Super Mario World
If any game is synonymous with the SNES, it's this one. Bundled with the console, SMW was a showcase for the SNES' enhanced graphics and stereo audio, the adventure taking place across seven huge worlds made up of 72 individual levels. The power-ups introduced in Super Mario 3 were reworked, keeping the classic Fire Flower but replacing the Racoon Leaf with the Cape Feather which allowed Mario to fly across the level with a magic cape. Most importantly SMW added Yoshi. Not only could Mario climb on the back of his dinosaur chum, but each colour Yoshi had its own special ability. Packed with secrets and special zones, SMW was the biggest and most ambitious platform game ever released, and even now it's one of the finest. Available to download on the Wii Virtual Console, and to buy as Super Mario Advance 2 on the Game Boy Advance or DS.
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
As always, Mario's only rival for the best game on a Nintendo system is a tale of an elfin hero, battling evildoers, saving princesses and solving puzzles in gloomy dungeons. A Link to the Past was the biggest and most impressive Zelda yet, with a huge overland map to explore, packed with side-quests and secrets and riddled with caves and temple complexes. Even better, it was the most ingenious Zelda yet, built around a dual world mechanic where actions taken in one world have consequences in the other, resulting in some truly awesome puzzles. Some 16-bit classics have aged badly, but A Link to the Past has retained all of its magic. Available to download on the Wii Virtual Console and to buy on the Game Boy Advance or DS.
The SNES had more than its fair share of storming arcade adventures, including the excellent Super Castlevania IV. However, the finest is undoubtedly Super Metroid. Expanding the platform-hopping/alien-blasting/exploration gameplay of the first two titles in the Metroid saga, Super Metroid is predominantly set inside Planet Zebes, a huge space-pirate base. As always in Metroid, the name of the game is finding the power-ups that will allow you to explore new areas - though you can bet that each will be guarded by an ever more ferocious boss. Super Metroid doesn't look so impressive these days, but it's a beautifully engineered adventure and was hugely influential not just on the Metroid Prime games that followed, but on such classics as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Available to download on the Wii Virtual Console.
Super Mario World