Nintendo has announced the SNES Mini for September 29, much to the surprise of nobody and the delight of every gamer with a pulse. Okay, every OLD gamer with a pulse. Happy now?
There was always going to be a compact, game-stacked version of Nintendo's 16-bit console the minute sales of the NES Mini passed the squillion-unit mark. We're happy about that.
We're also happy that the SNES Mini will come with 21 of the console's best games. We're bloody ecstatic that one of those games will be the never-before-released Star Fox 2. Good job, Nintendo. Good job.
But not a perfect job. Looking back at my 30 classic games we'd love to see on it piece from a couple of months back, there are a fair few of my favourite SNES games missing from the list. Eleven, to be precise.
In the end we got Secret of Mana and Final Fantasy VI (here listed under its original US version's Final Fantasy III name). It was perhaps too much to ask for the third of Square Enix's masterful SNES RPG triumvirate.
The only lingering regret here is that Chrono Trigger was arguably the best of the three - a phenomenal time-bending tale filled with laughter and action and tragedy.
Nintendo's arcade flight sim (if that isn't too much of a contradiction) still doesn't quite play like anything else, whether you're skydiving through hoops or hang gliding on thermals.
Pilotwings was essentially an excuse to show off Nintendo's whizzy new Mode 7 rotation and scaling technology, but it was might fun with it. We're genuinely surprised it isn't part of the SNES Mini roster.
NBA Jam: Tournament Edition
NBA Jam is the quintessential arcade sports game, setting the tone for an oversized, reality-warping take on 'real' sports. Whether it was launching an improbably athletic dunk or setting the hoop alight with multiple successive shots, NBA Jam: Tournament Edition made the sport of basketball fun even for non-fans.
Again, we suspect that licensing issues might have scuppered its chances of landing on the SNES Mini. Shame.
Super Bomberman 3
Super Bomberman 3 was one of the finest four-player multiplayer games on the original SNES - and that's the problem. Sticking true to the original, the SNES Mini only has the two original controller ports. You had to employ an unwieldy 'Multitap' peripheral for four player gaming in the old days.
The result is that while we're disappointed Nintendo couldn't make this work, we can understand why Super Bomberman 3 didn't make the final list.
Smash Tennis/Super Tennis
It's a shame Nintendo didn't include my original pick of Smash Tennis - it's a fine tennis game for up to four players. But I understand it due to the aforementioned two-controller SNES Mini limit.
But to also omit Super Tennis - Nintendo's own equally great (and 2P-only) tennis game seems like a bit of a strange omission. What gives, Ninty?
Okay, so this is no surprise whatsoever. Unirally was a weird game back in the day, and it looks even weirder now.
That's doesn't make it any less ace, though. It was a phenomenally fresh and stupendously fast side-on stunt-racer, and we haven't quite seen its like since.
We would have hoped that the finest videogame take on the world's biggest sport that the SNES had to offer would make the cut. Perhaps there were licensing issues, or perhaps a lack of US interest was to blame. Or maybe it just hasn't aged well.
Whatever, International Superstar Soccer Deluxe was a brilliant arcade footy game back in the day. It's a shame not to see it on the SNES Mini.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
Again, maybe there's a licensing issue here, what with the Turtles brand having been revived since its '90s heyday.
Even if Michael Bay has managed to put you right off our heroes in a half-shell (understandable), the fact remains this was one of the finest scrolling beat-'em-ups on the SNES. And there were a fair few to choose from back then.
File this next to Unirally in the 'why am I not surprised?' category. Hebereke's Popoon was always a forlorn hope, because again, it was a bit of an oddball.
Steeped in surreal Japanese kawaii culture, this was a brilliant competitive match-three puzzler with the kind of OTT character-specific special moves that lended it the feeling of a beat-'em-up.
Shadowrun was something of a cult classic, so again, it's so great surprise that it didn't make the cut for the SNES Mini. Would've been ace, though.
This isometric action-RPG was way ahead of its time, with a moody cyberpunk universe geared towards a slightly more mature audience.NHL '96
The SNES Mini list is light on sports games. Scratch that - it has absolutely no sports games on it. Again, licensing issue may have played a part, and few games age as poorly as annual sports franchises.
Still, the NHL Hockey games of the time hit a sweet spot of easy playability and surprising depth.Are there any games you're disappointed didn't make the cut on the SNES Mini? Let us know in the comments.