Okay, so it’s not the Virtual Console we wanted, I get that. Nintendo Switch Online isn’t exactly what we dreamed of when first announced over a year ago, especially when it comes to the shifty cloud save options and questionable voice chat decisions. But if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s the included NES games with each subscription and how entirely perfect they are.
It’s not the first time Nintendo has delved into the archives to bring customers in, of course. The NES Mini brought 30 games together onto one tiny motherboard, housed in a (dare I say it) cute NES shell you just want to cuddle for a lifetime … or is that just me? Probably so, though the point stands given its success in providing Nintendo a new revenue stream (and subsequent additions to the mini line), and convincing others to jump onto the gravy train. Hello PlayStation Classic, fancy seeing you here…
The NES Mini did its job adequately, with game save states and a distinct lack of glitches, but it wasn’t without Nintendo’s usual quirks. The only way to you get out of a game and back to the main menu was by pressing one of the physical buttons on the front of the console and … well the less said about those tiny controller cable lengths the better.
So what about the Switch’s take on NES emulation? I’d say so far so good.
To start, every game included with the subscription has the ability to be played both locally and online, meaning you don’t have to be sitting next you your best friend anymore to bug them when they die constantly during Double Dragon, which to be fair is a good thing if they’re the punch you in the shoulder type. Adding online play to an older title isn’t unheard of (Capcom did so with their Street Fighter collection earlier in the year), though given how old some of these games are, it’s a very welcome addition that hopefully sets a standard.
Beyond that, all the games are in a ready state within the app, so once you decide which game to play there’s barely any load times to speak of. There’s also a couple of nifty CTR visual filter and the ability to alter the aspect ratio, plus the menu system makes saving on the fly extremely easy. Little things like this adds up to a much nice experience Also no getting off the couch to switch games, just saying.
Most important of all, there’s more than just Nintendo owned IP’s included in the service from the get go, and that’s a sign that other studios are more than happy to jump on board. If true, one can only imagine the amount of games the service might eventually provide, and how rare or unique those games might be, well beyond what the NES Mini contained. My TMNT dream is still alive, people!
It’s not entirely perfect, it must be said. I’ve noticed a few games seem to lag a tiny bit here and there, and a few of the games included so far are forgettable or don’t hold up well (as much as I like Double Dragon, the NES version was never the best). Still, the complaints don’t hold it back too much even at this early stage.
The Virtual Console is dead and buried, but there’s some positives to take away from this early look at the new service. Fingers crossed the SNES, N64 and GameCube games all get the same level of care as this first lot of NES titles when they eventually appear … and they better, or hell hath no fury like a nerd scorned.