For players spanning from children to adults, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) carried countless into imaginative worlds, provided an outlet to sharpen critical thinking skills, and elevated gaming on a global scale.

A wide array of titles were released. Many became time-tested classics, spurring franchises, as well as, setting a solid foundation for the gaming universe.

Here are its 12-bestselling titles. 

12.) Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! / 2.8 million

Released November 1996, Rare

Coming in at number twelve is the third installment of the Donkey Kong trilogy. The game’s plot involves Donkey and Diddy Kong having been kidnapped. Diddy’s girlfriend, Dixie, embarks on a search and rescue with her cousin sidekick, Kiddy Kong.

Having been released just two months after the launch of the Nintendo 64 console, sales for the Donkey Kong Country 3 were dealt a significant blow. Unable to surmount to the levels of its predecessors, the Rare-developed game sold just under three million units.

11.) Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie / 3.2 milliondragon quest VICredit: Andrés Álvarez Iglesias

Released December 1995, Heartbeat

All units of Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie were sold exclusively in Japan, making it the bestselling game of 1995.

The game was never localized to North America or the European Union due to time and circumstance. The size of the game was the largest of its kind. Therefore, localization would have taken longer and demand more resources than usual. That, combined with the risk to U.S. developers of introducing something so different, sank the prospect of it being a worthwhile venture. However, the game did make it to the U.S. and the E.U. in its revival as a Nintendo DS title.

10.) Killer Instinct / 3.2 million

Released August 1995, Rare

Killer InstinctCredit: Chris Harrison

Killer Instinct first hit the market as an arcade game before release on the SNES. The mano-a-mano fight style reflected the influences of hit predecessors. The title gained promotional box status with the SNES.

The game lead to a series, with a sequel released the following year for the Nintendo 64 and the third in 2013 for the Xbox One.

9.) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island / 4 million

Released October 1995, Nintendo EADYoshi_Throw_Egg_Artwork_-_Yoshi_Touch_&_GoCredit: Yoshi's Moon

Released in 1995, Yoshi’s Island expanded the Mario universe. Set early in Mario and Luigi’s lives, the game is a prequel to the franchise’s titled releases. 

The plot of the game begins with a stork en route with Baby Mario and Baby Luigi being intercepted and captured. Babies Mario and Luigi fall onto Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi must return them and free the stork.

The game was widely accepted, winning critical acclaim, reviews, and awards.

8.) Star Fox / 4 million

starfoxCredit: Jeff Egnaczyk

Released March 1993, Nintendo EAD

One of the first 3D games developed by Nintendo, Star Fox quickly became a commercial hit and successful franchise. Gameplay was very geometric. The story of the single player shooter involved Star Fox team defending their home planet, Corneria, against the evil intruding Andross.

Star Fox’s success placed Fox McCloud on the Nintendo all-star roster, with continuing titles and presence in others, such as Super Smash Bros. 

7.) Street Fighter II Turbo / 4.1 million

Released August 1993, Capcom

Being such a crazy success, Capcom released multiple editions of Street Fighter II, each with varied improvements to display, characters, and gameplay.

Choosing a fighter then traversing the world, going up against the best of the best was a recipe for success. Street Fighter II remains one of Capcom’s greatest-selling titles.

6.) Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest / 4.3 million

Released November 1995, Rare

The game introduced Dixie Kong, Diddy Kong’s girlfriend, and gave Diddy a titled game, furthering his exposure and sealing him as a Nintendo classic. The game successfully built upon the Donkey Kong universe and was one of the year’s bestselling games.

5.) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past / 4.6 million

Released November 1991, Nintendo EAD

The classic action-adventure single player comes in fifth. A prequel to the two earlier titles for the NESThe Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is set at the beginning on the Zelda storyline.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past swept up accolades during its day and has survived on many all-time top 100 video games lists.

street fighter cabinetCredit: Nelson Kwok

4.) Street Fighter II: The World Warrior / 6.3 million

Released July 1992, Capcom

From pizza parlors to arcades, people left and right were video game drunk on Street Fighter and couldn’t get enough. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was the first console rendition of the game. Before its SNES release, the franchise had a total of five years exclusively as an arcade game. This buildup, along with the classic gameplay and unforgettable characters, rocketed the game to the fourth bestselling of the console.


3.) Super Mario Kart / 8.7 million

September 1, 1992, Nintendo EADfind of the centuryCredit: whatleydude

The racing game with Mario franchise characters is the third bestselling SNES game. The game had eight playable characters and three cups (modes) with a hidden, unlockable fourth.Its success and favorability established it as a franchise of its own.

The title has gone on to become one of the staples of Nintendo, evolving accordingly with each console. 

2.) Donkey Kong Country / 9 million

November 1994, Rare

Coming in second is Donkey Kong followed closely by Diddy Kong, ready at any moment to be back fived in.

The game begins with Donkey Kong discovering his stash of bananas has been boosted. Enlisting his nephew, Diddy Kong, as a sidekick, the two take off to reclaim bananas, fight off the Kremlings, and defeat their ruler, King K. Rool, restoring peace to Donkey Kong Island. 

1.) Super Mario World / 20.6 million

November 1990, Nintendo EAD

marioCredit: pixabay

Being sold with SNES is what blasted Super Mario World’s sales into the stratosphere, far surpassing the other top sellers. Nevertheless, the game is the flagship of the system and nearly all the hands that held an SNES controller used it to jump on top of a Koopa, only to accidently shoot the shell the wrong way.

Along with advancing gameplay, abilities, and introducing Yoshi, Super Mario World further synonymized Nintendo with Mario and vice versa.

There you have it. The top 12 bestselling games for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Anything you’re surprised didn’t make the list?