Nintendo has found itself in some hot water in the past regarding its online service. Xbox and PlayStation both have their own gaming subscription services, and many fans feel like Nintendo’s just isn’t quite up to scratch compared to what other companies have to offer.
But after many years of developing the service and adding more retro games to its online catalog, Nintendo has created one of the vastest and most diverse retro gaming collections you can hope to find outside of your childhood basement. Here are some of the games that really make the Nintendo Switch Online Service shine.
1. Super Mario Bros: NES
Mario is one of Nintendo’s most prized franchises to date and probably always will be. So playing the very first Mario game is almost compulsory if you’re interested in learning about the history of Nintendo.
It’s also a great way to improve your modern-day Mario skills. Most of Mario’s mechanics stemmed from the early games and have been fleshed out in more modern installments in the series. Taking it back to basics can give you more of a feel for those mechanics and further improve your skills. And maybe it’s just us, but games were harder back in the day, so playing the classics is a surefire way to become a Mario pro.
2. Ninja Gaiden: NES
Ninja Gaiden is an absolute classic Nintendo title that is available in the NES section of the Nintendo Switch Online Service. If you’re a speed runner or are interested in learning the art of playing games really, really fast, Ninja Gaiden is a popular pick.
Ninja Gaiden is one of the most underrated Nintendo games and hasn’t received a modern remake at this stage, so playing Ninja Gaiden on the Nintendo Switch Online Service is one of the best places to experience the title.
3. Kirby’s Adventure: NES
Kirby’s Adventure was the first home console Kirby game to ever grace the world of gaming, making it another important piece of the Nintendo puzzle. You can find Kirby’s Adventure nestled among the other classic titles in the NES section of the Nintendo Switch Online Service.
Kirby has grown a lot since its humble beginnings in the early 90s. And after the massive success of its first-ever 3D platforming title, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, it’s nice to take a step back and see how far the little pink ball of hurt has come.
4. Donkey Kong Country: SNES
Donkey Kong Country on the SNES wasn’t the first ever Donkey Kong game or anything like that, but it is an absolutely fantastic title that everyone should experience at least once in their life. It is also one of the few multiplayer games on the Nintendo Switch Online Service.
If you are looking for something to play with a friend that will transport you straight back to the good old days, Donkey Kong Country will get you there. And even though controllers are wireless these days, we still recommend sitting cross-legged in front of your TV to play it.
5. Super Metroid: SNES
Super Metroid is one of the best retro games in the Metroid timeline, the Nintendo Switch Online Service, and in gaming in general. If you are looking for an absolute masterpiece that completely embodies all the best qualities of the 16-bit era, Super Metroid is a perfect choice.
Any Metroid game is great, especially if you are a fan of Metroidvania video games, but if you were going to pick one to play first, this is what we would recommend. You also have the added bonus of walkthroughs being widely accessible on the internet in modern times. Sadly, it wasn’t so easy back in the day. If you were stuck, you were on your own.
6. Golden Eye: 007: N64
The Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack is the premium tier of Nintendo’s Online Service, and definitely copped the most flack from fans who were unsure if the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack was really worth the price. But some of the best games in Nintendo’s history were released on the Nintendo 64, and the Expansion Pack gives you access to many of the system’s most beloved classics.
Golden Eye: 007 is the perfect example of this. It was easily one of the most popular games from the Nintendo 64 era and one that Nintendo fans were crying out for. Thankfully, Nintendo heard their cries, and Golden Eye: 007 is now available on the service. It is such a monumental addition that it’s just another of the reasons to subscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack.
7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: N64
The Legend of Zelda franchise is right up there with Nintendo’s golden child, Mario, in terms of popularity. The Zelda series has been going for nearly as long as Mario has, and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was the most anticipated title at The Game Awards in 2022.
The Legend of Zelda had always been popular if you don’t count the second game in the series, that is. We don’t talk about that game. But the title that shot Zelda right up to one of the top spots was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It is an absolute masterpiece and almost single-handedly makes the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack worth the price.
8. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask: N64
The topic of whether The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is the better title is a steaming hot debate that has been raging on since Majora’s release.
There is yet to be a solid answer as to what game deserves the top spot in the Zelda franchise, but they are both available on the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, so maybe it’s best if you play them both and come to your own conclusion.
9. Banjo Kazooie: N64
When you think about epic Nintendo games from back in the day, Banjo Kazooie almost immediately springs to mind. Developed by Rare and published on the Nintendo 64, Banjo Kazooie is one of the best retro platform games you can play on the service.
An original, unopened copy of Banjo Kazooie can reach up to $3000 on eBay. So unless you want to spend your life savings on it, the Nintendo Switch Online Service is a great place to get your Banjo Kazooie fix.
10. Sin and Punishment: N64
If you are a fan of rail shooters, Sin and Punishment is one of the greats. A rail shooter is a game where you automatically move along a trajectory while simultaneously smiting all enemies that cross your path. Think of Pokémon Snap (which is another amazing game on the service, by the way), but with more action.
Sin and Punishment was originally only released in Japan and is a refreshing breath of action-packed air among the wholesome, colorful, and family-friendly titles you can find on the Nintendo Switch Online Service.
Experience the Best That the Nintendo Switch Online Service Has to Offer
The Nintendo Switch Online Service and Expansion Pack both provide so many incredible titles that it is hard to say they are not worth the price anymore.
If you appreciate a walk down memory lane and want to play retro games without spending your entire inheritance, the Nintendo Switch Online Service is the place to do it.