Top Five Super Nintendo Multiplayer Games

When it comes to writing about video games, specifically Nintendo, it's always fun, because it's a console drenched in memories and nostalgia.  Going through old SNES video games, I came across so many forgotten images and sounds that brought back not only virtual worlds and cheat codes but places in my life, friends, moments, my hometown in Massachusetts.  Like an image blooming on a Polaroid picture, memories illuminate.  And I started to think about the times when I sat in my room, my basement, my friends' house, and I played sports games, RPGs, and racing games for hours with my buddy or my little brother.  So, I decided to put together the top 5 multiplayer games for Super Nintendo.  But it's not just about graphics and game play; it's an homage to buddies, to games that brought friends closer together and created a strange competitive rivalry.  It's about the games that forced N64 to have four controllers. 

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5. Donkey Kong Country 

How can anyone ever forget Donkey Kong Country?  How can anyone forget about the old monkey spinning the vitrola in the opening credits?  Or how can anyone forget that the giant monkey riding a rhino and knocking the crap out of little gopher-like creatures?  The game had a ton of interesting graphics, for the time, and the different colors of the sunny jungle or the dark landscape at night or the purple tint in the rain persuaded viewers that time and weather existed in a virtual world.   But what made this game so cool for friends was that you could switch players in the middle of the game.  It was a tag-team video game, and if someone died, then you could find the other character somewhere in the landscape knocking around in a barrel.  Oh yeah, remember you could actually ride on a freaking marlin?  Awesome.  How could I forget about that?  


4. NBA Jam

Wow, when these opening credits roll, the basketball dribbles down the Acclaim logo, and that cool iguana shows up wearing sunglasses, it suddenly hits me how many hours I actually spent playing NBA Jam with my buddies and my little brother.  NBA Jam is just one of those classic sports video games where the regular rules, including the rules of physics, are thrown out the window.  In this game, you could be Scottie Pippen or Grant Hill and jump so high in the air, twisting in some unimaginable move, and slam dunk the ball while someone that sounded like Marv Albert screamed, “With Authority,” “Boomshackalacka,” or “Rejected.”  This is a classic, because you could spend hours playing this game with your buddies.  The only frustrating part was that you couldn't be Michael Jordan. I'm still bitter about it.  


3. Mortal Kombat II

Finish him!  So this is where it all began: the conversations about violence in video games; the virtual images of decapitations and heads impaled on sticks; and the game that had more blood and guts than a surgery table.  With such unforgettable characters like Scorpion, Sub Zero, and Raiden, never before had two friends wanted to kill each other more.  I can see the arrow flowing out of Scorpion's hand and hear that unforgettable voice chiseled into my unconscious, “Get over here.”  Whoever figured out the best finishing moves, like turning into dragons or electrocuting someone with blue volts of lighting, was the coolest.  Plus, there were the pages and pages of cheat codes.  It was almost like the creators of the game hid these codes to turn us into a nation of hackers — or worse, to help us with math…yuck. 

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

It helps that the # 2 multiplayer game on this list just happens to be based on one of the best cartoons, which was later turned into a movie where Vanilla Ice makes an appearance.  Sorry, don't let me forget to mention the comic book, too.  “Go Ninja, go ninja, go!”  In the game, you and your buddy could choose from Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo.  The best part was that in this game, unlike others where you're pinned against your foe to a deadly end, you're on the same team as your partner.  Wandering through the streets of the Big Apple, fighting giant flies, and eating pizza for energy, this was an adventure filled with a ton of fighting movies and interesting story boards that seemed to changed with every move.  Kowabunga! 

1. Super Mario Kart   

Mushroom Cup Race, Flower Cup Race, Star Cup Race: if you don't recognize these names, then you don't know crap about Super Mario Kart, and you probably missed out on the most fun multiplayer game on SNES.  Of course, I know there are going to be people who disagree–what about Bomberman, Ken Griffey Jr., and the Secret of Mana? But you've got understand this–I look back on these video games with fondness because of the people whom I played them with.  And I played Mario Kart with more people from my lifetime than other game, and I had the most fun doing it.  I even played Mario Kart with my fiance when we first met almost seven eight ago.  It's really the perfect game.  You race around a virtual world filled with Mario allusions, and then get these prizes that are bananas, shells (colors vary), and lightning bolts.  I will turn you into a midget and flatten you [insert evil villain cackle here].  This is the game on SNES that people still play today, and everyone thinks they're the best Mario Kart player in the world.  Well, I used to think I was, until I played this guy in Miami — initials CS.  He's the best. Truly.  Well, that's my list.  If you don't like it, then you can always take the list, blow on it, and start over.  

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