SNES Hall of Fame: Behind the Curtain

Now that our Super Nintendo Hall of Fame reveal has finished, it’s time to reveal our ballots, describe the ranking procedure, and wrap things up with some final thoughts on the exercise and the results.

First, the ballots. I asked eleven of the bros to send me a ranked list of ten to twenty-five of their favorite SNES games. Nine of them responded, and our ten ballots are as follows:

Steve
1 Final Fantasy VI
2 Chrono Trigger
3 Super Mario World
4 Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
5 Final Fantasy IV
6 Mega Man X
7 Super Mario Kart
8 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
9 Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
10 Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
11 Secret of Evermore
12 Super Metroid
13 EarthBound
14 Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble
15 Mega Man X2
16 Mario Paint
17 Donkey Kong Country
18 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
19 ActRaiser
20 Star Fox
21 Killer Instinct
22 Aladdin
23 Super R-Type
24 Mega Man X3
25 NBA Jam
Keith
1 Super Mario World
2 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
3 Super Metroid
4 NBA Jam
5 The Lost Vikings
6 Captain Commando
7 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
8 Lethal Enforcers
9 ClayFighter
10 Primal Rage
11 Killer Instinct
12 WWF Super WrestleMania
13 WWF Royal Rumble
14 Kirby Super Star
15 FInal Fight
16 T2: Judgment Day
17 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters
18 Jurassic Park
19 Shaq Fu
J
1 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
2 Super Mario Kart
3 Mega Man X
4 Mega Man X2
5 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
6 WWF Royal Rumble
7 Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
8 Secret of Mana
9 Super High Impact
10 Super Mario World
11 The Lion King
12 Super Bases Loaded
13 Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
14 Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
15 The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse
16 Star Fox
17 NHL 96
18 Donkey Kong Country
19 Mario Paint
20 Cool Spot
Sween
1 Chrono Trigger
2 Final Fantasy VI
3 Donkey Kong Country
4 Super Mario World
5 Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
6 Final Fantasy IV
7 Killer Instinct
8 Street Fighter II
9 Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble
10 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Trev
1 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
2 Chrono Trigger
3 Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
4 Donkey Kong Country
5 Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball
6 Contra III: The Alien Wars
7 Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
8 Illusion of Gaia
9 WWF Royal Rumble
10 Super Ghouls and Ghosts
Ryan
1 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
2 Super Mario World
3 Super Metroid
4 The Lost Vikings
5 Chrono Trigger
6 Mortal Kombat
7 Donkey Kong Country
8 Aladdin
9 Primal Rage
10 Captain Commando
11 Hook
Brian
1 Kirby Super Star
2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
3 Chrono Trigger
4 Kirby’s Dream Land 3
5 NBA Jam
6 Mario Paint
7 Mega Man X
8 Street Fighter II
9 Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
10 Kirby’s Dream Course
11 Super Mario World
12 EarthBound
13 Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
14 Super Metroid
15 Harvest Moon
16 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
17 Super Mario Kart
18 Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems
19 Wario’s Woods
20 F-Zero
21 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters
22 Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose
23 X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
24 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition
25 Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Webber
1 Super Mario World
2 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
3 Donkey Kong Country
4 Final Fantasy VI
5 Super Mario Kart
6 Chrono Trigger
7 Super Metroid
8 NHL ’94
9 NBA Jam
10 Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
11 Aladdin
12 Final Fantasy IV
13 EarthBound
Stevie
1 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
2 Chrono Trigger
3 Super Mario World
4 Aladdin
5 Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose
6 Final Fantasy IV
7 NBA Jam
8 Mortal Kombat
9 Final Fantasy VI
10 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
11 Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
12 Mario Paint
13 Kirby’s Dream Land 3
14 Street Fighter II
15 The Lion King
16 Super Mario Kart
17 Super Punch-Out!!
18 Earthworm Jim
Kevin
1 Chrono Trigger
2 Donkey Kong Country
3 Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
4 Mega Man X
5 Harley’s Humongous Adventure
6 Super Mario World
7 Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
8 Mega Man X2
9 Final Fantasy VI
10 Super Metroid
11 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
12 Mario Paint

I loved the amount of feedback I received. This project wouldn’t have been nearly as collaborative and democratic without a substantial amount of participation, and I hoped to hear from six or seven people. I got nine, and I thank the bros for their time and effort. Their contributions were essential, and without such a wide and varied list of responses, our first Hall of Fame series would have been a lackluster dud.

Within the ballots, there were some clear-cut consensus favorites. There were also all kinds of deep cuts, some of which I’d never even heard of before this exercise. In total, 66 different titles were listed, and 34 of them – more than half – appeared on only one ballot. I thought that was amazing. It really speaks to the breadth and depth of the Super Nintendo’s catalog when ten different bros include close to 3.5 unique games apiece on their ballots.

