Love and attention. A team that legitimately cares about the work as an end result. Driven by passion and a vision to make something extraordinairy.
While I would say that there needs to be more games with devteams like this, I'm realistic enough to admit that that's a hard bill to fill. Granted, indie games fill a nice niche where passion can prevail over the lack of polish that a company with lots of money can offer. Of course, getting an indie game to the point of being made and sold is tricky enough these days. But imagine how it was. Before the internet made information cheaper and easier, well, it was near-impossible to make a game and have it achieve any measure of success unless you dealt with a publisher and had a team of people to work under you. And yet, games made by large teams of people can't really achieve that level of devotion from everyone on the team; everyone has different idea's and opinions, and the more people you try to inspire, the less likely you're going to succeed at getting everyone to follow your vision.
Something special happened, however, in the Super Metroid development cycle. I direct you to the webseries All Your History for more of the exacts. It took a lot to get Super Metroid off the ground. The fact I can't ignore: Super Metroid got made, and it got made brilliantly.
In fact, it's for this game that I have developed an odd habit. If it's a piece of work that I truly enjoy and love, I will refrain from partaking in it for a long time, to give myself more time to forget the details about it. That way, when I inevitably go back to it, I'm experiencing it as close to new as I can.
To that end, I have not played Super Metroid in nearly eight years. I can barely remember anything about Maridia, or the ways that Ridley moved and dodged, the paths between all the areas... It's all a hidden little blur in my head.
And that's exactly how I want it. Whenever I believe is the time to return to it, it shall be amazing.
In conclusion, the SNES is a retro masterpiece. Even to my bias, I can't deny that it won the 16-bit era. It simply had too many good games made for it. While I may enjoy some of the individual games on other consoles more, as a whole... Well, the SNES has a titan of a game library to offer. You just can't stand up to that.
Tune in Sunday for the start of a new Top Ten.