Some Obligatory Thoughts on the SNES Classic
Or: Why I won’t be doing anything productive until 2018.
Not to brag TOO much, but yesterday I managed to snag the second to last SNES classic from the local Gamestop. Early bird gets the worm, and all that. After the short run of the NES classic, and the various pre-order fiascos a few weeks ago, I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. The good news is, Nintendo released more SNES classics in the first shipment than the entire production run of the NES classic, so there you go. Hopefully you guys should be able to track one down if you haven’t picked one up yet.
But yeah. I grew up on SNES, which made the SNES classic a must-buy. It’s got a rock-solid bunch of games, including the previously unreleased Star Fox 2. The original Star Fox was (and still is) my jam– which makes Star Fox 2 a little hard to get my brain around. I’ve honestly only played it for a little bit– I’ll have to give it a more in-depth go later.
Instead of trying to review or rate or rank all of the SNES classic’s 21 games (which has already been done to death by any number of websites people actually pay attention to), I figured I’d just offer a few more general thoughts.
Yes, the dinky controller cable length is a pain. Why it’s shorter than the actual Super Nintendo controllers, I couldn’t say. I’ve heard extension cables are easy enough to get, so I’m gonna have to track some down before long. Though you also have to physically get up and hit the reset button to switch between games as well, so … yeah.
Really though, the biggest thing that struck me about the SNES classic is that there’s a bit of decision fatigue that comes into play. I mean, just looking at the list of games available, the term ’embarassment of riches’ comes to mind. One of the things about having a console as a kid (or who am I kidding, even now) is that one tends to pace one’s acquisition of games out– get a game, focus on that for awhile, and then move on to the next. Of course, back in the day when I’d only get a new SNES game for Christmas (or maybe my birthday if I was lucky), the laser-like focus on a game for weeks or months at a time was even more intense.
And, to be fair, I’ve only had a SNES classic for barely 36 hours now– I’ve mostly just sampled games without getting too into them– so far Super Metroid and The Secret of Mana are getting the most of my time, mostly cause I didn’t have either of those as a kid. I haven’t even touched Final Fantasy III or Zelda or Earthbound yet, knowing how long and in-depth they are. (I’ve also beaten FFIII and Zelda multiple times on my O.G. SNES, but that won’t prevent me from getting around to them before long).
If I were to be suddenly, inexplicably trapped for weeks on end in some remote Alaskan cabin with little more than a SNES classic and my to-read pile of books, I’d be perfectly fine with that. Of course, there’d have to be the inevitable Twilight Zone-esque twist in which the cabin’s TV didn’t have an HDMI port, so maybe that’s not the best plan.
One thing that struck me about the SNES Classic’s library was that it’s rather limited in scope. Don’t get me wrong, the games on there are all damn solid … but they’re all from either Nintendo, Capcom, Konami, or Square. (Or I guess Rare kinda sorta counts for Donkey Kong Country. Don’t get me wrong– these guys were the giants of the 16 bit era, but it would’ve been nice to see some other guys like, I dunno, Acclaim on there.
Of course, one of the real stingers is that the SNES Classic doesn’t have Chrono Trigger, which is arguably the best game on the system (if not all time).
I can understand licensing issues probably got in the way of putting the likes of U.N. Squadron or NBA Jam on the SNES classic … but Nintendo was obviously in talks with Square (or SquareEnix, these days) to put FFIII and The Secret of Mana on there … so why not Chrono Trigger? My only real explanation is that SquareEnix just wants to pretend Chrono Trigger never happened (there’s a time travel joke to be made in there), and would have folks focus on Final Fantasy instead, since they’re still making those. Then again, I suppose it’s probably a good thing they never made any Chrono Trigger sequels (we do not talk about Chrono Cross), as otherwise Chrono Trigger 9 or whatever would be about a boy band trying to sell cup noodles or something.
But yeah. Even with my little quibbles and nerd-theories, the SNES classic is still by far my favorite video-gamey purchase in awhile. And, y’know, writing about it here … kind of counts as doing something productive, right?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m gonna play some Mario Kart.