The Super Nintendo lineup for the Online Service has some glaring omissions.
Nintendo announced today that SNES games would officially be joining their online subscription service. And while the initial lineup of games is excellent, I mean it includes Star Fox in its first official handheld release, we couldn’t help but dream about the future this service could hold. With that in mind, we gathered our staff to come up a list of games we would love to see added to the library. So without further ado here, in no particular order, our 10 SNES games we would love to play on Nintendo Switch.
Now that Square Enix has ported over many of the mainline Final Fantasy titles from the early PlayStation years, it’s time to give the earlier Nintendo based titles their due. Final Fantasy VI (or III in the West) is no stranger to the top of many best Final Fantasy and/or RPGs lists and is upsetting omission from the initial Super Nintendo online catalogue. RPGs are grossly under-represented in the initial lineup and since this title appeared on the SNES Classic, it seems plausible that this could be added in an upcoming monthly update.
It’s no coincidence that this list is almost exclusively RPGs, and if Nintendo is going to correct this injustice they might as well start with probably the greatest RPG of all time. Chrono Trigger has withstood the test of time, made by a dream team of the best developers during their prime from Squaresoft and Enix. This addition may be unlikely since Square could easily sell millions of copies as a stand alone offer, but until that time comes, we hope that Nintendo pushes to ensure Switch owners have a way of enjoying one of the best video games ever made.
With the rise of games like Stardew Valley, now seems like the perfect time for Nintendo to shine a light on its inspiration. Originally released in Japan in 1996, Harvest moon is generally regarded as the catalyst for the popularization of the farming life simulator. Harvest Moon was unique for its attempt to not just simulate a farm, but rather the full life of the player character. The player runs a farm, takes care of animals, makes friends, wanders the town, and eventually gets married. Harvest Moon featured multiple endings which would mix and match depending on the player’s performance. The chill vibes of Harvest Moon seem perfect for portable play, especially with the addition of save states.
The SNES was a safe haven for some of the best RPGs of all time. However, one stood separate from the rest with its unique take on a beloved Nintendo franchise. Super Mario RPG was developed by Square, the original creators of both the Final Fantasy and Xeno series. Super Mario RPG was released in 1996 and featured what were, for the time, breathtaking 3D graphics. Using a similar method to Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario RPG made use of pre-rendered 3D models to give both its character and environments a three dimensional appearance. While battles play out in a traditional turn based style, the overworld employs elements of a platformer, and could in some ways be seen as the predecessor of the full 3D platforming of Super Mario 64.
The coming-of-age story of Ness and his three friends is an RPG that was unique for its time and has since influenced countless other RPGs after it, like Undertale. Despite some annoying gameplay mechanics, the wit of the writing and the charming cast of characters you meet bring to life a world that seems so much like our own on the outside, but hides surprising and fantastical locations, each with its own flavor and intrigue. The rolling HP meters could make combat tense and exciting, and the way in which lesser enemies could be defeated just by walking into them made timely grinding an effective strategy. Many people know Ness from his appearances in the Smash Bros. series, but it’s his adventure on SNES that still inspires potent nostalgia in those who grew up with it.
We all got a collective tease of ActRaiser with the ultimately disappointing Sol Seraph, but what would wash over that sour taste is getting a chance to play the real thing again. While it did show up on Wii Virtual Console, currently there is no easy way to play the Enix classic. With a glorious mode 7 intro, ActRaiser juggles two game styles. You have the rigid side-scrolling action platforming, calling to mind numerous other games of the era. The other style is the SimCity-esque town simulation parts. You have to ward away monsters and build up different towns across multiple regions. The villagers will ask for requests, sometimes requiring you to explore other regions to satisfy their desires. No game has ever really captured the magic of this specific instance of genre blending - even the totally fine but generic sequel - and a good way to remind us all of how flipping neat ActRaiser is is by adding it to the Switch library.
Quintet is a developer we often don’t hear enough about. They’re responsible for the previous title on this list - ActRaiser - as well as a psuedo-trilogy on the Super Nintendo with Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia, and Terranigma. All three games would be at home on the Switch, but let’s go with Illusion of Gaia for starters. It’s an action-RPG with a heavy emphasis on story - one that absolutely goes places and touches on heavy religious subjects as it ties into real-world history oddly. A trio of playable characters offer different options for combat and puzzle solving and switching between all three is a key part of the strategy. Illusion of Gaia is a little bit on the linear side, but it would be on that is worthy of revisiting, especially since it hasn’t been rereleased since the mid-’90s.
As we stare down the barrel of a new Contra and look back at the neat Konami collections this year, it’s a shame that Goemon has fallen by the wayside. Yes - he’s now a Mii Fighter costume in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but his old games were super awesome. We’ll be here to bang the drum for Mystical Ninja 64 when that day comes, but until then, we’ll cheer for the attainable: The Legend of the Mystical Ninja on Super Nintendo. This action game can be played fully in co-op as Goemon and Ebisumaru (or Kid Ying and Dr. Yang in localizations) explore Japanese towns and countryside. Town segments are more exploratory in nature, focusing on looking for secrets in towns and even doing things like playing the first level of Gradius. Platforming segments are more traditional, but the series trademark goofiness is well on display. This game is a Konami gem from an era where they were soundly excellent. Hopefully this could lead to localizations of the Japan-only entries in the series, too.
With the original Star Fox already available at launch, Star Fox 2 seems like a natural next pick. Developed in the mid 90’s but not officially released until 2017, Star Fox 2 expands the original rail line shooter into an open ended, fully 3D adventure. Star Fox 2 was the originator of many series icons such as all range mode, ground missions, underwater missions, the walker, and of course those Zelda dungeons in Star Fox Adventures. It pushes the SNES hardware to the absolute limit with the most impressive 3D visuals available on the platform, and it remains a remarkable game to this day. Not to mention the rewind feature would allow you to catch that missile that snuck by you before it can hit Corneria.
One of the most beloved 2D platformers of all time, Donkey Kong Country took the world by storm when it was released on the Super Nintendo in 1994. By pre-rendering 3D models, developer Rare was able to create one of the most visually advanced platformers available on the SNES. With solid gameplay, a catchy soundtrack by composer David Wise, and a huge variety of environments to explore, it is no wonder Donkey Kong Country has gone down in history as one of the most beloved SNES games of all time. It also features two different two player modes which would be perfect for Nintendo’s online multiplayer included with Switch SNES games. While it would ultimately spawn a plethora of sequels that persist to this day, if we’re going to have SNES games on Switch, there is no better place to start than with this classic.