Quantcast
Was the SNES era the peak of Nintendo software development?

Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Was the SNES era the peak of Nintendo software development?

To me, yes, it was. My SNES list would be far longer than a N64 or Wii one.



Around the Network

As far as first party output, I really enjoyed the GameCube stuff they made, they had a nice balance of fun sequels (Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Mario, Paper Mario, Mario Party, Mario Tennis, etc.) and fresh new gameplay stuff (Luigi's Mansion, Pikmin, Chibi-Robo, Animal Crossing, Starfox Adventures, Kirby Air Ride, Donkey Konga, etc.)

SNES did have great games, but overall I just enjoyed GameCube more (especially since I played a ton of multiplayer GameCube stuff in the College Dorms). Third party stuff was great on SNES as well. And even GameCube got some great games from Sega and I played a ton of SSX Tricky as well.

I wasn't as big on NES as things were still rough game design/Gameplay wise in those days. You had to get good to overcome those challenges, yes, but it was a frustrating journey to get there, and when you did well, you were tense and focused... not really the relaxing and fun that I enjoy from gaming.

N64 was great for being novel at the time with 3D being new. But I prefer most the GameCube games to the N64 stuff nowadays. Still great if you like Collect-athon games a lot, and Blast Corps was really unique and fun.

Wii was novel, but waggle wore out its welcome by the end of 2008; still really great games on there if you stay away from the Everest of Shovelware that also muddied up the library. Not as great as GameCube, but I had a lot of great times with my friends (and even my family with the Wii).

Wii U I skipped. Gamepad was an instant no go, and I just did 3DS like most people. Switch is hoovering up the ports from its corpse so it all worked out for the best.

:D

Switch will probably surpass GameCube for me if the good games keep coming for many years. I prefer Nintendo Switch's form factor above any device I have used thus far, and there has been a nice bit of great games already on it.

I vote GameCube right now though.



Switch has the potential to surpass SNES as the best Nintendo console in terms of software library but it is gonna be really tough. Especially, personally for me as SNES is the best console of all time in my opinion. But considering how Switch started on a high note I'm pretty sure that the second place behind SNES is a given.



 

EDIT: I just now realized that the thread was specifically about Nintendo games. I wasn't paying close enough attention, as I have some other (mostly self-made) distractions running in the background. I'll revise this post later.

Last edited by Shadow1980 - on 30 January 2019

The NES was the the peak for Nintendo home consoles. 

In terms of sales?  The most dominant console on the market.  It had even more market share than the PS2 did in it's glory days.  In terms of creativity?  Most of the big first party titles started on the NES.  Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Punch Out, Kirby, etc... all started on the NES.  Even Famicom Wars and Fire Emblem started on the Famicom, but those franchises didn't leave Japan until the GBA.  In terms of software development?  The NES games felt a lot more solid and amazing when they were first released compared to the SNES versions.  Given the SNES versions were really good too, but don't match the design quality of the NES games.

Where the SNES shines is that it's games have aged better, especially to younger people were don't remember the NES too well.  I can understand that the NES graphics seem dated and the gameplay is perhaps too challenging.  To someone like me the SNES games feel too easy, but since games as a whole have gotten easier, the SNES is more accessible to younger people than the NES is.

Although if you want to talk about Nintendo as a whole, then the DS+Wii were their peak years.  Both handheld and home console were rocking the sales charts.  It's hard to beat that in terms of raw sales.  But the games I like are more like the NES style than either the DS or Wii style.



Around the Network

Completely opinion bases. I would put the Switch at the top when it is done, but SNES was the most complete. Game changers in almost all of their IPs.

However. The SNES was the most complete console in terms of software.



Jumpin said:
TheMisterManGuy said:

The Super Nintendo IMO, was when Nintendo was at a creative and commercial peak with their software.

Creative is subjective,

Commercial is measurable, and it's demonstrably false that SNES was Nintendo's most commercially successful console.

https://www.resetera.com/threads/nintendo-software-and-hardware-sales-data-from-1983-to-present.2725/ - Data taken from October 2017. Except Switch, which 

1. It ranks 7th in overall hardware sales, and will soon be 8th as the Switch rockets past.
2. Wii and DS both approximately tripled the SNES in total software sales.
3. SNES had 87M total first party sales, which currently puts it only ahead of Gamecube and Wii U, 10th overall, already behind the Switch
4. Software tie-in ratios is 7.72, which puts it behind the Wii, Gamecube, NES, and N64, and barely ahead of Wii U's 7.56M (and it still may fall behind when it's all said and done).
5. At 18 games, SNES is tied for last place in the total number of games they published for the console, and several of those (such as the DKC trilogy) were developed by other companies. This is less than half the 41 games on NES, and precisely half the 36 on N64.
6. The top selling (mostly) unbundled game on SNES was Donkey Kong Country at 9.3M, compared to the top selling (mostly) unbundled game on other consoles: Switch is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at 13M+ and growing, Super Mario Bros 3 on NES at 17.28M, New Super Mario Bros on DS at 30.8M, and Mario Kart Wii at 37.14 million sales.

