Look: What if Super Nintendo Games Were Given the Criterion Collection Treatment

Look: What if Super Nintendo Games Were Given the Criterion Collection Treatment

Aug 26, 2011

Movies and videogames seem almost inextricably linked in the mind of the public – with games serving as the little brother of the relationship and trying desperately to follow in their older sibling’s footsteps. And while games haven’t achieved the status of “art” in the same sense as films, there have been great games worth celebrating in a way far broader than “it was awesome because I got to shoot aliens in the face.”

Some of the most revered games of all time appeared on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (or the SNES to fans). That console was Nintendo’s successor to the wildly popular Nintendo Entertainment System, and took gaming from 8-bit graphics to the 16-bit era. To this day, the SNES is my favorite console of all time – and it’s still hooked up to my TV, taking a place of honor alongside current gen systems like my PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii (funnily enough, the SNES gets more playtime than the Wii…). Some of my favorite games ever appeared on the platform – and I’m not alone in feeling that way. With the SNES turning 20 years old this week, GamePro decided to run a very cool feature, highlighting what it would be like if Nintendo and other game publishers got together and created a Criterion Collection-esque line for some of the greatest games on the console. You can check out the full feature on GamePro’s website, but here are a few of our favorites.

GamePro mock up of a Super Star Wars Criterion game release

The Super Star Wars Trilogy

People are quick to point out that movies based on games and games based on movies are invariably awful – to which I say “you clearly never played the Super Star Wars games on the SNES.” The titles were loved not only for sticking closely to the stories of the films (while still managing to work in game elements that didn’t seem totally out of place…), but for their incredible challenge. GamePro imagines a two disc set for the games – one featuring restored versions playable on high def televisions and a more forgiving Apprentice Mode for gamers who find the titles too difficult and the other featuring deleted scenes and digital strategy guides. Needless to say, this would be an instant buy if it existed.

GamePro's mock up of a Super Metroid Criterion Collection release

Super Metroid

Not only is Super Metroid one of the greatest games on the SNES – it’s one of the greatest games, period. A heady mixture of shooting, platforming, and exploration, Super Metroid became a template for countless other 2D games that followed in its wake (the design elements still live on in every new 2D Castlevania game). Intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran is back to face a new enemy in this classic title from Yoshio Sakamoto.

GamePro imagines a two disc set with striking cover art and featuring 16x9 enhanced gameplay, countless documentaries about the Metroid legacy, audio commentary, and more. The only thing missing here is a gender piece – after all, Samus was a girl bounty hunter, which was extremely rare back in those days. It would be interesting to hear key developers expound on what inspired them to in that direction and if everyone thought it was a good idea.

GamePro's mock up of a Chrono Trigger Criterion Collection release

Chrono Trigger

Squaresoft (now Square-Enix) was the king of the console role-playing game in the 16-bit era. And while everyone knows them for Final Fantasy, their greatest achievement also happens to by my favorite game of all-time: Chrono Trigger. For it’s time, CT was cutting edge – it featured artwork from Dragon Ball Z artist Akira Toriyama, a mesmerizing score from revered composer Yasunori Mitsuda, and multiple endings players could unlock by starting the game over and making different choices (which was easier than it sounded thanks to a new game + feature that allowed you to keep all your characters’ levels, stats, and items). If there was ever a game that deserved a Criterion-esque release, it’s Chrono Trigger.

GamePro has imagined all kinds of awesome goodies for a Chrono Trigger disc, including the option to swap between the original score and the orchestral update on the fly, a tribute short made by Pixar, and a behind-the-scenes look at the sequel that never came to be. Honestly, if this were real, I’d pay whatever they wanted for it.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, though – swing by GamePro for more great games – including Earthbound, Donkey Kong Country, and Super Mario Kart

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