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Legendary video game Super Metroid turned 20 years old

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For some, it will make you feel old -- for others, it will bring feelings of intense nostalgia and sentimentality. Millions of people have enjoyed Nintendo's video games throughout the past few decades, as figures such as Mario and Pikachu have become much-beloved figures in popular culture.

One of the most recognized and enjoyed characters from "Big N" is Samus Aran, the intergalactic bounty hunter and star of the Metroid franchise. And, arguably, the greatest entry in the canon is Super Metroid, which was released March 19, 1994 in Japan on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) home console.

This side-scrolling action platformer built on the formula of the original Metroid game for NES, but with marked improvements in gameplay, graphics, sound, and overall presentation value. While much of this was due to the SNES simply being a more powerful machine, the nuances of Super Metroid's design have long since been praised by players and writers alike, frequently calling it one of the greatest games of all time.

In the past 20 years, games such as Super Metroid and the Castlevania titles have served to establish an entire genre, lovingly referred to as "Metroidvania," based on the idea of gradually progressing in protagonist strength and exploration capability through graded empowerment and item-gathering. Key concepts such as level gating by power-up, movement enhancement, and others were all significantly influenced by Super Metroid, and can be seen in modern titles such as Guacamelee.

For many retro gamers worldwide, there may never be another experience quite like Super Metroid. And with a legacy this difficult to live up to, maybe that is just fine.

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Eric Bailey blogs at NintendoLegend.com, where he is reviewing every American-released NES video game. He also serves as Editor-In-Chief of retro gaming features site 1MoreCastle.com, and can be followed on Twitter @Nintendo_Legend.

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