It's clear that SNES was nowhere near Nintendo's peak commercial performance. Of Nintendo's top 5 financial years, 4 of them are during the Wii/DS era, the 5th is fiscal 2018, though 2019 and 2020 are sure to beat it. The early years when the SNES did very well financially also coincide with high NES sales (since in Europe we didn't really get a wide release of the NES until around the release of the SNES, and this is probably true for most of the rest of the world), and the first GB bump occurred then. Commercially, the SNES is about level with the N64, Gamecube, and Wii U eras (mostly held afloat by handhelds), but falls WAY behind Wii/DS and Switch eras. By the charts, it's clear Nintendo's commercial peak was 2007 to 2011, and the only generation that even comes close is the current one.

 

As for creative peak, I'd argue the creative peaks for Nintendo were NES, the N64 with the move to 3D, and the Wii era with the introduction of motion controls. The SNES had some creatively adventurous titles (Pilot Wings and F-Zero), but most were refinement titles, and in many ways broke less creative ground than the refinement titles of other generations (e.g. SMB3 was a much larger jump over SMB1/2LW than SMW was over SMB3). Earthbound was creative in how it was a parody of Dragon Quest and other RPG tropes of the era in a modern era, but it didn't break the same level of ground that Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii broke in the RPG genre, or arguably Xenoblade Chronicles X, either, and that one was on Wii U - which is the console you don't even think is worth talking about). Donkey Kong Country was the most innovative game on the console, at least from a cosmetic perspective in how it meshed in pre-rendered textures, but that one was done by Rare.

I like the SNES a lot, but it's not for it's first party output. It's mainly for the Square and Enix output.

@Bolded: You gotta remember though that the videogame market wasn't nearly as big back then. SNES and Megadrive/Genesis carts cost $70 ($120 when factored for inflation). There weren't nearly as many people 25+ playing games. 



The sentence below is false. 
The sentence above is true. 

I'm not sure about that.

I'm not going to argue that Nintendo didn't make great SNES games. We all know they did. But when you quantify it. their output wasn't THAT amazing.

1990 had Super Mario World and the Mode 7 duo. Great for a launch year. 1991 had Link to the Past, but little else worth remembering. 1992 had Super Mario Kart and... Mario Paint? 1993 had Star Fox and Super Mario All-Stars, but does anyone really remember the Super Scope 6?

Admittedly, 1994 was when you started having a lot more big games annually (Earthbound, Donkey Kong Country, Super Metroid, and Fire Emblem), but that's the fifth year the SNES was being sold.

For comparison's sake, let's compare it to the N64, a console notorious for a lack of software.

  SNES N64
Year 1

Super Mario World

F-Zero

Pilotwings

Super Mario 64

Mario Kart 64

Piklotwings 64

Year 2

Link to the Past

...Super Tennis?

Star Fox 64

Goldeneye 007

Diddy Kong Racing

Yoshi's Story

Year 3

Super Mario Kart

Mario Paint

Ocarina of Time

F-Zero X

Banjo-Kazooie

Mario Party

Year 4

Star Fox

Super Mario All-Stars

Super Smash Bros

Pokemon Snap

Mario Golf

Donkey Kong 64

Year 5

Earthbound

Donkey Kong Country

Super Metroid

Fire Emblem

Kirby 64

Majora's Mask

Paper Mario

Banjo-Tooie

Year 6

Yoshi's Island

Diddy's Kong Quest

Animal Forest

Admittedly, I think many of the SNES games outshine their N64 counterparts. But loads of SNES games from Nintendo are so lackluster or forgettable that they don't even have counterparts.



Love and tolerate.

Salnax said:

I'm not sure about that.

I'm not going to argue that Nintendo didn't make great SNES games. We all know they did. But when you quantify it. their output wasn't THAT amazing.

1990 had Super Mario World and the Mode 7 duo. Great for a launch year. 1991 had Link to the Past, but little else worth remembering. 1992 had Super Mario Kart and... Mario Paint? 1993 had Star Fox and Super Mario All-Stars, but does anyone really remember the Super Scope 6?

Admittedly, 1994 was when you started having a lot more big games annually (Earthbound, Donkey Kong Country, Super Metroid, and Fire Emblem), but that's the fifth year the SNES was being sold.

For comparison's sake, let's compare it to the N64, a console notorious for a lack of software.

  SNES N64
Year 1

Super Mario World

F-Zero

Pilotwings

Super Mario 64

Mario Kart 64

Piklotwings 64

Year 2

Link to the Past

...Super Tennis?

