#12. EarthBound (1995, Nintendo)
After years in development hell, the real EarthBound is currently resting in video game purgatory, and what we got in its place was the North American equivalent of Mother 2. Despite poor American sales, the game held on to one of the greatest cult followings ever seen, and has in the years since been honored as one of the greatest RPGs of the era. The game was peppered with subtle references, a memorable sense of humor, and a splendid soundtrack, all of which have been critically acclaimed. Unfortunately, we’ll never be able to see a game quite like EarthBound, as its Nintendo 64DD sequel was cancelled, and director Shigesato Itoi refuses to take the game any further. However, Ness got his next big break in the form of Super Smash Bros, so his story is not over quite yet.
#11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time (1992, Konami)
No nostalgic trip back to the 1990s would be complete without a stop at the sewers. Leo, Don, Raph, and Mikey were TV superstars and have become as much a 90s pop-culture staple as the Power Rangers. What the Rangers didn’t have as a series of old-school Nintendo games, and people everywhere consider Turtles in Time to be the magnum opus. TMNT IV‘s arcade debut became Konami’s biggest arcade commercial success to date, and the Super Nintendo port featured new stages and ways to play. This game had great visuals that accentuate the show’s artistic style, goofy and whimsical gameplay, plus the ability to throw your enemies into the screen, smashing into if not through the game’s fourth wall! Yeah, it’s that good. The game may have received an enhanced makeover in 2009 from Ubisoft, but nothing will compare to the original masterpiece. Turtle power!
#10. Super Mario World (1991, Nintendo)
Bet you didn’t see this one coming! Super Mario Bros 1 and 3 are probably two of the biggest phenoms in video gaming history. No one tried to dethrone or even contemplate dethroning their legendary status. Well, no one except Nintendo. They needed to practically perfect perfection so this game’s mechanics would outperform or at least compare to the two best NES games ever. What’s the route they took? Diversity. They diverged as far from the stream as they could (and this isn’t the visuals talking), and the result was nothing less than Nintendo’s chef d’oeuvre. It didn’t go as far as to reinvent people’s perspectives of the platforming genre, but instead douse it with a fresh new coat of paint. The character expansion and the debut of Yoshi were some of what made this a stellar game. Why was it pushed back so far on the list? Well, here’s one reason: how low does Nintendo have to go to make an enemy out of a football player?
And speaking of Mario…