Starting a Master’s, having a birthday and returning from an industry event didn’t leave a lot of time for me to keep gaming at the end of September.
After a tumultuous few days, I finally found the time to tackle my evergrowing backlog, and perhaps the most meaningful experience I’ve returned to has been my SNES Mini.
Despite pre-ordering and waiting in anticipation for this retro console, when it finally got into my hands I just stacked it on a shelf among my NES Mini and other gaming paraphernalia.
Thinking of co-operative titles to play with my girlfriend when she came to visit led me to unbox the poor scarce thing, knowing that we love to partake in some expletive-heavy Mario Kart.
Loading up the console, the first thing to strike me was the menu music. Catchy is an understatement. After two play sessions, the damn thing is burned into my memory. It’s jovial and arcade in tone, perfect for those precious moments you spend switching between games.
Settling into Super Mario Kart was the first highlight. What a game? I was taken aback by how well it holds up. It’s clear that Nintendo has a formula that they don’t need to change. I found some of the hardware limitations actually played into the joy of the game.
For example, no map to discern where your opponents are meant that it was even more exciting to see player two just ahead, making item placement even more careful and calculated.
Further, the limited amount of items on the floor meant that you had to be quick to nab an offensive item. Unintentionally, we played single races against eachother with no outside competition and it was a total blast. Highly recommended if you’ve got friends around.
Donkey Kong also wears a wifebeater, and if you’ve played any of the games that follow Super Mario Kart then you’ll have some awesome nostalgia from the classic maps derezzed.
The music and visuals are intact and still quite charming in 2017. The next game we moved on to was Street Fighter II. We often have a lot of fun with the fighting genre, with mixed results. I’m pretty strong at Injustice & Tekken, but get my ass handed to me at Soul Calibur.
Street Fighter II was again, charming, and the visuals and audio are timeless. Testing out all of the characters was a treat, and we even managed a Hadouken or two. Just watch out for E.Honda and those hands. You will catch them, and if you can’t block, it’s gonna S U C K.
After Street Fighter came Donkey Kong Country, which, whilst being co-op, is only simultaneous. Platforming was fun but no longevity for two players. Contra III was also fairly neat but reminded us too much of the Cuphead we were playing not 2 hours before. The flashbacks were too much and we had to take a step back for our sanity.
Kirby Super Star was the last game we stumbled onto. A collection of strange mini-games, it’s kinda like a 90s version of 1-2 Switch.
Samurai Kirby has you hitting a button in correspondence with an on-screen exclamation mark to dice through your compadre. Like that wild west ‘draw’ mini-game from 1-2 switch, but with Kirby characters and big-ass swords.
The similarity between this game and the 2017 switch version was a little alarming. I mean, it’s clear the concept works, but still!
Another sub-game worth your time is Megaton Punch, where you have to time your inputs to maximise the damage you do to crack a planet in half.
It’s buck wild, but simple and fun. Also, you can see Mario, Luigi and Toad chilling in the crowd which was a nice touch.
All in all, the co-operative gameplay was something I wasn’t expecting from the SNES Mini. Perfect for a group of friends if you’re playing one of the simultaneous titles, or if you’ve got a buddy who doesn’t mind a visual downgrade in exchange for quality.
These games are classics, and you won’t be disappointed. Now let’s just pray Nintendo gets the stock right this time.