Star Fox 64

Goldeneye 007

Diddy Kong Racing

Yoshi's Story

Year 3

Super Mario Kart

Mario Paint

Ocarina of Time

F-Zero X

Banjo-Kazooie

Mario Party

Year 4

Star Fox

Super Mario All-Stars

Super Smash Bros

Pokemon Snap

Mario Golf

Donkey Kong 64

Year 5

Earthbound

Donkey Kong Country

Super Metroid

Fire Emblem

Kirby 64

Majora's Mask

Paper Mario

Banjo-Tooie

Year 6

Yoshi's Island

Diddy's Kong Quest

Animal Forest

Admittedly, I think many of the SNES games outshine their N64 counterparts. But loads of SNES games from Nintendo are so lackluster or forgettable that they don't even have counterparts.

You also should keep in mind that many of Nintendo's games at the time were Japan only, it's also important to count some of the more niche titles as well. When you factor those in, the SNES library becomes much larger first party wise. If you only count a Big release, then obviously it'll seem smaller by comparison. That'd be like only trying to count AAA first party games each year for other Nintendo consoles. 



Cerebralbore101 said:
Jumpin said:

Creative is subjective,

Commercial is measurable, and it's demonstrably false that SNES was Nintendo's most commercially successful console.

https://www.resetera.com/threads/nintendo-software-and-hardware-sales-data-from-1983-to-present.2725/ - Data taken from October 2017. Except Switch, which 

1. It ranks 7th in overall hardware sales, and will soon be 8th as the Switch rockets past.
2. Wii and DS both approximately tripled the SNES in total software sales.
3. SNES had 87M total first party sales, which currently puts it only ahead of Gamecube and Wii U, 10th overall, already behind the Switch
4. Software tie-in ratios is 7.72, which puts it behind the Wii, Gamecube, NES, and N64, and barely ahead of Wii U's 7.56M (and it still may fall behind when it's all said and done).
5. At 18 games, SNES is tied for last place in the total number of games they published for the console, and several of those (such as the DKC trilogy) were developed by other companies. This is less than half the 41 games on NES, and precisely half the 36 on N64.
6. The top selling (mostly) unbundled game on SNES was Donkey Kong Country at 9.3M, compared to the top selling (mostly) unbundled game on other consoles: Switch is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at 13M+ and growing, Super Mario Bros 3 on NES at 17.28M, New Super Mario Bros on DS at 30.8M, and Mario Kart Wii at 37.14 million sales.

It's clear that SNES was nowhere near Nintendo's peak commercial performance. Of Nintendo's top 5 financial years, 4 of them are during the Wii/DS era, the 5th is fiscal 2018, though 2019 and 2020 are sure to beat it. The early years when the SNES did very well financially also coincide with high NES sales (since in Europe we didn't really get a wide release of the NES until around the release of the SNES, and this is probably true for most of the rest of the world), and the first GB bump occurred then. Commercially, the SNES is about level with the N64, Gamecube, and Wii U eras (mostly held afloat by handhelds), but falls WAY behind Wii/DS and Switch eras. By the charts, it's clear Nintendo's commercial peak was 2007 to 2011, and the only generation that even comes close is the current one.

 

As for creative peak, I'd argue the creative peaks for Nintendo were NES, the N64 with the move to 3D, and the Wii era with the introduction of motion controls. The SNES had some creatively adventurous titles (Pilot Wings and F-Zero), but most were refinement titles, and in many ways broke less creative ground than the refinement titles of other generations (e.g. SMB3 was a much larger jump over SMB1/2LW than SMW was over SMB3). Earthbound was creative in how it was a parody of Dragon Quest and other RPG tropes of the era in a modern era, but it didn't break the same level of ground that Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii broke in the RPG genre, or arguably Xenoblade Chronicles X, either, and that one was on Wii U - which is the console you don't even think is worth talking about). Donkey Kong Country was the most innovative game on the console, at least from a cosmetic perspective in how it meshed in pre-rendered textures, but that one was done by Rare.

I like the SNES a lot, but it's not for it's first party output. It's mainly for the Square and Enix output.

@Bolded: You gotta remember though that the videogame market wasn't nearly as big back then. SNES and Megadrive/Genesis carts cost $70 ($120 when factored for inflation). There weren't nearly as many people 25+ playing games. 

Explaining the reasons for the fact doesn’t make it no longer a fact. That’s only a spin.

 

There are other ways to spin it as well:

The Switch, Wii, and DS faced significantly stiffer competition than the SNES. Not only from rival consoles, but from the emergeance of smart devices.

The N64 managed higher first party sales on a significantly lower install base. Market sizes wouldn’t even be relevant in this case.

At nearly 200 million, the NES has more than double the first party sales of the SNES. The market was smaller.



I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.