What happens when you go from 8-bit to 16-bit? In Nintendo’s case, you go super to fight SEGA’s mega. The Super Nintendo is regarded as one of the greatest consoles ever to grace a living room. It’s also the last time Nintendo were the dominant market leader in the video games industry. We’re going to take a look at the 10 best SNES games that were available for the console.
In this list, a game’s average launch reviews and a dash of opinion will be considered. If your favourite doesn’t make the list there’s a good chance it was considered. The SNES library has another 10 to 15 stand out titles that missed out. Release dates may appear as a range of years due to different release dates across regions.
Here’s part one of our list of the Top 10 SNES games of all time.
Developer – Quintet
Publisher – Enix
Copies Sold – 620,000
Average Review Score – 83.5%
Combining two different gameplay genres into one can be tricky to say the least. An action platformer crossed with a city building/management sim, sounds crazy right? In most cases, yes, yet this time, you get the unique Super Nintendo experience in ActRaiser.
You play as “The Master” a benevolent god, who decides evil must be stopped. In the platforming levels, you inhabit the statue of a warrior to slay monsters.
In the city sim portion, you guide people to build towns. You also take control of an angel to attack monsters that get too close to the villages.
The people will attack monster lairs, stopping them from spawning. The bigger your population, the stronger your character becomes in the platforming levels.
If that wasn’t enough Yuzo Koshiro of Streets of Rage fame composed the soundtrack!
Reviewing the game in June 1991’s CVG Magazine Richard Leadbetter said “the arcade sections in this game easily make it worth the money alone. Add in a Sim City/Populous of a similar quality (and some spine-tinglingly awesome medieval tunes to match the settlement building) and you’ve got a totally unbeatable combination”.
ActRaiser is an early SNES games classic. Its sequel ActRaiser 2 did away with the city sim elements and sticks to action-platforming.
ActRaiser is one of the lowest selling games on this list with around 620,000 copies sold worldwide. It’s a fantastic game that seems to have got lost in the shuffle of time.
9. TMNT IV Turtles In Time
Released – 1992
Developer – Konami
Publisher – Konami
Copies Sold – Not Listed/Disclosed
Average Review Score – 84.6%
Konami used to be amazing in the 80s and 90s, being one of the strongest third-party developers.
Turtles in Time was a beat em up hit in the arcade, the cabinet allowing up to 4 players. So Konami ported the game to Super Nintendo, the main drawback is the game only supports two players. (Multi taps exist Konami!)
That’s the bad point out of the way and the rest makes for the best beat em up on the Super Nintendo. Choose from one of the four Turtles to fight through the Foot Clan on your way to battle the evil Shredder.
The fighting is ‘pick up and play’ with the moves being easy and so satisfying to pull off. Throw your enemies into the floor, back and forth, and even launch them towards the screen. The move is used to throw enemies at Shredder at one point.
Super NES Buyers Guide gave Turtles in Time a 9 out of 10 saying “This is undoubtedly one of the best arcade to home translations this guy has ever seen. The graphics are great and are complemented by excellent play control — with no break-up or slowdown. All the animation is here also. Great job Konami!”
You of course get sent through a time portal and battle Shredder’s goons across history. Bebop and Rocksteady as pirates is a win-win, well, a lose-lose in their case.
The gameplay, music, and battles against Shredder make this one of the must-play games on the SNES.
8 – Mega Man X
Released – 1993/94
Developer – Capcom
Publisher – Capcom/Nintendo (PAL)
Copies Sold – 1.16M
Average Review Score 84.1%
Set roughly 100 years into the future from the classic Mega Man series. Robots called Reploids are commonplace. Reploids who go rogue are Mavericks. A team of elite Reploids who stop them are the Maverick Hunters.
Sigma The Lead Maverick Hunter goes rogue taking more Reploids with him on his quest to conquer the world. You play as the underdog Maverick Hunter called X (Mega Man X) to take Sigma down.
The same formula for selecting the first eight stages in any order returns. The order in which the stages are completed affects the other stages. Some stages freeze over or even have a massive airship crash into them.
Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine (EGM) ranked Mega Man X in their top 10 games of 1994. One reviewer summing up their thoughts in just three words “This is AWESOME!”. EGM had been critical of Mega Man 4, 5, and 6 and X made them think again when it came to the series.
