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isiolia
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Re: Re-defining the Defining Games of the SNES

by isiolia Tue May 16, 2017 12:04 pm

TMNT IV is a great game, one of the first I got for the system back then, and so on...but I think it doesn't really stand up as a defining game of the system. Beat 'em ups were a fairly common genre at the time, and plenty of them were licensed as well.

Stuff like Contra III or Castlevania IV though, sure, I think those coming out relatively early and iterating on franchises people knew from the NES served to highlight the system.
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Re: Re-defining the Defining Games of the SNES

by Jmustang1968 Tue May 16, 2017 12:36 pm

When I did my list, I was basing it off of games that now define the SNES, and not so much games that defined it at the time.

Given that, I would say Earthbound should be removed as well, and TMNT stays at honorable.
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Re: Re-defining the Defining Games of the SNES

by marurun Tue May 16, 2017 1:18 pm

With some reflection over the years, here's how I would update/revise/change the original work. Are these suggestions all bias free? No. Nobody can guarantee that. But I think I can make a good argument for all these changes.

Combine Super Mario World and All-Stars into a single entry. Not because either is less-worthy, but because they were later packaged together and are related. Maybe a brief explanation why they share the top entry and then otherwise keep the descriptive text for each one, but it helps eliminate an entry and maybe tighten up the article.

Change Mega Man X to Mega Man X 1-3, but focus the description around X1.

Demote Yoshi's Island to honorable mention. It's a great game and a technical masterpiece, but it came out late in the system's life and probably didn't have as much impact on the public's perception of the system.

Demote Super Mario RPG. Same as Yoshi's Island.

Demote Uniracers. Due to legal troubles this game really didn't have a chance to impact the SNES the way it might have.

Demote Earthbound.

Remove Super Punch Out! altogether.

Add Street Fighter II (original) to Defining list. Multi-plat after a year or so of exclusivity, but that exclusive year had a major impact on perceptions of the SNES. I am certain it was a system seller at the time. I remember lots of discussion in magazines and among friends that Street Fighter II could never be done on the Genesis... until it was a year later ; )

Promote Actraiser, Super CV 4, and Gradius III to defining list. Actraiser highlighted the sound chip like no other game had before or would after. Super Castlevania IV took the mode 7 style special effects to a ridiculous degree and managed to remain a good game. Gradius III, critically, highlighted some drawbacks to the SNES (and yet was still a fantastic title).

Add Mortal Kombat series to Defining list. It's important to help highlight how Nintendo wanted the system perceived, and Mortal Kombat's alteration of blood to sweat exemplifies the kinds of silly compromises software houses had to make to curry favor with Nintendo.

Remove the following from Honorable Mention:

Street Fighter II: Turbo - multi-plat that did well on all platforms.
Earthworm Jim - multi-plat that did well on all platforms.
Flashback/Out of This World - multi-plat that did well on all platforms.
Kirby’s Dream Course - Was this really a defining title on the SNES?
Megaman 7 - My understanding is that the failure of this game to do well in the US market is part of why we didn't get a SNES Megaman & Bass release.
Terranigma - The article is US-centric, so this really doesn't apply.
Dragon Warrior Series - The article is US-centric, so this really doesn't apply.

Add the following to Honorable Mention:

Axelay
Kirby Super Star
Final Fight
Super Ghouls and Ghosts
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Re: Re-defining the Defining Games of the SNES

by Ziggy587 Tue May 16, 2017 1:46 pm

marurun wrote:With some reflection over the years, here's how I would update/revise/change the original work. Are these suggestions all bias free? No. Nobody can guarantee that. But I think I can make a good argument for all these changes.


While I don't agree with all your choices, I agree with most of them.

Good point on the original Street Fighter II versus SFII Turbo. That all makes perfect sense to me.

And to expand a little on what you said about Mortal Kombat.... Good point about the first game. For better or worse, the SNES got a censored version of the game. That DEFINES the SNES in a way, just not in a positive way. I think it's also important to note that when the sequel hit, Nintendo pulled a 180. Not only did they not sensor the game in any way (for the US release), but it was arguably the best (original) home console port. IIRC, MKII on SNES outsold competitive versions, while the opposite was true of the first game. That alone is interesting as part of the history of the SNES, and helps define what it was.

edit:

marurun wrote:Demote Yoshi's Island to honorable mention. It's a great game and a technical masterpiece, but it came out late in the system's life and probably didn't have as much impact on the public's perception of the system.

Demote Super Mario RPG. Same as Yoshi's Island.


