Five important games that are missing from the SNES Classic, and why that’s okay

The Super Nintendo Classic Edition is now official, and we have months to wonder if we’ll even be able to get one in the first place. Flashbacks from last year’s curfuffle are infuriating enough, but Nintendo is going all-in once again with assurances that everything is going to be okay.

21 games is a much less meaty offering than the NES Classic Edition’s 30 games, and the extra $ 10 tagged on top might seem like a rip-off. However, when you’re looking at classics like Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and the bonafide Super Nintendo version of Final Fantasy III, you’ll find that this bundle will make up for its shorter list with an overabundance of gaming hours.

Another nice addition is the Super Nintendo version of Yoshi’s Island, which will hopefully include all of the original graphical tricks that the Game Boy Advance version on Virtual Console lacks.

Naturally, not everybody got all the games they wanted, myself included. Here are the five most obvious games that are missing the Super Nintendo Classic Edition, and just to be fair to all parties involved, simple explanations as to why they possibly didn’t make the cut.

Chrono Trigger

This is far and away the largest and most glaring omission from the list. Chrono Trigger is not only one of the greatest video games ever developed, it’s also the culmination of everything that made JRPGs great on the Super Nintendo. When Square and Enix, back when they were separate entities, sat down to collaborate on this title, their brainstorming led to a pool of their strongest resources, and the all-star development team cherry picked what each company did best.

Square chipped in with its epic storytelling, Enix donated colorful Akira Toriyama art similar to Dragon Quest, and both decided to toss aside some of the genre’s more frustrating aspects like random battles and grinding. The result is the tightest, fastest, and most fulfilling JRPG on the Super Nintendo, possibly of all time.

Chrono Trigger is as iconic to the Super Nintendo as any one of Nintendo’s first-party titles, and it is a masterclass on the history of the Super Nintendo. Its omission can be felt through the very fabrics of time itself.

Totally super logical reason for its absence: Chrono Trigger has plenty of viable ports. The iOS and Android versions remain far more loyal to the Super Nintendo original than any of those awful Final Fantasy mobile remakes, and the Nintendo DS version is about as definitive as the game can get. The only problem with that one is that it doesn’t have the option to be played on a television set… something the Nintendo Switch version is bound to have.

Totally calling it! Chrono Trigger is getting the same Nintendo Switch treatment as Secret of Mana, only it’s getting a North American release. That’s the real reason Square Enix didn’t license it out here.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

More time traveling shenanigans, Turtles in Time is one of the most beloved licensed video games ever made. Konami really knew how to work the magic of the Super Nintendo, and it proved so by making one of the console’s first visually impressive third-party titles, Super Castlevania IV. (Of course, that game made the cut)

As for Turtles in Time, it is the peak of Konami’s impressive run with the TMNT license. It is loaded with beautiful sprites, varied combat and gameplay, and unique uses of the Super Nintendo’s graphical gimmicks like Mode 7. Most importantly, it’s just a straight up really good beat ’em up, a genre that the SNES Classic is severely lacking in.

Seriously, Final Fight didn’t even make the cut!

Totally super logical reason for its absence: This one is easy. As a victim of the Great Hollywood Nostalgia Wave, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has passed through countless corporate empires over the years, and I’m not sure anybody knows who owns the rights to the license at this point. Games have been pulled from online services and then reuploaded again at random intervals. Turtles in Time even got an ill-advised remake at one point that is impossible to find through any legitimate means, not that you would want to.

Turtles in Time is a victim of the trademark system, and it remains a lost gem that we’ll probably never see grace the video game world again. What a shame. Thanks a lot, Hollywood!

Demon’s Crest

Oh lordy gracious dearest me, this is one of my absolute favorite video games. Demon’s Crest isn’t quite on the same tier as Super Metroid when it comes to these non-linear “Metroidvania” games, but it makes for a solid little companion to Samus Aran on the Super Nintendo.

