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A Brief History of the Super Nintendo

The 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System - or SNES as its commonly known - brought video gaming to a new level (literally). After the smash success of the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo began developing a new gaming system that would have more power and improved graphics. The release date for the SNES in the United States was August 23, 1991 with a manufacturer's suggested cost of $199 (in 1991 dollars). An immediate success, the SNES has remained a legend in gaming history and is still highly-sought after by video game fans of all ages.

With the release of the SNES also came a relaxed policy on third-party game development in order to stay competitive. Third-party game developers including Acclaim and Capcom began releasing games for both SNES and Sega Genesis. There were dozens of super popular SNES games that still remain highly-sought after - some classic SNES games cost hundreds of dollars! The top games (in terms of sales) for the SNES are as follows:

  • Super Mario World - Considered one of the best Mario Brothers games of all time, this console pack-in sold nearly 21 million units
  • Donkey Kong Country - Another massively popular title, Donkey Kong Country was one of the first console games to feature 3D imaging
  • Super Mario Kart - The original Mario Kart racing game inspired a franchise that still produces popular games today
  • Street Fighter 2 - The release of Street Fighter 2 was seen as a huge advantage for Nintendo - the stand-alone game sold over 6 million copies
  • The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past - The legend continues for this top-selling Nintendo franchise game, which sold nearly 5 million copies

The best-selling console of its generation, the SNES sold nearly 50 million units worldwide. Despite its so-called "console war" with Sega and their Genesis video game system, the Super Nintendo was a fan-favorite. In October of 1997, Nintendo re-released the SNES using a smaller shell for the console that cost $99 (1997 dollars). By 1999 - at the dawn of the millennium - production ceased on the SNES console. However, even though video gaming has become fancier (and more expensive), the nostalgia for retro consoles like SNES remains high.

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