The Mavericks are all named after animals with a cool word thrown in front. Some examples being Spark Mandrill, Storm Eagle, and Launch Octopus. Defeating a Maverick gives X their weapon as an ability. Each Maverick has a weakness to one of these abilities. Tackling the stages in a certain order to gain the right ability for the next boss makes the game a lot easier. The gameplay was also improved by adding elements such as a wall jump.
A certain Dr has set up pods throughout the levels giving X the chance to gain powerful new abilities. Turning the underdog to higher-powered in no time!
Mega Man X doesn’t reinvent the action platformer but everything in this Capcom classic is near perfection.
7 – Super Castlevania IV
Released – 1991/92
Developer – Konami
Publisher – Konami
Copies Sold – 630,000
Average Review Score – 87.2%
Super Castlevania IV is the first 16-bit edition in the series. Konami games went all out on making this early SNES release a memorable one for all the right reasons. The controls are some of the smoothest and most responsive for a game at that point.
You play once again as Simon Belmont in his quest to take down the evil Count Dracula in this reimagining of the first Castlevania. This time Simon can use the whip to attack in eight different directions, making enemies easier to hit. Also, the whip can allow Simon to swing across large gaps.
Video Games & Computer Entertainment magazine gave Super Castlevania IV 9 out of 10 praising the visuals and sound “Really nice backgrounds, sound effects, and music, plus challenging and interesting gameplay make Super Castlevania IV live up to its heritage.
Simon’s theme would feature throughout the series going forwards. Entire orchestras have played it on many occasions. That’s how you know the music is that good.
The Super Nintendo’s graphical scaling and rotation chip (Mode 7) pulled off some impressive visuals for the time. One effect sees a whole room rotate around Simon. Super Castlevania IV is regarded as one of the best of the classic Castlevania games. Castlevania’s future formula changed thanks in part to another game that might feature soon.
6 – Final Fantasy VI (III in the USA)
Released – 1994 (PAL Unreleased)
Developer – Square
Publisher – Square
Copies Sold – 3.42M
Average Review Score – 90.1%
Final Fantasy VI or III in the United States as it was the third Final Fantasy game to make it to North America. Square didn’t always release every Final Fantasy game outside of Japan which explains the messy numbering.
Square in the 1990s perfected the JRPG genre with immersive stories and compelling characters. EGM stated, “Few RPGs can hope to have the emotional draw this one has.”
There’s a whole host of party members in the game, starting as an uprising against an evil empire and the sadistic Kefka. There’s also the question of Terra and who she is due to her amnesia like state.
The Active Time Battle System from Final Fantasy VI returns, making the battles and gameplay faster when compared to traditional turn time battles. The battles range from small to epic. One of your characters can even suplex a whole train, eat your heart out, Brock Lesnar.
The music is an amazing 16-bit soundtrack. One of the standouts being the main theme, its soothing yet haunting tone fits the story perfectly.
It’s sad that Europe had to wait until 2001 before Final Fantasy VI was finally released in the region on the PS1. Clearly, we were deprived of this 16-bit masterpiece for way too long.
And that’s part one of our list of the 10 best SNES games, did we miss any? Do you agree with the order? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below and keep an eye out for part 2.
Read about the worst console launches of all time HERE.
9 Rarest And Most Valuable Pokémon Cards In Existence
If you’re one of the millions of people with a set of Pokémon cards stashed away somewhere, it might be time to dig-lett them out (sorry). Time to see if any of these babies are in your collection. Here’s our list of the top 9 rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards in existence.
Chances are you haven’t caught them all. But having even one of these could net you a large wad of cash.
Pokémon has been an on/off craze ever since it first started back in the mid-’90s. But despite releasing games, a cult anime series and several films, it’s those little cards that are making a profitable resurgence right now.
Even in just the last three years, rare Pokémon cards have been sold for thousands of dollars at auction. So now is definitely the time to check your collection. Time to see if you could be sitting on a small fortune.
9. 20th Anniversary 24-karat Gold Pikachu
Crafted in solid gold
Sold for 216,000 yen ($2,081) in October 2016.
You don’t get much more unique than a Pokémon card made from solid gold. Yep, you heard right. This insanely unique and incredibly rare Pokémon card was produced by Japanese jewellery maker, Ginza Tanaka. A limited number of solid gold cards were created as a replica of the original Japanese Pikachu card (affectionately nicknamed ‘Fat Pikachu’).
Made from 11 grams of pure 24-karat cold, the only way to get a copy of this ultra-rare Pokémon card was to enter a lottery held in 2016. If you won, you were given the chance to buy a copy of the limited-edition card for 216,000 yen (around $2,081/£1,700).
