Currently at 36-years-old, I was of the age to remember and have fond memories of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Admittedly, though, I never owned one. I was a Sega kid by the point of SNES's releease. Because all the cool kids had a Genesis. Remember, Sega does what Nintendon't! In my opinion, Sega was more grown-up, while Nintendo was still for little kids. The biggest example of this was when they removed the blood from their SNES port of Mortal Kombat.
That's not to say I never played a Super Nintendo. I too can wax nostalgia about this beautiful 16-bit machine from 1991. Through countless display machines, and even going over to friends' houses to play with their consoles, I got in plenty of practice on a Super Nintendo. The first time I played Mario Kart was on a display at Montgomery Ward, which was, oddly enough, the place where my folks bought me the original Nintendo Entertainment System. K-Mart and Wal-Mart always had decent enough display systems. I remember advancing really far in StarFox at a K-Mart location that currently only exists as a Planet Fitness in Haltom City, Texas. Super Mario World was played at a Sears that still stands today.
Some games required a bit more attention, like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which I didn't get to play until years later when the Game Boy Advanced version came out. I played that one at a friend's house, and my sessions went on for so long that my friend would just get up and go about his day while I sat in his bedroom, engrossed in the wonderful gameplay. It got to a point where it would get dark and my mother would call his mother, and I'd have to go home. I played Super Street Figher II at another friend's house, in between trying to scare his younger sister with readings from Scary Stories To Read in the Dark, and viewings of Jean Claude Van Damme movies with my bud. Around middle school I got a girlfriend, and I spent a lot of time at her place playing Donkey Kong Country. Even Ken Griffey Jr Presents Major League Baseball (which is not featured in the Classic) was first played at a preview display at the 1995 All-Star Fan Fest. I still remember beating the pants off a middle aged woman who dared challenge me.
For me there are so many memories tied to that system, and I never actually owned it. I remember my college roommate brought his Super Nintendo Entertainment System to the dorm, and we played hours upon hours of the only games he owned for the console, the three Star Wars games. I wasn't very good at them, but I remember watching him excel at the games. While we were roommates I got to borrow games from other people I knew, and I played quite a few games that I never thought would interest me, like that Beavis & Butthead game.
A few years ago I was at convention and I came across something called IndieBox. The idea behind IndieBox was that they made modern retro games. These games came in SNES replica boxes with their own unique branding on them. Also, the first box came with a third-party knockoff SNES controller. I used this controller on my computer, and downloaded a ton of SNES games to play with. The experience was great, but nothing like having the actual console itself.
The SNES Classic came out today, and I got ahold of one. I took it home and plugged it in. The memories came rushing back to me, especially the whir that Super Mario makes when he does the twisting jump, and the sound that happens when Yoshi first breaks out of his shell. Even Donkey Kong Country, with its unmistakable music, had me thinking back to hogging the controller from my junior high girlfriend, while she would try to show me how to tag Diddy Kong in and out. I wasn't hearing it, of course, I was too focused on catching bananas, and stepping on aligators.
Alas, much like the NES Classic, the nostalgia wore off fairly quickly. I haven't tried all the games yet, but I know I will soon. I'm keeping it around for parties and when friends come over. I love these trips down memory lane. I love that the controllers have the same feel and weight as the old controllers, and I love touching the actual device, even if it is a teeny-tiny version of what it once was. This is a much cheaper alternative to tracking down a working SNES and all the games. Well, that is, unless you're a collector, like I used to be. Is it worth the $80.00 and the inevitable headache you'll get trying to track one down? Yes! If you love games, especially retro games, you will do yourself a favor and pick one of these up.
Samuel Colunga is a writer/podcaster from Texas by day, and superhero by night.