If you maintain even a passing interest in retro gaming news, then Analogue's new Super Nt can't have escaped your attention. This HDMI-equipped, USB-powered microconsole is essentially an HD SNES, using Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chips to replicate the classic 16-bit console's performance on a hardware level rather than through emulation. Even Nintendo's own SNES Classic doesn't do that, and the result is an absolutely flawless, lagless, beatific new way to play genuine SNES cartridges on modern televisions. It even has an interface designed by Fez genius Phil Fish and jingles by Squarepusher! Retro hipsters, sell your grandmothers and plonk down $190 without delay.
That price tag is definitely on the hefty side though - especially for the early months of the year - and given that a wireless 8BitDo controller will run you an extra $40 or so, that doesn't leave a lot of room to build out a games collection if you don't have one already, especially with second-hand prices creeping ever higher. So, as dedicated retro collectors ourselves, we thought we'd put together a list of the best SNES games you can buy for the Super Nt that won't break the bank. That means we're foregoing classics like Chrono Trigger ($90) and Final Fantasy III ($50) in favor of things that leave you with some beer money.
Oh, and if you're curious about how much your old favorites might cost to reacquire, we recommend using pricecharting.com to look up prices. Their database tracks auction sale prices for games in loose (i.e. cartridge only), complete-in-box and brand new categories, and is always a handy reference tool. All the prices below are for loose cartridges.
1. Super Mario World ($15)
Retro games can be expensive, but first-party games are usually on the cheaper side due to their ubiquity. The same isn't true for the SNES, where even multi-million-selling Nintendo titles like Super Mario Kart and Yoshi's Island still run you close to 30 bucks. There are a few exceptions though, and Super Mario World at $15 is a welcome one, because it's no exaggeration to say this is one of the finest 2D platform games ever created. This game is such a deftly harmonious creation - it has a simple but deceptively elaborate structure, pitch-perfect controls, inventive level designs, and timeless visuals and audio. Whereas later Mario games focused on collectables, the mystery in Mario World is how to find all 96 levels, and that's pretty fitting, because getting to play more of it is better than any shiny reward.
(If you want to walk a little further down memory lane, Super Mario All-Stars - featuring NES titles Super Mario Bros 1, 2, 3 and The Lost Levels - is around $19.)
2. Pilotwings ($10)
One of the earliest SNES games, Pilotwings' Mode 7 visuals were groundbreaking at the time but certainly look of their time nowadays. It's still a lot of fun to play, however, and takes the form of a sort of flying school where you have to master planes, hang gliders, skydiving and a rocket belt. Riveting and yet pretty sedate, this is great for a bit of informal pass-the-pad multiplayer, too, as the challenges lend themselves very well to taking turns.