I know, retrogaming is not for everyone. I also know that when it comes offered by the house, as in this situation, it is often used as a lark mirror and a mere filler to replenish the offer without too much effort. But when in the Direct of the 5 September they announced that the titles SNES would have landed on Nintendo Switch Online they really made me happy. Of course, we all expected it at this point and yes, it is the direct and natural evolution of bringing the NES titles to the flagship console, but what should I tell you? It is not known to the heart.
The console that jumped over time
I want to specify that, in itself, the online subscription service offered by the big N is not that it enjoys all my sympathy, indeed. Over the years I have in fact developed a certain idiosyncrasy towards the concept of paying to play online (and I know I'm not the only one) and I do not believe that, although paltry, the ticket price imposed by Nintendo is worth the ride. Regardless of this, which perhaps deserves a separate article, let's focus on the SNES offer proposed by Nintendo and the potential that this new Virtual Console can offer.
As can be guessed, not all 20 SNES games to date available may be said to be essential, although they have almost all had a notable importance in the era in which they were released. For example, for how much Super Mario Kart be a piece of history (it is probably the first racing game I've ever played), it can hardly take you to spend time at the expense of its latest incarnation; same speech can also be made for Pilot Wings e F-zero, although they are too videogame milestones. In short, we say that some of the games present at the launch will be able to make happiness only of diehard retrogamers, probably displeasing another slice of users.
Well, now though I immediately contradict myself, because what is really interesting about the above mentioned titles (but not only) is the possibility of being played in online multiplayer. It may not seem as important as it looks but I am convinced that it could really give new to light and lifeblood to titles that would otherwise be snubbed. Combine the taste vintage of these productions to the current sharing modes, is an apt idea and not at all obvious, considering that they could have been limited to carrying the experience of SNES games on Switch without too many ceremonies. In essence, this addition could become the main reason to come back to some titles on which I never thought I'd put my hand back. At this point all that remains is to see the response of the public and understand how successful it will actually be among users.
Super Mario World, Metroid, Breath of Fire, Ghouls' n Ghost, Yoshi's Island, do you need anything else? In reality yes, because rightly we must never be satisfied, but we consider that these titles are not only inevitable videogame pearls in the career of a gamer. Let's talk about titles that still enjoy one today freshness and awesome gameplay. This is precisely what has allowed SNES to remain one of the favorite consoles of public and critics today.
Given the fact that today we have only a handful of titles available, we can hope that well soon other games are included of this caliber, for example: where is Donkey Kong Country? But above all: Where is Diddy's Kong Quest? Apart from that, what intrigues me is knowing if this type of commercial operation will also bring novice players (or maybe the little ones) to discover productions of a bygone era that, while keeping their charm intact, are unlikely to be attractive to the less experienced. If we want to consider a vaguely "cultural" approach to the video game and its history, it is necessary that certain titles are not forgotten but remain always easily accessible to anyone.
Nintendo Switch VS The World
Since Nintendo is one of the three major giants of the industry, it is natural that its subscription service is compared to those offered by the competition. Sure, a direct comparison leads the hybrid console to come out of it with broken bones, while keeping in mind the conspicuous difference between the prices of the subscriptions. It is also true, however, that Nintendo has always done a bit of schooling in every possible field. It is evident that the Kyoto house don't want to compete with PSN Plus or Xbox Game Pass. After all, with the mind-boggling numbers that grind every month, how would it make sense to adopt this marketing choice?
Perhaps, at this point, what Nintendo wants to focus on is a system as complete as possible, a desire that can also be seen from his more open relationship with third parties, the Indie market and the recent collaboration with Microsoft. Obviously this “completeness” speech can also be looked for in the Virtual Console concept and who knows that it does not point precisely to making the small Switch an reference point just for retrogaming.
Pixels in the Future
It is true, to date the SNES catalog is not so sensational, however, let's give time to time and if we really want to look to the future, let's ask ourselves instead: one will never come N64 Virtual Console or maybe Game Cube? Regardless of possible technical problems or hitches of any kind, I believe we are still allowed to dream. Given the great success achieved by the hybrid console and considering that it is about half of its life cycle, it could be a really interesting road to travel, both in an exclusively commercial context, and for the aforementioned continuity and completeness that undoubtedly Nintendo is following. I am clearly alone conjectures, difficult to say today how the Virtual Console speech will be addressed in the future and how much Nintendo really wants to invest time and resources in it. You could simply use a simple one: never say never!
Summing up, surely the addition of SNES titles will not allow Nintendo Switch Online alone to grab new subscribers. In fact, those who have not been interested in the service until now will hardly change their mind, yet it turns out to be a new and important piece in the mosaic of the Nintendo Switch experience. The possibility of being able to play online makes some productions stand out and all the Switch players who have not let themselves be tempted by the Mini Console they will now be able to count on a stock that will hopefully grow more and faster and faster.