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NES/SNES games on the Nintendo Switch: Worth It?

Image courtesy of Nintendo
Ordinarily, I hate paying for online services, but as a games reviewer, I had to swallow my disgust for doing so and dropped some dough on the Nintendo Switch Online service. This does let me purchase things from their E-Shop, and they even throw in access to a bunch of playable NES/SNES games simply for having said membership.

Given they offer quite a few games out the gate and the service is still adding more for both systems, and given it's effectively free so long as you remain with Nintendo Switch Online, I decided to look into the games they provide and here's my take on the service.

The service provides rather excellently emulated NES/SNES games, many of them Nintendo classics, though some are from other parties who agreed to license out their games for Nintendo's use on the Online service. Insofar as the selection is concerned, while many of the titles are well known like Zelda, Kirby, Mario Brothers, and other big names, some are rather obscure, like "Brawl Brothers". The games are provided as they were originally designed for the most, though a few games have a "Special" version that is an "easy mode start" version of that game. For example, Kid Icarus starts you off with most of the special equipment you have to otherwise get via playing the game in its special version.

Graphically speaking, the games are presented in 3 modes: 4:3, Pixel Perfect, and CRT Filter.

The first scales the games for a 4:3 monitor resolution, upscaling the game from the original resolution the game was originally produced at for optimal size and quality. The second option renders the game at the exact resolution for the original system in question, for those who want the authentic look, and the CRT filter adds an old-time cathode ray tube TV scanline effect for the retro feel. On a handheld Switch, which I tried this on, I used 4:3, though a widescreen option would've been nice.

Sound quality is slightly better than I remember for many of the games, though it's still 8/16-bit. Controls are modified for the Switch controller setup, but since that is almost entirely much like the NES/SNES, this is not hard to adapt to. I noticed no bugs or stability issues in any of the games available on the service. If there were issues with the emulation, I didn't notice them.

In terms of cost, the games are free to play so long as your account is tied to Nintendo Switch's Online service, so the games are technically "freemium" in a sense, but so long as you keep paying for an Online account, they remain yours to play however long you like. Given they are a free download simply for having a Switch Online account and you get several dozen games for doing so to have fun with, I'd say it's worth the price if you splurged and have a year-long subscription and renew it, but not worth it simply for a month or a few months.

The games are regularly updated and new ones are continually added at occasional intervals, so if you are starved for something to do and have an Online account, I can think of much worse things to play to pass the time, and the games are, with a few obscure titles excepted, all very enjoyable classics that bring back many fond memories from my childhood, and newcomers will certainly enjoy a time warp to a simpler time as well.