10 16-Bit Games That We Still Enjoy Today

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These old SNES and Genesis games are still popular today.

With both the SNES and the Sega Genesis having great game libraries, the fourth generation of consoles has to be one of the best. It was also a generation that most modern gamers would have no idea about because games were different on each system.

On the SNES and Genesis, Aladdin is two completely different games. These days, the only real difference between games on the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S is how well they run. Most of these great 16-bit games that still hold up today can be played on services like Nintendo Switch Online, but not all of them.

Wild Guns – SNES

Wild Guns is one of those games that, a decade ago, would have been seen as an underrated gem but is now more widely known as a great SNES action game. The way to play is still very different from anything else. On a 2D plane, you can shoot at enemies in the area, but you can’t move and shoot at the same time.

Action is fast-paced and strategic at the same time. You don’t have to dodge a bullet; you can just shoot it. When you do that, your Vulcan cannon gauge fills up. The Vulcan cannon wipes out enemies and makes you invincible at the same time. The music is a total banger, too. Wild Guns on Switch is worth starting up just to listen to the music in the sound test.

Super Punch-Out – SNES

Even though Super Punch-Out isn’t as well-known as the original NES game, it’s still a lot of fun. It feels more like an arcade game, but thank goodness it’s not like the real arcade game Punch-Outs, which is so unfair it might as well come to life and steal your money. There is only one round, but the three-minute timer doesn’t go faster than three minutes.

Super Punch-Out made some nice changes to the way the game worked that did make it more fun to play, like letting you block in both the head and body areas. Now, ducking is useful and not just a waste of time like it was in the NES game. It’s different from the NES original in how it’s played, which might turn some people off, but once you get used to it, it’s a great game.

Donkey Kong Country 2 – SNES

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest has to be one of the best games for the Super Nintendo. No, it’s not Diddy Kong’s Quest like you might remember. As a child, you probably didn’t get the joke in the title. You must save Donkey Kong from King K. Rool by going through some of the best platforming levels on the system with Diddy and a new character named Dixie.

There are a lot of good games in the same series as DKC2, but this one might have the best levels. Some of those near the end of the game are really hard, but when you beat them, it feels great. Anyone who likes platform games has to play DKC2.

Super Castlevania 4 – SNES

Castlevania is just one of many great Konami games from the 16-bit era. Bloodlines is a great Genesis game, but Super Castlevania 4 for the SNES beats it hands down. It was the first Castlevania where you could whip in all eight directions, which made the game a lot better. By itself, this feature makes every Castlevania game before it look weak. It’s that big a jump.

The levels themselves are great and challenging, and they work great with the new whip controls. It’s short, but that’s not a bad thing. You can play Super Castlevania 4 every year, beat it in one sitting, and have a great time.

Rocket Knight Adventures – Genesis

Konami made a lot of great games for the SNES, but they also made some good games for the Genesis. Contra: Hard Corps and Castlevania: Bloodlines are both great games, but Rocket Knight Adventures is the best. Rocket Knight Adventures is one of the best platform games on the system. It is the first game in a less well-known Konami series called Sparkster.

It’s easy to move around, the level design is great, and even the fighting has some depth. Your sword fires beams of energy, but it does a lot more damage if the enemy touches the real sword. Rocket Knight Adventures has not been brought out again in any way. Since it was such a great platformer for its time, it deserves one for sure.

EarthBound – SNES

EarthBound is one of the most well-known cult games for the SNES and one of the best role-playing games from the 1990s. Some of its RPG features were way ahead of their time, like how the player automatically wins a fight if they are much stronger than the enemy. It also had an effect on other games, especially Undertale.

This game is still fun to play and has a great pace throughout the whole campaign; it never gets boring. EarthBound hasn’t always been easy to get, but now that it’s on Nintendo Switch Online, it’s one of the best SNES role-playing games on the service.

Chrono Trigger – SNES

Chrono Trigger is sure to be one of the SNES games that retro gamers play every year if you ask them. People still think that the game’s story and battle system make it one of the best RPGs ever made. Anyone can start playing this game at any time and still have a magical adventure through the whole campaign.

Chrono Trigger has been put out again and again, but it’s still not very easy to get. There is a PC version, but it has a lot of problems and shouldn’t be used. The SNES and Nintendo DS versions cost a lot, but the PS1 version that comes with Final Fantasy Chronicles doesn’t. Still, you’ll need a system from a while back to play it.

Ristar – Genesis

Ristar has to be one of the Genesis games that doesn’t get enough attention. Even though it’s been re-released a few times, including on Nintendo Switch Online, Ristar doesn’t come up much when people talk about the Genesis, which is a shame. In a nutshell, Ristar is kind of like Bionic Commando, but made by Sega.

You can grab enemies, items, and, most importantly, things you need to move with your long-reaching hands. Any platformer needs to have easy-to-use controls, and Ristar does this in spades. This game’s movement-based gameplay is easy to learn but hard to master, so any modern player can pick it up and have fun with it.

Gunstar Heroes – Genesis

The game that is most like Contra right now might not even be called Contra. Gunstar Heroes is one of the best Genesis games that wasn’t made by Sega. It plays just like an old Contra game and might be better than both Contra 3 and Hard Corps.

Slope Game was a great game, but the top-down parts took away a bit from the fun. Contra: Hard Corps was a great game, but they made it way too hard for the American release, even for the Contra series. Gunstar Heroes is a great challenge and has more of the awesome gameplay that the Contra series is known for. Even the parts that make the game more interesting, like the space shooter part, are well done.

Streets Of Rage 2 – Genesis

Streets of Rage 2 is one of the best beat ’em ups from the 90s that wasn’t made by Capcom. People still really like the game and, especially, the music from it. Streets of Rage 2 was actually made for the Genesis. It was not first made for an arcade. This probably made it a little more fair, and the game still plays better than a lot of the best beat-em-ups from the time.

Streets of Rage 2 is a must-play Genesis game because of how hard it hits and how long the campaign is for the time. Alien vs. Predator and Capcom’s Dungeons & Dragons games are probably the best beat ’em ups of the 90s, but Streets of Rage 2 is definitely in the top five.