On August 23, 1991, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was released in North America. The sequel to the Nintendo's phenomenally sucessful first console, the SNES (often referred to as simply Super Nintendo) was the company's first foray into the 16-bit era. Today, we celebrate two full decades of this great system by taking a look at the top Super Nintendo co-op games.
The 16-bit era was a very interesting portion of video game history. Previously, the home console market was overwhelmingly dominated by a single system: the Atari 2600 in the late 70s and early 80s, and the original NES from the mid 80s to the early 90s. But when Sega's Genesis launched in 1989, the writing was on the wall for Nintendo's first console. The Super Nintendo was released two years later, and then the first console wars began in earnest.
This two year delay meant the SNES had some advantages over Sega's hit console. It could display more colors, and had impressive pseudo-3D effects via Mode 7. It also rode the popularity of its predecessor, with revamped, graphically superior sequels to Super Mario Brothers, Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda. But while pretty pixels and great single-player titles are nice, we are most interested in the co-op. The early 90s was a high-water mark for the co-op brawler, and the SNES library showed it. Here, then, in alphabetical order, are the eight of the top co-op classics available on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
For fans of co-op brawlers in the early 90s, Battletoads for NES and the Double Dragon series in arcades and home consoles were the pinnacle of perfection. This game, then, pairing the heroes from both series in "The Ultimate Team" was the video game equivalent of Luke Skywalker meeting Captain Kirk. Two players could choose from Billy and Jimmy Lee or any of the three Battletoads to fight through a horde of tough enemies en route to a final confrontation with the evil mega-babe Dark Queen. Hubba Hubba.
One of the conventions of the Super Nintendo was the release of many NES games with "Super" in the title: Super Metroid, Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts, etc. So you might expect Super Contra, too, right? Wrong! Turns, out, that sequel was released on the original NES as Super C. Contra III: The Alien Wars was the first Contra game on the SNES, and it was fantastic. It even had split screen co-op sections, as you can see in the screenshot above. As if Contra needed improvements!