Why the FX Not?
[Note: Things have changed dramatically since this article was published. So, put yourself into a 2016 mindset and enjoy.]
The Super NES has one of the best game libraries in the history of the industry. During its life cycle, it brought us Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Mega Man X, Contra III: The Alien Wars, Donkey Kong Country, Final Fantasy III, and so many more. It's really insane when you think of just how much quality that console produced. And for the most part, the big-name titles are all very playable today. Sure, there are some licensed games out there that are trapped behind contracts and rights issues, but by and large, if there was a seminal SNES game, it's been re-released in one form or another. That is, of course, unless it used the Super FX chip.
Common practice in the days of yore was to occasionally toss extra chips in game cartridges to push the power of your game console past its limits. The Super FX chip was special though, because this thing actually let your SNES push polygons, which were all the rage back in 1993. The trouble is, this special chip has made proper emulation of these games somewhat difficult, and Nintendo hasn't seen fit to figure that out yet. Granted, there weren't exactly a ton of them to begin with, but when you consider the FX-powered titles that are currently unavailable on any modern consoles, especially the Nintendo-developed ones, their absence in the modern world kinda stings.
First and foremost, we have Star Fox. The first (and in my humble opinion best) game in the relatively beloved series. This game was a mind-blower when it came out, and it still plays pretty darn well today. Then there's the under-appreciated Stunt Race FX. Sure, the frame rate more resembles a slide show than an actual video game, but once you get the hang of it, it's a remarkably fun and challenging racer, and it just so happens to have an excellent personality and soundtrack to boot. And most importantly of all, we have the exquisite Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. This one is a masterpiece, and its sad Game Boy Advance port may be serviceable, but it's a pale shadow of the brilliant SNES original. These games are the big ones, but there's also the technically impressive SNES port of DOOM, a sweet dirt bike racer called Dirt Trax FX, and a pretty wild robot combat game called Vortex out there. At the very least, these games are a visual curiosity that are very interesting to explore, and at most classics that are in danger of being forgotten forever.
So what should Nintendo do? At the moment, they seem to think "nothing" is the best strategy. But I have a couple of recommendations. First, the easy one would be to just figure out the emulation and get the games running on Wii U or whatever the heck NX winds up being. Make them play just like they did on SNES, and call it a day. It's not impossible. People have figured this out. I've played Star Fox on a laptop before, and that was nearly 10 years ago. Getting these titles up and running on Wii U shouldn't be THAT hard. Second, and this is my favorite option, remake them from scratch while retaining the original aesthetic. Hear me out. I'm not talking about a fancy new-looking remake. I mean, use the exact same number of polygons as they did in the original releases, just make the games run in 60FPS. Can you imagine how cool Star Fox would look in HD at 60FPS? Stunt Race FX would finally be playable for people who like their video games to appear like they're moving. Yoshi's Island would be, well, don't touch that game. Just make it run like it does. NO TWEAKING!
Do I think this will happen? Heck no. Do I want it to happen? Absolutely. What do you think? Would you buy HD remasters of the Super FX games?