Over the past few months, I decided to go back in time and relive the days of old. Instead of wasting my day doing things that just weren't productive, I decided to get all of my old consoles out (NES, Genesis, SNES, 3DO, 32X, Sega CD, Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, Playstation 1 and 2 and the Nintendo 64) to finally make the decision on which console is truly the best of all-time (so far).
And while the decision was a difficult one -- it's tough to beat Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. -- it seemed almost too simple to declare the SNES the greatest console of all-time.
When it comes to gaming, most people will claim (and rightfully so) that Nintendo has been a trailblazer in the industry. Without the company having the courage to bring video games back to the states in the '80s, the chances of us enjoying this multi-billion dollar industry would be slim.
Why not the NES?
And although the NES was a groundbreaking platform that reignited the world's passion for video games, sold over 60 million units and had an outstanding library of games that was led by Super Mario Bros. and Contra (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start) to just name a few, it couldn't quite stack up to the SNES' ability to bring third-part development, games and overall quality to the industry.
Why not the Genesis?
The Genesis is one of those platforms that most people look back on fondly, but for some reason, it always takes a backseat to the SNES. Let's face it -- the Genesis was a great console that, with the help of Sonic, created the industry's best console war to date. Who can forget the old slogan "Genesis does what Nintendon't" or its backward compatibility with Sega's Master System?
But in the end, the Genesis was rife with peripheral inconsistencies (do I really need the 32X add-on?) and couldn't stack up to the SNES in sheer library size and enjoyment. And although I enjoyed my games on the Genesis and sports games never looked so good to that point, it couldn't quite meet the challenge presented by Nintendo.
Why not the Playstation?
To be quite honest, the only reason I'm even mentioning the Playstation in this discussion is because I know that at least a handful of Sony fanboys will cry foul if I didn't. But the sad truth is, Sony's Playstation is not the greatest console of all time and if I were to rank it, I don't even think it would make the top three.
Let's face it -- when you think about the greatest consoles of all time, you generally remember the times you were forced to leave your SNES running for fear of losing your progress because you could only save at the end of levels or the moments when innovation was truly king in the industry. Call me old-fashioned, but the Playstation simply wasn't the groundbreaking device that the SNES was. Suffice it to say, the Playstation was great in its own right, but it was a product of its time -- a moment in video game history where innovation was losing ground to copycats and graphics meant more than anything else.
So what's so great about the SNES?
Perhaps even more than the games or the hardware, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System did everything you would expect from a follow-up to a wildly popular video game console. In essence, the NES was the building block of American gaming in the '80s and the SNES was first console to be drastically different (and better) than its predecessor.
Beyond that, the SNES was popular well into the 32-bit era of gaming and stood its ground against the Playstation even though the latter was released almost five years later. And although it didn't quite sell nearly as many units as the NES, games like Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country, Street Fighter II, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and even Mortal Kombat made it a must-buy for gamers all over the world.
But perhaps most importantly, think of the world the SNES spawned. Instead of releasing a veiled copy of the NES to get in on the fight with Sega earlier, Nintendo created a follow-up that was worthy of the 'Super' moniker and gave developers the license they needed to create the legendary titles that we still play today.
And after playing through some of the classics from well over ten years ago, today's gaming just doesn't compare. In fact, I would gladly give up the beauty of Gears of War for just 15 minutes of Donkey Kong Country. Who else is with me?