#9. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (1996, Nintendo)
Squaresoft (later to become Square Enix) easily could’ve taken its RPG proficiency and turned that into a Final Fantasy VII, which here in America would’ve been Final Fantasy IV. I may not be the best channel of the 1990s zeitgeist, but I’m sure no one was out in the streets crying out for Nintendo and Square to rub elbows. But alas, two gaming juggernauts in the industry decided to collab, and thus created the ultimate “shouldn’t-work-but-really-does” game. SMRPG combines the world and textures of Mario as well as the tactics and mechanics of Final Fantasy, and the result is an incredibly innovative adventure that you simply cannot find anywhere else in the SNES library. Plus, Mario and Bowser could work as a team, which left the collective mind of the Nintendo fan-base absolutely blown.
#8. Super Mario All Stars (1993, Nintendo)
Wow, Mario is absolutely killing this countdown. Who knew that one of the best SNES games in the library would turn out to be an composition of the original Super Mario trilogy, plus the real Super Mario Bros 2? What a steal! But of course, it didn’t stop there. All four games received save mechanics as well as a stellar makeover to use the console hardware, making Mario’s most grandiose and lauded old-school adventures look like brand new games. Now you get to play the three best NES games on the Super Nintendo, so you don’t have to potentially ruin your console testing its backward-compatibility. What more could you ask for from Nintendo?
#7. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (1995, Nintendo)
Diddy Kong was formerly Donkey Kong’s inexperienced little protege, but in this sequel he is taken out for a test drive to rescue his comrade who has been kidnapped by Kaptain K Rool. (That’s not a typo, that’s how you spell it.) He will be accompanied by another newcomer, Dixie Kong. Believe it or not, Dixie is his–wait for it–girlfriend! Wow, Diddy’s a big boy now! The game leaped out of the jungle and onto a pirate ship with dozens of ravishingly designed challenges and an equal amount of rideable animal allies (including Rambi) to fight rats, bugs, and the notorious Kremling Krew. Exploring this new terrain is what makes DKC2 so memorable. As well as its subtitle, which has baffled gamers for years on end. Is it supposed to be “Diddy’s Kong Quest”, or “Diddy Kong’s Quest”. Does this have something to do with Donkey being captured and Diddy having to rescue him? Is it a pun off the word “conquest”? The world will never know.