Super Metroid was released on March 19, 1994 in Japan, making today its 25th anniversary.
Quick reminder here that I founded the Metroid Database website back in 1996 — but only to preface my saying that I literally, probably, cannot write any more about Super Metroid than I have already. I’ve played it, researched it, reviewed it, examined it, praised it, torn it apart, and got an S-logo tattoo. And I’ve watched others do the same, for 25 years now. So really, at this point, all I can do is celebrate it!
What’s great about looking back at Super Metroid today is seeing how it influenced so many games that came after it, what it’s meant to so many gamers and developers over the years, and how undeniably its presence is still felt. I think I would summarize that into what I feel are two main ways that Super Metroid impacted video game history, looking back from a 2019 perspective.
The first fact that many will point to is, of course, that the Super Metroid format was the origin of a style that continues to this day under the banner of “Metroidvania,” after it was adopted somewhat for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and became a standard of the Castlevania series. These days, the Metroidvania is one of the most popular formats for indie developers especially, with games such as Axiom Verge and Iconoclasts continuing to carry the torch. Undoubtedly, it was Super Metroid that inspired many of these devs to start creating games.
The other major influence SM had is on the speedrunning scene. From what I can tell, Super Metroid was actually the game that really launched the whole speedrunning style of gaming, since the game not only measures the time it takes to complete, but its design also lends itself to “cheating” so well. I am in absolute awe over the way players have broken down Super Metroid further than I ever thought possible. Back in the day, I felt like a real badass because I got good enough at the wall jump to figure out how to get a few items early, thereby figuring out “sequence breaking” on my own. Fast forward to today, when the main event of 2019’s Awesome Games Done Quick telethon was a mind-blowing, show-stopping “reverse boss order” speedrun that not only exploited glitches that I barely understand, but also crushed my own record time going through the game forwards.
In fact, as I write this, I’m getting a notification on my phone that GDQ is about to stream a Super Metroid race on Twitch in honor of the anniversary.
As for me though, even though I’ve lost count how many times I’ve played through Super Metroid, it’s actually been years since I’ve sat down and done it. The few times I’ve fired it up, I’ve been rusty and I can’t always remember where I’m going. But I think now, for its 25th birthday, I should probably hook back up with Samus and go for a run through Zebes and see if we can’t stomp out some Space Pirates again.
Huh. Turns out I can still write a little bit about Super Metroid.
So cheers, birthday girl, for being simply one of the greatest games of all time. What more is there to say?