school gameplay than the Super Nintendo.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) did not
dominate the hardware sales charts (selling over 49 million
units) like Nintendo was able to accomplish with the original
NES console (over 60 million units sold) due to increased
competition from the Sega Genesis, but the sheer number
of quality games for the SNES was outstanding for a system
that contained over 700 games in its game library.
Now these cool, killer games that I am talking about do
not include such titles as Madden Football or Mortal Kombat
games that every game system possessed. I am talking about
the games that were exclusive to the SNES.
While Sega was raving about "blast processing,"
the SNES introduced a new term to gamers - Mode 7. Mode
7 are the effects used by game developers such as sprite
scaling and rotating of objects never before seen on a
console before its time. Game publisher Konami was big
on including Mode 7 effects in many of their key titles
like Super Castlevania IV, Axelay and Contra III. Mode
7 effects are common on today's generation of game systems,
but they were revolutionary on the Super Nintendo.
The following is a list of those rare games that are true
SNES classics today (some have even been remade for the
Game Boy Advance, or in the case for the Chrono Trigger
and Final Fantasy games, have been re-released on the
Playstation One console):
Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts
Super Castlevania IV
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario World
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
Super Mario Bros. All-Stars Edition
Final Fantasy II
Final Fantasy III
Contra III: The Alien Wars
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past
Super Mario RPG
Donkey Kong Country Trilogy
Many key franchises for Nintendo started on the SNES like
F-Zero and Mario Kart. Yet there are a few franchises
such as ActRaiser, Axelay and Space MegaForce that have
exclusively been released for the SNES. Sure the Sega
Genesis had some versions of the aforementioned games,
but they were not of the quality of the SNES games. For
example, Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts featured better graphics
and Mode 7 effects like scaling.
In Electronic Gaming Monthly's Top 100 Video Games Of
All Time list in its January 2002 issue, there are nine
Super Nintendo games in the top 25, more than any other
game system (not including games available on multiple
game systems like Tetris).
If you ever owned a SNES back in the day, you understand
how you could play for hours with quality games like Chrono
Trigger, The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past, Super
Mario World and Final Fantasy III.
The SNES introduced gamers to many cool programming techniques
like rotating levels and transparent, scaling bosses as
seen in Super Castlevania IV and Contra III: The Alien
Wars or the cartridges' ability to play orchestrated soundtracks
to set the mood in games like ActRaiser (arguably the
best cartridge soundtrack ever) or Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts.
While ActRaiser may have had the best game soundtrack,
the best graphics belonged to Donkey Kong Country. Using
Advanced Computer Modeling (ACM), Rare, the game developer,
was able to display graphics on a 16-bit system that looked
better than most 32-bit Playstation One games. ACM allowed
fully-rendered graphics allowing objects to actually look
3-dimensional. Crisp, bold graphics were accomplished
with ACM and Donkey Kong Country went on to sell 8 million
In terms of graphics and sound, the SNES had the biggest
leap in quality as compared to other later Nintendo console
versions. In fact, the next-generation systems set for
release in 2005 and 2006 will probably differ little as
far as graphics and sound capabilities are concerned.
The early game machines however, saw huge leaps in processing
Sure the SNES had one big flaw - slowdown! While the Genesis
was publicizing its faster processor speed of 7.67 MHz,
which they coined "blast processing," Nintendo's
processor was only capable of speeds up to 3.58 MHz. When
too many sprites appeared on screen at one time in games
such as shooters like R-Type III, the action would slowdown
(although at times this was actually a helpful feature
for many shooters instead of a hindrance because these
games are so frantic and intense).
Now the debate is whether the Super Nintendo actually
won the biggest game system war ever. Based on numbers,
Nintendo sold twice as many SNES units as the Genesis
and even though Sega was able to cut into Nintendo's market
share (peaking at 65%), it was Nintendo that had regained
over 60% from its original 95% market share of the NES
days when Sega began not supporting the Genesis in its
later cycle life days with quality games like the SNES
Ironically, Nintendo initially planned for the original
NES console to be a 16-bit machine, but the price for
the components were too high at the time. Think about
how that could have altered the SNES/Genesis war. Would
have Sega released a 32-bit Genesis instead? Would we
now be playing on a 512-bit PS2 instead of a 128-bit console?
The SNES had an assortment of games from every genre.
Nintendo should learn from its success of the SNES. The
N64 and GameCube are really lacking in RPG and shooter
games, for example, that were abundant on the SNES.
While the GameCube's game selection is improving with
Square Enix finally back supporting a Nintendo home console,
Nintendo will need to recreate those precious days of
the SNES with lots of exclusive, top quality franchises
for its game machine if they want to regain their market
share against Sony's Playstation consoles.
The SNES is the last Nintendo game console that gamers
truly supported. N64 and GameCube sales pale in comparison
to the NES and SNES days. The Super Nintendo is also the
only console in history to have the biggest game franchises
on one machine: Metroid, Final Fantasy, Contra, Donkey
Kong, F-Zero, Super Mario Bros., The Legend Of Zelda,
Star Fox and Castlevania. No other console has these games
on only one game system.
About the Author
Kevin Scripter is the site owner of Zerogifts.com, an
online retailer of video games and DVD movies http://www.zerogifts.com.