The SNES Mini has been out for a week now. Some of you were lucky enough to get one. Some of you didn’t want one and some of you aren’t really fussed one way or another.
Whatever your opinion on it, one thing’s for sure; the collection of games is incredible. Being able to have both Super Mario World and Super Metroid on the same device is worth the price alone. Plus it’s so damn cute!
While the 21 included games are some of the best on the SNES, there are a few games we wish had also been included.
Aladdin – Capcom – 1993
There was a time when licensed games weren’t always terrible. There was also a time when Capcom games weren’t usually a disappointment. In the 90’s, Capcom was one of gaming’s best.
However, the SNES was a dumping ground for some terrible and rushed tie-in games for movies. Aladdin wasn’t one of them.
A platformer — because of course — Aladdin retold the story of the Disney movie. You’d start out on the streets of Agrabah, avoiding guards, stealing apples and jumping between platforms. The visuals were typical of the SNES, but the coloured sprites looked very much like their animated counterparts.
Highlights included riding the magic carpet, the Cave of Wonders and the amazing midi-reproductions of the movie’s songs.
Just for a bit of trivia; Aladdin was designed by Shinji Mikami, who would go on to create Resident Evil.
The Lost Vikings – Silicon & Synapse (Blizzard) – 1992
Before Warcraft and Overwatch, Blizzard made a game for SNES called The Lost Vikings. In fact, it wasn’t even called Blizzard then. It was Silicon & Synapse.
The Lost Vikings is a puzzle platformer in which three brave Vikings — Erik the Swift, Baleog the Fierce and Olaf the Stout — must escape their alien captors. Each of the three Vikings has a different ability and players must control all three to succeed.
Erik can move faster, jump and bash through walls. Baleog can use his sword or bow to defeat enemies or hit switches with his arrows. Olaf can block projectiles with his shield or use it as a hang glider. The other Vikings can also use Olaf’s shield as a platform.
The Lost Vikings used ingenious puzzle-platformer design and was an incredibly challenging game. It could be played in two-player co-op as well, with players controlling one Viking each and swapping out to the third.
Blizzard even put a reference to The Lost Vikings in Overwatch.
NBA JAM – Midway – 1993
“He’s on fire!”
These were the catchcries of the NBA JAM junkie. Released in 1993 at the height of the basketball card collecting craze, NBA JAM was a smash hit. At least it was at my primary school. Everyone wanted to come over to my place after school and try to beat me.
NBA JAM was arcade basketball at its best. It was 2-on-2 basketball, with licensed players and teams. Players were even digitised so their likenesses were en pointe. It was a fast-paced, hilarious game of shoving, fast breaks, insane dunks and people with their shoes on fire.
NBA JAM was also known for its easter eggs. By inputting the right codes players could unlock Bill Clinton, Hugo the Charlotte Hornets mascot, Air Dog, George Clinton and more. A few attempts to revive NBA JAM have been attempted, but none have been very successful. NBA Playgrounds comes close, but there’s no substitute for the real thing.
Pilotwings – Nintendo – 1992
The fact that Pilotwings isn’t on the SNES Mini is a bit of a travesty. Released in 1992, Pilotwings was the first of its kind for consoles.
It was a flight simulator with arcade elements and it focused on lesser known or used vehicles. Players would have to earn their licenses for the light plane, hang glider, skydiving and rocket belt. There were even bonus stages that featured attack helicopters.
Unlike many games of the time, Pilotwings wasn’t a violent game and there weren’t enemies to defeat. It was all about skill, patience and learning. It was even hailed as groundbreaking for its use of the SNES’ Mode 7 capabilities. A sequel for the N64 was released, but it didn’t really capture the same feeling as the original.
Pilotwings is one of Nintendo’s great, lost franchises. here’s hoping it’s revived soon.
Super Bomberman – Hudson Soft – 1993
Super Bomberman was around long before Smash Bros. and Towerfall. It was the original multiplayer arena title and it was (no pun intended) a blast.
In Super Bomberman, four players are placed into a map that fills the screen. One player is placed in each corner. Dropping a bomb will shoot flames in four directions and destroy anything it comes into contact with. This includes other Bombermen and Bomberwomen.
Most games are total chaos, but there is an element of strategy to Super Bomberman. A good Super Bomberman player can use their bombs to trap an opponent and take them out. It was the first game that made use of the Super Multitap which was developed by Hudson Soft in addition to the game.
In 1993, being able to play with three other people was a huge deal. Today, not so much.
Super Star Wars – LucasArts – 1992
Like Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Super Star Wars was a really tough game. Following the events of the movie, Super Star Wars saw players travelling across Tatooine and the Death Star.
A run and gun platformer, Super Star Wars also included vehicle-based levels that had the player controlling an X-Wing or Landspeeder. In the early levels, players control Luke Skywalker and later on Han Solo and Chewbacca. Each of the characters has different abilities and weapons. Luke can use a Lightsaber for example.
After travelling through each of the levels, if you make it that far, the final mission is a recreation of the Death Star Trench Run. If players make it through that they’ll have to face Darth Vader in his TIE Advanced.
Super Star Wars was everything I wanted as a nerdy kid, but it was so hard I never finished it. For shame.
U.N. Squadron – Capcom – 1992
Of all the side-scrolling SHMUPS I’ve ever played, U.N. Squadron is by far my favourite. As part of the United Nation’s elite flying force, players could choose one of three pilots; Shin Kazama, Mickey Simon or Greg Yates. Each pilot flies a different plane with different abilities.
As you play, you can earn cash which is used to buy new planes or upgrade your current one. For an early 90’s SHMUP, U.N. Squadron featured a surprising amount of customisation and upgrading. Instead of tackling levels sequentially, players could choose which mission to enter from within the situation room. If you cleared the level, the threat would disappear. If not, it would get closer to your home base and game over.
Some missions included bosses, which were typically insane. They’d fill the entire screen and force you to use all of your bonus ammo and special abilities just to survive. Instead of a stock of lives, in U.N. Squadron, players had a health gauge which would deplete as they were hit. You could regain health from special pickups in the level, but they were few and far between.
Finally, the icing on the U.N. Squadron cake was the music. It was so amazingly 90’s anime and it suited the mood to a tee. Check it out on Youtube.
Unirally – DMA Design (Rockstar) – 1994
In Unirally you play as a sentient unicycle. You race on a 2D track, pull-off sick stunts and go very, very fast. DMA Design created Unirally to demonstrate that the SNES was capable of producing games that could rival SEGA’s speedy mascot.
In Unirally, the more stunts you do, the faster you go. The aim is to continuously perform stunts and land on your wheel so as to keep going and not wipe out. There are 45 tracks included in Unirally and there are three ranks to complete; Bronze, Silver and Gold. To get through them all takes serious skill, dedication and patience.
A split-screen mode let two-players go head to head and that was where Unirally shone brightest. Going up against your younger brothers and absolutely smashing them was one of my life’s finest moments.
Unfortunately, Pixar sued DMA Design after Unirally’s release. Pixar claimed that DMA had copied their unicycle design from a 1987 short film. As a result, Nintendo had to terminate production on Unirally carts and only 300,000 were sold. It’s a shame more people haven’t played Unirally and if it was included with the SNES Mini they’d get to.
There you have it. Those are our top picks for the best games that aren’t on the SNES Mini. Did we get it right or do you think we are way off base?
Let us know what games you’d have included.