Through an adventitious turn of events, I ended up with a SNES Classic that I was not anticipating just a few weeks ago. Aren’t the holidays great?! It’s now sitting happily in front of our TV, next to the Switch dock and the Wii. It’s so tiny!!
The Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis are loaded with emotional weight for me. I played these consoles at friends’ houses, but never owned one myself. The first consoles I actually owned were PlayStation and N64, so I felt like I had always lived in a 16-bit shadow.
The controller slid into my hand with all the warmth of an old stuffed animal. The D-pad lovingly embraced my left thumb as I slid across directions and effortlessly moved my characters. The controller sang a mother’s lullaby to my hands as if to say, “Hey, it’s okay, you’re home at last. Have some hot chocolate.”
I started up the machine and found myself at a gaming family reunion. I saw faces both old and new: Super Mario World was the grandparent I never got to visit enough, while F-Zero was the absent uncle I had received birthday cards from but never actually met.
Pixel art games like Super Metroid and Secret of Mana looked like they hadn’t aged a day, sporting a timeless art style (by the way, if you’ve been asking “Why can’t this guy shut up about Metroid? What does he mean by Metroidvania??” Play Super Metroid and you’ll find out why). For others, however, it was apparent that time had been less kind to them. The pre-rendered sprites of Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario RPG were definitely showing their age. The primitive polygons of Star Fox were so old, they were almost endearing.
I flipped through the games as if I was making the rounds on the family table. A Link to the Past was a cousin that I hadn’t seen in years. Catching up was pure bliss.
Kirby Super Star was an aunt that I had never talked to because I was always playing with her kids (i.e., Super Smash Bros), but upon striking up a conversation I realized she was cool in her own way.
Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts was the crazy grand uncle that never wanted to stop talking about the good ol’ days and spouted racial slurs. I kept away from him.
2nd Cousins Contra III, Super Punch-Out!!, and Street Fighter II were all full of macho adrenaline, a bit too much to hang out with, but their younger sibling, Mega Man X, was much more enjoyable to be around. He certainly left a good first impression, at least.
EarthBound was a cousin that I thought was incredibly weird when I was younger. But once we started talking, I realized just how cool a person he actually was (the moment my pet dog joined my party and I saved my game by calling my incorporeal father over the phone, I knew this was going to be a special game). He had traveled around the world, and had actually gained quite a following on social media. Go figure. Talking to him alone made going to this reunion worth the trouble.
However, the day eventually came to an end, and it was time for me to return to life as I knew it. It was then that I found out that Nintendo had put the game manuals on their website, including a brand new one for Star Fox 2. And did you know that F-Zero’s manual included a comic about Captain Falcon??
Now I have something to look over as I await my next reunion with games that gave me such a rich inheritance.
If anyone has bought a NES/SNES Classic console, what are some of your favorite games that you’re revisiting / are excited to finally play?