The titular character was created by Shigeru Miyamoto, who also created such legendary Nintendo icons as Mario, Link, and Samus Aran. The original cartridge sold over 4 million copies, and used the revolutionary Super FX chip in order to become the first Nintendo game to feature three-dimensional polygon graphics. It has already spawned a half-dozen sequel and spin-off games across several platforms, along with contributing three fighters to the Super Smash Bros franchise of brawl titles.
That video game is Star Fox, released on February 21, 1993 for the 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The legacy of the SNES can still be felt today, and many of Nintendo's beloved series were more fully fleshed out on the console. Heroes such as the aforementioned Mario, Link, and Samus Aran may have begun on the earlier 8-bit NES machine, but their sharpened sequels on the SNES truly elevated them into the stratosphere of classic gaming canon.
Star Fox, however, was an entirely new move for the company. While factors such as the raw sales figures would point to its success, Fox was notable for other advances, too. Not only were the graphics rather distinctive for the time, but so, too, was the genre: A rail shooter, essentially, set in a futuristic science-fiction setting in an interplanetary galaxy-crossing environment inhabited by anthropomorphic animals? This was Star Fox, and the star-studded blackness of space proved to be a backdrop that was a far cry from the colorful, whimsical fantasy-emphasized settings of Super Mario, Kirby, and other Nintendo mainstays.
While the property has been quiet for years, it still has fans, who perhaps are hoping for a new title to be released on the Wii U. However, whether it flares back into mainstream recognition or burns into the sunset of its legacy, Star Fox left an imprint on Nintendo gaming that will not soon be forgotten or discarded.
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.