I’m just going to admit it: I was one of those who were able to get the SNES Classic on launch day. Having said that, it wasn’t exactly easy. It involved the labor of love that was my father standing in line at 11:30 on Thursday night, number twenty-one of thirty-five that would be allowed to buy one of the consoles. I got to have some experience with it that weekend and since then, I’ve been thinking: while nostalgia certainly plays a part in why we’re attracted to these products, what deeper reasons might there be for wanting to buy something like this? As someone who wasn’t able to enjoy the SNES on its original release, but who has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Classic model, I’ve thought of two reasons so far: the social experience, and interest in experiencing these old games for the first time.
As far as the social aspect, I can say that, even when it isn’t intended, great memories can be formed from the experience of sharing these games with others. For example, my mother was quite surprised by the idea of people wanting game systems with inferior graphical capabilities to today’s hardware. Not to mention, we all had something to talk about when dad ended up disturbing the power cord and wiping my progress on Final Fantasy III. On top of that, I took the opportunity to introduce mom and dad to Super Mario Kart. It was a lot of fun, and that’s not even mentioning the time I got confused over which of the two screens was mine.
With regard to the subject of personal interest, I will admit to very much wanting to experience these old games. I have read about several of them, and I have some memory of watching my dad play his original SNES, but it felt like there was just something different about playing these games for myself for the first time. In that regard, I must say, almost everything that I’ve played has really delivered. I became very interested in Final Fantasy III over the short amount of time that I played it, and while Super Mario Kart may not have the 3D graphics that the series would become known for later it was, as I’ve already mentioned, a lot of fun.
This brings me to a pair of titles that I feel I would like to address in some more detail: Star Fox and the previously not legally released Star Fox 2. As I was watching gameplay videos of these games prior to launch day, something that really stuck out to me was criticism of the frame rate. That’s not to say that all the commentary was negative, but I definitely noticed when it was. Having played the games myself, I personally think it’s just a matter of modern players having become too used to modern frame rates. At least with regard to the original game, did it look a bit choppier than something you would expect today? Yeah, but I don’t remember ever feeling like the lag was so bad that it was actually impossible to play, or even impossible to enjoy, far from it. On top of that, I wasn’t even really consciously aware of the slowdown. Looking back, I guess I did experience it a bit, particularly during the final battle with Andross, but I just took it as an extra element of pressure when trying to dodge his wave of tiles.
Concerning the sequel, I have pretty much the same thing to say. The slowdown is definitely there to some extent, particularly when controlling the Walker inside of an enemy base or battlecruiser, but, at least if you ask me, it’s easy to just subconsciously consider it one more of the obstacles working against you as you fight to destroy the enemy. Not to mention, there’s something to be said about hunting down enemy targets within open space with free-flight at your disposal, frantically boosting in order to catch up with them before they can literally fly out of the battle screen.
I’m looking forward to another chance to play the SNES Classic. Particularly, I’m looking forward to introducing dad to Super Metroid. At the end of the day, it seems like maybe the single best reason for this machine to exist is to assist in bridging a generation gap. If you ask me, that’s a pretty good reason. Wouldn’t you agree?