Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy (ever-so-slightly belated) 25th anniversary, Super Famicom!

Twenty-five years ago, Nintendo made its second cartridge-based games console, the Super Famicom, available to the Japanese masses.

I breathlessly followed its development in the pages of magazines like Electronic Gaming MonthlyNintendo Power and Video Games and Computer Entertainment. (Note: I remember reading this article--over and over again--like it was yesterday.) I was especially obsessed with coverage of Super Mario World, of course, although I was nearly as keen on "launch window" titles Pilotwings and F-Zero.

Despite my overwhelming interest in the Super Famicom and its initial releases, though, I didn't buy one on or around its Nov. 21 debut. Granted, I was just about to turn 14 at the time, and buying Japanese consoles (or even games) wasn't really an option--especially since doing so likely would have cost me somewhere in the vicinity of $400.

Instead, I had to wait until shortly after the Super Famicom's North American counterpart, the SNES, launched in my own neck of the woods a year later before I was able to experience Nintendo's brand of 16-bit gaming for myself. 

A couple of years later, I finally got to play my first Super Famicom (as opposed to SNES) game when I imported a used copy of Final Fantasy V--which I still have today, mind you--via one of those companies that advertised in the back of DieHard GameFan and the aforementioned EGM.

Actually, I may have picked up Parodius Da! first, but who really cares this many years later, right?

Strangely--given my current love of imported games--those two Japanese titles, along with Final Fantasy VI, may have been the only ones I ever bought to play on my trusty SNES. (Don't worry, I've bought a few more Super Famicom in the last couple of years, although only a few--so far.) 

Also, I've never owned an actual Super Famicom system. Which is a crying shame, as I've always considered its design to be among the most attractive and appealing of the consoles that have seen the light of day since the early 1980s.

What else did I--and do I--love about the Super Famicom? I've always loved its graphics capabilities, which for me represent the peak of two-dimensional, sprite-based game visuals. I've also always loved its audio components, which allowed the best musicians and composers of the day to produce some absolutely stellar soundtracks. 

And then, of course, there was the system's controller, with its four face and two shoulder buttons, which I've long considered to be as eye-catching as it is comfortable.

How about you? Do you have any particularly fond memories of this superb entry in the fourth generation of game systems? If so, feel free to share them in the comments section below. 

No comments: