Affordable Alternatives to Overrated (Overpriced) SNES Games

I’m not sure there’s any more divisive statement in the retro game collecting community than “This is the MOST OVERRATED SNES game (or insert whatever console you want to fight about) ever!”

Of course, we’re all entitled to our little opinions. But let’s face it: When you’re dealing with retro collectors, pretty much any absolute statement is a prime target for a big fat “ackchyually” response.

You, reading this article.

So yeah. I propose this list knowing that every entry will likely have some portion of the community that vehemently disagrees with my pick. But that’s just the kinda risk you’ve gotta be willing to take, baby! This is the internet!

It would be a delight to just fill this whole post about these cynical observations of the retro gaming community, but I’m part of that community so it might not be a smart move. So let’s just say this list is my opinion and you really don’t have to agree with it. Feel free to sound off in the comments; I know you were going to anyway.

And finally, let me add that a lot of the overrated-ness of these games will hinge on the price tag. This is the Ghetto Gamer, after all. We aren’t rich here. We mostly take what we can get. So when a game crosses a certain pricing threshold, it automatically becomes “overrated” in my eyes. However, I’ll try not to rely too heavily on pricing as a factor. But don’t get me wrong. It is definitely a factor. Take our first victim for example…

This is what my copy looks like. I got it for brand new for $6.99.

Chrono Trigger

Listen, people. You’ve got to get over this game.

Now, I’m not saying Chrono is a bad game. Not at all. Not a little. It’s wonderful and I love it. But does it come anywhere close to justifying its price tag? No.

If people are voting, “rating” games with their wallets, which they are, then this is surely one of the most overrated games for the SNES. Take into consideration how many other platforms have ports of this game. The DS port is particularly good, but even the Android port is passable. And you can own it on Steam for hardly anything

So, unless you just reeeeally want this for your SNES shelf, there’s literally no reason to own Chrono Trigger for the SNES. It’s a great game. But no game is worth what this game currently sells for on eBay. Seriously, go check it out.

Chrono Trigger on eBay. Totally not worth it. Sorry not sorry.

Now, my buddy @Radzero83 knows what’s up.

My suggestion is to go pick up the often-overshadowed, but totally epic Final Fantasy II (Final Fantasy IV outside North America). The graphics are a bit more primitive than Chrono Trigger, but it’s an incredible RPG with a far more appropriate price tag. Find it on eBay

Or if you want to cough up a few more dollars, spring for Final Fantasy III, one of my favorite SNES games. But watch out for counterfeit cartridges on eBay. This results page should bring you results for authentic cartridge prices.


Sparkster is a bit of a gem. It didn’t enjoy much mainstream success when it was released, but apparently it has quite a cult following.

Technically, Sparkster is the sequel to Rocket Knight Adventures, and the Genesis version was released with the full name Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2. But Since Rocket Knight was never released on the SNES, I guess they didn’t feel the need to bring over the full title.

Cool reflection effect. But that’s about all.

So yeah. I think a big part of Sparkster’s following is the result of its Sega-like feel and Sonic-esque music and aesthetic. Yeah, the Sonic games are great. The 16-bit ones, at least. But Sparkster ain’t Sonic. The game itself is not terrible. But it’s not really very good, either. And have I mentioned the obscene price tag? Seriously, it’s ridiculous. Look at the current asking price on eBay. Ugh, no thanks.

My opinion? If you want decent mascot-based platforming that’s cute and fun, try Plok. It doesn’t have that Sega feeling, but if that’s all you’re looking for, SNES is the wrong place anyway.

What Plok does offer is a cute and quirky platforming adventure that’s

I pulled this from the site of Plok’s creators, who are still active in the development community. Go check out their site. They seem super chill.

fun and unique. I also have a feeling the price is going to continue to rise on this one as more people rediscover it. Go get it while it’s relatively cheap on eBay. Here’s a link.

Donkey Kong Country

This game was a big freakin’ deal when it came out.

Why do people love this game so much? I mean, I understand that those pre-rendered 3D-style graphics were a huge deal back in the 90s. The sound too, I guess. I remember Nintendo Power had the DKC soundtrack you could order on compact disc. “DK Jamz” they called it. (Those discs are still floating around, though they’re quite rare. When I checked, eBay had a few. The price is pretty ridiculous, though.)

Soundtrack notwithstanding, the whole game—pretty much the whole series—is little more than a barrel-hopping exercise in frustration. I love platformers more than pretty much any classic gaming genre, but there are huge swaths of this game with no platforms at all. Just barrels. Barrels and barrels and barrels.

Yes of course I’m bitter because these games are so damn hard. But they’re hard for the wrong reasons. Timing your barrel jumps is fun as a little bonus. Like, as a supplement to actual platforming. But Donkey Kong Country relies so heavily on the stupid barrel-hoping gimmick that it stops being novel and starts being seriously annoying.

Yes, I like a challenge. Yes, the graphics are great for the time. The sound too, I suppose. But the level design sucks. It relies far too heavily on the barrels. And in 2020 the graphics and sound just don’t dazzle any more. And with that novelty completely worn away, these games just aren’t fun after a while.

The only saving grace for DKC is that it is still quite cheap and I won’t recommend an alternative. Not for the entirely reasonable price it currently fetches on eBay. But it doesn’t deserve the puffed-up admiration it gets. Check out prices.  

Mayor Michael Duncan Haggar. The man. The muscles. The mustache.

Final Fight

Remember, we’re just talking about the Super Nintendo port of this game. Certainly not the arcade game.

Fortunately, Final Fight has the blessing of being really cheap for the SNES. (See current pricing.) But there’s a reason for that: this is a single-player ONLY game.

With so many great beat-em-ups for the Super Nintendo, this game has no place on anybody’s shelf when we all know that half the fun of brawlers is teaming up with a friend. Or at least having the option. And yet, despite the total lack of any co-op mode, Final Fight consistently makes the top of many retro gamers’ beat-em-ups list.

Yes, the arcade version was fantastic. Tons of fun. But as a Super NES game, Final Fight is simply overrated. And while we’re at it, let’s tackle…

This game is the epitome of whatever.

Batman Returns

While not as ubiquitous as Final Fight, Batman Returns is very popular among fans. And like Final Fight, it’s relatively inexpensive (See?), but just like Final Fight, Batman lacks a 2-player option. It’s just a big-ass Batman sprite against every stupid clown in Gotham City.

And yeah, almost every bad guy in this game seems to be a clown. And this game is hard as hell. And it’s so repetitive. And… and…

Honestly, this might be the only correct way to play Turtles in Time. eBay has good deals sometimes.

If you want a much, much, much better multiplayer brawler, go grab the best beat-em-up the Super NES has to offer: TMNT IV: Turtles in Time. It’s multiplayer madness with your favorite turtles, some of the best graphics on the SNES, tons of subtlety in the gameplay, and just about anything you could ask from a brawler. Ahh, so good!


It kind of hurts me to add Actraiser to this list. I actually love it. 

There is a lot going on with Actraiser. The graphics are top-notch. The soundtrack is beautiful. The gameplay is tight, the bosses and environments are incredibly well done. And yet…

“Create order from chaos!” … Or maybe create about twice as much game, amirite?This “epic” game is short enough and easy enough to finish in a single sitting. And while this game is nowhere near what Chrono Trigger costs, it still ain’t cheap! 

Considering the fanbase Actraiser has, and how widely loved it is, it would be nice if there was just more actual gameplay. What it offers is really high quality stuff, and until you play right through it in a few hours, it’s easy to understand the hype. But even besides being a short play, there’s virtually no replay value. It’s disappointing.

My opinion: Buy this game if you find a great deal. It’s fantastic. But it’s so short, it’s not worth the typical asking price these days. Check eBay for current pricing.

I can hear Baby Mario’s endless crying now.

Yoshi’s Island

When I asked Twitter, a lot of folks said Super Mario World 2 Yoshi’s Island was the most overrated. And I definitely had to include it on this list.

Like some others, Yoshi’s Island isn’t bad. It’s pretty fun. It’s an okay game. But somehow it managed to spawn an entire series of games, including Yoshi’s Woolly World and Yoshi’s Crafted World. Those are fine games, of course. Better games. And probably more fitting for the high-quality Mario franchise.

But the original Yoshi’s Islands suffers from some of the same ailments as Donkey Kong Country. The graphics and music are great for their time. Yoshi’s Island uses the Super FX chip to deliver complex crayon-style graphics. They look amazing! But the gameplay is frustrating and annoying. And the constant sound of Baby Mario whining can be a lot to deal with.

Crafted World is a much prettier and far more chilled-out game.

So yeah, people like the game. And Nintendo loved it enough to make sequels. If you ask me, go buy the sequels. Woolly World for Wii U and 3DS and Yoshi’s Crafted World on Nintendo Switch are both better games. Pick those up instead, and ignore the hype.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past - Gold Standard of Gaming
Triggered yet?

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Nah, I’m just kidding. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the perfect game and cannot be overrated. This is the pinnacle of gaming greatness, never to be outdone. That is all. You have been trolled.

If you don’t already have this in your collection, get it right now! Go! Here’s a link… to the past! 

Earthworm Jim game announced for the new Intellivision console - Polygon
…but I haven’t even finished the Old Junk City!

Earthworm Jim

Yes, when Earthworm Jim came out, we were all spellbound by the wacky animation and gross Ren-and-Stimpy aesthetic. The graphics were great! It looked like playing a Saturday morning cartoon. In fact, a cartoon series was created from the game.

But the fact is, Earthworm Jim is a cooler character, a cooler concept, than the actual game.

There were plenty of issues with Earthworm Jim’s animation. Yes, it was wacky and fun, but his character sprite and animation were so crazy, and the backgrounds were so overdone, that it was very hard to tell whether he was on a platform and able to make a jump, or not.

The action in the game was frantic, and the weaponry was finicky. It was hard to tell if you could or would hit your enemy, whether you were about to fall from a platform, could make a jump, etc. The controls were loosey-goosey and the game was hard enough without that cheapness making it frustrating. Plus, the digitized sounds were annoying. “Groovy!” No, Jim. Not groovy.

Again: Great character. Cool graphics and animation. But the gameplay issues that fans have forgotten, put this in the overrated category, imo. If you ask me (you didn’t), Earthworm Jim 2 offers a marginally better experience. The gimmick levels can still be frustrating, but it’s an overall better experience. Try that one instead. Here it is on eBay.

This is what losing looks like.

Super Star Wars (the whole series)

The only way these aren’t overrated is if you’re really really into losing. Cuz that’s all this series is. A losing simulator.

The first one, Super Star Wars, is probably the easiest of the bunch. And it does have some redeeming qualities. I actually enjoy it. (And it’s pretty cheap, too. Check it out on eBay.)

Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be pulling your hair out around the Sandcrawler stage. And good luck getting anywhere past that.

If you’re hoping to play The Empire Strikes Back, then that’s cool and all. But be ready for a hopeless struggle. The first stage of this game is nearly impossible, even on the easier difficulty setting. And it gets worse from there!

The games have been praised for years and years based on their graphics, music, cutscenes and gameplay and they really shouldn’t. Sure, graphics are fine. But the music is just digitized sounds from the movies, looped short. The gameplay isn’t terrible, but the controls are slippery, the physics are clunky, and everything on the screen moves way too fast.

When jumping on platforms, it can be very hard to tell where a platform actually starts and you’ll be falling into a LOT of pits.

Every game in this series is frustrating as hell. Not challenging, mind you. Just frustrating. Try the first one, I guess. But the others? Skip.

This could totally exist one day. Toy photography by The Awesome Nyleak.


Why, oh why is Earthbound the Holy Grail of the SNES? It’s quirky, sure. But dude. Come on! No game should cost this much!

I’ve played the game. I played it when it was new and I was really into RPGs. I was so bored I had to quit. I tried Earthbound later on and quit from boredom again. I tried it a few more times, especially as hype for it increased. It’s just not fun.

It’s rare. It’s expensive. And I have to believe that fans have convinced themselves the game is “good” so they can justify the cost. Another example of Nintendo fans making excuses for some abject nonsense in the gaming community.

The fact is: No game should cost what Earthbound costs. Nobody is going to pay that price, just to play the game. Fans pay the price so they can brag to their friends or show it off on social media. That type of fanboy actually wants the price of Earthbound to remain ludicrously high. They have a certain value of their ego tied to owning it. It’s bizarre, frankly.

If you want my advice (you don’t), just emulate this game. Or even do the unthinkable and pick up a bootleg copy on eBay! Here, I’ll give you a link. But whatever you do, don’t be part of the problem. It’s the persistent cost of Nintendo games and products that drive fans to become scalpers and mess up retro collecting for everyone else. Stop giving them your money.

That is all.


2 responses to “Affordable Alternatives to Overrated (Overpriced) SNES Games”

  1. Any overrated list that has CT on there is just trying to create controversy. Nothing more, nothing less

  2. I completely agree with the author. I have tried unsuccessfully over the years to get through chrono. I don’t really care for most of the characters and some of the settings bore me. In contrast, I have always loved FF2 and FF3 on the SNES and to me they are both better games, FF3 having a greater story. I believe chrono is a bandwagon game. I remember when it came out and while I remember friend talking about it, I don’t recall anyone reveling it the way they do now. For me it’s nice to hear from someone else who feels similar.

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