When Nintendo announced the SNES mini last week – or to give it its full, hellishly cumbersome name, the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System – I think I actually did a little whoop of excitement. How very un-British of me – I hope noone else in The Manor heard it.
I wasn’t too bothered about the NES mini, which came out last year and immediately sold out everywhere. Many of those old 8-bit games are barely playable today, and I’d already finished a fair chunk of the 30 games it came with. But a SNES mini is a different prospect altogether. Those 16-bit games still tend to hold up well, and the pixel art looks just as good today as it did back then. In fact, SNES graphics have aged far better than the muddy, low-poly visuals of the 32-bit generation that followed.
But the thing that had me desperately searching the internet for somewhere to preorder the bugger was the announcement that Star Fox 2 would be bundled with the SNES mini. It marks the first time that this game has been officially released anywhere, despite it being practically finished 20-odd years ago. Star Fox 2 was even on my wishlist for the Nintendo Switch, ahead of its official reveal. I had to have it.
But alas, preorders on the Amazon, GAME and Nintendo sites sold out in a matter of minutes – by the time I found out about them, they were all gone. Oh unhappy day! Thankfully though, @scully1888 came to my rescue by tweeting that preorders had gone up on Argos’s site, so I zoomed over there immediately, desperate to avoid missing out again. It seems like everyone else on the internet had the same idea though – the site kept crashing as I tried to check out, apparently because so many people were trying to order the SNES mini at the same time.
After my third attempt to check out, I tried a different tactic – I downloaded the Argos app and tried ordering through there instead. And lo and behold, it worked first time! I refused to let myself believe it at first, but then the confirmation email came through – yep, I’m definitely going to receive a SNES mini come 29th September.
Star Fox 2 may be the main draw for me, but there are plenty of other reasons why I’m so excited about this tiny console. First up, just look at it. It’s so wee! Bless its little cotton socks. I just want to hug it.
Those curvy lines mark it out as one of the best-looking consoles of all time, a real design classic. I’m just grateful that the European market got the curvy version with primary coloured buttons, as the American purple boxy SNES is, in my opinion, something of an abomination.
Second, there are some awesome games included – just look at this list:
- Contra III: The Alien Wars
- Donkey Kong Country
- Final Fantasy III
- Kirby Super Star
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
- Mega Man X
- Secret of Mana
- Star Fox
- Star Fox 2
- Street Fighter 2 Turbo: Hyper Fighting
- Super Castlevania 4
- Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
- Super Mario Kart
- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
- Super Mario World
- Super Metroid
- Super Punch-Out!!
- Yoshi’s Island
What a line-up!
I completed many of these back in the day, including Super Metroid, Super Mario World, Zelda III, Contra III (or Super Probotector as it was known over here) and Donkey Kong Country. They’re amazing games, but I doubt I’ll end up playing through them all again for the simple reason that I’ve already finished them. Likewise, I’m not a big fan of Kirby games, so I doubt I’ll be playing through those. I’m not too bothered about EarthBound either: I’ve played the first couple of hours of the Wii U virtual console version, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I would have absolutely loved it if I’d played it when I was a kid, but it’s less relevant to me now. I had the same feeling about reading The Catcher in the Rye at age 25.
BUT! I can’t wait to get struck into Secret of Mana – I bought the iOS version a while back, but it was almost unplayable because of the fiddly virtual controls, so I gave up on it fairly quickly. I can’t wait to play it again in the format it was designed for. Super Mario RPG is another one I’m really excited about, as it was never released in Europe. It came out on the Wii U virtual console recently, but it’ll be great to play it on an old-school SNES pad. And then there’s Yoshi’s Island – I borrowed my sister’s copy of this years ago and got about halfway through, but then some game-breaking bug caused it to crash and wipe my save game – the first (and only) time that’s ever happened to me on a SNES game. The bit I played was fantastic though, so I can’t wait to go back and finish it.
Super Castlevania IV is also up there on my ‘must play’ list – the Baron has got me all excited about going back and playing through the older Castlevania games thanks to his ongoing rundown of the classics, and I never played the Super NES installment first time around. It’s meant to be pretty good, too.
Third – and finally – the entrance of the SNES mini into my household could also signal the return of multiplayer gaming. I don’t tend to play online, and almost all of my games are single player – but with two controllers packed in and copies of Street Fighter II and Super Mario Kart tucked away in its innards, I can see the whole family gathered around the SNES mini for some retro grudge matches come Christmas. I recently played Street Fighter II against Ian in a local games cafe, and it was just as good as I remember. Indeed, I found it a lot more fun that the later installments – there’s something to be said for its simplicity, and hence its low barrier to entry.
And Mario Kart? Well there’s your 70-quid’s worth right there. I’ll see you in the Battle Arena.