Top 10 SNES Games

Now we're gettin' to the good stuff. In Part III of our countdown of the top 10 games on every Nintendo system, we tackle the legendary Super Nintendo. The SNES has an exhaustive library of fantastic games, so narrowing down our picks to only ten was especially challenging. Let us know in the comments if your favorites made our list!

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10: STAR FOX
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Star Fox, snes, super nintendo

Though it’s generally overshadowed by its N64 successor, the original Star Fox was a milestone in gaming back in 1993. Thanks to the Super FX chip, players could blast through Andross’ forces in full 3D polygonal glory. The game introduced us to the series’ memorable cast of anthropomorphic animal pilots (which, depending on your feelings toward Slippy, is either a good or a bad thing). The fast-paced, on-rails gameplay was unlike anything else on a Nintendo console at the time and established Star Fox as a core franchise for the company.

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9: SUPER MARIO WORLD 2:
YOSHI'S ISLAND

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yoshi's island, yoshi, nintendo, mario world 2, baby mario, snes

How can you possibly follow up Super Mario World? Obviously by throwing every convention out the window and turning your heroes into helpless, whining babies. Yoshi’s Island isn’t afraid to take risks – to shake up the Mario formula and offer a bizarre blend of style and gameplay. Sure, it’s crazy (seriously, you can trip out on hallucinogens in World 1-7’s Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy), but that’s just one of the reasons why we love it. The game also holds up exceedingly well thanks in part to its beautiful, crayon-based art style. Though Mario (seemingly) cries every few seconds along the way, we only tear up when the credits roll.

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8: SUPER MARIO RPG:
LEGEND OF THE SEVEN STARS
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Super Mario RPG, nintendo, legend of the seven stars, snes, bowser, mario, cake

Super Mario RPG proved that, through innovative and clever game design, our favorite plumber could excel in basically any genre. With its wacky storyline (Bowser and Mario working together?!), nuanced time-based battle system, and minor platforming elements, Super Mario RPG was the perfect mix of familiar Mario and classic Square, but with its own distinctive charm. Though the series has evolved over time (transitioning to the equally excellent Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi franchises), neither would exist without the fantastic, addictive framework established by the original. We’re still waiting for a true sequel.

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7: FINAL FANTASY VI (III)
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final fantasy iii, nintendo, snes

Final Fantasy VI (or Final Fantasy III, as it was originally released in the West) was a landmark achievement in JRPG history. The sheer ambition and scope of the game was unmatched at the time, and it set the genre’s bar exceptionally high with its bold, emotional storytelling and memorable ensemble cast. It also represented a culmination of the series’ best components to date, the result of which was a finely-tuned, expertly-balanced JRPG. To describe the game as anything short of epic is unacceptable; Final Fantasy VI is every bit as legendary as you’ve been led to believe.

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6: DONKEY KONG COUNTRY
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DKC, donkey kong, donkey kong country, snes, nintendo

Its 2D/3D graphics hybrid may not seem impressive by today's standards, but Donkey Kong Country turned heads upon its original release in 1994. In fact, the 3D style showed that Nintendo could still compete with the polygon-crunching PlayStation, which had begun to provide some serious competition. While Donkey Kong Country’s visuals have not aged so gracefully, the gameplay remains as tight and responsive as ever. Add in a killer soundtrack, a hoard of secrets, and mine carts (!), and it’s no wonder we call DK the “King of Swing.”

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5: EARTHBOUND
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Earthbound, snes, nintendo, stop sign, town, buger shop, town hall

EarthBound is more than just a video game; it’s an experience. Equal parts humorous and heartfelt, the game’s meaning varies depending on your age. To younger players, it’s a fun RPG set in contemporary America. It features wacky characters and subplots, as well as refreshing gameplay mechanics, such as auto-victories against weaker opponents and a real-time HP counter during battles. To a slightly older audience, however, EarthBound is a window to the past, a nostalgic reminder of one’s childhood innocence and sense of wonder. Despite its emotional complexity, however, EarthBound is ultimately just a simple tale of love and friendship that shouldn’t be missed.

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4: SUPER MARIO WORLD
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super mario world, snes, nintendo, mario, yoshi

Super Mario World perfectly demonstrates Nintendo’s mastery of key franchise evolution. Though many questioned whether Nintendo could top Super Mario Bros. 3, the company developed a sequel that stands toe-to-toe (and arguably surpasses) its seminal predecessor. Super Mario World added so many new and clever ideas, but it was the addition of Yoshi – Mario’s adorable, fire-breathing sidekick – that’s stuck with us most. Thanks to perfect platforming, vibrant levels, catchy music, and tons of Easter (and Yoshi) eggs, Super Mario World was an instant classic that continues to resonate with gamers today.

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3: CHRONO TRIGGER
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Chrono Trigger, SNES, nintendo, campfire

On a console whose library is full of classic JRPGs, it’s quite an accomplishment to stand tall above the rest. Yet, given its cast of complex characters, engrossing soundtrack, and exciting real-time turn-based battle system, Chrono Trigger truly is a 16-bit masterpiece worthy of such acclaim. Few video games (or stories in general) utilize and manage time travel so well; players’ decisions actually matter and affect key story elements. In fact, there are multiple endings to the game depending on your choices. Few games are so elaborate yet so enthralling from start to finish. Believe the hype; Chrono Trigger is the real deal.

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2: THE LEGEND OF ZELDA:
A LINK TO THE PAST

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A Link to the Past, zelda, the legend of zelda, snes, nintendo, master sword

From the moment you leave your comfortable bed and wander into the rain-soaked night to the moment you put the Master Sword back to rest in the woods, A Link to the Past is a grand adventure of unparalleled proportions. Its brilliantly designed dungeons and creative bosses constantly test your mettle. Every step and every sword swing feels epic as you explore both Hyrule and the Dark World, uncovering their secrets. A Link to the Past also greatly expanded the series’ lore and mythology and introduced many franchise staples (such as the aforementioned Master Sword). If you’ve ever questioned the genius of A Link to the Past, know this: it’s served as the blueprint for almost every successive game in the series.

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1: SUPER METROID
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Super Metroid, snes, samus, ridley, battle, metroid, fight

“The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace…” So begins Super Metroid. The game’s ingenious level design continues to serve as the template for the vast majority of exploration-based platformers. Samus’ map shows just enough to point players in the right direction while simultaneously encouraging exploration off the beaten path. Furthermore, no other game’s backtracking is more enjoyable or organic. Super Metroid doesn’t need a percentage bar to show you how far you’ve come; you can simply feel the progression as you play. Zebes itself is beautifully desolate and evokes just the right amount of dread as you trek from location to location, from epic boss battle to epic boss battle. Though Metroid established the series’ core gameplay, Super Metroid cemented it as a genre unto itself.

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Agree with our list? Share your favorite Super Nintendo titles in the comments!
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