Super Mario RPG Not Being Part Of SNES Online Library Is A Crime
Super Mario RPG being on the SNES Online Library seems like a no-brainer.
In 2018, Nintendo launched its online subscription service Nintendo Switch Online. As someone whose first-ever video game memory involved Super Mario, I was thrilled knowing a bunch of games from my childhood would be available digitally and could be played anytime I wanted for $20. Over the years since the service’s release, Nintendo has uploaded multiple games and libraries, the most recent being the libraries for the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis. But out of the plethora of games, there is still one that is missing that should not be: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
While Square Enix (known as Square during the time of the game’s development) holds most of the rights, I do not see how Nintendo would not be able to add the game to the Super Nintendo’s online library. Plus it was part of the Super NES Classic Edition’s library, so making the jump to the subscription service should be as easy as it is a no-brainer. My guess is that the rights Square Enix holds pertains mostly to the game’s story and look, especially since Nintendo’s Paper Mario still implemented the action timing-based mechanics used by its predecessor.
While Paper Mario has been added to the Nintendo 64’s library, it is a headscratcher to me that the game that inspired it is not part of the service at all. The game was Mario’s first foray into the stylings JRPGs, and famously celebrated amongst its dedicated fans. In fact, there’s a case to be made concerning it having a role in helping Square Enix really get ahold of western audiences.
The game was developed by Square in the Summer of 1994, months after the developer met with Nintendo. Square was looking to increase its foothold on western audiences and sought Nintendo and its high-jumping plumber to aid them. During development, there was some debate as to what kind of move set Mario should use in the game. So, fans got to choose at the 1995 V Jump Festival where the game was announced. Chihiro Fujioka, who was one of the game’s directors, sat alongside Super Mario’s creator Shigeru Miyamoto and asked fans to applaud for the move set they wanted more.
To nobody’s surprise, fans went with Mario’s hammer and jump moves over him using a sword and magic attacks (seriously, imagine how weird that would’ve been). The game’s 32-megabit cartridge used the SA-1 chip, which allowed for more characters to be displayed on-screen because it had four times the processing power of the Super Nintendo’s CPU. The game was a technological masterpiece, and Square even got to use the same technology Rare did when they made Donkey Kong Country.
Despite not being released in Europe and Australia until 2008, Super Mario RPG sold over 2 million units when it was released in Japan and North America in 1996. It currently is selling on some sites for as much as $149.99 (way above its original price of $74). When you think about the fact it was released four months prior to the Nintendo 64’s release that is not all that bad, especially since the game received high praise from multiple media outlets. Yet despite all of the praise it has received, Nintendo still has not added it to the Super Nintendo’s online library of games. When you compare to additions like Tuff E Nuff and Mario’s Super Picross, you really have to question the big N’s priorities.
With services like Switch Online, Xbox Game Pass, and PlayStation Plus, there is no longer a need for to relegate amazing pieces of gaming history like this to smaller classic-style video game consoles. While it can be found on Nintendo’s website, it needs to be made available on the Nintendo Switch — it’s a no-brainer, day-one pick that was passed over for reasons beyond me, but it’s never too late to fix that!