On November 21, 1990, Nintendo released its second videogame console in Japan, the Super Famicom. It's been 20 years since that day. Boy does time fly! While the system was the last of the three 16-bit consoles that I bought (got the TurboGrafx-16 first, then a Sega Genesis,and finally an SNES), Nintendo's console was the one that I spent the most time with. It was a hotbed for RPGs during its time, with Final Fantasy, Lufia, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Breath of Fire, and a slew of others. As such, my time was quite well spent with this console.
This was also a time when fanboy-ism really started to show itself, as there was stiffer competition between Sega and Nintendo for console supremacy. Sure there was a bit of back and forth between NES and Master System owners, but things really heated up when the Genesis and SNES came out. I still remember Sega's adverts that emphasized the sheer size of the Genesis' games library compared to the SNES, and the "Sega Does What Nintendon't" campaign. Meanwhile, Nintendo put more emphasis on the technical abilities of the SNES. In time, it also found itself with quite a robust library of games, so Sega's argument that it had more games became a moot point.
One thing that I had found interesting about the SNES' reign was that despite Nintendo loosening up its control on who could make games for its console, and under what conditions, some companies still chose to develop exclusively for the system. Squaresoft was a perfect example of this, as they steadfastly stuck with the SNES, bringing it a ton of high-quality RPGs (many of which, sadly, never saw a release outside of Japan). Square kept the Final Fantasy on the SNES, and brought a bunch of new games to it as well like Live-A-Live, Romancing Saga, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Front Mission, and Super Mario RPG. These were very good games, and I suspect many were instrumental in securing the SNES as the top 16-bit console. There were also companies that obviously favored the SNES over the Genesis, releasing the majority of their games for Nintendo's console, and bringing out only a few games for Sega's. Companies like Capcom, Konami, and Enix come to mind in regard to this.
About the only thing that ever irked me about the system was that when the SNES came out in North America it looked so unbelievably ugly in comparison to the Super Famicom. While the SFC was slick, and curvy, the SNES was a blocky, clunky abomination by comparison. Thankfully the games were fantastic, which helped me to overlook the fact that the system was such an eyesore.
The 16-bit era was probably the most formative age in videogame history for me growing up, and the SNES played a big part in that, so looking back on the 20 years that the console has been around brings back a lot of happy memories. With that, Happy Birthday Super Famicom! ^_^