5. Final Fantasy VI (1994)
Many people (including myself) consider Final Fantasy VI (known as Final Fantasy III outside of Japan) to be the best Final Fantasy games ever made, and one of the best JRPGs of all time. While maybe not quite as revolutionary as FFIV, FFVI is just a phenomenal game from top to bottom. It’s got a varied and interesting cast of characters, one of the best video game villains of all time, a truly engrossing plot that finally took Final Fantasy out of the middle ages in terms of setting, and some of the best music you will ever find in a video game. Final Fantasy VI is the culmination of everything Suaresoft had done with the series up to that point, and while the PS1 era Final Fantasy games are certainly great as well, FF VI marks the high point for the series in my eyes.
4. Super Metroid (1994)
Along with Zelda and Mario, Metroid (1987) was part of Nintendo’s trio of mega franchises on the NES. However, unlike Zelda and Mario, Metroid fans had to wait until 1994 before Samus made her first appearance on the Super Nintendo, but it was well worth the wait. Super Metroid follows the formula established by the first two games in the series fairly closely, but it is simply a improvement and refinement in nearly every conceivable way. The game features new power-ups and abilities, and is just simply a bigger and better Metroid game, and also the last console Metroid to use the classic formula.
3. Super Mario World (1991)
Every Nintendo console needs a great Mario game, and the Super Nintendo had Super Mario World at launch. Unlike the NES, which had 3 Mario Bros games, Super Mario World was the only traditional Mario game on the SNES, but it’s length and quality more than made up for it. Super Mario World was not simply a the next Mario Bros game, but a huge leap forward for the series. The game added everyone’s favorite green dinosaur Yoshi, new power-ups, and featured a high number of levels and secret areas. There is a lot debate among Mario fans over which game is better, Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World, but whichever you prefer, there is no denying Super Mario World is one of the best 2D platformers ever made.
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was the third game in the Zelda series, and undoubtedly the best at the time of its release. A Link to the Past took most of its gameplay and design conventions from the first game on NES, and simply modernized them. While similar in structure to the original game, A Link to the Past added a stronger emphasis on story and was a slightly more directed experience compared to the frustratingly cryptic original game. Like any Zelda game, A Link to the Past features expertly designed dungeons with intuitive puzzles. The game also featured some of the best visuals of the time and truly timeless music. A Link to the Past is simply one of the best games in a classic franchise, and my second favorite game on the SNES.
1. Chrono Trigger (1995)
If you’ve seen my top 10 games of all time video, you undoubtedly saw this one coming, but it Chrono Trigger truly deserves the number one spot. Long before they merged to become Square Enix, Squaresoft and Enix formed what was considered an RPG dream team to make Chrono Trigger. Featuring key designers from both the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series’, they teamed up to make what I consider to be the best JRPG ever made, and the best game on the SNES. Chrono Trigger features many elements that were true innovations for the genre at the time, and it still holds up extremely well today. Chrono Trigger was one of the first to have multiple endings, it did away with battle transitions and the ever-so-annoying random encounters, and featured team up attacks between party members. What really makes Chrono Trigger stand out is its story, which had very interesting time travel elements and some great characters. More so than any JRPG of the time, Chrono Trigger is still just as great today as it was the day it came out.