It was Christmas morning, 1991. A hyperactive, super-excited, greedy little version of myself crept down the steps of my childhood home after my father had given the go-ahead. He always had this annoying ritual of setting up the video camera before my sister and I could come to claim our rightful cornucopia of presents.
After opening what seemed like hundreds of lesser presents including action figures, hygiene products, movies, and unwanted clothing, the two of us were like two starving puppies wondering why the top item on both of our Christmas lists, the Super Nintendo, was nowhere to be found.
In what seemed at the time to be a heartlessly cruel jape, my parents exclaimed “Oh, it looks like you guys missed one!” and proceeded to produce a nondescript box covered in reindeer wrapping paper. As we hastily tore the useless adornments from the magically mysterious final gift, we realized it was what we had always dreamed of. Finally, the glistening gray and purple rectangular prism of infinite awesomeness was presented to us. As our eyes glazed over and our mouths gaped open in wide wonder, we realized that we were now official owners of a SUPER NINTENDO.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (aka Super Famicom, Super NES, SNES, Super Nintendo, or Jesus Christ incarnate) is a 16-bit video game console that was unleashed upon the adoring Nintendo-centric public in North America in 1991.
Unlike the cheap bastards that produce consoles today, the Super Nintendo came with two controllers instead of one and also came prepackaged with Super Mario World, one of the greatest platforming video games of all time. Things were just better back then.
Anyway, there’s not a single negative thing I could say about this lovable machine. With wholehearted support from top developers like Capcom, Konami, Tecmo, Squaresoft, Koei, and Enix, there was little doubt that this behemoth of pixel-based entertainment would become the must-have video game console of the early 90s.
Games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, the Final Fantasy series, Pilotwings, F-Zero, Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario World, Starfox, my personal favorite Chrono Trigger, and an infinitely longer list of games I’m forgetting made the Super Nintendo a definitively incredible product. With innovative additions like Mario Paint and the Superscope along the way as well, the system was also ahead of its time. There were days when I’d feign illness to stay home from school and get lost in its bright, midi-scored goodness.
The fact that my original Super Nintendo still works is a testament to the craftsmanship that went into the device. You could drop the thing from a skyscraper and you’d still be playing Demon’s Crest minutes later. Now, it seems like the slightest shake or jiggle will render a current-gen console inoperable.
Nintendo needs to get back to the days when it ruled the console market. Not just with kid-friendly gimmicks and motion-based controllers, but with the best damn console and library of games that a kid could get his dirty little hands on. Bring on the 16-bit renaissance.