While I agree with you on Yoshi's Island, I don't agree about Super Mario RPG. Yoshi's Island had a beautiful hand-drawn cartoon look to it that 90's kids couldn't appreciate until they grew up, but Mario RPG was one example of graphics that gave the SNES a lot of ammo during the console wars. As an adult, I love the artistic look of Yoshi's Island, but it failed to impress back when. As a kid in the 90's, when the SNES was relevant, Mario RPG graphics were mind blowing. It looked closer to Mario 64 than it did Mario World. When the N64 hit, the circle of people I knew use to joke that Nintendo skipped over 32-bit because the SNES was 16-bit and 32-bit (not knowing what the heck a "bit" was - just that it somehow related to how awesome your console is).

Equally mind-blowing was the fact that "They made a Mario Final Fantasy game!" That, along with the graphics, made it well talked about on the playground. According to The Gaming Historian, it was a lot of kid's first venture into RPGs. And it outsold all of Squaresoft's other SNES releases in America.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khJ8iqMWdMI
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Re: Re-defining the Defining Games of the SNES

by marurun Tue May 16, 2017 2:51 pm

Super Mario RPG may be a blind spot for me. I do think Yoshi's Island is graphically far more impressive, but I don't think that really matters to your point about sales and accessibility. I guess we just have to consider whether its US release date in 1996 is too late to have really had a defining impact on the system itself. By 1996 the SNES had turned the tide on the Genesis and was clearly the prevailing system in the eyes of the public. It had also already cemented its graphical superiority. The Genesis still had a large install base, which is why it continued to get lots of games, but the SNES was selling new systems in numbers with which the Genesis simply couldn't compete.
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Re: Re-defining the Defining Games of the SNES

by Exhuminator Tue May 16, 2017 3:04 pm

This thread is understandably drowning in subjective tidal waves of nostalgic bias. I don't think we're getting anywhere.

Have there not been some objective qualifiers put into place to corral such detraction? An established release window, sales quotas, critical review aggregates, existing influence into the modern gaming lexicon, profitable sequels derived, those sorts of things? These games must be determined by shared rigid qualifications. I think we should seek first to allocate the "defining" rules, then to decide vetted releases.
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Re: Re-defining the Defining Games of the SNES

by retrosportsgamer Tue May 16, 2017 3:15 pm

I think we vetted out any nostalgic bias pages ago. No one is propping up a pick based on them playing it a lot.

I think the technical achievements put Yoshi's Island on the list.

I don't dislike the idea of "defining" to spotlighting the negatives of Mortal Kombat and Gradius III, but I'm not sure that's the spirit of the series.

I'm right there with Marurun's updated post. This has been a fun thread.
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Re: Re-defining the Defining Games of the SNES

by marurun Tue May 16, 2017 3:32 pm

I like the idea of having parameters, or at least understood rules, but I don't like the idea of trying to create a list based solely on a list of numeric criteria. At that point a spreadsheet could create the article.

Once an author/editor gets attached officially to the article at least any subjectivity or bias in the process will reflect one person rather than a committee.

Ziggy587 wrote:According to The Gaming Historian, it was a lot of kid's first venture into RPGs. And it outsold all of Squaresoft's other SNES releases in America.


Having now watched the video, he doesn't really cite a source for the sales data and avoids citing numbers for the US market (maybe because he doesn't have any). And I can't actually find much reliable US-only sales data. Wikipedia has a list of top-selling SNES games which appears to consider world data where relevant, and according to that list sales for Final Fantasy 5 and 6 were all higher than sales for Super Mario RPG. Does that mean Super Mario RPG sold very poorly in Japan and very well in the US? Hard to know. I do know that Nintendo's official worldwide shipping numbers are 2.14 million for Super Mario RPG, which is less than the Japan-only sales for Final Fantasy V.
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Re: Re-defining the Defining Games of the SNES

by Ziggy587 Tue May 16, 2017 4:14 pm

marurun wrote:I like the idea of having parameters, or at least understood rules, but I don't like the idea of trying to create a list based solely on a list of numeric criteria. At that point a spreadsheet could create the article.


I totally agree with this. But...

marurun wrote:Once an author/editor gets attached officially to the article at least any subjectivity or bias in the process will reflect one person rather than a committee.


Isn't that totally how we ended up with the article the way it is now? With Earthbound and Uniracers. I'm not suggesting anything. Just saying.

marurun wrote:Having now watched the video, he doesn't really cite a source for the sales data and avoids citing numbers for the US market (maybe because he doesn't have any).


Yeah, I wasn't pointing to him so much as a credible data source as much as just backing up what I was saying as popular opinion (and not just my opinion). Also, it popped up in my feed since it was posted just a few days ago. I noticed it as I was typing up that post, so I used it out of convenience.
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Re: Re-defining the Defining Games of the SNES

by Jmustang1968 Tue May 16, 2017 4:21 pm

I honestly think mine is an objective approach. I have favorites that I know don't deserve it and I have games I don't care for that I think should be added or deserve to be there. For example, I don't care much for fighting games, but I know the impact SF2 had for the SNES. I also don't like SMRPG, but I think it belongs as well.
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