My inspiration for writing this article was actaully spawned from my belief that I never had quite as much fun with my SNES as I did my Genesis. For some reason, I'd always convinced myself that the SNES was pretty much just a few games and that was it. But the more I started thinking about it, the more I realized that was really kinda unfair. Thinking back for a few moments I could recall a moment or two that really always stuck with me. Then, the more I thought about it, more and more pieces of ancient 16-bit history began flooding back. So, I started writing some of them down and eventually I had a good list of things that really popped out at me and decided it'd be a nice way to end the week for me to write about a few of them.
So, I hope you enjoy reading about a few of my absolute favorite SNES Moments. These are in no particular order, just ordered on how well I thought they flowed into one another.
Oh Maria... (Yeah, I Think We Knew This One Would Be Here)
Final Fantasy III
Yeah, yeah, I think everyone had to see this coming, so let's just get it out of the way, okay? But honestly, this moment is here for good reason. It really is one of those
moments where you almost shit bricks sitting in front of the console.
I think the reason it was so brick-shitting for me (and probably everyone else) is when you heard the first "OH" note belted out, the on-screen text also read "Oh..." At that moment, I thought, "No fucking way...they're really gonna sing..." Of course, they didn't, but it was a nice second or so fake-out that was very effective.
Not only the singing, but the staging of the entire scene was done so well with its dinky little tile-based movement. A truly fun and unexpected little interlude that no one will just shut up about. Not one damn bit ashamed to have this here.
, I think the timed "Save Celes" sequence may be one of those deep-seeded memories that gave me an irrational fear and inability to perform well in games with visible timers because I fucked it the first time.
It's Raining, It's Pouring...
The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past
I guess, if anything, more than a few of these entries will reveal just how simple-minded and easily amused I am...or was, anyway. Back then, a lot of games' first impressions were enough to tattoo a solid memory of something unforgettable. It didn't even have to be anything huge, as this entry will no doubt confirm.
As young Link (or in this case, Polly) steps outside of her house the very first time, she finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a raging thunderstorm, fully elaborated with dark surroundings, a simple rain effect, and brief flashes of light to simulate the effects of lightning. Polly is immediately amazed, because effects of this sort, as simple as they were, simply hadn't either been possible or played around with much in the world of games she'd played up to that point. The closest I think we ever got was animated water in backgrounds or the neato-keen wind effect in Stage 2-2 of Ninja Gaiden II
It was such a simple, yet atmospheric touch that made trudging around in the rain while following a disembodied voice in the still of night really feel like you were out getting into mischief you really shouldn't be trying to get into.
Snake Lights Him Up!
Rock 'n Roll Racing
on crack. It's really the only truthful way to describe Rock 'n Roll Racing
. The game wasn't so much fun in single-player mode, but grab a friend and hop into two-player mode and you'll be in for a fuckin' riot. At least, that's how it always ended up at my place.
Rock 'n Roll Racing
ended up being the premiere party game at my place for quite a while after I snagged a copy for a mere $10 in a cheapie Wal-Mart sale. You and a friend can either try and work together and race the full circuit of planets, or you can just fuck each other over on a race-by-race basis, hogging money, power-ups, and blowing the ever-living piss out of one another over those few $100 power-ups littered around the track for upgrades that'll make sure you're doing much
better off when the next race rolls around. It wasn't possible to get mad at anyone playing this game. At least we never did. All I remember is lots and lots of laughter and "OH YOU MOTHER FUCKER" as I'd get wasted seconds before crossing the finish line because Rob is a dickhole.
I played this online with Kjilly a few times too. Kjilly is also a dickhole.
What...Tha Hell Am I Seeing?
Again, another "Well duh, why wouldn't
it be on the list somewhere" game.
is a game of many, many, many moments that are stunning in their own right. Who could forget the dramatic pan-up on Magus' castle, Chronos untimely demise in the Ocean Palace, and the epic battles against the final two forms of Lavos? There's way more than that too, but I went with something much simpler. The first time the game made me go "Wow..."
A princess in disguise wishing to frolic around the Millenial Fair with a complete mute stranger ends up sucked into a mysterious portal after an experiment involving teleportation goes awry. A simple set-up for what will only moments later be revealed as one of the coolest graphical effects on the console ever.
Travelling through time never looked so pretty, and I remember being just as slack-jawed as any of my friends were when I'd show them this effect later down the line. It's just some swirly distortion with an eerie vacuum'ish sound, but at the time, I hadn't seen anything like it. I never tired of seeing it either. Even years later, now that I'm old, cranky, and can't stand waiting for shit, I still enjoy that trippy ass purple, black, and blue time distortion. Way better than lame-o flashes and fades to white.
