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Playing every SNES game – Interview with Peebs


In this article, I highlight the efforts by Peebs to try and beat every SNES game.

By: Evan G
Last updated: August 4, 2019

When it comes to video game preservation, much of the activities have focused on saving and confirming the game binaries, scanning packaging, and providing ways to play games on modern hardware (i.e. emulation). These activities are of course very important to ensure that games are playable in the future. However, video games are an interactive medium, and I think documenting how games are played is undeserved at the moment.

This is why I am so interested in a project by Peebs. His goal is to play through every single US, European, and fan translated Japanese game released on the SNES. Not only that, he plays through the games the way that we would have back in the early 90s, with nothing more than a user manual as a guide. Many games released during the SNES era did not age well, with goals that may not have been practical for a casual player. Through pure perseverance, Peebs has managed to complete over 600 games during the past five years. Given that there are over 950 games on his list, there is still probably at least a couple of years to go.

Since I find Peebs' goal to be awesome, I asked him a few questions.

First of all, thank you for the opportunity to conduct this interview. SNES Central has been a great resource for me over the years and it feels great to be able to add something to it. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Peebs, and for the past 5 years I've been streaming on Twitch and slowly beating every SNES game ever made. At the time of this interview, we've just completed game number 623! A list of what has already been completed as well as how long it took can be found here. I play every game on default settings and only use the resources included in the original packaging trying to recreate the experience as if I would have purchased the game when it was released. I'm also a huge fan and collector of weird controllers and peripherals, like the SNES Exertainment Life Fitness Cycle. I stream evenings 5 nights a week and for the most part, we just chill, hang out, and play Super Nintendo games.

Question: Has anyone else done something like this before, i.e. play through every single game for a mainline game console?

The first person to complete a system challenge was TheMexicanRunner, a Twitch streamer that is also very well known for speedrunning. TMR played through every US licensed game release for the NES and completed his challenge in February 2017.

There are others attempting other ongoing system challenges as well. SharpiePlays is over 800 games deep and playing through every Genesis, 32x, and Sega CD Game. Toad22484 is Speedrunning every NES game, which is a completely different yet very entertaining to watch challenge. Kaurtube is slowly playing through every 6th generation title (i.e.PS2, Xbox, Dreamcast, Gamecube), of which there are so very many.

Another similar challenge is Landail. He is playing through every US released console RPG in chronological order of release, which is a fascinating and daunting challenge of its own.

There is a Google document for system challenges available to watch on Twitch here. Every challenge / challenger has their own set of rules. Some use save states, some don't. Some use walkthroughs, some don't. There is a good variety of everything in there for people to watch and enjoy.

Question: Playing every through every single game for a system with a library of hundreds of games is a massive task, how long did you initially think it would take? What keeps you going?

I never really consider how long the project would take to complete. It was simply something I want to do because I never grew up with a SNES and missed out on so many great games. I knew it would take a long time, but there was no way to even come up with a reasonable estimate. Every next game completed is a bit of a rush as we keep moving forward. People ask all the time what I plan on doing after I beat every SNES game but that's still so far in the future, I have no idea.

When I started doing the project, I couldn't even find a complete list of all SNES games that accurately compared the names of the releases vs the regions they were released in. We had to make our own list of every title from each region where games were released and then cross reference all the titles to makes sure we didn't miss any unique releases. We've also gone through all of the possible fan translations to make a list of which ones are 100% complete. Thankfully, thanks to the hard work of others, this list continues to grow almost monthly.

What keeps me going through the project is sharing the experiences with viewers and beating games that perhaps very few people have ever beaten before. Everyone has played the classics but so very few people fully commit to the weird games, or the jank games, or even sports. Some of those games have given me the greatest sense of accomplishment when finally beating them. We always try to give every game a fair shake too and figure out what the game does well as opposed to what it does wrong. Generally if you go into these games open minded they all end up being very entertaining.

Question: By purposely not looking at FAQs/spoilers, you recreate the situation that the original players of the games would have faced. Having played through several hundred SNES games, do you think that most developers made SNES games with this in mind?

I haven't come across any games so far that have the wildly obscure "made to sell guides" mentality that people think existed. Although, a large amount of games assume you have access to the manual, as some mechanics have weird button combinations that one would never assume without a lot of trial and effort. Unfortunately finding scans for SNES manuals is relatively rough as they are scattered to the four corners of the internet. I've collected as many as I can, even digging through old fansites with the Wayback Machine. My plan is to clean them up and put them all on with a single easy to search directory, to help people that may want access to them in the future.

