Thursday, October 24, 2013

SNES Top Licensees

16 months ago I started playing through all of the US released games in the SNES library on my other blog, Ziggyny's SNES Adventure. I've been assigning a personal rating to a game each week and I've been wondering which company is going to end up having made the best games for the system. And how would that even be defined? Average rating? Sheer quantity of games with a high rating? Percentage of games with a high rating? I wish I'd thought of this when I started up so I could have made some predictions before getting involved with some of the games.

I feel like my initial guess would have had Square end up at the top of the heap. I know of four incredible games they put out at least! Koei would have been next since I spent a ton of time playing some of their simulation games. Aerobiz, Uncharted Waters, PTO, Romance of the Three Kingdoms III... And more! Third would probably have been Nintendo since they put out some really spectacular games. But they also put out a lot of games and there's bound to have been some stinkers. So if I'd be using an average metric it probably falls down below Square and Koei. Then there'd be the other game companies I remember putting out lots of games. Capcom, Konami, Electronic Arts...

One company I wouldn't have put on the list is Enix. Why? Because my mind thinks terrible things about them from when they merged with Square. The internet likes to blame that for the 'downfall' of the Final Fantasy series. So those thoughts aren't actually grounded in fact, but in internet bias. That's not good!

The reason I started thinking about Enix is I've spent all week playing the next game to be posted: Soul Blazer. Which happened to be put out by Enix. The only other game thus far in the adventure put out by Enix? ActRaiser. The single game I was most psyched about playing again when I started running the adventure. Ok, so they had a couple good early games... They must have put out a lot of junk afterwards to justify my not liking them, right? Well, it turns out they put out 10 games total on the SNES according to my list. And the next one after Soul Blazer is EVO: the Search for Eden! Another game I really, really, really want to play again. Later on they have 2 RPGs my brother had growing up which I remember liking (Paladin's Quest and Robotrek), 2 hard/annoying games I finally beat after sinking a ton of time into them (The 7th Saga and BRAIN LORD), an ok sequel (ActRaiser 2), a game from a series I've heard good things about but never played (Ogre Battle), and a game I've never heard of (King Arthur & the Knights of Justice). That is quite a line-up. Depending on how I feel when digging into the frustrating games Enix could end up putting up a really high score in any metric.

Enough to pass Square? Well, looking at that list I have to say there's no way. Square only put out 7 games for the SNES. Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, Chrono Trigger, and Breath of Fire. Yowsa! Soul Blazer is fun and all, but it is no Final Fantasy VI...

I ended up putting together a static page to go on my other blog listing the companies, the total number of games I've played thus far, how many got at least an A rating, and the average rating thus far. Most companies only have one game played thus far, so things could easily change, but the top two right now are Enix and Square. SunSoft is number 3, I guess because I really liked Lemmings. I don't recognize any of the other 11 game names though so they may end up tumbling down the list. Nintendo is far and away the leader in terms of A or better games with a full third of all good games coming from them. It's their forays into terrible sports games which are dragging them down in terms of average. Nintendo is also below Culture Brain, LJN, Acclaim, and Data East. Acclaim even has 3 games in the clubhouse and still average out to A-! Acclaim actually put out the second most games of any company to Nintendo, though I don't recognize very many of them.

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