SPEED SPEED SPEED SPEED BOOOOM SHHHHHHKKKKT!
Aside the lame ass opponents' catch-up AI that can make this game absolutely frustrating at times, F-Zero
is a fantastic experience. Probably one of the first real racing games to give you a sense of breakneck speed and danger.
First time I played the game, however... Not so great. Not even maybe twenty seconds into my first race (Mute City I), I'm zooming along and thinking "HOLY FUCK THIS IS FAST" and I hit the first ramp in the fucking game. Into the great blue I shoot and somehow (I really don't know how) I pull hard to the left, leave the track and begin to plummet to my inevitable death. As I finally crash, the explosion animation begins and the loud boom starts to play on my TV's speaker and suddenly just cuts out. "Hmm...that can't be right," I thought, but used up my first continue anyway.
As the camera pans down for my next go at it, I notice my TV had stopped outputting sound... Odd... I began fumbling around with some wires. It was a rental system, so maybe I jacked something up or there was a bad wire somewhere. Still no sound. Resetting the game? Still nothing.
So, I gave up and turned the console off, noticing that channel 3 now had no sound... Curious... Channel 4, 5, and 6 didn't have sound either... What the... F-Zero
just blew up my fucking TV's speakers! What the hell? It wasn't even turned up that loud, but apparently F-Zero
was so fucking bad ass that my 13" TV's dinky little speakers just couldn't contain its level of awesome.
Looking back now, it's funny as hell, but at the time, my god did it ever suck-diddly-uck...
Do It Again, Fucker!
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
is one of those games that consistently scores considerably high in online "Hardest Game EVer" lists, and for good reason. Even as early as the first stage, the game is kicking your sorry ass all over the place with crazy-ass pitfalls and perfectly timed enemies. This, of course, means that it's a game that can also be memorized. With loads and loads (read: and loads) of trial and error, I'd say anyone could make their way through this game with the right amount of dedication. It's merely a cycle of inching your way through each part of the game until you're good. It's sorta like Contra
in that regard.
It took me as many as three or so rentals to finally clear the "final stage" the first time. I don't think I can be blamed for welling up with pride when I first saw the princess appear and begin talking. Then imagine my range when I realized what
she was saying...
FUCK YOUR GODDESSS BRACELET BITCH! SHOVE IT RIGHT UP YOUR STINKIN' ROYAL TWATTER AND SPIN FOR ALL I CARE!
Yep, that's right. For my efforts in learning the damn game, I was rewarded with fuckin' DOING IT ALL OVER AGAIN. All those fucking pitfalls, all those god damn DEATHS, ALL THOSE GOD DAMN SON OF A FUCK ME ANNOYING BASTARD RED ARREMERS! ALL FOR FUCKING NOTHING? Unbelievable!
AND TO THINK I LET CAPCOM GET AWAY WITH THIS SHIT!
Making matters worse was the fact that the Goddess Bracelet was a bit of a mother bitch to find and use (though still quite powerful) and enemies were given a noticeable bump in difficulty. As if the first time through the game wasn't gruelling enough.
Fuck off, Capcom. You'd probably be sitting at the top of this list if it was another list of "FUCK YOU's"
Graffixes and Dimensionses
StarFox and Donkey Kong Country
Even back in the day, I tried not to graphics-whore too much, but sometimes things will catch you off-guard with their various pretty, pretty shinies and you've really got no other choice than to pay attention and (if you have a crappy website) yammer about them for a bit. This entry is a two-fer.
In 1993 Nintendo introduced the SuperFX Chip, a supery-dupery fancy gizmo inside select SNES titles that allowed many of us to experience 3D gameplay for the first time. Sure, the 3D graphics were kinda rudimentary, and the frame rates weren't exactly stellar, but...well...fuck it. StarFox
was cool as shit!
The very moment I first popped the game in and powered on, I was introduced to something I'd not seen in gaming before: An honest to Bob (No, not Yuu, Bob. Sit down, [REDACTED].) cinematic intro. Like...camera angles and shit! To me, gaming now had a whole new dimension and one slick as hell rails shooter. With its whole new spin on presentation, a certain cinematic flair, and fun as hell gameplay, StarFox
pretty much commanded the attention of gaming. I anxiously awaited StarFox 2
, but my need for anthropomorphic Star Wars
'esque action would not be sated until StarFox 64
four years later.
