First of all, one thing needs to be made abundantly clear: Most, if not all, of the titles featured in NES and Super NES – Nintendo Switch Online are worth checking out.
But getting right down to it, this site is called “Old School Gamer.” That means if you’re reading it, you’ve either grown up with retro games, or at least have some affinity for them, and have probably played your fair share. Super Mario Bros. 3? Fantastic game, and if you can think of a game cartridge without thinking of something people touch to their tongue against all logic, then there’s a good chance you might be familiar with that one.
Not every retro game get the love, attention, and incessant re-releases of a Super Mario Bros. 3. Would you believe that some games have never even been re-released after appearing on their original hardware? Of course you would! It happens all the time.
So if you’ve got Nintendo Switch Online, but shrugged at their overexposed early offerings, here are four games that are at least worth a gander. You’re already paying for the service, after all.
Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics
Joe & Mac, alternatively known as Caveman Ninja and even Caveman Ninja: Joe & Mac, was a pretty big deal when it was first released in 1991. Originally developed as an arcade game by Data East, it was soon ported to the PC, the SEGA Genesis, the Nintendo Entertainment System, Amiga, and even the Game Boy. But perhaps the biggest spotlight came from the hype machine for the Super NES, where it was highlighted as an example of the arcade-quality graphics and gameplay Nintendo’s newest hardware was capable of.
Despite all this fanfare, the sequel wound up being released on a much smaller scale, also on the Super NES — and just the Super NES. As a result, there’s a chance you might have played and enjoyed the first game, but never got around to checking out its sequel. If that’s the case, there’s no better time than now, as it’s available to play for free (unlike its predecessor) on Nintendo Switch Online. You can even grab a friend for 2-player co-op action locally or online!
And incidentally, if you’d like both Joe & Mac games, plus Congo’s Caper (another sequel), Retro-Bit has you covered with a Joe & Mac: Ultimate Caveman Collection for $34.99 USD.
In 1993, Nintendo released Star Fox for the Super NES, a 3D shooter powered by the new Super FX Chip co-developed by Nintendo EAD and Argonaut Software. A sequel was planned, but cancelled in favor of the company’s newer upcoming platform and its version Star Fox 64.
And they never looked back… until recently, that is.
Star Fox 64 was a reboot of the series, and every game in the franchise since has built off of it, with the Wii U’s Star Fox Zero effectively resetting that version of the Star Fox universe. But the original is still worth checking out on its own merits, in part for its stellar soundtrack and what they were able to pull off with the hardware available at the time. (And if I’m being honest, I might even prefer it at points over its 64-bit successor.)
Star Fox never graced any of Nintendo’s Virtual Consoles, but it — along with its canned sequel — were included on the Super NES Classic Edition in 2017. If you missed out on that, though, then here’s another chance to visit the Lylat System as it originally was.
Stunt Race FX
The Super NES Classic Edition was a boon for those who wanted quick, easy access to Nintendo’s Super FX Chip classics. Star Fox was available again for the first time in 24 years, Star Fox 2 was available for the first time ever, and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island was finally available in a way that wasn’t the compromised Game Boy Advance port. However, one title powered by the famous chip was conspicuous by its absence.
Stunt Race FX finally comes out of retirement, thanks to the Super NES – Nintendo Switch Online program, and can even be played online in its multiplayer modes. It’s a neat little racing game that flexed the Super NES’s muscles when it arrived in 1994.
If you really want to see what makes the game fun, charming, and unique, then I highly recommend checking out the take of another Stunt Race FX fan, Andre from GameXplain, who streamed the entire game recently, pointing out highlights all along the way.
Vice: Project Doom
Hey, they couldn’t all be Super NES games, right? Okay, so they probably could (this is the part of the month where I usually crank out a Super NES article, after all), but nevertheless, here we are.
Vice: Project Doom is one of those games that probably deserved better. It featured great graphics, mixes different styles of gameplay such as top-down driving, shooting, and Ninja Gaiden-styled platforming, and even had the cover of the May 1991 issue of Nintendo Power magazine.
It’s that last part that may have killed it. Not being on Nintendo Power‘s cover, but the date — May 1991. Given the wishy-washy distribution of games at the time, there’s a good chance that few might have seen it before it was sitting alongside the newly-released Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and that may have very well sealed its fate at the time. But now, history has a chance to be rewritten as generations of players new and old can check out this obscurity on the Nintendo Switch.