I’m not technically savvy by any means (I’d put myself around “average”). When I heard people were able to hack their NES Classics (not that I was able to procure one of those babies), I thought it was cool, but didn’t think it was anything I would look to do. It seemed to me that doing so would render the little beauty into little more than just your run-of-the-mill emulator. I suppose you could argue that it already is just that, anyway, but in the end, I wondered ‘why bother’?
Cut to me managing to get my hands on the SNES Classic, one I coveted much, much more than its older NES brother. Even the lineup, to me, was near flawless. Short of a few (yet near-unforgivable) omissions, I felt the lineup was close to perfect – most of the best experiences on my favorite gaming system to date.
A couple weeks ago, though, curiosity got the better of me – just how hard WOULD it be to add Donkey Kong Country 2 and Chrono Trigger to my SNES? Could I use the same in-game save states for those, too? Would they appear flawlessly among the list of included SNES titles, so much so that you would think they were part of the lineup all along? With the boxart and everything?
It turned out that the answer to all of these questions was: yes. Being able to add the crucial titles I felt were missing (plus a few others that weren’t NECESSARILY needed, but made the lineup even stronger) without sacrificing the original aesthetic of the SNES Classic was a temptation I just couldn’t pass up. After some trial and error, I was able to accomplish this (if you’re curious – it was fairly easy, and from my understanding, the risk of damaging the system was minimal to none, in that the first step backs up your system). Goes without saying that you CERTAINLY DON’T ADD ROMS YOU DON’T OWN THE CARTRIDGE OF, of course. From what I read, you could have close to 100 titles on your system, but that number is a bit wonky, depending on certain factors. In the end, I only wanted a handful of essentials, to turn the little guy into a complete gaming utopia. Inasmuch, here’s what I added:
Donkey Kong Country 2:
Of the few games that I felt were an insult to omit, this was high on the list. It took me years to realize it, but in my opinion, DKC2 is far stronger game than its predecessor, and a top-5 platformer in its own right. Relentlessly challenging, diverse stages, a soundtrack somehow better than the original, the SNES Classic feels so much better with this in the lineup.
They nearly did it. The golden age of JRPGs were SO CLOSE to being all accounted for here, but the lack of Chrono Trigger was a slap in the face. (Sorry, FFIV fans – I’ve never been a believer. I just have triple the passion for FFVI.) It’s a bit of a cliché to always count Chrono and FFVI as the best, but it’s an opinion I subscribe to. I absolutely adore Earthbound, Secret of Mana, and Super Mario RPG as well, so this was the only RPG I felt I needed to add. (Okay, I’ll admit, I would add Illusion of Gaia to that list, too, but at this point it sadly appears to be incompatible).
Donkey Kong Country 3:
I’ve only played through this once, and it was during that trifecta of Christmases in the 90’s that delivered DKC, DKC2 and DKC3. I remember this one obviously being the weakest, and for all I know, it has no right to be here. Regardless, I figured I may as well round out the complete trilogy, and take this as an excuse to revisit it. When you’re the weakest in the DKC trilogy, it probably stands to reason you’re still an excellent game overall.
Mega Man X2, Mega Man X3:
I’ve played the original multiple times, but never fought my way through the sequels. I sure love me some Mega Man bosses; that much is for sure. I’m not gonna pass up a chance to experience some for the first time ever on the SNES. These were no-brainers. I’m about halfway through MMX2, and already think the innovation to boss designs here are incredible. I’ve heard murmurings that X3 was a bit rushed, so I’ll keep expectations in check on that one.
A few years ago, when I started this blog, this was a game I sought out to experience fully for the first time and I was not disappointed. That experience stuck with me, and I knew I wanted it to be a part of epic lineup.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors:
I used to take my cart of this with me everytime I visited a friend… it was truly endless 2-player fun. I want to say it has around 100 stages or so? I can still remember getting stuck on a level where the only enemies were giant killer sand worms… how the hell do you get past those unless you stock up ob bazooka ammo? Maybe now I will finally see what’s on the other side of that stage.
… Or as I’d like to call it, Cowboy Contra. You simply can’t beat a Western videogame with in-game text such as “BURY ME WITH MY MONEY” spoken by a character names Simon Greedwell. Another game I clearly remember having a point I couldn’t pass: a Native-American boss that I’m sure has aged horribly. This is another game I need to put down once and for all, and another strong addition to the 2-player options.
I haven’t played much of this game at all, but I’ve played the first level or two and it seems really unique and fun. The arcade feel of moving the reticle all over the screen combined with the never-ending antics and explosions helps to add some more diversity to the gameplay of this lineup. I’m excited to see more of this one, and especially with a buddy to play along with.
TMNT: Turtles in Time:
I arguably do not need this one. I’ve beaten it so many times, it will probably never feel fresh again. A friend of mine and I used to try and beat our record of completing it on “hard” mode over and over (if memory serves, we came in somewhere around 18 minutes). Still, it’s beat-’em-up at its absolute best, and needs to have a home here. I will always maintain that Slash on the PREHISTORIC TURTLESAURUS stage is by far the hardest boss.
Knights of the Round & King of the Dragons
I know next to nothing about these two titles, so I don’t want to state that they are the same, but they seem like two really fun beat-’em-up co-op titles. I believe I may have rented King of the Dragons once and loved what I played, but forgot the title for years. The character select screen always stuck with me. I’ve read some great blogs on here about Knights of the Round, which likened the difficulty to Dark Souls. These two clocked in as experiences I couldn’t vouch for necessarily, but seemed like they were worth a shot and possibly worth keeping on the system.
EVO: The Search for Eden
A childhood friend lent this to me once, during that dangerous transition where proximity was really the only reason we were friends to begin with, and having that taken away was about to become the deciding factor over the end of our friendship as well. Needless to say, the game became mine. I wonder which of my games he took away from that transaction… regardless, I think I may have lucked out; this one appears to be far rarer than anything I owned.
I never really had the patience to “get” it, and its been in the back of my mind ever since. I’ve crammed a couple hours into it and it seems really unique and cool, if not a little redundant. At this point, my guess is I will see it through to the end, but I’m not sure I’d sit through it again.
Holy shit is this game fun and addictive, one player or two. Without so many viral knockoff mobile games that blatantly ripped off this formula, Nintendo is insane for not including this to begin with.
Indiana Jones: Greatest Adventures
I always thought the Star Wars SNES games were pretty meh, but their take on Indy was a different story. I remember it being a lot of fun, but being fairly difficult… It was rare that I would make it to the Temple of Doom levels, let alone the Last Crusade. The save state feature will really help in revisiting this entire game.
Super Mario All-Stars
C’mon now, how can you not? Super Mario World is already on here, give the rest of the classics a home along with it.
That about rounds out my list. The only thing I’m missing, which includes an extra step to get working, is Illusion of Gaia, another RPG I owned and played through a few times as a kid. I would love to revisit that one someday, so I might try and jump through the extra hoops to add it eventually. Have you thought about increasing your library as well? What would you add?