In the fall of '94, Nintendo would woop it up with even fancier silicon graphics technology. They introduced both the new technology and a new game by sending out this cheesy promotional VHS video for the upcoming Donkey Kong Country
. On an unrelated note, I was always more fond of the StarFox 64 vid
Anyway, without a doubt, the technology Donkey Kong Country
introduced not only produced one hell of a gorgeous game (the soundtrack is also quite fantastic, as well) but 2 successive sequels, a pretty decent home port of the combo-crazy Killer Instinct
, and one of my dad's personal favorites, Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run
By itself, Donkey Kong Country
is a fairly average platformer that slid by mostly because of its visual pinache, but all that eye candy is certainly sweet enough to make it memorable.
One Mother Of A Finale
Yeah, yeah, rockin', shockin', socks here, right?
It should be no real surprise by now that one of my fondest memories of the SNES is tied to Super Metroid
since it's my favorite game of all time.
For some reason, it was a real toss-up here for me. A couple other moments always stood out for me here, such as when you first aquire the Shinespark ability and when you finally get the Power Bomb the shit out of the Maridia glass tube after so many trips through it over the course of the game. I had to go with the final area and ending sequence of the game here for obvious reasons, though.
I'll also note, for no particular reason at all, that when I first got to this point in the game I had a combination of strep throat and laryngitis.
Once you finally set foot into Mother Brain's home turf of Tourian, you're greeted with quite a bit of fun as you have to make your way through some simple corridors while dealing with flaming Cheerios of Doom and fighting the Metroids head on. A special treat lies for you just beyond the final save point as you'll be faced with a throwback of the original NES Metroid's
Mother Brain fight. A damn fince piece of fanservice, if I do say so myself. I certainly remember freaking out the first time I got there.
After that cool shit you get to the final form of Mother Brain, which in all actuality isn't all that intimidating or menacing. In fact, when I first saw her I was fairly unimpressed. While it's true that this entire boss fight is just a gimme it does not change the fact that it's just fucking awesome with how everything plays out.
The first time Mother Brain pinned me to the wall with her beam of doom with absolutely no control over Samus, I thought for sure I'd fucked up and done something wrong. Yet, I watched helplessly waiting for my Game Over, devising a new plan for the next time we'd square off.
Then out of fucking nowhere...
"WHAT THE FUCK?" is literally what I squeaked when BIG ASS BABY METROID busted in through the doors and commenced to sucking the shit out of Mother Brain's....brain. When the fight ended, the Metroid was now latched onto me and my health was recovering quickly. The Metroid was helping me, but not before paying the ultimate price...
There's no dialogue here and the scene didn't need it. There was just something about the Metroid's sacrifice the first time I saw it that really struck a chord with me.
After that... Ohhhh fuckin' you better believe it. The God Damn Hyper Beam. After watching your Metroid comrade fall, there really is no greater feeling than having control over a weapon that not only makes you glow all sorts of purdy colors, but when it connects, literally flings Mother Brain's head back more violently like a fuckin' shotgun blast. I daresay, had my throat not been nearly swollen shut and my vocal chords working, I'd likely have been cackling like a god damn madman the first time I was endowed with this beautiful, beautiful piece of hardware.
The rest is history of course. The timer, the escape...this is the most absolutely flawless ending sequence to a game ever. Period.
I know a lot of you may have figured this to be my finale for this piece, but something a lot more simple won out...
OH MY GOD THIS IS THE NEW MARIO?
Super Mario World
As far as I can remember, my two biggest and most mind-blowing moments in gaming both involved Mario games. Coincidentally, they were also the only two times I ever found myself truly impressed with the jump to a new generation.
The first was when I graduated from an Atari 2600 to an NES and played the original Super Mario Bros.
for the first time. My little 7 year-old (or so) brain couldn't quite believe that there was a world beyond one screen. When I moved to the right and the background scrolled to the left, I was stunned. "YOU MEAN THERE'S MORE?" It may not seem that amazing to folks these days, but that kind of "freedom" back then, was simply astounding. It's an evolution that you had to have gone through yourself to really understand that feeling.
The second was when me and my dad first rented an SNES from our local video/game rental store Jasper Video in Waverly, Ohio (Hey, are you guys still there by any chance? Not that anyone'll reply...).
The first time we fired up Super Mario World
was simply astounding. I mean, shit, "JUST LOOK AT THOSE GRAPHICS! IT'S LIKE MARIO BUT MORE BETTER LIKE A CARTOON!" It played just like all the other Marios we used to play, but it looked, sounded, and seemed so much bigger. The game seemed endless, and during that weekend, all the way until I had to go to school on the following Monday morning, we played the shit out of that game and only managed to make it to CHOCOLATE WORLD!
The coolest part was probably the first time I saw a gigantic Bullet Bill. THAT
was my indication that the face of gaming had changed and is the moment that stands out the most when I think of the Super Nintendo.
Oye, I got all warm and tingly typing that last one up...
Thank you and good evening!