Soapbox features enable our individual writers and contributors to voice their opinions on hot topics and random stuff they've been chewing over. Today, Jim shines a light on an already dazzling Direct drop...

It took me a few hours to come down after the June Nintendo Direct. The showcase was stacked. In the moment, it felt like Nintendo was wheeling out its biggest guns, hitting us fanboys square in the face with just about every announcement we could have wished for.

A few hours later, I came back to the full roster of announcements with a level head. Calmer and with my sensible goggles on, I was expecting things to feel a little different. I was wrong. It still slapped.

The intensity of announcements is exactly what the Switch needed in what previously looked like a sleepy year, but it was a double-edged sword. The behemoths of a new Mario RPG, a 2D Zelda game, Just Dance 2025 Metroid Prime 4, and even a cheeky Donkey Kong remaster might have restored my faith in the Switch, but their towering height meant that almost every other reveal was bound to be overshadowed.

And so, I thought it only right to shine the light on one of the not-so-little guys that, in any other showcase, might have played a starring role. Yes, Marvel vs. Capcom Fighting Collection: Arcade Classics was the unsung hero of the June Direct.

I have longed for an accessible and official way to play the iconic Marvel fighters for years. Years. Plural. Yes, there's always emulation, but I was after something that felt a little cleaner (what would Steve Rogers do?) so, short of spending a small fortune to get a cabinet installed in my sitting room, my playtime has been pretty short.

The small village in the south of England I grew up in was hardly a hotspot for arcades. I was never lucky enough to own a Sega Saturn or Dreamcast and my PlayStation habits were mainly limited to polygonal animals with hair-pulling camera controls. All this is to say that whenever I got the chance to go hands-on with a 'Marvel vs.' entry at a novelty pop-up or barcade (when I was a little older, of course), I was locked in.

Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter gobbled up more tokens than I care to admit at NQ64 (a UK chain of bar arcades) last year. What was I supposed to do? Not try every single character? And after discovering Marvel vs. Capcom 2: Age of New Heroes at a retro games fair in the late 2000s, my brother and I poured our souls into the Xbox 360 version until even that god-awful soundtrack started to sound a little bit good.

Marvel vs. Capcom Fighting Collection: Arcade Classics
Image: Capcom

In the years since I have resigned myself to the fact that I am not very good at fighting games. My reaction times are sloppy, I can't be bothered to remember combos, and discussions around hitboxes and frame analyses make my head hurt. But I am one of the last-standing proponents for all things Marvel, so my memory of these fighting games isn't a stream of defeats, but rather it is full of joy at seeing Spidey, Cyclops, and Thanos (before he was cool) duke it out with some of the finest pixel art on the block. Ah, simpler times.

The Direct appearance from the Marvel vs. Capcom collection has me ready for those simple times to return. I can once again force friends and family to play Age of New Heroes! It won't cost me £20 just to try out the full rosters! I can finally see whether The Punisher scratches that very specific Marvel beat-'em-up itch that I've had ever since episode four of X-Men '97 — and no, Marvel Ultimate Alliance did not fit the bill.

And it's not just familiar faces for me. I've never played X-Men: Children of the Atom, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, or the OG Marvel Super Heroes. Am I a little grumbly about the absence of the four-player 1992 X-Men beat 'em up? Of course I am. I wouldn't be a good Marvel fan if I didn't find something to moan about. But this collection will give me (and I'm sure a lot of you) the chance to experience some arcade classics for the first time. Way to get those Spider-senses tingling, Capcom.

Even if you are lucky enough to have played all of these titles to death already, Capcom is throwing in art, a jukebox, original marquee cards, save states, casual battles, and a whole boatload of other helpful features to hopefully make this a worthwhile purchase nonetheless. Say what you will, that's good game preservation, bub.

With the absence of my beloved spandex-wearing supes, I never picked up 2022's Capcom Fighting Collection and saved myself the shame of having my dignity handed to me in online match-ups. But from everything I heard about it, I'm optimistic that the Marvel-focused edition will provide a very good time.

The June Direct brought me so much joy and if pressed to reveal my favourite announcement, Echoes of Wisdom would probably still take it. What can I say? I'm predictable. But in a year when Switch was supposedly winding down and something as exciting as Marvel vs. Capcom Fighting Collection: Arcade Classics feels like it's fallen by the wayside, then boy are we going to be eating well over the coming months.

How excited are you about the Marvel vs. Capcom collection? Was it your top Direct announcement? Let us know in the comments.

Which game are you the most excited to play in the Marvel vs. Capcom collection?