|The SNES played host to a lot of great games, many of them available on Nintendo Switch Online. But some greats are sadly missing...|
Inspired by Indie Gamer Chick's (currently, as of the time I post this) ongoing dive through Super Nintendo gems of yesteryear, I decided to put together a list of the 20 Super Nintendo games I would most like to see added to the Nintendo Switch Online service to better help that service live up to its potential.
With any such list, the author ought to oppose reasonable restrictions. Mine are: that I won't name more than 20 titles, that I won't include imports or hacks, that I won't worry excessively much about how likely a title is to actually reach the service, and that I will try to avoid just naming 20 RPGs. The system was a spectacular landing spot for games from that genre, and it wouldn't be fair to the other great games if I let myself go JRPG wild. With all of that said, here's the alphabetical list of games I would love to see added to the already nifty library that already exists.
Widely considered one of the greatest JRPGs of all time, ChronoTrigger doesn't appeal to me quite as much as it does some folks. I prefer Chrono Cross, honestly. With that said, this SNES entry in the series was still something special and deserves much of the praise people heap on it, with a meaty adventure and beautiful visuals and more replay value than most RPGs possess. Some later ports had awful load times, so playing the original about as it used to exist would be nice.
Some might scoff at me including this game but not Gradius III or an R-Type game. However, Darius Twin was super accessible and good fun for multiple players at once, with some of my favorite visuals featured in a horizontal scroller on the hardware. There's also a code for a bunch of extra ships, if the "Easy" difficulty setting isn't sufficient.
I figure this one is probably coming eventually, but sooner is better than later. Fans love Earthbound, a lot of them more than I do. I found the setting interesting and some of the twisted conventions appealing, but I preferred my RPGs just a bit more traditional. Still, there's no denying this one did a lot of things right, and it should be engaging for newer audiences that are tired of swords and chain mail.
Final Fantasy III
The best Final Fantasy ever made definitely belongs on Nintendo Switch Online, even without extra dungeon crawling the GBA port would add. It tells perhaps the best story in the franchise, features a world that is fun to explore--and which evolves dramatically over time--and also has my favorite soundtrack. There's a lot to see and do, and some of the most memorable scenes stick with a person longer than most anything the hardware and even the entire genre offered afterwards. Most of my affection for the franchise, dwindling though it might be, is due to this stellar entry.
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest
I've seen a fair few folks hate on this game, which doesn't feel a lot like the main Final Fantasy games at the time. It was made "easy" to appeal to us dumb Americans, while Japan got to dive into class systems and a more epic story in Final Fantasy V (which didn't release here until years later, as part of a compilation). Anyway, I know the game is accessible almost to the point of being insulting, but it's also fun and features a surprisingly solid soundtrack to go with its quick pacing. For someone looking to ease into RPGs, it may be a perfect gateway.
Now known as Story of Seasons in the US, the Harvest Moon games have always been something special just because they were a little bit different. Turning a rundown farm into a flourishing marvel is just cool, whether you've done it once or dozens of times. Just ask my wife. She likes the series even more than I do. There's definitely appeal there for gamers who want something a little more slow-paced, and Harvest Moon on Nintendo Switch Online would be a decent entry point for potential new fans.
Legend of the Mystical Ninja
This one has been available on Virtual Console and I'm kind of surprised it didn't make it to the SNES Classic or to Nintendo Switch Online. As an entry in the Goemon series in Japan, it benefits from polish that comes with time. A couple of players can go through a quirky world, encountering action and adventure and even mini-games based on past Konami successes, like Gradius. It might not seem like an obvious hit to some people who aren't familiar with it, but the game is still one to experience.
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrels
A lot of JRPG diehards consider this one of the finest games in the genre from that era, and it fetches a fair penny if you try to add a physical copy to your collection. The Lufia series never really made it "big" here, and a lot of people seem to have forgotten it existed, so including it in the Nintendo Switch Online library would be a good way to remind them.
The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse
I've avoided including a lot of licensed fare on this list, both because it tends to be difficult for companies to secure licenses years later. However, this is one of a few special ones that belongs in every library. There was actually a sequel on the SNES and Genesis, and the series kept going in Japan because it was just that good. This first installment certainly is memorable, with gorgeous worlds to explore and a neat mechanic that allows Mickey Mouse to switch costumes and use different skills to overcome familiar obstacles. Back in the day, I bought it and beat it the first night, but I've played it many times since. It was one of the finest, most purely enjoyable platformers on the hardware.
Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
When I was saving up my money for a Nintendo 64 in the Super Nintendo's waning days, I got through that awful challenge by playing Ogre Battle repeatedly, rather than breaking down and spending the money I was saving on more SNES games. Ogre Battle has depth, with a lengthy campaign and multiple ways through it. There haven't been a lot of games quite like it since, as the series quickly evolved in an even more tactical direction that eventually provided a sort of blueprint for Final Fantasy Tactics. I still remember Ogre Battle quite fondly, but I recognize it's not super accessible. Still, accessibility is what other games are for!
Pocky & Rocky II
There's a new Pocky & Rocky coming, so this is the perfect time to release the older ones. And the second one on the Super Nintendo goes for a lot of money, so this could also be a chance to let a wider audience encounter that old adventure without resorting to ROM sites or expensive online auctions. The Pocky & Rocky games featured vibrant locales and a roaming shooter template that should still appeal to newer audiences, particularly those who are suckers for a Japanese aesthetic (like I am).
