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TSG Asks: What game would you replace on the SNES Classic?

The TSG staff control-alt-deletes the re-release of Nintendo’s second console

With the release of the SNES Classic Nintendo has revived one of gaming’s most iconic systems. Yet with only 21 titles available on the new machine, the company was forced to hold back some fantastic games. It may have been impossible for Nintendo to curate a selection that would appease all fans of the system, but this week on TSG Asks we take a look at both the bizarre inclusions and the notable absences of the SNES Classic.Our question:

Brendan's pick is Kirby's Dream Land 3

I’m too young to have owned an SNES, and my hands on gaming was pretty much limited exclusively to GameBoy, DS and mobile until college, so I also have no great attachment to the system or even knowledge of the games on there. That being said I’d probably add Kirby’s Dream Land 3, since I love Kirby games, although the system apparently already has Kirby Superstar which is probably my favorite Kirby game. As for what I’d remove, probably Super Punch-Out? Looks the least interesting to me anyway. Also, a bit surprised Earthworm Jim isn’t on the list. I feel like I’ve heard of the game too much for it to not be on there. But again, no experience with the SNES whatsoever.

I don’t remember owning an SNES at any point in my life, but I am familiar with some of the games on it, namely The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Street Fighter, and Dragon Quest. That’s why I was a little disappointed that they didn’t include a Dragon Quest game in the SNES Classic, especially since I thought that Dragon Quest was getting relatively popular overseas now. I would personally swap it out for Punch-Out!! because it’s a fighting game and, well, they already included Street Fighter. Since my father was an avid Street Fighter player, playing both arcade and console, I grew up on Street Fighter, and eventually, I came to prefer over other fighting games like my father.

Se Jin's pick is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

I also didn’t have an SNES growing up but I’ve played a lot of games on the Nintendo Gameboy since I was young. Even though I don’t know much about SNES games, I would probably add Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time because it is one of the few multiplayer-friendly game one the console. I think this game makes the best usage out of two bundled controllers meaning you will get to cooperate with others, which will make the game more exciting and fun to play. Besides, I really love the graphic design of this game because it brings classic cartoon nostalgia.

Matthew's pick is Kirby's Dreamland 3

I, unfortunately, did not grow up with the SNES, since I was born around the tail end of the Nintendo 64 era. However, I did manage to play a majority of classic SNES titles through the GameBoy advance remakes as a child. Games such as Super Mario World and Yoshi’s Island are close to my heart to this day. And I concur with Brendan, where’s Kirby Dreamland 3? As an avid Kirby aficionado, I remembered discovering that game for the first time via YouTube and my desire to play another console Kirby game (before Kirby Returns to Dreamland was a thing) pushed me to play it via Virtual Console. While the game is a bit harsh on getting hurt easily, the visuals, return of the animal buddies, and level tropes made it a great addition to the classic Kirby formula. As for which game to take off, I’m not too sure. All of those games are great choices to put on the SNES Classic (I’m amazed Kirby Dream Course is on there), but I suppose Mega Man X might have to take the cut. I haven’t played any of the Mega Man games, but I feel like most people grew up with the NES Mega Man games more than the X series (Look at Smash 4, using classic Mega Man instead of X).

Full disclosure: I have actually never played the SNES in my life so aside from the Wii, DS etc sequels/reboots for a lot of the SNES games, I personally don’t have a lot of personal connection/nostalgia to the system or the classics that are being brought back. That said, one game I would like to see brought back on the SNES Classic is a small game called Shaq Fu where you play as basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal fighting a mummy in order to rescue a small child. It has been universally agreed upon that you can’t come up with a worse idea for a game than this one, and the sheer weirdness of it is an allure I simply can’t pass up, even though I think this is the sort of game that’s wacky in concept but just straight-up terrible in gameplay and execution. I feel really bad taking any of the classic games out and replacing them with Shaq Fu, so I will simply say that if I had to get rid of one, I would get rid of Mario Kart because it’s the one I am most attached to. And I feel that in order to pay penance for the inclusion of Shaq-Fu, I must take away the game I value most and thereby suffer for my horrible choice.

I too never had an SNES growing up so my attachment to games on the console are mostly those of vicariously watching other people play them. One game that stands out to me that they didn’t include is Harvest Moon. I would think that Nintendo would want to promote the Harvest Moon series as much as they could especially with the release of Harvest Moon: Light of Hope on the horizon.The 21 games that they did choose have a good variety so I wouldn’t encourage them to remove any.

When I first saw the list of games included on the SNES Classic, one title stuck out in my mind immediately due to its absence: Chrono Trigger. I feel like this is one of the essential SNES games. It is one of the most beloved and influential RPGs of all time, featuring art by Akira Toriyama, compositions by Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu, writing by Yuji Hori, and was designed by Hironobu Sakaguchi. This dream team was able to put together a completely unique IP which included multiple endings, character-centered sidequests, and mature themes of existentialism, dread, fate, and sacrifice. Remember, this is supposed to be a kid’s game. Yet it taught also kids about courage and determination in the face of destruction. As someone who loves philosophy, I think that’s just plain awesome. All in all, this game is considered by many to be one of, if not the, greatest games of all time. If they were able to include Final Fantasy VI (or III, depending on where you got your copy from), I don’t see why they couldn’t also bring in Chrono Trigger.

Conversely, one title whose inclusion confused me is Contra III: The Alien Wars. The first two games in the series, Contra and Super C, are heralded as extremely challenging but oh-so-rewarding run and gun games, infamous for its Giger-inspired designs and incredibly overpowered Spread Gun. Contra III, on the other hand, feels like a lesser copy of its forebears. The top-down sections are more irritating than fun and infinite continues are removed, making the game much harder to complete. I don’t think a game needs to be easy, but making it unnecessarily difficult by limiting the amount of times you can actually play ruins the experience. All in all, it’s a Contra game. The controls are tight, the bosses epic, and the frustration great. But in my mind, it doesn’t evoke that same feeling of awe that the NES games can (not including Contra Force). It manages to be reminiscent of the earlier Contra games but fails to capture that same arcade fun in my mind and is much less of a “necessary” game than others included in the SNES Classic.

I’m going to go ahead and echo Lee’s sentiments: the absence of Chrono Trigger on the SNES Classic is a travesty to say the least. To be completely candid, I haven’t played this game, but few games achieve the kind of legendary status that this RPG has attained and its exclusion is all but inexcusable. I’d replace all but the best games on the system with this one, but I’d be most inclined to remove Kirby Dream Course primarily because I’ve never heard of it before and I don’t really care about golf that much. It would be an easy trade for one of the best RPG’s ever made.

Devin's pick is NBA Jam

I’d swap one sports game for another: Give Kirby’s Dream Course the boot and bring in NBA Jam. Nothing against Dream Course, I’ve never played but by all accounts, it’s a fine game. But NBA jam is one of the defining games of my SNES memories. I’m sure licensing prevented this game from ever even being in the running, but I’d like to think in some alternate timeline there’d be a whole new generation of kids experiencing the joy of Boom-shakka-lakka right now… and that remake doesn’t count!

Written by Evan Maier-Zucchino

Evan graduated from Chapman University in 2017 with a BFA in creative writing and a minor in leadership studies. A love of storytelling propels his interest in video games, though he is equally comfortable on the battlefields of multiplayer games as in the middle of an RPG grind. When not gaming he can be found producing music, writing stories, or pondering the big questions in life.

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