With 20 NES games and more possibly to come, here are the titles I want to see as a part of Nintendo Switch Online.
Nintendo Switch Online launches in September, and with it, subscribers have been promised access to a library of 20 classic NES games at launch on their Nintendo Switch, with more on the way. This comes as a part of Nintendo’s gradual move away from the Virtual Console label, alongside other classic gaming offerings such as the NES Classic Edition and SNES Classic Edition. So far, Nintendo remains steadfast with its small scope for the service, though Nintendo dreamers like me hope one day for more modern titles, too.
Though 20 titles will be available at launch, we only know about ten of them so far, and more will be added down the road. With Nintendo keeping them under wraps for now, here are seven classic games I’d love to see as a part of Nintendo Switch Online either at launch or later on after release:
- NES Open Tournament Golf
- Doki Doki Panic
- Marble Madness
- Milon’s Secret Castle
- Harvest Moon
- Chrono Trigger
- Mother 1, 2, and 3
NES Open Tournament Golf (Mario Open Golf)
The original Mario Golf game was published on the NES and came to the United States as NES Open Tournament Golf. It was the second golf game on the NES, though notably the original Golf hasn’t been announced alongside its brethren Soccer and Tennis for Nintendo Switch Online. My recommendation is to skip the basic Golf and go all-in on NES Open Tournament Golf instead. Or, rather, go for a localization of Mario Open Golf, which was the same game in Japan but with more courses and more difficult holes.
Revisiting Mario Open Golf is a great opportunity to examine the roots of the excellent Mario Golf games in a convenient, portable format. It’s also a shoe-in for that online multiplayer that Nintendo’s been touting.
Doki Doki Panic
Fun fact time: Doki Doki Panic was only ever released in Japan. The game takes place in an Arabian fantasy setting and features a family as the main protagonists. The game did eventually see a North American release, but with a different look–it came out as Super Mario Bros. 2, and featured Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad! In most respects, it’s the same game, though settings, characters, visuals, sounds, and some technical aspects shifted. For example, in the original Doki Doki Panic, the player was required to beat a level with all four main protagonists, instead of any character they liked.
The original Doki Doki Panic never made it west, and while no one’s clamoring for a localization the way they clamor for, say, Mother 3 (more on that later), there’s something interesting about seeing original titles show up where they weren’t intended to. Just take a look at Star Fox 2! Doki Doki Panic would be a fun curiosity of a release and a great chance for North American players to see the roots of a classic Mario game.
Though it began as an arcade game, I poured hours into Marble Madness after school on the NES as a child. It’s notoriously difficult, as the player must navigate a slippy marble down an obstacle course fraught with obstacles, all within a time limit. The best speedrunners can knock this game out of the park, but for amateurs like the rest of us, Marble Madness is a true test of patience and very rewarding for those who are successful.
Okay, maybe I just want to be able to smash some marbles up on my Nintendo Switch, but with its short rounds of play (and, dare I suggest, potential for motion control integration?), Marble Madness could be a delight as a part of Nintendo Switch Online.
Milon’s Secret Castle
Milon’s Secret Castle was a lesser-known platformer on the NES that had many of the trappings of Mario. Even its star character, Milon, who was trying to rescue a princess trapped in an enormous, multi-roomed castle, looked a bit like Mario. He could break bricks and shoot bubbles (not fireballs), and his primary skill was jumping. That said, Milon’s Secret Castle was notable for its obscurity and difficulty, unlike Mario, who just had to run to the right. The levels on each floor of Milon’s castle could be entered in any order, and the goal was often to acquire enough money to buy a certain item that would allow you to progress, or to find a hidden item in a stage. Worst (or best) of all, the blocks in Milon’s Secret Castle often had no indication of whether they were breakable or not. You just had to spam bubbles and hope for the best, or memorize the level layout.
Though challenging, Milon’s Secret Castle was a wonderful variant on the Mario formula that doesn’t deserve to be lost to the ages. Perhaps Nintendo sees it in competition with their plumber mascot, but I offer that Milon would make an excellent friend alongside the many Mario titles already being offered.
Hey, no one said we had to stick to NES games, right? For now, Nintendo seems inclined to stick to its older system, but with the SNES Classic Edition also on everyone’s minds, I think it’s fair to posit SNES titles may have a chance. The SNES Classic Edition is already loaded with the majority of the console’s greatest hits, but there are two notable games missing from the line-up that would be perfect for Nintendo Switch Online. The first is the original Harvest Moon, the farming sim that started it all. Though obviously a far simpler experience than modern Harvest Moon games, the recent hit that was Stardew Valley revived the audience for such games by, in many ways, returning to the genre’s roots. The original Harvest Moon’s serene, yet challenging simulation would be a perfect way to ensure I never put my Nintendo Switch down again.
Since we’re talking about the SNES Classic, I can’t get out of here without mentioning the console’s most glaring omission: Chrono Trigger. Chrono Trigger’s updated release on the Nintendo DS has thus far been the best way to play one of the best RPGs of all time, but as the DS goes out of fashion, I keep looking for a convenient way to revisit it. What better way than on my Nintendo Switch?
Later incarnations of Chrono Trigger, especially the recent PC port, have been questionable in quality, but they’ve also included bonus content not available in the original. A straight port of Chrono Trigger with its original integrity intact but including the additional dungeons would be a welcome addition to Nintendo Online Services. Chrono Trigger is one of the few games that has held up to its hype almost completely even years after its initial release. Allowing it a spotlight on the Switch would be a perfect way to introduce its time traveling, magical adventure to a new generation of fans.
Mother, Mother 2, Mother 3
Localize Mother 3, the sign says, and we all clamor agreement. At least for Nintendo’s Online Services, Mother 1 and 2 (or Earthbound Beginnings and Earthbound) aren’t outside of the realm of possibility even though they are both SNES offerings and appeared on the SNES Classic Edition. But if Nintendo’s going to insist on teasing us with these cult classic RPGs, then it’s time Mother 3 got the localization it deserved. What better way than on the Nintendo Switch as a part of the online service?
All three Mother games have grown a devoted following over the years with their quirky characters and dialogue, silly and at times satirical portrayal of American culture, and dark, emotional, and at times unsettling themes. Nintendo isn’t unaware of the love for these games in the west, and seems to enjoy the fan requests for Mother 3. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this incredible series won’t be left to languish on the Wii U Virtual Console alone.
What games do you want to see on Nintendo Switch Online?
Let me know in the comments if I missed any games you’re eager to see.