Nintendo has been steadily adding to its Nintendo Switch Online NES and SNES offerings since the service launched, and although it was a slow start, we have to say we're impressed with the breadth of titles available to anybody paying for a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.
It's pleasing to see lesser-known titles such as Claymates, Jelly Boy, and Bombuzal sitting there alongside the standard, predictable 16-bit classics — your Mario Worlds, your Link to the Pasts, and your Super Metroids. Most of the big first-party games are present and correct (we say 'most' — we'll get to a couple of the stragglers below), and there's a a pleasantly varied bunch of third-party offerings.
Despite the glaring omissions, on the whole the available library delivers a decent snapshot of a '90s gamer's shelf. Most of the conspicuous absences are also available elsewhere on Switch, either as standalone download releases or as part of a compilation. Those significant outliers still exist, though, so below we've rounded up 20 SNES games we'd like to see come to Nintendo's online service.
Some are perhaps more likely than others due to licensing or other business factors, but deals are for the making! We'd love to see an expansion into the 3D era with Nintendo 64 games, too, but there are plenty of 16-bit gems to revisit if Nintendo is 64-bit shy. Let's take a look at some of the best...
(Spoilers: there are lots of Konami games!)
This Square-developed progenitor to the Paper Mario series turned 25 earlier this year and is one of the standout omissions from the service to date. Swapping the side-on platforming view for an isometric perspective, this adventure naturally offered a richer narrative and more entertaining roster of well-written characters than any previous Mario game.
Whether Square Enix is somehow blocking the game's release on the service is up for debate — it is available on the SNES Classic Mini, if you managed to grab one of those. It would be much more convenient to have access to it on Switch, though.
Combining an overhead 'god' mode with some side-on, sword-swinging, platforming goodness, ActRaiser wraps put two distinct styles of gameplay with an incredible score by Yuzo Koshiro (you may have noticed that we're quite partial to his tunes around these parts).
In isolation, the component gameplay parts perhaps don't hold up as well as they might have, but taken as a whole with its brilliant soundtrack, Quintet's game is unmissable and having it on Switch would be a godsend.
An incredibly charming port of a huge experience, SimCity is one of the best value-for-money propositions in the 16-bit console's library, potentially offering months and months of gameplay. Action fans are obviously going to be disappointed by the lack of instant gratification, but if you're after a title that will challenge your grey matter then this is it, and we'd love to catch up with Dr. Wright on Switch.
A 1992 shooter from Konami, this was a very welcome surprise then it showed up on Wii U Virtual Console, but we've long since packed away our Wii Us and it'd be cracking to be able to take Axelay on the bus with us. Konami had an exceptional run during the 8 and 16-bit eras and this isn't the last you'll hear from the developer on this list.
Okay, now we're getting a little ambitious. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem came out on the Super Famicom in 1994 and never left Japan, even when it was remade for Nintendo DS. The third game in the series, Fire Emblem didn't really catch on in the west until much later, but the success of Fire Emblem: Three Houses on Switch reconfirmed the franchise's popularity here following its revitalisation with Fire Emblem: Awakening on 3DS.
This one is already available for Japanese Switch Online subscribers (or anyone with a Japanese Nintendo Account on their Switch), but we would absolutely jump at the chance to play this or its follow-up, Fire Emblem: Geneology of the Holy War, with a new localisation. It's a lot to ask, yes, especially as Famicom original Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light got a limited time standalone release in the West recently (officially localised for the first time), but if you don't ask you don't get, and Nintendo want to add value to the service; previously unreleased games would be a great incentive to stay signed up.
The opening level of U.N. Squadron may be a little too tough but the difficulty curve is otherwise well-judged in what is a challenging game. The occasional instances of slowdown are unfortunate but there's not much else to fault with this excellent shooter. With some great music, varied levels, exciting action and interesting bosses, U.N. Squadron is a game that's enjoyable to play through again and again — a perfect potential addition to the Nintendo Switch Online SNES library.
If U.N. Squadron is a little too serious for your taste, then this is the game for you. Parodius shares some DNA with the Gradius series, but is a lot easier to master due to a much gentler difficulty curve. If you're looking for a SNES classic beyond the more obvious Marios and Zeldas, you owe it to yourself to track down the cart and take yourself on a non-sense fantasy trip.
Or, you know, Nintendo and Konami could get all pally and save you the trouble.
There are some things about the controls that irritate and visually Shadowrun lacks polish but for the most part the game is challenging fun, with atmospheric music, interesting characters and a gripping narrative that makes each play through an absolute joy. Perhaps the only disappointing thing is that the ending mentions ‘Shadowrun II’ and whilst games based on the license appeared on the Mega Drive, Mega CD and Xbox 360, sadly none were the much-deserved sequel to this. A prime candidate to rediscover on Switch.
With fast-paced, addictive gameplay, a catchy musical score and graphics that are still easy on the eyes today, NBA Jam has certainly aged well and stands as the definitive basketball game of its generation. Although there were many sequels that tweaked the formula with extra bells and whistles, none exceeded the original in core gameplay quality and arcade-style b-ball thrills.
Chrono Trigger is, and will always be, one of the most unforgettable RPG experiences ever to grace a video game console. Even the first time you play it, you'll immediately know that you're experiencing something special. It brought so many new ideas to the table that give it its unique look and feel, and on a remarkable system noted for its extensive catalogue of RPGs, Chrono Trigger is at the very top of the SNES pile.