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Posted by BigSocrates (1966 posts) -

Last week Nintendo finally rolled out the Nintendo Switch Online feature. I immediately bought a year subscription and downloaded the NES games. I've been waiting since Nintendo Swtch was released to be able to play some classic games on this handheld/console hybrid, which is the perfect platform for them. After I paid for my subscription I opened up the app and took a few old favorites for a spin. Super Mario Bros. is maybe the ur-classic for me; when I think of "video game" it is the first game that comes to mind and I spent many an hour in my early youth playing it along with Duck Hunt and Gyromite. Gradius is arguably my favorite game on the NES, with one of my all time favorite soundtracks. The same is, of course, true for the Legend of Zelda. Both have songs that transport me back in time over 30 years to weekend afternoons in an overstuffed chair with that uncomfortable little gray controller in my hands, transported to totally different worlds while my mom urged me to play outside (nice try, mom!) Of course I've had an NES classic for a while so I could play all three of these games whenever I wanted with a near perfect replica of that old controller on my big screen TV, but what I couldn't do was take them with me to work. Now I can and the low-res NES graphics look fantastic on the Switch's screen. I spent 15 minutes on my lunch break getting nowhere in Ghosts 'N Goblins and loving every frustrating second.

If we're honest the experience of having these games on Switch is even better than I thought it would be.

And it's not enough.

While the games I've mentioned so far are stone cold classics and the selection includes a few more (Super Mario Bros. 3 is amazing; Excitebike is still good fun; River City Ransom is a no-longer hidden gem because everyone knows how great it is) there's also some absolute trash in there. Find me a person who wants to play NES Baseball or Ice Hockey or the gimped version of Donkey Kong that's missing one of its four boards and I'll find you someone operating on pure nostalgia. The Yoshi game is bad. Pro Wrestling is bad. There are a lot of bad games out of a vast library full of really great games, and while some were selected to show off the online two player capability, that doesn't make them less bad as games.

In addition, 20 NES games is a tiny amount. The NES Classic came with 30, and they were better. Would you like to swap out Hockey and Baseball for Metroid and Castlevania? Who wouldn't?

We're getting 3 new games a month, and that's cool, but we're also a year and a half into the Switch's lifespan. This offering is what you give people at launch to mess around with, not after the system is already a mature platform and nobody's scrambling to get a new platform off the ground.

In addition, I want more than NES. I'm sure SNES will be added after a time, and maybe even N64 too (Gamecube seems doubtful) but it will be 2 years from now and a drip feed of games again. Nintendo got things so right with the Wii Virtual Console and has just backslid heavily since then, to the point where there's no way the selection of classic games will even catch up to the Wii U's sad offerings.

The Switch is the ideal platform for playing these classics. It's insane that this is the way they've chosen to present them. I'm not saying Virtual Console was the way to do it, but this isn't either. Especially 18 months after launch. And we're never going to get TurboGrafx 16 games or other platforms. It's like walking into a brand new luxury restaurant with impeccable fixtures and perfect service only to find out that all they serve is warmed over gruel.

As someone who loves classic gaming, dislikes piracy, and has plenty of money to spend on classic games in a convenient format on a console I already own this is just the worst way they could be presented. Will I enjoy playing Double Dragon while I'm waiting for the train in the coming months? I will. But I'll also spend that time lamenting what could have been, if Nintendo cared a little more about doing right by their fans and their legacy.

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#1 Posted by JeremyF (353 posts) -

I would be more apologetic to the service if they would indicate SNES games or beyond were coming. A lot of people don't have nostalgia for these games and later generations hold up a lot better.

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#2 Posted by SloppyDetective (1601 posts) -

I don't want to play any of those games without a d-pad. I honestly cannot get behind the Switch and indie games or classic games because the controls are hampered by their joycon designs.

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#3 Posted by BigSocrates (1966 posts) -

@sloppydetective: I'm okay with Joycons in handheld mode (though they need to release one with a D-pad already.) I have a pro controller and an 8BitDo controller for docked mode. The 8bitdo is also small enough to take with me and play it kickstanded up on a desk. But yes it would be good to have a proper handheld mode Dpad.

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#4 Posted by SloppyDetective (1601 posts) -

@bigsocrates: I have a pro controller as well and think it is a fine controller, but 90% of the time I want to play 2d games in handheld mode and after feeling like the controls have hampered my experience in doing so I've pretty much given up on buying those games for now. I legit regret buying Dead Cells and Hollow Knight on the Switch. I would bitterly buy a joycon with a d-pad 100%.

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#5 Posted by Kraznor (1633 posts) -

I played an inning of Baseball and concur, that game is junk. Wish they squashed that Tengen beef and put RBI Baseball on there.

I was kind of under the impression the online component for these would be more than online multiplayer. I imagined leaderboards so the world’s greatest Excite Bikers could finally strut their stuff but I guess no one ever actually said that would happen. As someone who just got an NES Classic a few months ago, I spent less than an hour with these when the service launched as I’d just gone on a nostalgia trip.

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#6 Posted by MrGreenMan (195 posts) -

The Switch online features is a joke. The original Xbox did more than what the Switch does now and that was in the early 2000. Nintendo is so behind on the times on how people use the internet that this is just sad and really disappointing that they can't even do the most simple of things right when it comes to online play. I have no intention of giving nintendo any money for such a dismal service that can't even do the most basic of things.

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#7 Edited by Justin258 (15647 posts) -

There are just better ways of playing all of these things, even on other Nintendo products and even without resorting to emulators or hacked consoles. It's hard to convince me to buy yet another thing (subscription or digital license and software or whatever else) to play old Nintendo games when I own old Nintendo games on other things already, and when I have a hacked 3DS and can just put anything on there that I want to.