1. Super Metroid
We’re not shy in saying that the SNES is where Nintendo perfected its craft. Nowhere is that more true than Super Metroid, which drastically improved on both its predecessors by adding a map, new powers, new monsters and insane amounts of detail crammed into every claustrophobic room. And that detail is the real genius of Super Metroid--how its story is told and how planet Zebes and its denizens are conveyed; the game tells so much with so little, using subtle moments and music cues to accentuate events that other games would shout from the heavens. In this regard, its only real modern equivalent is Portal. Even BioShock, which literally states its purpose, is blunt by comparison.
Its explorative, backtracking nature was copied by Symphony of the Night, and more recently, Shadow Complex, proving its endlessly repeatable nature. It was aped five years later, now 18 years later, and will continue to inspire new titles into the future. Outland, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Cave Story, and others take their cues from this towering achievement in 2D gaming. Nintendo seems unsure what to do with this series, having handed it off to Retro Studios 10 years ago then taking it back only to release the backpedaling Other M--how about, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, you make that next 2D Metroid everyone has been waiting for?