In the mid-late 1990s, while Nintendo shifted marketing focus to the Nintendo 64 and wound down SNES publishing, most other publishers followed suit, shifting to the next console generation. Many consumers still had a Super NES and did not have the need to make the jump to a new console. In October 1997, Nintendo released the SNES Jr. in North America at a budget $99; the following month Nintendo and THQ would each publish only three more titles, marking the end of development for the SNES. Identifying a publishing gap in this new budget market, Majesco Sales, Inc. made a play and reached agreements with Nintendo and Sega to reprint many SNES titles that had been released in the years prior. The production quality of Majesco reprints should make you weary as a collector about purchasing them. They were produced as bargain-bin items with a target price of $20USD. This guide is meant to be a comprehensive analysis of Majesco reprints (images to come) as well as an ongoing page documenting the period from 1997-1999 in SNES gaming.
It is important to note that Nintendo did not authorize Majesco to reprint first party games, All of the games produced by Majesco were third-party titles. Majesco continued to print reprint cartridges well into 1998 and 1999.
Note that although the latter two Super Star Wars games were rereleased by Majesco, the first Super Star Wars was not as Nintendo picked it up for its Player's Choice line. All Player's Choice releases are published and distributed by Nintendo, regardless of their original publisher.
Cartridges vary in many ways from their original print runs. Rather than glossy or semi-gloss labels, all Majesco reprints have rough matte labels that scuff easily. Do *NOT* use Goo-Gone to clean these labels. It will wear the label right off. These labels also tear easily and the glue tends to lift up on the end label. In addition to label quality, all labels will have "ASSEMBLED IN MEXICO" printed on the bottom left corner of the label. This distinguishes Majesco reprints from other releases that will say either "MADE IN JAPAN", "MADE IN MEXICO", or "MADE IN PUERTO RICO". Top Gear's Majesco re-release is different in that it also mentions Majesco on the front label. The back of these cartridges will have the warning label either molded into the plastic or labelled with "ASSEMBLED IN MEXICO" in the top right corner. Only Majesco titles will have the moulded backs. If you open up the cartridge, most reprints' MASKROMs will say "Majesco Sales" on them, in addition to the name of the game. I have not verified every cartridge I own but this seems to be the trend. These Majesco cartridges are typically very primitive games with no enhancement chips, and they use their own board revision, denoted MJSC.
Manuals will be printed on a thinner, black-and-white stock as compared to the thicker color manuals that came with first-run prints. These manuals have very low black levels, so it'd be more appropriate to call these "neutral grayscale" manuals. On the back of the manual or on the inside back cover you may find the text "Distributed by Majesco Sales, Inc.".
Boxes will have a rough cardboard texture to them, much different from the glossy SNES boxes that shipped in the early 1990s or the semigloss boxes from 1994-1996. Additionally, on the back of the box you will find in small lettering the text "ASSEMBLED IN MEXICO" rather than the "MADE IN JAPAN" that first prints used. Some game boxes also add "Distributed by Majesco Sales, Inc." to the artwork on the back of the box. Some boxes have inconsistencies with their original print runs, such as small typos or upside-down screenshots, but they are identical in their basic graphic design and even have the ESRB ratings respective to their original release, or no ESRB rating at all if the games were released before late 1993.
2020 update: Williams (publisher of Ms. Pac Man and Williams Arcade Hits Collection in 1996) also used the "ASSEMBLED IN MEXICO" lettering on the back of their boxes. The first printing of these games have color manuals and the back of Ms. Pac Man's box says that the game was manufactured by Williams, so it is doubtful there is any connection to Majesco. Since Mortal Kombat 3 (released in 1995) was made in Japan, and Williams only released three games in 1996, it is unlikely that they owned their own cartridge manufacturing facilities. Based on other games from this time period of 1995-1998, my running theory is that Nintendo opened a manufacturing facility in Mexico in early 1996, where they manufactured the cartridges for most games including Donkey Kong Country 3, Kirby Super Star, the aforementioned Williams games, and others. Toy Story and Donkey Kong Country 2, released in late 1995, have a mix of Japan and Mexico-produced games, where the latter have part numbers prefixed with "M/" In 1997, Nintendo sold these Mexico facilities to Majesco and moved production back to Japan by the release of Space Invaders and Kirby's Dream Land 3 in October 1997 (and the 1998 rereleases mentioned below).
This section is incomplete, but I thought it would be an interesting thing to keep track of. Usually when Nintendo reprints a game they add the "Player's Choice" ribbon and change the box template to a blue-gold palette. The "E" ESRB rating replaced the "K-A" rating on January 1, 1998. The only third-party-published game with an "E" rating is Frogger, published by Majesco in October 1998. For those games that Nintendo reprinted during 1998 or later, the games were actually rebadged with an "E" ESRB rating and had the Nintendo website ("www.nintendo.com") added to the box's endflap. Not every game republished by Nintendo received the "Player's Choice" treatment though - some games below only have had their ESRB ratings changed, with the same box and cartridge artwork otherwise. The following list will denote Player's Choice titles with an asterisk (*).