Switch Online’s lineup of Super Nintendo games is okay, I guess. But some titles are conspicuously missing.
Like so many retro game enthusiasts, I was pleased as hell when Nintendo announced their lineup of Nintendo Switch Online SNES games. We all sort of knew it was coming, but when the moment finally arrived and the titles were announced, the excitement was palpable (like, you could literally palp it).
But now, I’ve had some time to reflect on the list of games and shed some big fat Nintendo fanboy tears over the ones that didn’t make the cut.
For the longest time, the Super Nintendo was my favorite gaming console. I probably have more fond memories from the original NES, but the Super NES was such a better machine, with gorgeous 16-bit graphics and animation, bright colors, a massive library of incredible games, and of course the powerful nostalgia of my own coming-of-age in the legendary ‘90s.
And sandwiched between the NES and the N64, the SNES was in an even better position to win my affection. Despite the fanfare and “decent-for-the-time” muddyblocky polygon graphics, the N64 always looked ugly to me, and the controls were nowhere near as responsive as the SNES.
(By the way, here’s our Top 3 Favorite Switch Online SNES games…)
Don’t get me wrong, there were some great titles for the N64. I loved Ocarina of Time, Rogue Squadron, Goldeneye and pretty much all the Mario games. But the transition to 3D did some awful things to some of my favorite franchises. Castlevania may have eventually made a decent showing in 3D, but the N64 offerings were pretty sad. Mega Man suffered a similar fate.
And the greatest sin of all? The loss of Squaresoft and their incredible RPGs. Quest 64 was not an adequate follow-up for the RPGs that helpepd make the SNES such an incredible system.
So yeah. Even after the N64 came out, I still went back to my Super Nintendo again and again. To me, it was the greatest system ever made. It was perfectly versatile and capable of fast-playing games with vibrant graphics. And when Nintendo announced the Switch Online SNES games, I was… well, I was expecting more.
So what we have here is my picks for Nintendo Switch Online SNES games that should have been. Games that really should have made the cut, but did not.
I’m sure they have their reasons
I’m not the kind of Nintendo fan to pretend that I could run the company any better. I couldn’t. And I’m sure they have reasons for leaving out so many obvious Switch Online SNES games. But still. What the hell, you know?
It seems most likely that Nintendo couldn’t negotiate favorable terms to use some of the 3rd-party licenses. I can only imagine the fees that bigger game companies would demand for use of their games. Plus, many great SNES games are still being published today on modern systems as collections. Publishers would not want to murder their sales by making those games available with the rest of these Switch Online SNES games.
Anyway, here are my picks:
Mega Man X
I understand why this one didn’t make it. Capcom has multiple Mega Man collections on multiple Nintendo platforms. But Mega Man X is their most popular Mega Man title from the Super NES. They wouldn’t want to give away the cow when they could sell the milk.
Still, Mega Man X is sorely missing from the collection. Like a rotten-out tooth that once chewed the most delicious food. Never mind. Poor analogies aside, this is one of the best platformers for the Super NES and I wish they had included it.
Turtles in Time
While Capcom has clear reasons for excluding Mega Man from the Switch Online SNES games collection, I’m not quite sure why Konami wouldn’t give up this one. Turtles in Time is not being released in collections at all, other than the Arcade 1-Up. But sales on that should not be hurt by having included this game on the Switch.
My other guess is simply that Konami wanted to charge too much, or that Nickelodeon and Konami would both want a cut, and it would no longer be cost-effective for Nintendo to offer this at such a crazy low Switch Online price.
But, like Mega Man X, this game is such a classic. And it’s such a great 2-player beat-em-up, which there don’t seem to be quite enough of in the Switch Online SNES games.
It is absolutely nut-balls that Nintendo didn’t throw us this bone. It’s on the SNES Classic Mini, so why not here?
The thing about Earthbound is that people love it (not sure why) and it fetches an absurd price for an original cartridge. Even moderately serious retro collectors (like me) won’t touch the thing. It’s more of a trophy than a fun game.
That said, I think casual-retro gamers’ curiosity about Earthbound would be more likely to attract new subscribers to the Switch Online SNES games. Seems like a missed opportunity.
Besides that, this game was developed by HAI Laboratories, the same team that created Kirby. They have a super-sweet deal with Nintendo. HAI is technically independent, but they are also tied to Nintendo in a way that benefits them mutually. Earthbound is every bit as much of a Nintendo property as Kirby is. I think.
My best guess is that they’re saving Earthbound for a later announcement.
So many Squaresoft
Squaresoft dominated the Super NES. In my house, at least. I was a sucker for those 16-bit JRPGs and played every one I could get my hands on.
I especially enjoyed the Square RPGs with real-time combat like Secret of Mana and Secret of Evermore. But of course Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy were great as well. Any of those would have been very nice to include with the Switch Online SNES games.
We did get Breath of Fire, which is a fine game. It’s kind of an oddball, as it was developed by Capcom and distributed by Square. But with one solitary JRPG in all the Switch SNES collection, it feels like I’ve been short-changed.
The Super Nintendo was rich with brilliant RPGs. It was my favorite genre, and a huge reason the SNES was my favorite system. And I think the entire retro community would agree that if there was one thing the SNES did well, it was those. Squaresoft may have gotten their start on the NES/Famicom, but they elevated their art form to its peak on the SNES.
Concurrent with the announcement of the Switch Online SNES games, Square also released their Collection of Mana for the Switch. So it makes sense that nothing from that collection would go into the Switch Online games. Square also announced a remake of Trials of Mana, which is pretty exciting. They also like to release Chrono Trigger every few years on different platforms. (Sometimes with unwanted tweaks that enrage the fans.) And the Final Fantasy franchise? Well, I can only imagine how much money Square would demand for anybody to use that.
Well, it’s our loss I suppose. Too bad.
Super Mario RPG
I had to quadruple-check when I was writing this to make sure that Super Mario RPG really, actually, for-really didn’t make the list of Switch Online SNES games. It seems like such a no-brainer!
Super Mario RPG is a Mario game! And on a system that was known for its RPGs, and in a release platform that has very few! What the hell!?
Oh wait. Super Mario RPG was developed by Square. So maybe that’s the holdup. I don’t know why I imagine Squaresoft as a money-clutching drama developer. But I do.
Anyway, you would think that Nintendo could work something out to get this game released with the other Switch Online SNES games. Maybe they’re saving up their allowance to buy some rights from Square. I enjoyed Super Mario RPG, but not enough to actually purchase it. So it would be great to play it again in HD for a measly $4 per month.
I’m sure there are plenty more
I’m sure there are a ton of other games that I wish were here. You can probably think of a few. (Leave in comments plz.)
For me, the biggest travesty is the loss of all the great SNES RPGs. It was bad enough that Nintendo lost their relationship with Squaresoft to Sony when they insisted on continuing to use cartridge games.
But my favorite memories with this system were playing the epic RPGs and deep adventure games that really showed what the SNES could do, and drew me ever deeper into fantastic worlds that the NES could never render, and the N64 would abandon altogether.
Welp, here’s hoping for a new batch of Switch Online SNES games soon.–GG