My Top 50 Favorite SNES Games (Early 2016 Edition)
March 05, 2016

A list of my favorite 50 games for a given platform will change often. By the time I finish typing this paragraph, it could change. And yet here I am, listing my top 50 SNES games (as a belated follow-up to my list of top 50 NES games that I posted last year.

Anyway, the list of my favorite 50 SNES titles currently looks like this:

01. Super Mario Kart
02. Final Fantasy III
03. Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
04. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
05. SimCity
06. ActRaiser
07. Super Mario World
08. Super Off Road
09. Darius Twin
10. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
11. Mega Man X2
12. Uncharted Waters
13. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
14. Legend of the Mystical Ninja
15. Monopoly
16. The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse
17. Chrono Trigger
18. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest
19. Gemfire
20. Super Mario All-Stars
21. Donkey Kong Country
22. Wing Commander
23. Secret of Mana
24. Mega Man X
25. Super Metroid
26. Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
27. Disney's Aladdin
28. Illusion of Gaia
29. Mega Man X3
30. Taz-Mania
31. Joe & Mac
32. EarthBound
33. Populous
34. Ys III: Wanderers From Ys
35. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
36. The 7th Saga
37. Super Ninja Boy
38. F-Zero
39. King of Dragons
40. Robotrek
41. Super Off Road: The Baja
42. Knights of the Round
43. Final Fantasy II
44. Gradius III
45. NBA Jam Tournament Edition
46. Killer Instinct
47. ClayFighter
48. SimAnt
49. Inspector Gadget
50. Tetris & Dr. Mario

As you might imagine, I haven't played every SNES game ever produced. There are around 700 that were released in North America, after all. A person only has so much time!

But whatever. The above 50 games are 50 of my favorites, titles I can still go back to and enjoy playing, titles that I think you might also enjoy. Clearly, I like RPGs. Clearly, I think Capcom put out a lot of great games. And clearly, there are some "essential" titles missing from the list that you might rate higher. In fact, why don't you go ahead and tell me about your own top 50? If you have trouble assembling it, consult this page for easy reference. It's what I did!

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Feedback
Never3ndr Never3ndr - March 06, 2016 (08:16 PM)
Interesting that you listed Mystic Quest over Secret of Mana (my favorite SNES game)...I'm realizing that when doing a favorite list (versus something maybe more objective like a "best" list) nostalgia plays a pretty big factor...so, with that understanding why did you rate Mystic Quest so high? Just good times playing it?

Also, your list was pretty RPG heavy but it doesn't have either of the Lufia games, I was wondering if you have played them, and if you have, if there was something you just didn't really like about them?
honestgamer honestgamer - March 06, 2016 (08:41 PM)
As you noted, nostalgia definitely does play a factor. Mystic Quest gets a LOT of crap because it wasn't Final Fantasy V, which is what fans expected. What we got instead was a fast-paced RPG with attractive visuals and a great soundtrack that was a lot of fun to play. I cleared the campaign several times and had a lot of fun each time. Secret of Mana, though meatier, sometimes felt awkward and had segments that were a chore to play through on the regular... though I still liked it a lot.

As for Lufia, I always wanted to play through both of those, and heard great things, but I had a limited budget when they were new. Years later, I bought the first Lufia game and just barely started playing through it before eventually having to sell it to help pay my rent. I haven't purchased it again, though I wouldn't rule out doing so in the future. I didn't play enough of it to get a sense for how it will work overall, but what I played seemed fine.
EmP EmP - March 06, 2016 (09:02 PM)
You'd be surprised how little of that list made it overseas. The SNES RPGs I did play were often imported and cost a fortune (Breath of Fire/Final Fantasy stuff mainly - though we got stuck with Mystic Quest as well, which you liked a great deal more than me.) My personal no.1, Shadowrun, has failed to make your list.
honestgamer honestgamer - March 06, 2016 (09:16 PM)
I'm reasonably well-informed when it comes to just how much stuff never hit Europe, after going through and taking care of the site's game listings for all sorts of systems. European JRPG fans got hosed. The same thing would have happened in North America, if Howard Phillips (I believe it was) of Nintendo of America hadn't made the genre his personal campaign. His push with Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy paved the way for a lot more localization projects.

