Top 10 SNES Video Games for Kids

Suggested by SMS

These days, with computers, Playstation 3, X Box and other new, high tech game platforms, computer and video games are more realistic than ever. Three dimensional graphics, unprecedented game play and a lot of other fancy features have meant that gaming is no longer for kids. It’s a grown up favorite too. The trouble is, unlike when we were kids, looking at the pixels of our favorites, new generation games are super realistic. And where gore and war were more an idea in our favorites, they are now real enough to warrant age restrictions on some new game titles.

Parents need to be extra vigilant now, not just about what their kids watch and read, but what they’re playing too.

Just a few short years ago though, before modern technology allowed the creation of super realistic characters and scenarios, that suck even adults into their fantasy worlds with the hyper realism they display, there were simpler game stations, like the SNES, or Super Nintendo.

In the nineties, when the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was release, most games were kid friendly, although there were a few that were targeted at an older audience. Parents, however, had lots of options for their kids, and didn’t have to search through racks and racks of games about criminals, horrors or other grown up material to find one or two they could safely buy.

While no one would ever dream of suggesting a return to the bad old days of the Atari (heaven forbid!) with its giant pixels, monotonous theme songs and stilted game play, older machines line the Super Nintendo do still offer lots of great options for kids, that won’t leave parents panicking, and here are our top ten favorites:

10. Rock ‘N Roll Racing


One thing you can’t go wrong with, when choosing a game for kids, is a racing game. Whether it’s bikes, cars or imaginary vehicles, the thrill of racing is great fun, and you’re usually guaranteed no outright violence or other questionable elements. Just make sure your kids understand that while they may be the masters on the console, taking your car for a joy ride is a definite no no.

Rock ‘N Roll Racing is a track racing game, set in the future, with a pretty unique viewpoint – you watch the action from an isometric angle, giving it a more three D feel – not behind or inside your car, as usual.

It’s got a soundtrack of rock classics, like “Bad to the Bone” so it lives up to its name, and aside from racing, there are other things to do, like set traps or oil slicks up to foil your competitors, or even fire lasers or rockets at those in front of you. Rest assured though – it’s harmless and innocent, with no gore, so it’s perfect for kids!

9. Earthworm Jim


It’s a classic theme, that’s been used for years – immortalized by the Mario Brothers, and followed by many others. Ordinary guy needs to rescue princess from evil monster / boss.

Of course, in this instance, it’s not a guy, but an earthworm, called Jim, who finds a robotic suit that gives him some pretty special powers. Still, he does set off to rescue Princess What’s-Her-Name from Queen Slug-For-A-Butt…

Aside from being based on a classic, can’t go wrong gaming story line, it’s got some really cool cartoon style graphics, and nice, smooth animation, making it fun to play. Besides, what kid wouldn’t enjoy the prospect of getting to be an earthworm with super powers for a while?

8. Super Mario All Stars


I don’t think there’s a person alive who grew up in the eighties or nineties who didn’t play at least one of the Mario Brothers’ games. I mean, come on, they made a movie out of the game, so it’s gotta be one of the top games ever right?

Of course, no Nintendo would be complete without Mario and Luigi, so with the SNES, they’ve obliged by packaging all three together, remastered and with updated graphics and sound. Plus, they’ve added a few “lost levels” and the “real” Mario Bros 2, previously only available in Japan.

It’s a fantastic game for kids, but be warned, hearing the classic theme tune and seeing the games again might have you jockeying for a chance to play. Can I get a “but it’s my tuuuuurn…?”

7. Kirby Superstar


You had to love the old games. In Kirby Superstar, you were the same lovable little pink bubble guy, and even when you fired at the bad guys, there was never much more than a fire ball. No blood, guts and other horrors like there are in newer games at least!

This one came out on the game boy, and the NES, and was recreated pretty much the same as the originals, with a few new twists. There are 8 mini adventures on the game, with five actual adventures, and three games. One of them, the Great Cave Offensive, is actually a big world to explore, gathering treasures.

When it comes to good clean fun for kids, you can’t do much better than good old Kirby.

6. Super Mario Kart


Again, the Mario Brothers were the stars of this classic. Unlike the other Mario games, this one was on the race track, and was actually the precursor to all other kart racing games.

Dating back to 1992, this little racing game quickly become one of the best selling SNES games, because it was just so fun to play! Racing each other in two player mode, around the track, tossing turtle shells and collecting invincibility stars was a blast. Other features, like the lightning bolts that shrunk other players, allowing you to ride over them, squashing them and gaining time.

For such a simple concept, this game really is addictive, and you, and your kids, are likely to spend hours playing against each other, just as we all did way back in the nineties.

5. Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2


For their time, the Donkey Kong Country titles boasted some world class, 3D like graphics. They were also a lot of fun to play!

Donkey Kong Country 1 was a Mario Bros style platformer, with Donkey Kong and his sidekick, Diddy Kong, off to retrieve the banana horde back from the Kremlings (crocodile looking baddies!) There are lots of bonus levels and little surprises in this one, making it ideal for endless hours of fun!

Building on the success of Donkey Kong Country 1, and released just a year later, Country 2 achieved what most sequels attempt, but fail: it was actually better than the first! Bigger, with better graphics and really cool levels like pirate ships, mine shafts and amusement parks, it’s a super fun romp once again, where you lead Diddy, and Dixie, his girlfriend, on a quest to rescue Donkey Kong from the Kremlings.

Both of these games have become classics, and offer some really enjoyable game play, that kids and grownups will love. As with the best games out there, they’re not too easy, but also not impossible, and combine thinking with action, so you’re constantly stimulated.

Then again almost as long as there have been video games, there’s been Donkey Kong. Innocent, but fun, these are perfect games for kids.

4. Secret of Mana


This little role playing game starts out like most – a boy, destined to be a hero, yada yada yada. Then it gets more interesting. As you travel through the game, you meet a girl and a sprite, who become your companions. Instead of being just an ordinary slash and chop type adventure, where you indiscriminately make your way through the baddies on your quest though, they’ve made it interesting, by adding a power meter.

As you use up your power, it depletes, giving you a weaker attack, and making it tricky to navigate through the game. Your quest is to save the world from being over taken by an evil empire, and despite being a well used theme, it’s got enough originality in it to still make it fun.

The game is long, giving around twenty hours of uninterrupted play, and extra things like spells you can learn, and being able to name your own player all add to the uniqueness. Plus, there is a three player mode, so you can play with a couple of friends – always fun! You will need a multi tap adapter to take advantage of that feature though.

Since there’s no real violence, as with most SNES games, and since it’s got all these little extras, and is actually quite an interesting little quest, it should keep kids occupied for days on end.

3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past


When talking classic games, The Legend of Zelda will almost always come up. Realizing this when they created the SNES, there was absolutely no question that another Zelda title had to be brought out, and this is it.

With a similar look and feel to the original Zelda, this has the improved graphics of the SNES, and gives Link two worlds to explore, plus loads of new features, items and game elements. In this game though, an evil wizard is plotting to take over Hyrule. Link has to find the Master Sword to stop him. His quest takes him from Hyrule to the Dark World, where the scheming wizard lives. Portals, magic, the fight of good versus evil, and the winning Zelda graphics, updated for the SNES all combined to make A Link to the Past one of the best SNES titles ever – whatever your age.

Classic adventure, fantasy and intrigue, all packaged with nice graphics, and perfect for kids.

2. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island


Not surprisingly, like most cult classics, the Mario Brothers got a prequel, and this is it. As Yoshi, your quest is to reunite baby Mario and baby Luigi, who has been kidnapped.

Yoshi runs through the game gobbling up enemies with his long tongue, and laying eggs. He throws the eggs at his enemies, but, if he misses, baby Mario gets knocked off his back, floating in a bubble as a timer runs. If you don’t catch him in time, he floats off to baby Luigi, locked in the dungeon.

A really cool game, with some nice graphics, it’s entertaining enough to keep kids, and grownups, busy for a long time, and with virtually no violence, apart from the egg throwing, parents can rest assured that it’s kid friendly.

1. Super Mario World


Yup, yet another Mario title, but being Nintendo, and being for kids, that’s to be expected! This was the game that the Mario Brothers introduced Yoshi for the first time though. Similar in many ways to Mario 3, with a cape that let you fly like the raccoon suit did, and a map system, that this time allowed you to travel back to world’s you’d already visited, it also has the most hidden levels and alternative routes, making it a big game, that’ll keep you busy for a while.

The reason the Mario Brothers games did so well, with kids and with parents, is that they combined fantasy with adventure, gave you a concrete goal: save someone from the bad guys, and packaged it all in a colorful, non violent, kid friendly game. If only modern game manufacturers would take a leaf out of that book, there’d be a lot more titles that are kid friendly on the shelves today.

Then again, with the explosion in grown up gamers, game manufacturers are probably following the money, but anyone who grew up in the nineties almost certainly played Super Mario World, or one of the other Mario’s, and everyone I know has fond memories. Heck, just hearing the theme song brings on a nostalgic smile. Maybe we’ll see more of these sometime, but if not, dust of the old Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and let your kids find out what we were all up to all those years ago.