Even though I grew up in the ’80s and “fell in love” with games via the NES, it was 1991’s Super NES that really sealed the deal and made me a lifelong dorko for this kind of stuff. While Zelda 1 was indeed impactful and lured me in like nothing before, it was titles like F-Zero, Actraiser, Final Fantasy II-III, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, DKC etc etc that completely absorbed my mind.
For me it all started on November 12, 1991 – the day I got my SNES. But for al otta folks both before and after that date, this launch-era SNES box heralded a brand new day of gaming. More colors, more gameplay variety, more cool new ideas from Nintendo, a universe of possibilities, all crammed inside this one package.
So, 25 years later, let’s take a look at that box – which I’ve kept in reasonably good condition all these years. Most of it is w/e but surely some of you will find this interesting!
First up is the offering itself – two controllers, the system AND a game for $199.99. Granted, in ’91 bucks that’s about $360, but still, at least two people could play something right outta the box.
Then there’s the blurb:
By “dazzling 3-D graphics,” I’m sure they meant “sprite scaling and rotation technology that fakes 3-D pretty well.” There’s nothing in Mario World that suggests “3-D” gaming was imminent, but playing both F-Zero and Pilotwings (both new IP for launch, btw) you could easily believe vast 3-D worlds were closer than ever.
Now the back. Strangely similar to the front, with a basic shot of the console & accessories having a nice rest, but at least we get three tiny screenshots of Mario World. The highlight, however, is the breathless description of the console itself:
Cascading sounds echo crisply in super digital stereo! Well, I mean, maybe not through your crappy RF switch or tiny TV, but hey, the machine is technically capable of doing this! Even with basic hookups, however the quality of the SNES sound chip rang through – thanks Kutaragi!
With the front and back handled, let’s take a peek at the side. Three Nintendo-made launch titles are called out, plus two more on the horizon. One is a token sports game found on every console box (and in this case, SPAF didn’t take off or continue on as a series), but the other is a pre-Link to the Past Zelda game, simply called Zelda III.
This is the reason that, up until a few years ago, I would think of and refer to LttP as “Zelda 3.” For several months that’s all we had to go on – there’s a new, third Zelda coming and who knows what it’s about or even called.
The other side contains another console shot and boisterous claim – it’s the ultimate dimension of video game power! Please, no one ask for this phrase to be quantified or explained further!
Jokes aside, there’s a reason I still have this box and have all my SNES games in the same wood-paneling tower they’ve been in since the early ’90s. From the launch lineup to the very last year the machine mattered, there were undeniable classics bursting off the shelves. And even though Sega had a hot run from 91-94, Nintendo and its third party lineup kept the quality and support high well into 1997.
I’ve had to re-assemble my NES and Genesis collections over the years, but these SNES games, the console and the box above have been in every single house or apartment I’ve ever lived in. They’ve gone everywhere while plenty of other games / systems get thinned out. It’s the only platform I kinda refuse to trim!
Anyway, happy bday and here’s hoping Nintendo has another heyday like the Super NES!