By now you’ve almost certainly read Chris Kohler’s well-reasoned take on the 30 games that should be on the rumored SNES Classic. Now here’s mine.
1. Space Blasters
2. Avocado Patrol
Two obvious classics. Sure, the ripeness mechanic in Avocado Patrol can feel a little clunky when you’re used to modern controls, but this is gaming history we’re talking about. Nintendo would be remiss not to include both of these.
3) Zibby’s Rock-n-Roll Adventures
Hard to believe that it’s already been two decades since we last saw Zibby, the iconic SNES character who’s best remembered for his goofy eyes and guitar-shaped head. It’s time for a new generation to sing along with his infamous catchphrase, “Hey kids, time to rock!”
4. Killtacular 1
5. Killtacular 2
6. Killtacular 3
I’ve gotta give the nod to the entire Killtacular trilogy here, because I don’t know where gaming would be today without the blood-squirting adventures of Grizz and his iconic robot partner, Pix-14. Play through it today and you can see how it inspired just about every modern shooter on the market, from War Machine to Gun Quest 8: What A Man’s Gotta Do.
Nobody—nobody!—thought that a video game could also serve as a poignant critique of agricultural subsidies, but the developers at Gobble Entertainment proved us wrong in this 1993 classic. (Gobble Entertainment was, of course, shut down in 1994 after facing dozens of lawsuits from corn farmers.)
8. Super Bonk Boy
Truly a classic platformer.
Truly a classic JRPG.
10. Tom Clancy’s Tom Clancy
Before the high-octane military shooters and technological dystopias, there was this underappreciated classic about a struggling author trying to make it in the big city. Gotta be on there.
11. Fight, Fight... Dance?
This wild genre mash-up came late in the SNES’s lifespan—1995—but is revered nonetheless for its excellent graphics and innovative take on capoeira.
12. The Great Gatsby
13. The Great Gatsby II: Greater, Gatsbier
14. Gatsby Returns
15. Gatsby’s Last Revenge
Full of twists and turns, this epic series by Japanese designer Kanji “One-Eye” Keto is an action-adventure adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic that can’t be summed up in just a few sentences. It’s got stealth, combat, religion, machinery, snipers, clones, evil wizards, and oh so much more. All four games are worth playing, but Gatsby Returns is my favorite, if only for the iconic line “It is me, Gatsby, and I have returned.”
16. Super Fizz Crew
Nothing brings back that ‘90s nostalgia like the classic, refreshing taste of Super Fizz, and while you might not think a licensed soft drink video game would be worth anybody’s time, the developers at Good Games Entertainment somehow pulled it off here. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but you know how they say not to cry over spilled milk? You WILL cry over spilled soda.
17. Weather Wars Code Red
18. Weather Wars Code Blue
The Weather Wars duology didn’t draw much attention when it first came out in 1990, in part because publisher Rogue Games made the unorthodox move of releasing both games in one $250 package (complete with the thermometer accessory), but true weatherheads know that these classics are not to be missed.
19. Super Super
This incredible follow-up to Edward Hank’s classic NES simulator might not seem that appealing from the outside, but once you pick up a controller and start trying to manage an apartment full of cranky tenants, you won’t be able to stop. Unclogging a toilet has never been so fun.
20. Gone With The Wind
22. Citizen Kane
When the game publisher Actiraid decided in 1992 to crank out several dozen SNES adaptations of classic movies, we were all skeptical. And sure, there were some clunkers—stay far away from The Maltese Falcon—but I do recommend all three of these: the shape puzzle game Gone With The Wind, the demon shooter Casablanca, and of course, everyone’s favorite karaoke sim, Citizen Kane.
23. Environment Quest
Back in 1993, critics derided Environment Quest as sanctimonious and preachy, but today its message resonates. Who could forget the classic scene in which your hero, eight-year-old Willy, has to battle the evil Doctor Styrofoam using nothing but a compost bin? Sure, sure, the scene where Willy’s mom strangles on a six-pack ring is a little heavy-handed, but when it comes to climate change, we’ve all gotta do our parts.
24. Slam, Jam, Thank You Ma’am
This basketball classic starring NBA player Shawn Kemp was a little racy, but I think it should make the cut.
25. Becky’s Last Hurrah
If anything is proof that game developers aren’t as innovative as they used to be, it’s Becky’s Last Hurrah, the classic 1992 mystery game that did its best to mess with your head. From insane jump-scares to fourth-wall-breaking psychological tricks, this game was flat-out bonkers. Twenty-five years later, there’s still an active Reddit community trying to figure out who Becky really was.
26. Secret of Secrets
27. Secret of Mysteries
28. Secret of Enigmas
Be honest: How many of you scrolled all the way down just to make sure the Secret games made my list? This iconic JRPG series is all the way up to #14 now (not counting all the spinoffs), but hopefully the SNES Classic will let us rediscover where it all started. You’ll feel the rush of adventure all over again when Borgwen Dirkachaw first sets off on his quest to become the Secretkeeper, and you’ll remember the heartbreaking moment where the beautiful princess Monia sacrifices herself so Borgwen can truly be free. To quote the great wizard Kaddar—and feel free to sing along with me here—“The secret is within all of us.”
29. Timmy & Jimmy’s Splendid Adventure
If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend hours arguing with your sibling about who gets to play Timmy (hell yeah) and who has to play Jimmy (lame).
30. Chrono Trigger
Great, great video game.