games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Games of 1991 – Street Fighter 2, Super Mario World, More

August 22, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Street Fighter 2 Street Fighter II

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. 1991 is upon us, so the SNES is released to a lot of acclaim. New games are out for it, as well as games being made for the Sega Genesis that people now care about. So, here is my list of the best games for the year. Again, these are only the games I’ve played, it’s not meant to be an all-encompassing list, since no one can really do that. Enjoy:


#8: Silent Debuggers

I will always try to champion Silent Debuggers because so few people played, or even have heard about it. It’s kind of a proto-version of a FPS game, only you don’t have a gun on screen, just a reticle to shoot. You can move the reticle around though to target specific alien body parts. The story of Silent Debuggers has you and your partner in a space station that is under attack by aliens. The AI of the station initiates a self-destruct of 100 (I believe) minutes, so your goal is to eliminate the aliens and get to the lowest level to disable it. One really cool part is that the station has different sub-systems the aliens can attack that you have to defend. If the aliens knock out the ammo system, then there’s no more ammo for one of your guns, if they knock out the light system, no more lights, and so on. Silent Debuggers is essentially an Aliens game, and that is always cool.

#7: F-Zero

As one of the launch games of the SNES, it’s kind of astounding how fast F-Zero looked at the time. Once you really got going, it was almost blistering fast, especially on some of those really sharp corners. F-Zero is kind of a no-frills racing game, no weapons, limited boosting, etc., but it just feels good to race around stages.

#6: Terminator 2 Pinball

Eh, this is my list, so why not have some pinball machines on here? Terminator 2 largely started the “modern” era of pinball by having a DMD (Dot Matrix Display) screen and a video mode for you to play around with. Also, the gun launcher was a pretty neat addition as well. Terminator 2 isn’t the best pinball game, by any means, but it is fairly easy to grasp and the layout is easy to understand. Nothing beats having Arnold Schwarzenegger saying out pinball lines like “Extra Ball” and what not.

#5: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

If I’m honest, Turtles in Time is a refinement of the old Turtles arcade machine. It has better graphics, more voice work, and more varied stages. It also has more pronounced differences between the turtles (Donatello is slow but has range, Raphael is very quick but no long range attacks), and each turtle has a few new moves, like being able to grab enemies and throw them around, and a kind of super attack. Really though, Turtles in Time is just an excuse to beat up more Foot soldiers, now in different time periods, and to stop the evil Shredder once again.

#4: Super Castlevania IV

I generally have a weird hang up with the old Castlevania games. I don’t like it when you have to go up (or down) a stair case, you get knocked off of it, and then you die due to falling in the pit. That has always sucked about the pre-SOTN Castlevania games, and it’s also in IV. However, the reason it’s on this list is because of the great soundtrack the game has, the generally good gameplay, cheap falling deaths aside, and just the lineage of the series. If you compare this game to Castlevania 3, which came out the prior year, you can see how far the series could come in just a year.

#3: Sonic the Hedgehog

It’s weird to think how synonymous Sonic is with the Genesis, considering how the Genesis didn’t actually launch with a Sonic game. Hell, it was almost two years before the first Sonic game actually hit the Genesis, which is a fairly long time. Sonic the Hedgehog was the game that really launched the Genesis though, and gave both Mario and Sonic a run for their money. Sonic was a faster, more colorful platformer with a 90’s version of attitude. The later Sonic games were better in a lot of regards but the original Sonic game got the character out there and started one of the greatest mascot rivalries of all time.

#2: Street Fighter 2

There were fighting games before Street Fighter 2 but none of them really caught on or are remembered to this day. Street Fighter 2 was a revelation when it came out and sucked millions of quarters from kids and adults who played it. Those original 8 fighters are some of the most well-known in the fighting game world due to the enduring legacy of the game. Street Fighter 2 is good enough as a single player fighting game but fighting against your friends in the two player mode is where it really shined. Street Fighter 2 was the progenitor of fighting games, Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct, Guilty Gear, and innumerable other fighting games have their lineage starting with Street Fighter 2.

#1: Super Mario World

While Sonic was instrumental in getting the Genesis into the mainstream, the SNES launched with Super Mario World and didn’t really look back. SMW brought Mario into the 16 bit era with more creative worlds, an expanded map and secrets, and some good upgrades to Mario’s arsenal. While the number of suits/powers is down from SMB3, you have the leaf now, which let you fly through entire levels if you were skilled enough with it. Also, Yoshi makes his debut in this game, letting Mario ride him and eat up berries and enemies along the way. Considering that the SNES launched with Mario World as a pack-in title, you can see why it did such big business in the console wars.


For comments, list which games of 1991 which you’ve enjoyed.

Next Issue
Top 8 Games of 1992

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison