In thinking about choosing my most favorite Nintendo game, I tried to come up with reasons to NOT pick Super Metroid.
Super Metroid didn’t immediately affect the gaming world as much as, say, Super Mario Bros. 3.
Super Metroid didn’t outdo more popular franchise titles in its release year (1994), like, say, Final Fantasy VI.
Super Metroid didn’t hold any wonderment behind its name, unlike with, say, The Legend of Zelda.
You get the idea.
The funny thing was that the more I tried not to call out Super Metroid as my “most favorite,” the more it cemented in my mind as just that. Super Metroid is my most favorite Nintendo game.
I’ll try not to get too weepy about it, but with awarding Super Metroid this most hallowed honor comes a flood of nostalgic visions. Me, a college student, coming home for a week-long break to find Super Metroid among a small stash of SNES games that my younger brother had been collecting in my absence. He tells me it’s pretty good, so I play it. And I play it. And I keep playing it. It is, quite literally, the only thing I remember doing during that break. The house is quiet during the day – everyone else is either at home or at school, and I’ve nothing else planned during. Although I discover DOOM at the same time, I overwhelming devote my time to Super Metroid.
I will be honest in saying that upon leaving to go back to college, I harbor many thoughts of Super Metroid; I’ve got plenty else to do. But the seed is nonetheless planted. During a subsequent break, I return home for a couple weeks this time. And while the first though in my mind isn’t “PLAY SUPER METROID,” it’s what I unwittingly end up doing with most of my time. And not only do I play the game, but I start to keep track of it. I take one of my school notebooks (one originally meant for a philosophy class, which I dropped), and I took notes about the game, in particular, its secrets. Because, in the end, that’s really what kept me coming back: the search for all of Super Metroid’s secrets.
In my “Super Metroid notebook,” the first set of gaming notes I ever took, I sketched out map after map after map, marking the locations of missiles and energy tanks and secret spaces. This was both so I wouldn’t forget the spots I’d already visited, as well as remember where things were that I couldn’t yet reach. I noted places where I needed special equipment, from Samus’s different suits to her various beams, particularly the grapple beam, an invaluable tool for getting around in a number of different locations. I kept track of strategies for each boss, like how to not waste missiles when fighting Kraid, or the signals to look for when battling Phantoon. I also listed on some maps where I needed to use (and hone) Samus’s extra special abilities, like the shinespark or wall jump.
I don’t have my “Super Metroid notebook” any more, but boy, I could sure use it! Unlike with other past Nintendo games, Super Metroid is the only one I still have around in multiple formats and to which I continue to return. With my failing memory and reflexes, and lack of that notebook, I’m not as spry a Super Metroid player as I once was, but the game is no less immensely enjoyable. It is a beautiful game, with graphics and music that remain as brilliant today as they were in 1994. Granted, it is not the perfect game for everyone, but it is the perfect (Nintendo) game for me.