I have played and generally loved various takes on SimCity, but I think this first one I ever played is still my favorite. It keeps things very accessible, with visuals that are easy to understand and systems that haven't evolved to become too complex for their own good. Besides a rather endless main campaign, there are shorter challenges for players who want something a little different. I rented this one several times during my teens and always enjoyed myself. It was also released on the Wii U version of the Virtual Console, but got pulled far too soon for rights issues. I bought it in time and still have access to the gem, but I'd like to see more people have that option (plus Nintendo Switch Online is so darn convenient).
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Nintendo seems to wish this game never happened. Why haven't we seen a direct follow-up (and no, the Paper Mario games don't count)? Those who have played it know the game is terrific, with a solid sense of humor, fun mechanics and a world worth exploring. It was thankfully included on the SNES Classic, so an appearance on Nintendo Switch Online would make perfect sense. Why hasn't it happened yet?!
I'll admit it: this is a very personal pick. I rented this game a few times in my teens, and played it a lot with my sister. It's easy to pick up and play, with a looping series of a few race arenas populated by miniature trucks. Think Super Sprint, but with mud bogs. The AI can definitely be a bit cheap, and the trucks bounce around a bit too much until you invest in upgrades. But if two players of similar skill level kick off a quick run through the game, they'll likely have fun for a few minutes or even hours at a time. The library could use a few more quick time wasters like this one.
Sunsoft published a bunch of Looney Tunes games back in the day, and this is one of my favorites while also being quite different from its more conventional 2D platformer peers. The perspective shifts to an over-the-shoulder look at the famous Tazmanian devil character, as he runs down the road avoiding traffic and scarfing down tasty kiwi birds. There's more to it than that, of course, but it's a fun little adventure that's instantly accessible and easily enjoyed, even if you're not terribly good at playing at first. There was a version for Sega platforms, but it was completely different (and a lot more conventional).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
It seems like every few years, there's a new attempt to push the old TMNT brawler games back into the limelight, but those efforts fail because it's hard to top this particular entry. I used to own the cartridge but sold it to pay bills, and I wish I hadn't. It's the ultimate example of the classic formula from the NES days, beefed up with more striking visuals and neat tricks like enemies that go flying toward the screen itself (take that, Shredder!). Licensing issues would probably be a real pain, but overcoming them and giving the turtles another shot at fame is surely the right call for all parties involved... whoever they may be at this point. Konami? Nickelodeon? Nintendo?
The first game in the series also appeared on the NES, but I played it on the SNES the most and it gave me an appreciation for the general shape of the map of Europe. What started out as a line to convince my mom that I should be allowed to buy the game turned into reality. D'oh! There was a sequel, also on 16-bit platforms, but I like this take better because it's easier to dive in and start playing. I love buying up shares in European towns and slowly building an empire, even though that wasn't really the point of the game. This series saw a few more entries even after the 16-bit installments, but unfortunately, they don't seem to have reached North America.
I'm not much for dog fighting or even sci-fi, but the Wing Commander series was quite popular for a time and it even appeared in two entries on the SNES. I rented this one a few times back in the day and found that despite the hardware limitations, it provided a good time. I liked climbing the leaderboards compared to the other pilots, and I got pretty good at surviving scraps with enemy fleets. It's all pretty basic, but sometimes there's appeal in that. And the SNES wasn't overflowing with games quite like this one, so it would make a nice addition to the Nintendo Switch Online library today.
Ys III: Wanderers From Ys
Falcom games haven't come to Nintendo hardware nearly as often as I would like, which is a shame when the company makes so much stuff that's right up my alley. This third entry in the beloved Ys franchise is a bit of a black sheep, like Zelda II was. Abandoning the overhead perspective, the developers went with side-scrolling action, with decent but not necessarily spectacular results. I'm not saying this is the best game in the series or anything like that, but it is a fun romp that would be right at home with other adventure games on the hardware... especially for "free."
Zombies Ate My Neighbors
The zombie craze hadn't really kicked off when Zombies Ate My Neighbors released, but I remember this game being quite a big deal in Nintendo Power. It featured sprawling overhead mazes, complete with not only the usual zombies, but an assortment of wild bosses such as a giant baby. I guess there was a sequel of sorts before the franchise died out, but people still talk fondly of this first installment and I think it probably deserves a second chance at life as part of the Nintendo Switch Online lineup.
Prince of Persia
Contra III: The Alien Wars
Ninja Gaiden Trilogy
I suspect I left off a few games you would like to see added to the list. Feel free to let me know about it in the comments, though I probably do have a reason. Some stuff is already available quite readily in one compilation or another, for instance (like a lot of Capcom stuff). Some of it was available on all sorts of systems and didn't shine especially brightly on Nintendo's gray and purple box. And so on, and so forth. So, with all of that said, how might your own list compare?
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|overdrive - November 14, 2020 (09:49 AM)
From your list, I have to ask: Does this service, uh, have any RPGs? Because it seems like about all the really good ones released in America are on your "please add" list, with Final Fantasy 2/IV being the only one coming to mind that you didn't list (or, if feeling generous, I'd add Breath of Fire 2 to the "really good; not on your list" category. Note: not counting action RPGs when saying this; just the pure ones.
|honestgamer - November 14, 2020 (10:14 AM)
It has the two Breath of Fire games. Japan got Shin Megami Tensei, but that one (not surprisingly) hasn't joined the North American lineup quite yet. Maybe when the remake of Nocturne and Shin Megami Tensei 5 arrive here? Honestly, the lineup as it exists so far isn't awful. It could just do with some expansion, and my list tells you just what form I would like to see that expansion take.