At this point, with all the data in hand, it was time to rank and score this set of 66 games. My methodology was simple and entirely unoriginal. Every first-place ranking that a title held on any given ballot was worth 25 points. Every second-place ranking was worth 24 points, every third-place ranking worth 23 points, and so on, all the way down to every twenty-fifth-place ranking being worth a single point. The scores for each game were summed up, and the results ended up as follows:

SCORE VOTES AVERAGE
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

198

10

6.2

Super Mario World

193

9

4.6

Chrono Trigger

186

8

2.8

Donkey Kong Country

128

7

7.7

Super Metroid

107

6

8.2

Final Fantasy VI

105

5

5.0

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

97

5

6.6

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

93

5

7.4

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

86

5

8.8

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

86

5

8.8

Mega Man X

84

4

5.0

Super Mario Kart

83

5

9.4

NBA Jam

80

5

10.0

Final Fantasy IV

75

4

7.3

Mario Paint

65

5

13.0

Aladdin

59

4

11.3

Mega Man X2

51

3

9.0

WWF Royal Rumble

50

3

9.3

Street Fighter II

48

3

10.0

The Lost Vikings

43

2

4.5

EarthBound

40

3

12.7

Killer Instinct

39

3

13.0

Mortal Kombat

38

2

7.0

Kirby Super Star

37

2

7.5

Captain Commando

36

2

8.0

Kirby’s Dream Land 3

35

2

8.5

Primal Rage

33

2

9.5

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble

29

2

11.5

The Lion King

26

2

13.0

Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose

25

2

13.5

Harley’s Humongous Adventure

21

1

5.0

Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball

21

1

5.0

Contra III: The Alien Wars

20

1

6.0

NHL ’94

18

1

8.0

Illusion of Gaia

18

1

8.0

Secret of Mana

18

1

8.0

Lethal Enforcers

18

1

8.0

Super High Impact

17

1

9.0

ClayFighter

17

1

9.0

Star Fox

16

2

18.0

Kirby’s Dream Course

16

1

10.0

Super Ghouls and Ghosts

16

1

10.0

Secret of Evermore

15

1

11.0

Hook

15

1

11.0

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters

14

2

19.0

Super Bases Loaded

14

1

12.0

WWF Super WrestleMania

14

1

12.0

Harvest Moon

11

1

15.0

The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse

11

1

15.0

FInal Fight

11

1

15.0

T2: Judgment Day

10

1

16.0

Super Punch-Out!!

9

1

17.0

NHL 96

9

1

17.0

Earthworm Jim

8

1

18.0

Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems

8

1

18.0

Jurassic Park

8

1

18.0

ActRaiser

7

1

19.0

Wario’s Woods

7

1

19.0

Shaq Fu

7

1

19.0

F-Zero

6

1

20.0

Cool Spot

6

1

20.0

Super R-Type

3

1

23.0

X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse

3

1

23.0

Mega Man X3

2

1

24.0

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition

2

1

24.0

Zombies Ate My Neighbors

1

1

25.0

Next it was time to choose where to draw the line for Hall of Fame induction. I initially wanted to go with twenty or twenty-five games, but ultimately figured that three posts with ten games each would make for a nice feature. With hindsight, perhaps thirty was too generous a number. I’m not married to that particular threshold for future Hall of Fame Time Bro endeavors.

Fortunately, there was only one tied score in the entirety of the Hall of Fame: Donkey Kong Country 2 and Super Mario World 2 for ninth place. My tiebreaking procedure was as follows:

  • Go with the game that appeared on more ballots (tied)
  • Go with the game ranked higher than the other on more ballots (tied)
  • Go with the game that received the highest overall ranking on any list (Donkey Kong Country 2, #4, Steve)

That’s all it took, really. Once I had the ballots, the Hall of Fame pretty much compiled itself.

Lastly, I’ll provide some parting thoughts – fun statistics, odds and ends, banal commentary, those sorts of things – on the process and the results.

  • There was a vote for Super Mario All-Stars that I chose not to allow. That’s a great title, but it’s a compilation of four NES games. Nothing about it was SNES-original, so it can’t qualify for the SNES Hall of Fame. It just seemed like the right precedent to set.
  • The only game all ten of us put on our ballots was the top ranked game overall, A Link to the Past.
  • If you were to consider only the subset of ballots that included Super Mario World – all of them but Trev’s – that game would have been the top-ranked overall. So you could accurately say that among those who put Super Mario World on their ballots, Super Mario World was the consensus best game.
  • If you were to consider only the subset of ballots that included Chrono Trigger – all of them but Keith’s and J’s – that game would have been the top-ranked overall. So you could accurately say that among those who put Chrono Trigger on their ballots, Chrono Trigger was the consensus best game.
  • Those last two facts make sense, since Super Mario World and Chrono Trigger were so close to the top to begin with. But there’s one more game for which this pattern holds true, and you have to drop all the way out the top ten to find it; Mega Man X was only ranked by four people, coming in at #11, but if you consider only those four ballots on which it appears, then it actually earns top honors. I was disappointed to see Mega Man X fall just shy of the top ten, but it’s clear that those who liked it enough to rank it absolutely loved it.
  • I respect the consensus opinion, but one game I’ll admit I was surprised missed out on Hall of Fame entry was Star Fox, which finished in a distant 40th place. What happened here? Have I overestimated that game’s relevance for twenty years, or is this just one particular example of the bros collectively diverging from consensus opinion? No other omission really surprised me, honestly.
  • On the bright side, I can’t even come up with a great game that got shut out entirely. I would have loved to rank even more than twenty-five games on my ballot, and had I done so, I’m sure I would have included the likes of Secret of ManaIllusion of GaiaF-ZeroClayFighterContra III, Harvest Moon, and others. Even if I didn’t vote for these games, I was thrilled that others did.
  • Of course, I also love how many obscurities found their way onto different ballots, from titles like Super High Impact and Hook to Shaq Fu and Zombies Ate My Neighbors

That about covers it. Until next time…


Hall of Fame Time Bro is a recurring multi-part feature in which the bros put their heads together to create a collaborative list of games that deserve canonical recognition as all-time greats.

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One thought on “SNES Hall of Fame: Behind the Curtain

  1. Pingback: DC Hall of Fame: Behind the Curtain | gametimebro.com

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