The SNES was the golden child of the 8-bit generation – it’s widely considered to be the best console of all time, packing in great gameplay, memorable characters, and an incredible selection of games. It’s also had one hell of a legacy, inspiring everything from mobile games to the rise of VR.
While the console was incredibly popular and beloved, it didn’t exactly have the most progressive approach to game distribution. While it would later become commonplace to buy games on disc, back in the early days of the platform the only way to play them was through costly and time-consuming cartridges.
Thanks to the wonders of modern-day computing, it’s now possible to play many of those classic games on modern devices, and it’s opened the door for a whole new generation of gamers. Those who may have missed out on playing the classics may now get a chance to experience them on the go, and it’s made everyone nostalgic for the days of the SNES. But not all games made it onto the system – many were cut from circulation for various reasons, either due to licensing or security concerns. Here are some of the best and worst games that were cut from the SNES during development.
Best Of The Best
The games on this list all had something very appealing about them – they were all developed for the SNES, and they all rank among the best console games ever made. Each title on this list represents the peak of quality for their time, with stunning graphics, immersive gameplay, and memorable characters. Not only that, but each game on this list also holds a special place in the legacy of the console – they were all considered for inclusion in the console, but for one reason or another they were cut for mass production.
But even the best games have flaws – sometimes these games just need a little bit of fixing, or adding more content to bring them up to today’s standards. It’s a testament to the lasting quality of these games that they still hold up well today, even after all these years.
Worst Of The Best
The opposite of the above section, these games have all the things that the above section has, but they’re all just a little bit flawed. Some of these games are so infamous for their glitches and design flaws that they were considered less worthy of being on a console – it’s almost like someone working at Nintendo or Sega decided that these games shouldn’t be played by anyone, ever. It’s too bad that these classics didn’t get the recognition that they deserved in their time – it’s a bit embarrassing to see how some games were considered inferior to others, simply because they were published by a smaller company.
And then there are those that were considered too difficult – it’s amazing how certain games were deemed too risky to be on a console at the time, even though they may have been very popular and would’ve sold very well. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of resourcefulness and trial and error to figure out the correct inputs for these games – but usually, the solution is readily available, and it sucks that many gamers had to go through hoops to have these games work on their console.
The Cartman Game
One of the most notorious and eye-catching games that was cut from the SNES is Cartman Game, an adaptation of the famous animated series’ character Craig Cartman. It’s actually the only game on this list that doesn’t have beautiful graphics, as the majority of its assets are either parodies of other games or references to the show – including the hilarious character that became famous for saying “fuck” a lot.
The game is notorious because it was one of the first titles to feature the then-new “Chroma key” technology, which enabled the characters on-screen to change colors, based on what part of the screen they appeared in. This feature made it very easy to trick the player into thinking that something incredible was happening on-screen, even though it was actually due to a glitch – the developers had used too high of a quality for the game and it was showing up in places where it shouldn’t have been visible. This game is also considered to be one of the biggest security risks ever – in some regions it was banned due to its vulgar language and crude humor. Thankfully, it was also one of the earliest games to implement a two-player system, so anyone who owned it was able to enjoy it without fear of being hacked.
NBA Jam In The Zone
Another basketball-themed game that made the cut was NBA Jam In The Zone – for some reason, Jam In The Zone was banned in Australia and New Zealand for being “too realistic”, although it wasn’t clear if this was due to the game’s use of virtual reality, or the fact that the game is set in the future and features heavily armed gorillas.
Another bizarre entry on this list is EarthBound, a bizarrely beautiful side-scrolling shooter developed by a team of ex-Square employees who were trying to prove that they could create an entire game world on an NES. It’s considered to be the spiritual successor to the original Super Mario Bros., and it was banned in some regions because it contained a gay-friendly option that was later removed – it’s still baffling just how much controversy this game caused, all because it promoted a socially acceptable alternative lifestyle.
One of the most beloved puzzle games of all time made the cut – Pilotwings. You take on the role of a pilot who must rescue his friend, whose plane has run out of gas while on a search for a missing airplane. During the rescue, the friendly fire mechanisms of the NES become active, causing you to accidentally shoot your buddy. You’ll have to rewind time and try again.
The final entry on this list is Vectron, an action game with some puzzle elements where you take on the role of a futuristic vigilante, blasting your way through hordes of robots and their mechanical masters while protecting the innocent. This game is considered to be one of the first examples of a “beat ’em up” style of gameplay, and it was quite the revelation at the time – especially since it allowed two players to fight against each other simultaneously, which up until that point had only been accomplished with the use of two devices or computers.
If you’re curious, you can find links to download all of these games from the SNES here. Or if you’re more of a nostalgic type, you can find links to purchase SNES classics on the eShop here.
Either way, it’s amazing to see just how far gaming has come in the last 30 years – the SNES arguably defined an entire generation, and it played a huge role in setting the standard for what console generations would come after it. But while the console may have ushered in a new era of gaming, it didn’t exactly invent the concept – that would belong to us, the gamers.