We've also been trying to purchase any SNES manuals on the cheap that we can in order to scan them for the same purpose. I know a lot of people have already done the manual thing for preservation purposes but as none of the sets are available online, I want to present people with as complete a set as possible for reading and reference.

Question: The game that has taken the longest to beat so far is Sim City 2000. Why did this game take so long to beat? Is the goal the same as PC version? Do you think that you might be the only person who has reached this goal? Do you think the developers would have actually play tested games like this all the way through?

The main reason Sim City 2000 took so long is the entire simulation is a waiting game. Also, it is amazing that it runs as well as it does on the SNES, as there is no option like on the PC to speed up the process. Primarily, the longer the game runs and the larger your city gets, the longer, in minutes, it takes for a year to pass to get more money for your budget to continue to grow your city. With every space occupied, it would take about 14.5 minutes for a single year to pass. But it takes only 8 minutes if you stared at the map screen. Less moving parts, less for the SNES to process, thus speeding up the computation process. After hitting 100k people, you then get the ability to build arcologies, which are the best way to expand your population. In order to build the arcology, we needed 3 Real Hours of waiting for money. Then, once you build each arcology, they only fill so much every year. It was really just like, 80+ hours of waiting for money / arcologies to fill.

I think plenty of people have reached this goal as it would be relatively easy to just leave your SNES on for an extended period of time, check it once or twice and day, spend all your money, then just leave it alone. The ending was terrific though. Beautiful little animation with a great, unique music track. Obvious spoilers, but here is the ending for those who want to check it out. I was rather surprised the ending was more than just a newspaper saying "Good Job." I assume testing could have easily have been done the same way. Some testing must have needed to have been done, at least in order to make sure the ending triggered properly.

Question: After you reach your goal of playing through every SNES game, will you still come back and beat games with new translations and add them to your list?

After we're done with every US Game, unique PAL Game, and all 100% Complete Fan Translations, then we move to Partial Translations and anything that I can easily blunder through. Like platformers with little text, puzzle games, functional BS Satellaview games etc... The challenge will never really be finished because people are always working hard and translating Super Famicom titles. Even wild things like Nintendo releasing Starfox 2 and Squaresoft officially releasing SNES RPGs like Romancing SaGa 2 / 3 and Trials of Mana. Who knows as well, large, advanced, in translation technology has been made in the last 5-10 years. Maybe we'll have some form of OCR that can help provide live / more accurate translations on the fly than just taking photos with your phone.

Question: You have recordings of playing through all the games. What are your plans for these? Will you archive them somewhere?

Unfortunately, I'm missing a couple hundred games worth of videos due to Twitch changing it's policies and deleting pretty much everything I had with no forewarning. At some point I'd love to archive them somewhere but downloading and managing storage for 900 videos is a bit much. I'll probably make local backups on an external HDD and aim for a better more accessible solution in the future. For now, Twitch VODs are good enough for me.

Eventually, I will also end up replaying all of the missing games as well so I have a complete set! =)

Question: Do you have plans to formally document certain achievements, like the end goal of the games? Has anyone approached you about the preservation aspect of playing through every game?

I've got the framework set already for every game. Possible win conditions. Does this have passwords / saves. All the possible information that anyone else may want / need in order to attempt the challenge themselves. I just need to get myself reoriented with HTML so I can make functional webpages.

No one has ever really asked about the preservation aspect in regards to things like completability / how many games have true defined endings. Some games do have unusual win conditions or even split win conditions depending on how you want to play the game. Simcity 2000 for example you could either get the 10 Million population or beat all of the scenarios. Or Multicarts like the Ninja Gaiden trilogy, I beat all three games before calling it done, but it only counted as a single "game". Then there are always things like Pinball Dreams, where the goal was to set a high score on a table. For sports games, I always feel strongly about winning whatever championship or tournament exists.

I really wasn't thinking about it when i started this whole thing but I wish I would have tracked things from the beginning. It would have been really nice to have started my challenge with a list of clear defined goals, but it's really been a lot of fun pioneering it and figuring things out as we go.

I'd like to thank Peebs for answering my questions! If you want to follow his quest to beat every SNES game, here are the links:

© Evan G. This site made by a Canadian, and fueled by beer. Do not use material on this site without permission.