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While ActRaiser may have had best game soundtrack, best graphics belonged to Donkey Kong Country. Using Advanced Computer Modeling (ACM), Rare, game developer, was able to display graphics on a 16-bit system that looked better than most 32-bit Playstation One games. ACM allowed fully-rendered graphics allowing objects to actually look 3-dimensional. Crisp, bold graphics were accomplished with ACM and Donkey Kong Country went on to sell 8 million units.
In terms of graphics and sound, SNES had biggest leap in quality as compared to other later Nintendo console versions. In fact, next-generation systems set for release in 2005 and 2006 will probably differ little as far as graphics and sound capabilities are concerned. The early game machines however, saw huge leaps in processing power.
Sure SNES had one big flaw - slowdown! While Genesis was publicizing its faster processor speed of 7.67 MHz, which they coined "blast processing," Nintendo's processor was only capable of speeds up to 3.58 MHz. When too many sprites appeared on screen at one time in games such as shooters like R-Type III, action would slowdown (although at times this was actually a helpful feature for many shooters instead of a hindrance because these games are so frantic and intense).
Now debate is whether Super Nintendo actually won biggest game system war ever. Based on numbers, Nintendo sold twice as many SNES units as Genesis and even though Sega was able to cut into Nintendo's market share (peaking at 65%), it was Nintendo that had regained over 60% from its original 95% market share of NES days when Sega began not supporting Genesis in its later cycle life days with quality games like SNES enjoyed.
Ironically, Nintendo initially planned for original NES console to be a 16-bit machine, but price for components were too high at time. Think about how that could have altered SNES/Genesis war. Would have Sega released a 32-bit Genesis instead? Would we now be playing on a 512-bit PS2 instead of a 128-bit console?
The SNES had an assortment of games from every genre. Nintendo should learn from its success of SNES. The N64 and GameCube are really lacking in RPG and shooter games, for example, that were abundant on SNES.
While GameCube's game selection is improving with Square Enix finally back supporting a Nintendo home console, Nintendo will need to recreate those precious days of SNES with lots of exclusive, top quality franchises for its game machine if they want to regain their market share against Sony's Playstation consoles.
The SNES is last Nintendo game console that gamers truly supported. N64 and GameCube sales pale in comparison to NES and SNES days. The Super Nintendo is also only console in history to have biggest game franchises on one machine: Metroid, Final Fantasy, Contra, Donkey Kong, F-Zero, Super Mario Bros., The Legend Of Zelda, Star Fox and Castlevania. No other console has these games on only one game system.
Kevin Scripter is the site owner of Zerogifts.com, an online retailer of video games and DVD movies http://www.zerogifts.com.