After months of rumors and a year of waiting, Nintendo Switch Online finally has Super Nintendo games — 20 of them, to be precise. It’s an appreciable start for sure, including many of Nintendo’s major first-party releases and a few random surprises like Demon’s Crest. But there is a lot of space to grow, so we’ve assembled a list of 10 major SNES games (plus some honorable mentions) that we hope come to Nintendo Switch Online sooner rather than later.
(Note that the order of this list is mostly arbitrary. Don’t sweat the numbers much!)
10. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a cult classic of the 16-bit era, with some extremely memorable, intentionally cheesy box art and a good sense of humor in general. Stage after stage, Zeke or Julie or both (a terrific co-op opportunity) have to fight back against exotic and imaginative zombie hordes using an equally imaginative assortment of weapons, and the result is something people still rave about. That’s basically the game in a nutshell — an oddball of terrific quality.
EarthBound has very vanilla RPG mechanics that, aside from getting rid of random encounters, don’t do much to push the Dragon Quest formula forward. However, a unique art style, terrific soundtrack, and world-class writing and localization elevate the game to astounding heights. It’s a textbook example of, “It’s all about the execution.” EarthBound is one of the cleverest and most artful games ever made, and there’s darn good reason why fans have been clamoring for an official English release of the sequel, Mother 3, for 13 years.
8. Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
Street Fighter II was the revolution of a game genre, giving arcades something new to get excited about and spawning competition like Mortal Kombat. But the game was imperfect, so Capcom took it upon itself to rerelease the game in as many different “improved” incarnations as possible for decades. Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers isn’t necessarily the best version, but it brought a bunch of newcomers like T. Hawk and Cammy into the fold. And it’s a SNES game that really belongs on Nintendo Switch Online, even with Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection available. Capcom can treat it like a “sampler” for the bigger thing.
7. Final Fantasy III
With its ensemble cast of fascinating characters and an extraordinarily beautiful and emotional soundtrack, Final Fantasy III (actually Final Fantasy VI) is one of the all-time greatest RPGs. In terms of gameplay complexity, it was actually a step backward from Japan-only Final Fantasy V, but it made up for it with sheer plot density and an extremely gutsy and open-ended second half. Fortunately, this, like EarthBound, is already available on the SNES Classic, but we need it on the go with Nintendo Switch Online too.
6. Final Fantasy II
Final Fantasy II (actually Final Fantasy IV) is a cornerstone of the RPG landscape, and I’ve written extensively about the story of its development. A lot of the elements of Japanese role-playing games we take for granted began right here, and it still holds up decently well all things considered. And since this game is not on the SNES Classic, it becomes all the more pivotal that Final Fantasy II makes the jump to Nintendo Switch Online.
5. Super Mario RPG
Like Final Fantasy VII later, Super Mario RPG was a gateway role-playing game for many, enticing players with adventurous platforming and action elements not seen in RPGs to that point. It also had quirky original characters, (then) beautiful graphics, a memorable soundtrack, and a short-enough length to remain engaging throughout. It was a top-to-bottom stellar collaboration between Nintendo and Square, and now we need it on the go.
4. Donkey Kong Country (or any of them)
Donkey Kong Country is on the list just because it’s ridiculous that it isn’t already there. This platformer trilogy left a major mark on its fans in the ‘90s, and the only reason I can think of why Donkey Kong Country is absent is because it was made by Rare, currently owned by Microsoft. But hey, if Banjo & Kazooie can show up in freakin’ Smash Bros., then surely there is no wall that can’t be climbed at this point.
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
Before the era of the FPS, if you wanted to play a killer multiplayer game with friends, it was probably Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. If you played in the arcade, all four turtles could team up to go on a sidescrolling adventure through time to put down the Foot Clan for good. At home on SNES, you were limited to two players, but it still got the job done. It wasn’t the most complex game in the world, and it didn’t aim to be. It was just terrific party fun that needs to make its way to Nintendo Switch Online pronto.
2. Mega Man X
Mega Man X is arguably one of the greatest video games of all time, featuring extremely tight controls, fast-paced action, an improbably compelling story, and rocking tunes for days. Granted, this title is already available for Switch in Mega Man X Legacy Collection, but again, Capcom could treat this game as a sampler to get people to buy the whole package. Any collection of SNES games just feels incomplete without Mega Man X, as Nintendo was aware of while building the SNES Classic.
1. Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger actually is the greatest video game of all time, (Fight me.) and regular readers know I won’t shut up about it. It has the best game soundtrack ever. (Fight me.) It has a colorful cast of memorable characters. It has oodles of replay value thanks to its succinct length, multiple endings, and varied possible party combinations. It has lush, late-SNES-life pixel art. It has Akira Toriyama on art design at a time just before he completely ran out of original ideas. Basically, the stars aligned for this game, and its “Dream Team” of creators produced something utterly inimitable. Its absence from the SNES Classic was glaring, and perhaps more than any other game, Chrono Trigger needs a new lease on life on Nintendo Switch Online.
Honorable mentions (please, Nintendo)
- Breath of Fire II
- Gradius III
- Illusion of Gaia
- Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals
- Mario Paint (somehow!)
- Mortal Kombat II
- Secret of Mana
- Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage
- Super Bomberman 2
- Super Castlevania IV
- Super Punch-Out!!
Surely you think something is missing from this list, since the SNES had such an expansive library of awesome titles, so let us know what else you think needs to come to Nintendo Switch Online soon!