What Is The Best Video Game System?
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
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 units.
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 power.
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 enjoyed.
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.
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