The Super Nintendo Entertainment System turned 30 this week. Feel old yet?
The SNES originally launched in North America on August 23, 1991, and is home to some of the greatest games of all time. It had huge boots to fill since its predecessor, the NES, was so beloved, but the SNES boasted better visuals and processing power. The fascinating thing about this little machine is that many of its best games still hold up 30 years later. The same cannot be said about the likes of later games on PlayStation or Nintendo 64, as they featured early 3D effects that don’t look or feel great today.
Since the SNES has such a fantastic library of games, surely there’s a way to play some of its greatest hits on the Nintendo Switch, right? Well, not exactly. You can play some SNES games via the Nintendo Switch Online program, some would argue the library of games feels incomplete. Heavy hitters like Super Mario World and Super Metroid are playable on Switch, but for every gem of that caliber, several other notable titles are missing. There are tons of SNES games missing from the Nintendo Switch Online service, and since many of them aren’t available for modern hardware, they can be difficult to play in 2021.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the most notable SNES games absent from the Nintendo Switch, ranging in genre from RPG, to beat-’em-up, and even sports.
One of the most-requested additions to Nintendo Switch Online is Chrono Trigger, a game that is often considered among the greatest RPGs of all time. Chrono Trigger is a classic thanks to its fun turn-based combat, interesting time travel sequences, and multiple endings that encourage additional playthroughs. Its visuals are still stunning, which is a theme with this list. Given that its one of the highest-rated games ever, it’s mind-boggling that it hasn’t made an appearance on Nintendo Switch. Let’s keep our fingers cross this will be rectified soon.
With the resurgence of beat-’em-ups like Streets of Rage 4 and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game — Complete Edition, you’d think Nintendo would capitalize and put Super Double Dragon on Switch. Sadly, that’s not the case. Billy and Jimmy returned in this adventure, which served as somewhat of a callback to previous installments. It revisits many classic areas and looks better than ever, so it’s puzzling that you can’t play this game on Nintendo Switch. Thankfully, the NES version of Double Dragon is available via Nintendo Switch Online, but the absence of Super Double Dragon is strange.
The mash-up of the Mushroom Kingdom with RPG mechanics was a match made in heaven, but sadly, Nintendo has never been able to capture the essence of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars after the original release. That’s why it’s such a shame you can’t play it on Nintendo Switch. With JRPGs being as popular as ever, right now would be a fantastic time to introduce players to one of the best Nintendo RPGs of all time. This game has it all: Humor, satisfying gameplay, fun writing, and beautiful visuals that rival many other games from this era. Perhaps Super Mario RPG will be added to Nintendo Switch Online at some point, maybe on a Tuesday — which is what Nintendo loves to do.
Even if sports games aren’t necessarily your thing, NBA Jam appeals to a wide audience. The departure from realism and implementation of 2v2 matches made the sports game much more appealing to everyone, not just basketball fans. NBA Jam on SNES still features beautiful visuals that stand the test of time, with a roster that stemmed from the 1993-1994 season. There was no need to know about all the intricacies of basketball to enjoy NBA Jam. Instead, the game featured a more arcade-centric approach that made it easy to get into. Its absence on Nintendo Switch is more justified than the rest of this list since licensing is likely a huge hurdle to overcome.
Though Final Fantasy VI was released on multiple consoles, many consider it to be first and foremost a Super Nintendo game — and it should absolutely be playable on Nintendo Switch. What makes this game so fantastic? Aside from its relatable characters, stunning visuals, and satisfying turn-based gameplay, it has some of the best music in a video game ever. Just listening to the soundtrack takes you back to some of the game’s most memorable sections. Aside from that, Final Fantasy VI is best known for its chaotic villain, Kefka. The way this one plays out is simply exceptional.
ActRaiser is … an odd game. You play as God — only you take the form of a humanoid creature sent down to Earth to defeat all the scary monsters. The majority of the game is a 2D action platformer with boss battles and different creatures to defeat as you make your way through the stages. Still with us? In between these platforming segments is what some refer to as simulation-style mechanics that allow you to build bases across numerous towns. It also partly functions like a shooter, as you take on the role of an angel who must attack the evil demons that appear nearby. The result is a wonderfully strange, yet endearing mash-up that arguably doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It certainly belongs on Nintendo Switch.
We’ve already touched on one beat-’em-up with Super Double Dragon, but there’s another we wish was on Nintendo Switch. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time is a 2D side-scrolling game that puts you in the shoes (or shells) of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael. To this day, this is one of the most beloved beat-’em-ups, thanks to its fun gameplay, gorgeous visuals, and emphasis on cooperative play. Although the arcade version was arguably the best version, the SNES edition was impressive at the time, especially for a home console release. It had a time-trial mode and even a two-player versus option, so there was plenty to do in this game. While Turtles in Time isn’t on Nintendo Switch, we are eventually getting a follow-up called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge on the handheld at some point.
Even to this day, there isn’t anything quite like Earthbound. It’s a game that, on the surface, seems lighthearted and cheerful, but has some surprisingly deep (and sometimes unsettling) themes. It’s still one of the funniest games out there, with witty writing that will likely keep a smile on your face. While many beloved RPGs of this era sent players on fantastical journeys against dragons, Earthbound is more relatable. Four friends investigate a mysterious meteor crash and battle against the town bullies. It certainly gets wackier than that, but we appreciate its grounded approach that complements its satirical world. The fact that Earthbound is not playable on Switch is an absolute crime.
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