The solid gold card was shipped in its own unique box and housed in a plastic frame. And what makes this even more incredible is that, whilst most rare and unique Pokémon cards stem from early on in the game’s beginnings, this card appeared for the first time in just the last 5 years. Definitely one of the rarest (and coolest) Pokémon cards in existence.
8. Master’s Key
A more recent card – but no less rare
Sold for $21,000 in November 2019.
Like the 20th anniversary gold Pikachu, Master’s Key is another rare yet relatively new Pokémon card. It made its first appearance just over ten years ago when it was awarded to competitors in the 2010 Pokémon World Championships held in Hawaii.
Participants in both the TCG (Trading Card Game) and video game counterpart received a copy of Master’s Key. Only the trophy case differed depending on the category.
Only 36 copies of the card are estimated to exist – equal to the number of participants in all age divisions of the world championships. And to prove just how rare this Pokémon card is, one of them sold at auction in November 2019 for more than $21,000.
7. Espeon and Umbreon Gold Star POP Series 5
A pair of Gold Star Pokémon cards from one of the most valuable Pokémon sets of all time
Sold for $22,100 and $20,000 respectively between December 2020 and February 2021.
The Gold Star Pokémon cards are one of the most valuable Pokémon sets ever produced. At the time of writing, a near mint full set of 27 cards is for sale on eBay. The price tag? £35,000 ($49,717).
But it’s the Espeon and Umbreon which are the real moneymakers. Perhaps the rarest cards in the set, these two alone sold for over $20,000 in just the last few months.
The cards are named after the gold star that appears next to the Pokémon’s name at the top of the card. It signifies that the card features alternative colour artwork which is different from the common version.
Only 27 Gold Star cards were released from 2004 to 2007. Making them some of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.
Whilst the Japanese versions of the cards remain the most valuable due to their limited availability, the English versions of the Espeon and Umbreon Gold Star cards still command a high price. PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator – the prestigious organisation that grades the quality, condition and value of trading cards) values the two cards at $194,209 and $187,277 respectively. Easily making them two of the rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards around.
6. 1999 Pokémon Japanese Promo Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind
An ultra-rare promo card – one of only 12 ever made
Sold for $65,100 in October 2020.
When it comes to availability, you don’t get much rarer than the Tropical Wind card.
With just 12 being given to the top players at the 1999 Tropical Mega Battle tournament, the Japanese Tropical Wind promo card is extremely rare.
This inaugural tournament – a precursor to the Pokémon World Championships – took place in 1999 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, Hawaii. The event was invite-only and was a battle between the best 50 players from Canada, Latin America, Europe, the United States, and Japan. During the event, a handful of trophy cards could be obtained. One of these was this baby right here.
This particular Tropical Mega Battle promo card (the 1999 Japanese-language copy of Tropical Wind) has sold at auction for as much as $65,100 in PSA Gem Mint 10 condition, with the most recent sale taking place in October 2020. PSA estimates its value to be as high as $148,482. Making the ultra-rare card a contender for one of the most expensive and valuable Pokémon cards ever made.
5. No. 1 Trainer
Quite possibly the most unknown Pokémon card of all time
Sold for $90,000 in July 2020.
Most people won’t have ever heard of No. 1 Trainer, and it’s even more unlikely they’ll have seen a copy in person. When it comes to rare Pokémon cards, they don’t get much rarer than this.
With only seven copies believed to be in existence, No. 1 Trainer may well be the least known card in existence.
No.1 Trainer is a holographic promotional card awarded to finalists in the Secret Super Battle tournament held in Tokyo in 1999. To earn a place in the competition’s finals (which were held in a secret location) players had to first win a regional tournament. Their prize was the No. 1 Trainer card, which granted them access to the finals.
The text on the front of the card translates to: “The Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament’s champion is recognised here, and this honour is praised. By presenting this card, you may gain preferential entry into the Secret Super Battle.” It’s almost like a modern-day, real-life Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory.
As only seven regional tournaments were held, it’s believed that just seven copies of the No. 1 Trainer card were made – easily making it one of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.
4. Pikachu Illustrator
Extremely expensive and extremely rare
Sold for $195,000 in October 2019.
The Pikachu Illustrator card is an incredibly rare Pokémon card. It still holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive Pokémon trading card sold at auction (although, more about this later…).
