This is, perhaps, the tougher question. The SNES has one of the best video games catalogs. But the classics are tucked into a cornucopia of lazy movie tie-ins, mediocre sports games, and even a handful of forgettable Mario adventures.
These are the 30 games that shouldn’t (and almost certainly won’t) appear on the SNES Classic, assuming it launches this holiday. As always, we’d love to hear which games you’d include on the list. Let’s meet in the comments.
Beavis and Butt-Head
Each of these games had superior (and sometimes completely different) versions available on the Sega Genesis. SNES iterations tended to remove foul language, weapons, and gore. Mortal Kombat lacked blood; Aladdin had no sword; Beavis and Butthead cut some crude jokes; and Jurassic Park didn’t let you play as a raptor. Toy Story looked better on SNES, but weirdly lacked the licensed music. Is Toy Story even Toy Story without Randy Newman?
The Wizard of Oz
The SNES catalog is crowded with cash-grab movie tie-ins . The vast majority of these games are wretched, seemingly cobbled together on impossible deadlines and shoestring budgets. The result is an abundance of games that border on unplayable. The five above are merely the worst offenders of a sub-genre that could fill this entire list.
Al Unser Jr.’s Road to the Top
Jimmy Connors Pro Tennis Tour
Jimmy Houston’s Bass Tournament U.S.A.
Kevin Keegan’s Player Manager
Newman/Haas IndyCar featuring Nigel Mansell
Nobody under the age of 35 remembers any of these people. This is sad, but you know what else is sad: that time waits for nobody.
Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus
Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel
Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario were the face of the 16-bit console war. While third-party developers didn’t have a horse in the hardware race, they wanted to replicate the sales of the two mascots. Unfortunately, developers assumed the audience cared less about quality, and more about quirky character design. Searching for a new video game at Blockbuster required sifting through aisles of anthropomorphic fodder.
Barkley Shut Up and Jam!
Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball
Looney Tunes B-Ball
Rap Jam: Volume One
Looking back on NBA Jam, the arcade basketball game seemed to materialize from thin air, as if the developers at Midway were stuck on the head by a basketball that fell from a tree. But NBA Jam was preceded by a couple of bland “action basketball” games that established the basic concept. NBA Jam also inspired a rush of copycats and what I can only describe as “basketball adjacent” beat’em-up games. Most of these games made their way to the SNES. I’ve collected the worst offenders.
Mario Is Missing
Mario’s Early Years! Fun with Letters
Mario’s Early Years! Fun with Numbers
Mario’s Early Years! Preschool Fun
Mario’s Time Machine
Nintendo published five bad Mario games for the SNES. These are their names.
Update: I swapped out Zool and Plok, and swapped in Congo’s Caper and Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus. Yes, it’s a silly list, but I forgot how much I enjoyed Plok and Zool, so I’ve replaced them with mascot games that I have no fondness for.