I didn't include Shadowrun because I never played it back in the day, or even afterwards. It just didn't look fun to me. I do tend to strongly prefer titles that were either developed in Japan or could pass for having been developed in Japan, and Shadowrun wasn't such a project.
zigfried zigfried - March 06, 2016 (09:24 PM)
Gemfire? You heretic!
Masters Masters - March 07, 2016 (05:13 PM)
Going through your list is bringing back memories for me - which is probably the main reason I enjoy these lists so much.

Some surprises in placement to be sure: Super Metroid rating so low and Mystic Quest so high (though I did really like MQ - it wasn't deserving of all the hate). I remember loathing Robotrek, mostly because it apes the name of something much better than itself. Finally, the greatest shock for me: Darius Twin in the top ten! Do you think nostalgia might be the biggest factor here?

It's rare to see Darius Twin on any kind of top ten list, and you've effectively ranked it top SNES shooter: above R-Type 3, Axelay, Space Megaforce, and the legendary Phalanx. It's definitely fun to play though, I'll give you that.

honestgamer honestgamer - March 07, 2016 (05:30 PM)
Yeah, nostalgia is a huge factor. Darius Twin is my favorite horizontal shooter of all time, though, so its placement shouldn't come as a massive surprise. My taste is just that bad. There's a recent Darius release on PS4, though, which I need to play. I will hopefully get around to it soon, but I've learned that not every Darius game is as satisfying as Darius Twin. Super Nova was apparently a Darius game in Japan, so I bought it and found it lackluster. And I'm not huge on G Darius, either!
Never3ndr Never3ndr - March 07, 2016 (05:48 PM)
I kinda want to go back and try Super Metroid again...based off of nostalgia I don't think it ranks too high on my list either because I think I was too young to really appreciate the exploration and moodiness of the gameplay. I really preferred things like the DKC series of Super Mario World, which were relatively more simple over the more technically "superior" platformers like Yoshi's Island or Super Metroid.
Never3ndr Never3ndr - March 07, 2016 (05:49 PM)
DKC series or* Super Mario World
joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - March 08, 2016 (07:20 PM)
Super Metroid is a classic, but I prefer Fusion and Zero Mission. Controls are way better.
Masters Masters - March 08, 2016 (09:41 PM)
Yeah Super Nova was a weird one. Subdued palette and tunes made for a kind of depressing shmup.

SM holds up so well. I recently went back and played SM, Zero and Fusion, and enjoyed myself. I thought Zero was fun but overstayed its welcome, and I thought Fusion was the worst of the three because despite being competent, it feels so rote and uninspired - it's easy for games of this subgenre to come off as collections of pointless fetchquest exercises if there's too much hand-holding and not enough palpable atmosphere. For my money SM is still the best metroidvania game going, even now.
honestgamer honestgamer - March 08, 2016 (10:16 PM)
I've played a number of Metroidvania titles, and for me, it's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that really nailed the formula. But Super Metroid is still very good.

My first exposure to the game was when I found it on a Sears kiosk and ran around for a bit, but someone had I think cleared out most of the areas, so I was just lost and wandering around boring corridors. I was later able to play through the whole thing from start to finish when I borrowed it from a friend, and of course then it fared considerably better. I could sort of understand why the commercial that aired at the time of the game's release (which I really liked) depicted a savage dog that became significantly more timid after dealing with Super Metroid. Oh, 90s ads, I miss you!
joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - March 08, 2016 (11:28 PM)
I prefer hand-holding to wandering around the same area for an hour only to discover that the entrance to Kraid's Lair was hidden behind a generic block.

I agree that SOTN is probably the best Metroidvania, though. Metroid games tend to have this problem where you're so overpowered by the end of the game that all the stuff you found becomes obsolete. The first two Metroids are the exception. You really need all those missile expansions at the end of the game.
Masters Masters - March 09, 2016 (03:54 PM)
SOTN is awesome, no doubt - it's my second favourite of the bunch. It's popular to say, but it *is* a bit on the easy side. Aside from that, it's pretty much perfection; certainly it's got one of the best scores I've ever heard in a game.

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