Nintendo has dipped back into its storied video game archives and is once again ready to deploy a healthy dose of nostalgia with its latest "Classic" microconsole release, the SNES Mini.
Pre-installed with 21 beloved retro titles and bundled with a pair of instantly recognisable controllers for multiplayer Super Mario Kart sessions, the SNES Mini has unsurprisingly created an enormous buzz less than a day from its initial announcement.
The Kyoto gaming giant's NES Classic Mini follow-up is sold out online and is already rarer than gold dust in stores across the UK, which is hardly surprising considering the original Super Nintendo's legendary status among video game fans. Why is it still so popular? The games.
SNES Mini games
The SNES's incredible software library is swamped with undisputed classics, including a number of titles - such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid and F-Zero - that are sure-fire candidates for any list of the best games of all-time.
Condensing the Super Nintendo's diverse roster of much-loved games to just 21 must have been an arduous task for Nintendo, and in all fairness, the list of titles baked into the plug-and-play microconsole is a beautiful sight to behold.
Nevertheless, with a library brimming with quality and no small number of cult classics, there are notable games that didn't make the cut. Below are the omissions that hurt the most:
Ask any seasoned Japanese RPG veteran to name their favourite games from the genre and Square's 1995 masterpiece Chrono Trigger won't be far behind.
On a console swamped with stellar role-playing titles, many of which are included in the SNES Mini, Chrono Trigger's time-travelling coming-of-age tale featuring a noble sword-wielding amphibian, for our money, the cream of the crop.
Whether its the game's whopping 13 different endings, the never-bettered Active Time Battle combat system, the sumptuous score, or Dragon Ball artist Akira Toriyama's gorgeous art design; Chrono Trigger is a timeless adventure whose absence on the SNES Mini will be sorely felt by anyone who has ever fallen under its intoxicating spell.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Right, this might be controversial, but here we go: Diddy's Kong Quest is better than Donkey Kong Country.
It's a shame then, that only the first game in Rare's excellent Donkey Kong Country trilogy (the third game, Dixie Kong's Double Trouble, is also a big miss) will be swinging onto the SNES Mini's roster.
With the series' titular simian hero kidnapped by those dastardly Kremlings, this Diddy and Dixie Kong-starring sequel took everything that was great about its predecessor - the graphics, that chilled-out soundtrack, level design, you name it - and improved on it in every way.
Plus, one of the rideable animals is a Converse-wearing spider named Squitter. Superb.
Street Fighter was more popular, Mortal Kombat was bloodier, but Killer Instinct had Ultra Combos.
Rare's lightning-fast fighter is a firm cult favourite. Where else can you watch a Velociraptor take on a corporate cyborg killing machine accompanied by cheese-metal anthems appropriately dubbed "Killer Cuts"?
Likely an issue with licensing considering the Killer Instinct brand is now a Microsoft property, the arcade classic's omission is nevertheless a huge C-C-C-C-C-C-Combo breaker for the SNES Mini library.
Final Fantasy 2
Often overlooked in favour of its (admittedly) superior sequel, Final Fantasy 2 - which is technically Final Fantasy 4 - is something of a forgotten gem.
Its story of reformed Dark Knight, Cecil, and his rag-tag crew attempting to thwart the apocalyptic plans of the gloriously villainous Golbez proved to be a watershed moment in Final Fantasy's history, ultimately paving the way for the entire genre's shift away from vanilla sword and sorcery fare and towards character-driven opuses.
In spite of some iffy dialogue localisation, its deep Job system and evolved turn-based combat mechanics raised genre benchmarks and set a gold standard for those that followed. A stellar experience that holds up to this day, it's a real shame Final Fantasy 2 didn't make Nintendo's final cut.
If there's one genre that feels underrepresented on the SNES Mini it's shoot 'em ups, and they don't come much better than U.N. Squadron.
Capcom's dogfight side-scroller just edges out R-Type 3 and Konami's Gradius series as the most puzzling omission by virtue of its insane pace, ridiculous power-ups and anime style.
With unlockable aircrafts, screen-filling bosses and an innovative health bar system, Capcom's Super Nintendo port of its arcade classic is an absolute cracker that should have been a shoe-in for a re-release.
Super Mario All-Stars
Wait, this isn't on there?
This must be some kind of mistake.
Honourable mentions: Super Star Wars trilogy, Micro Machines 2, Earthworm Jim, Harvest Moon, Shadowrun, NBA Jam, R-Type III,Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, Mortal Kombat trilogy, Illusion of Gaia, Aladdin, Pilotwings, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Lemmings, Another World, Final Fight 3, SimCity, Zombies Ate My Neighbours, The Adventures of Batman and Robin, Flashback, Super Bomberman, ActRaiser, Battletoads and Double Dragon, and so many more...