Pikachu Illustrator was originally given to winners of promo contests held in 1997 and 1998 by Japanese magazine CoroCoro Comic. 39 copies were officially awarded to the winners. While two copies were reportedly later discovered by one of the creators of the card game, seemingly bringing the total number of Pikachu Illustrator copies to 41.
As well as being ridiculously rare, the card is unique in a number of ways. It’s the only Pokémon card to say “Illustrator” instead of “Trainer” at the top. And has a one-off pen icon in its bottom-right corner to acknowledge its creation for the design contest. The card’s artwork of Pikachu is by Atsuko Nishida, the original illustrator of the fan-favourite Pokémon.
Approximately 19 copies of the card are believed to still exist, with 10 having been certified by the PSA.
A near-flawless copy of the card graded at Mint 9 (one grade under perfect condition) sold at auction in 2019 for $195,000 and broke a Guinness World Record. But arguably, there are a couple of contenders to that crown.
3. Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card
A signed card to celebrate the Pokémon founder’s 60th birthday
Sold for $247,230 in April 2021.
Of all the cards featured on this list, this rare and incredibly valuable Pokémon card is definitely one-of-a-kind.
Just last month on April 26, 2021, a copy of the Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card made headlines when it sold for nearly a quarter of a million US dollars.
The card depicts the Pokémon company founder and current president, Tsunekazu Ishihara. It was given to staff as a celebration of his 60th birthday in 2017.
What makes this specific version even rarer is that Ishihara actually signed this near-mint card to boost its price even further.
The ability “Red Chanchanko” refers to the red vest which is traditionally worn on 60th birthdays in Japan and prevents the effect of any attack, ability or trainer card against Ishihara. Meanwhile, its GX move “60 Congratulations” tells you to flip 60 coins, and take a present for each one. A truly unique, legendary card.
2. Pokémon Blastoise #009/165R Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram
Quite possibly the only card one in existence
Sold for $360,000 in January 2021.
This Blastoise card is probably the single rarest Pokémon card in existence. One of only two such Pokémon cards ever made, it sold for a whopping $360,000 (£266,000) in January 2021.
This Pokémon card was created in 1998 as a presentation piece by Magic: The Gathering maker Wizards of the Coast to convince Nintendo executives to allow it to handle the TCG’s English-language release. The game would eventually make its international debut one year later in 1999.
While two Blastoise ‘Presentation’ cards were produced, this is the only one that has been seen publicly. Even more impressively, it has been graded at a NM/Mint+ 8.5 level by certification website CGC, meaning that the 20-plus-year-old card is in near-perfect condition. The location and state of the other Presentation card remain unknown. This either means that this card is the sole one remaining, or someone somewhere is unknowingly sitting on a small fortune.
1. 1999 First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard #4
The card that every kid wanted
Sold for $369,000 in December 2020.
Charizard. The card that absolutely every kid (and adult too now, apparently) wanted. And while the shiny Charizard has always been a firm favourite, this particular variant is even rarer.
While a number of top quality, first-edition cards from the Pokémon TCG’s early days are worth some money, due to their limited availability and age, this specific version of the holographic Charizard absolutely stands out as one of the rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards ever released.
What sets the card apart is the lack of a shadow underneath the dragon graphic. This was a printing error which was corrected for most of the cards printed but the few that sneaked passed quality control are incredibly sought after.
According to auction house Iconic Auctions, the rare card is “the Holy Grail of Pokémon cards, the most iconic and important card to both the Pokémon franchise and its die-hard fans”.
A mint-condition first-edition shadowless holographic PSA 10 Charizard sold at auction in October 2020 for a staggering $220,574 to the retired rapper – and Pokémon fan – Logic. Then, just two months later in December, another one of the same quality sold for a mind-blowing £350,000.
But as if that wasn’t enough, just a few hours after that, yet another card broke all records, selling for a mind-numbing £369,000.
Although this hasn’t officially been recognised by Guinness World Records, this certainly knocks the Pikachu Illustrator off its perch, as well as the staggering sum held by the Blastoise Galaxy Star Hologram.
Either way, despite not being the rarest, this is definitely the most valuable Pokémon card sold to date. But with the desire for rare Pokémon cards showing no signs of slowing, the big question is: how much higher can their value go?
One thing’s for sure, if anyone out there truly has caught them all, that would make for one incredibly valuable collection.
And that’s our list of the 9 rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards in existence. Did you ever have any of these? Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Are Team Rocket just misunderstood? Read our article HERE.
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