On May 26, Nintendo announced that the Congo’s Caper, Rival Turf!and pinball machine to the NES/SNES library on Nintendo Switch Online. The reaction from fans was similar to the reaction after each of these announcements: Overwhelming negativity.
On Twittermost of the commenters on this announcement are complaining about this new lineup of games, begging for Super Mario RPG and other missing classic titles to be added, claiming that Nintendo is lazy and not trying with these new additions.
When classic titles like Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars do not come to the service in the update, any additions are immediately ridiculed. While there are certainly aspects of Nintendo’s approach to Nintendo Switch Online that are worth criticizing, this response raises an important question: do people really want to keep classic games or just the ones they’ve heard of?
Today, players in the game discourse are quick to judge and scoff greatly if they are dissatisfied with one aspect of it. We’ve seen that routinely with Switch Online updates, but the knee-jerk reactions overlook some of the critical preservation the service does.
pinball machine, for example, may seem like an outdated game at this point, but it was the first commercially released game from the collaboration between Kirby developer HAL Laboratory and Nintendo. The release helped cement HAL Laboratory’s relationship with Nintendo and the reputation of former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.
“Looking back, the games we were developing at that time all needed big software ideas that the customer was pretty sure how to do,” Iwata recalls. pinball machines development and the early days of the Nintendo partnership in a writing in the Ask Iwata book. “Once we made a name for ourselves, we were praised for our technical skills, which led to a steady stream of work.” In an interview with Used Game Magazine, Iwata would even state that HAL used the NES pinball machine game engine for the popular pokemon pinball machine spell.
Not too shabby for a game to be dragged along as a weak Nintendo Switch Online addition.
Pinball, Congo’s Caperand Rival Grass! may not be classics, but they are fun games that deserve to be preserved and remembered, just as much as Super Mario World or The Legend of Zelda† While pinball machine and Rival Grass! were included in previous versions of Virtual Console, it’s also worth noting that Congo’s capers has never been released before. The same goes for other previously mocked Nintendo Switch Online additions like The Immortal, Fire ‘n Ice, Jelly Boy, Claymates, Bombuzaland Nightshade†
As fans get mad at Nintendo for not having more standout games in these Nintendo Switch Online updates, the good thing that comes with keeping some of these NES and SNES games is often completely ignored. The reality is that it has already put most of the major NES and SNES games on this subscription service, especially the former. Inevitably, Nintendo would put some of these lesser-known games on the service now that there are only a few stragglers left.
Hate the player, not the games
While some of the discourse surrounding Nintendo Switch Online additions is misleading, Nintendo is not free of blame. I’ve complained in the past about issues with its subscription service and its library, and see how the current approach to re-releases classics is flawed in the wake of the Wii, 3DS, and Wii U’s Virtual Console. NES and SNES library updates don’t go on a consistent schedule, so it’s frustrating when a new batch of games is small and made up of obscure titles. Meanwhile, some games of the subscription notable technical issues that need to be fixed after release.
Some fans don’t like to take out a very expensive subscription to play these classics, preferring to just pay for specific titles like they did on Virtual Console. Ultimately, Nintendo created a library and release schedule environment for Nintendo Switch Online that will leave fans immediately displeased if the games aren’t all-time classics. Some games, especially on N64, are also expected to have issues, so it’s understandable that some fans would be wary of Nintendo Switch Online. Still, that anger should be aimed at Nintendo itself, not the games.
Nintendo can do better with Nintendo Switch Online. Still, fans can also discover, appreciate and preserve the memory of some of the more obscure SNES and NES gems that Nintendo adds. Instead of just complaining about pinball machine or Congo’s caperstry the games for yourself and discover some hidden gems instead of just complaining and settling on playing the latest of many Super Mario World reissues.