Demon’s Crest sacrifices Metroid’s sci-fi setting for one of the most engrossing gothic realms you’ll ever find in a video game. Firebrand, our hero, has the ability to morph into different forms, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, and his journey will reveal some of the most fantastic 16-bit horrors you’ll ever see.

Plus, Capcom finds a nice balance between “open exploration” and linear Mega Man-esque levels, making it one of the most uniquely designed games of all time.

Totally super logical reason for its absence: Actually, this is the omission I’m most surprised by, the one causing me to ask “Why stop at 21?” I realize it’s not the most popular game of all time, but Capcom has thrown just as much support behind it as it has for Mega Man over the years through various Virtual Console platforms. I already own it on the Wii U, and it’s on the New Nintendo 3DS. Because of its generous and fair availability, I’m not foaming at the mouth over the SNES Classic Edition neglect.

My guess is that Capcom already has three games, and Demon’s Crest’s “underrated masterpiece” reputation just can’t match the brand recognition of Mega Man, Ghouls & Ghosts, and Street Fighter II.

ActRaiser

Totes. ActRaiser has the distinction of being the first good third-party game on the Super Nintendo. If you managed to pick up the console in 1990, you were obviously living in Japan at the time and playing either Super Mario World or ActRaiser because there wasn’t much else.

ActRaiser proved the Super Nintendo’s advanced hardware could be used for more than just pretty graphics. Behind its flashy combat and absolutely rockin’ soundtrack, ActRaiser has more numbers chugging away at its RPG elements and simulation segments than perhaps the entire NES library combined.

That’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Super Mario World was all flash, GOOD flash but still flash, and this game contained all the meat.

Totally super logical reason for its absence: I don’t get Square Enix’ stance on this game or any others from the Enix-backed developer, Quintet. All of its titles have loyal fanbases that want to see these games available on modern consoles, but the only access we’ve gotten to them was with ActRaiser. That was on the Virtual Console… way bcack on the Wii over ten years ago.

Since then, silence. No ActRaiser. No Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia, or Terranigma either.

It makes me wonder if Square Enix fails to recognize the demand for these old games, or if there is some kind of license dispute over the ownership. Possibly, Square Enix might have straight up sold the rights to someone else for all we know. No matter how you look at it, we’re unlikely to be getting ActRaiser again anytime soon, which is one of the saddest things I could say about a Super Nintendo game.

No ActRaiser for you, and yet… what a beautiful game.

Final Fantasy II

I’ll go ahead and toss this in as a bonus. (I originally stopped at four games) Final Fantasy II, actually Final Fantasy IV, is a wonderful JRPG that contains just as much drama and character development as its more beloved successors. As a JRPG, it is much more linear than we like to see in video games nowadays, but that linear path leads to an endless stream of iconic moments, ones that I say define “Final Fantasy” as a theme better than the other games’ iconic moments.

Kain’s corruption and Cecil’s redemption were so far ahead of their time in terms of video gaming storytelling.

Final Fantasy II is a bit front heavy with some really grindy dungeons tagged onto the end to pad out its length. Yes, all of the best moments occur within the first five hours of the quest. However, it’s just as solid as any other game in the series, and we’d really like to play it again.

Totally super logical reason for its absence: I’m with Square Enix for not putting this one on here. While I usually prefer to play video games in their original forms, the version we got back in the Super Nintendo days was just bad. The translation is minimal at best, awful at worst, and random encounters get a little out of hand.

However, the most irredeemable sin it commits is removing certain combat abilities from the characters’ arsenal, meaning that the gameplay simply isn’t as complete as the Japanese counterpart.

In spite of getting a busted, incomplete game, we still loved it back in 1991. We’re just all the wiser these days! For the best version of this game, play the U.K. version of the Game Boy Advance port. This one fixes the battle glitches found in the North American port. The GBA version delivers the best script, the most complete gameplay, and the most loyal graphics to the original release.

Some like it, but I think that PSP remake looks more amateurish than an RPG Maker game. Stick to the real deal.

TechnoBuffalo

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