30 years of Super Nintendo - article

30 years of Super Nintendo - article
Here is the Next-Gen, with its great promises. DualSense haptic with adaptive triggers, Game Pass and Impulse Triggers. Roaring Teraflops, SSDs and Ray Tracing. And then there is Nintendo, which takes its time. Stealth more than a ninja announces some games in a Mini Direct, presents to everyone his Hyrule Warriors which basically serves to stall, feels the ground of cloud gaming with Control, conquers the living rooms with the Mario Kart Live circuits.

It wasn't always like this: five generations of consoles ago, it was November 21, 1990, Nintendo was the protagonist. It had its directional crosses and its 128 kB RAM. Innovative rotating backgrounds with sprite scaling. In a world of cartridges versus CD-ROMs, Super Mario World versus Sonic the Hedgehog, the Super Famicom (for us SNES) was selling 49.10 million units. Double its direct rival, Sega Mega Drive; about eight times the PC Engine, the third to compete.

To mark the success of the Super Nintendo, despite being two years behind its rivals, was its rich securities sector. Beyond Mario, with all his incarnations, many historical franchises were born in those years: third-party glories that today reinforce the videogame catalogs, right and left. Devs found fertile ground to develop fighting, platforming, and role-playing games. The great mascots emerged from the primordial soup of the NES and began to define themselves and to define genres.

Super Metroid is among the most influential games of all time. It may seem strange to start an excursus with titles like Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean, but they are a great example of what has been said. First of all, they are third-party products that now orbit, for the most part, in the Sony area. And both, for the time we are talking about, tested the limits of the hardware in the game by introducing a sound engine, the Flexible Voice Audio, which allowed the dubbing of the scenes in the game. As JRPG, among other things, they experimented outside the canonical shifts, with real-time fighting.

Still on the technical front, Star Fox was ahead of its time thanks to the Super FX chip, daring to offer a shooter with real 3D models. Moreover, thanks to Mode 7, which allowed to rotate backgrounds and sprites, Super Mario Kart and F-Zero simulated a three-dimensional depth in a 2D environment. They innovated the world of racing games, setting solid foundations for what will happen the next generation with Mario Kart 64, Crash Team Racing and WipEout. We also owe to mode 7 some moments imprinted in videogame history, such as the intro of Final Fantasy VI: the march of the magitech on the snow accompanied by the Nobuo Uematsu Overture.

Thanks to the aesthetic canon that was also consolidated on the Amiga and Sega Mega Drive, with colorful graphics and extremely detailed pixel-art, the developers were not afraid to take the players away from the comfort zone. On the other hand, in those years the mysterious Ecco the Dolphin, the ironic and violent Mortal Kombat, the crazy Paper Boy and the very detailed (by then) Shadow of the Beast were played, to which the Nintendo games sector had to cope, when englobing from the Arcade world, when counterattacking.

This content is hosted on an external platform, which will only display it if you accept targeting cookies. Please enable cookies to view. Manage cookie settings Watch on YouTube. These are the years of Terranigma, an action-rpg with a melancholy world and in search of regeneration. Earthbound, Shigesato Itoi's masterpiece where pop culture and irony meet to build one of the most dreamlike adventures seen in a JRPG. Chrono Trigger, with countless endings and with an intelligent and profound use of the butterfly effect. Not to mention the trashy and visionary exaggerations of Shaq Fu, Contra III and Parodius.

There was a constant search for a videogame surplus value. Yoshi's Island introduced hand drawings, making the games of the franchise (and Kirby's) still attempt the strangest artistic directions, with worlds made of wool and fabric. Donkey Kong Country relied on atmosphere, smooth animations and pre-rendered CGI. Ditto Super Mario RPG, the point of origin of Paper Mario, which made creative use of the aforementioned mode 7.

Above all, the game design was refined. Super Metroid is the real turning point of metroidvania, a genre that in the last ten years has experienced a real renaissance, thanks to pearls like Hollow Knight and Ori. On the platform front, Megaman X gave a new identity to Capcom's blue bomber, in levels that influenced each other and with a disposition of resources and enemies that still makes school today. Capcom, among other things, had introduced the Cx4, a chip that improved the transparency effects and gave the villain Sigma a 3D skeleton.

In Final Fantasy VI, Mode 7 allows 'futuristic' perspectives. As Nega-Link rises from the shadow of the green hero, PlayStation was born from a rib of the SNES. The story is known: Ken Kutaragi had developed the audio components for Nintendo, it was then decided to produce a CD-ROM player to replace the cartridges until, twist, Nintendo dissolves the partnership with Sony. It was one of those times when timelines branch out, a possible obsession for every Nintendo CEO.

Perhaps out of overconfidence in cartridges (less capacious but faster), or out of distrust of the market of the external peripherals, the big N misses the train. Only years later, in 1998, will he indulge in pioneering ideas, such as the portable printer and the Game Boy camera. But in the meantime Sony had embarked on its path, becoming the fierce rival of the N64.

But what ifs aside, Super Nintendo has had more lives. After a first restyle, gray-purple, for the western public, in 1997 it reached the market in an updated, aesthetically softer version. Decommissioned in Japan in 2003, it can be said that the SNES was a console capable of living beyond the passages of gen, as well as the successful NDS.

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A desire for continuity that is still part of the philosophy of the Furukawa major today. In this regard, Ryan O'Connor, manager of Crossroads Capital, for Bloomberg gave the following reading of the Switch phenomenon: "Nintendo has worked hard to completely eliminate that cyclical volatility, creating a console platform that can last, effectively, forever". In light of the recent opening to cloud gaming, which would postpone a massive level up of the hardware, it seems to have seen it right.

In 2017 the Classic Mini version was released, a meeting place for old glories like Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. And although Nintendo's short arm is proverbial, with the Switch Online subscription you can recover various titles, such as the Super Mario All-Stars collection, which contains the Bros trilogy. More than retro-gaming, it is clear that we are talking about true timeless classics.

Even if you don't own a Super Nintendo in your basement and you don't have a cartridge to blow into, it can be a good opportunity to go for a marathon thanks to the Switch catalog, go from one title to another. more and take a dip in history. Maybe just waiting for that courier who will bring you the future.

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