I’ve been a subscriber to Nintendo’s Switch Online service for a few months now, and I would say that I’ve been about as satisfied with it as someone could be when they pay for something and not get much of anything in return. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit harsh, because, the service DOES give you some things. Let’s take a quick look at ’em (along with Nintendo’s hype lines) in list form, shall we?
- Online Play: “Battle it out or cooperate with players online.” — Remember when online pay-to-play wasn’t a thing with consoles? Well, I sure do, and as such, this “feature” has never felt like much of a value with ANY of the console companies.
- Save Data Cloud: “Backup your game save data to the cloud.” — Gee, thanks. I mean, that’s cool and all, but again, the value seems kinda weak. Oh, and before I forget, the fact that not all Switch games can make use of this feature is kind of a major fail.
- Smartphone App: “Enhance your online experience with the smartphone app.” — It’s late-2019 and to do in-game voice chat on your modern Nintendo console, you have to do it through a smartphone app. I think the appropriate word here is “derp”.
- Special Offers: “Get members-only deals.” — Umm, well…first of all, Nintendo has never been too interested in discounting anything, and they’re own games are generally a steady $60, regardless of how old they are. While Sony, Microsoft and PC services like Steam discount tons of games on a VERY regular basis, the “Big N” rarely does. In fact, I’m having a really difficult time thinking of more than one of these members-only deals, and that was back in May of this year where you could buy two game vouchers for $100, and use them on two Nintendo-published games purchased from the eShop, for a $10 discount on each game. (In short, you’re paying $100 for two Nintendo-specific games instead of $120.) Well, IF the games you wanted were on the voucher-compatible list, that is. Wow, that’s quite a sacrifice, Nintendo.
Now, with all of that said, the main draw — and thing of actual value with the Switch Online service — are the classic NES games. They’ve been rolling these out every month, and while some have been kinda turdtacular, there have been plenty of bonafide classics released. Honestly, it’s the only thing that really made me want to subscribe in the first place, and is looking to be the only reason I would re-subscribe when the time comes.
Thankfully, though, that Nintendo-sanctioned emulation value has just increased, as there is now a Super Nintendo Switch app to co-exist with the NES app. And while I wholly expected the SNES app to enter with nothing more than a 2-game whimper, Nintendo dropped the bomb like The Gap Band (hyperlink for those younger than 73) and let loose 20 games at release. We’re not talking 16-bit trash either, but instead, some of the system’s most iconic and beloved titles:
- Super Mario Kart
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
- Super Mario World
- Star Fox
- Stunt Race FX
- Super Metroid
- Kirby’s Dream Land 3
- Super Soccer
- Super Tennis
- Brawl Brothers
- Demon’s Crest
- Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics
- Super E.D.F. Earth Defense Force
- Super Puyo Puyo 2
- Breath of Fire
- Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts
Not too shabby, eh? It’s nice to see Nintendo do something related to online and do it right for once. Of course, there has to be a hitch, and that relates to reports that future SNES games will be added “irregularly instead of every month” like the NES games have been. If true, bummer, that.
You can find out more about Nintendo Switch Online and its NES and SNES features at https://www.nintendo.com/switch/online-service/