You don’t need to haul a bunch of quarters to the arcade for a heavy dose of nostalgia. You just need a Nintendo Switch Online membership.
I love newer video games just as much as the next person. I don’t even want to tell you how many hours I’ve put into Outer Worlds or Skyrim. And I recently picked up Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, so there goes all my time!
Regardless, there’s something to be said for revisiting the classics. They may not have the high def graphics and extensive worlds that we’ve grown accustomed to, but they sure are fun. Many of these classics are captivating and highly addictive! I don’t need fancy realistic cars and celebrity voices if a game is entertaining enough. And it feels like, in a time before those technologies existed, Nintendo was more than compensating for it. The company was making huge strides in creating games that were compelling and enjoyable. (Hey, they still are!)
And, of course, there’s also plenty of nostalgia that comes from playing these classic games. I definitely grew up playing a lot of these titles, and I’m willing to bet that you did, too. It always feels good to revisit the games we spent so much time with all those years ago!
Nintendo Switch Online Membership Includes SNES Classics
If you’re looking for some classic gaming, look no further. Nintendo Switch Online members have instant access to a pretty big library of Super NES games at their fingertips, and at no additional cost. Sure, it’s no substitute for standing in a real live arcade, shoving around a joystick on the Pac-Man cabinet, or hooking up the Super NES console to the TV – but it’s still a pretty good time. And did I mention it’s free?
It’s also worth noting that these games have another few advantages when played on the Switch. They offer added features that we didn’t have back then! I’m talking about playing with friends online, saving your progress, and getting do-overs. And using the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app, you can chat with your friends while you play together, too.
There are currently more than 50 SNES games available. You’ll find fan favorites that are fun to revisit and overlooked obscurities that deserve a second chance. You will even find a few that are considered the best video games of all time here. Games keep getting added, too. The list originally included 20 games at launch, so you can see it has definitely expanded since then.
How to Get the Free SNES Games on Nintendo Switch
To access these games, you have to first be a Nintendo Switch Online member. However, if you play some of the most popular Switch games, like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you’ve probably already signed up to take full advantage of the service.
If you have a membership and you haven’t downloaded any of the free stuff yet, here’s how to access the collection of SNES games:
- Open the Nintendo eShop. If you have multiple profiles, select the user with an active Nintendo Switch Online membership.
- On the left-hand side, select Nintendo Switch Online.
- Here, you should see a free download for Super Nintendo Entertainment System (among other special offers like the NES games and free in-game items or downloadable content that has been offered for members). Select it, and then hit Free Download.
- As long as you have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership, you have access to this library of games!
The Best SNES Games to Play on Switch Right Now
Okay, now that you’ve downloaded the free collection of SNES games, it’s time to play! So far, these are the best, most addictive games that Nintendo has made available for the Switch.
Donkey Kong Country
This title was one of the most impressive, sharpest-looking console games of all time when it was released. Although it probably won’t look quite as impressive when compared to modern-day games, it’s definitely still an enjoyable – albeit challenging – romp. Donkey Kong Country relaunched the Donkey Kong franchise and follows both Donkey Kong and his nephew Diddy Kong as they find their stolen banana hoard. They have to defeat King K. Rool and his clan of crocodiles, the Kremlings
Kirby Super Star
Originally billed as eight games in one, Kirby Super Star features a collection of levels split into eight selectable stages. They are all approachable, a key mainstay in Kirby games. However, don’t confuse that approachability with boring, because it’s absolutely a fun, relaxing entry – and definitely a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable title. Similar to other entries in the Kirby series, Kirby can run, jump, swim, fly by inflating himself, and inhale enemies or objects. And in Kirby Super Star, our pink friend finally gains the ability to guard himself against attacks.
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
As a successor to NES’ Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is known for being equally as challenging. Still full of spooky haunted hijinks, this 1991 title brings a variety of new weapons, enemies, and locations. Players control a knight named Arthur, and they must battle through hordes of the undead to rescue the kidnapped Princess Guinevere.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Yoshi is back for Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, but it’s definitely a departure from Super Mario World. Levels lack time limits and encourage more exploration than in previous games. The game received praise for its distinct art style, level design, and gameplay, and it also introduced Yoshi’s signature characteristics that would go on to define future Yoshi games. It’s often cited as a masterpiece, and one of the greatest video games of all time. Yoshi is responsible for Baby Mario here, and he battles a huge Baby Bowser before reuniting Mario with Baby Luigi.
Any fans of the Metroid franchise have likely already played this game to death – but it can’t hurt to play it some more! Super Metroid is the standard by which all other Metroid games are judged, and is also credited with inspiring numerous indie games. Players assume the role of bounty hunter Samus, who heads to Zebes in search of a Metroid creature that was stolen by a space pirate leader. With Super Metroid, players now have the inventory screen, an automap, and the ability to fire in any direction. In the original version, players had to find a save station to save progress. However, it benefits from the addition of save states on the Switch.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Set many years before the first two Zelda games, this one features Link as he journeys to rescue Princess Zelda, defeat demon king Ganon, rescue the descendants of the Seven Sages and save Hyrule. Many of the elements introduced in this game go on to become major Zelda trademarks, such as the existence of two parallel worlds to travel between. This game also sees the first time arrows are separate items, instead of using Rupees to fire arrows.
Super Mario World
You can’t play SNES games without playing Super Mario World! It’s a true classic, with everyone’s favorite princess-rescuing Italian plumber. This Mario installment is the first to introduce Yoshi. Not only has it been dubbed one of the best games in the series, but it is also often cited as one of the best video games ever made. Mario teams up with and rides Yoshi as he works to save Princess Peach and Dinosaur Land from Bowser and the Koopalings.
The Full List of SNES Games for Nintendo Switch Online Members
Here’s the full list of SNES games available to Nintendo Switch Online members. As I said before, new games have been added every so often. I’m no Nintendo insider or anything, but I think it’s relatively safe to assume that we could see more SNES games added later. So far, the available offerings have more than doubled since it initially debuted.
- BRAWL BROTHERS
- Breath of Fire
- Breath of Fire II
- Caveman Ninja (also known as Joe & Mac)
- Demon’s Crest
- Donkey Kong Country
- Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong-Quest
- Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble!
- DOOMSDAY WARRIOR
- NEWLY ADDED: Earthworm Jim 2
- Jelly Boy
- Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics
- Kirby Super Star
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- Kirby’s Dream Land 3
- Magical Drop2
- Mario’s Super Picross
- Natsume Championship Wrestling
- Operation Logic Bomb
- Panel de Pon (also known as Tetris Attack)
- Pop’n TwinBee
- Prehistorik Man
- Psycho Dream
- Smash Tennis
- Spanky’s Quest
- Star Fox
- Star Fox 2
- Stunt Race FX
- Super Baseball Simulator 1,000
- SUPER E.D.F. EARTH DEFENSE FORCE
- Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts
- Super Mario All-Stars
- Super Mario Kart
- Super Mario World
- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
- Super Metroid
- Super Punch-Out!!
- Super Puyo Puyo 2
- Super Soccer
- Super Tennis
- Super Valis IV
- The Ignition Factor
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
- The Peace Keepers
- The Peacekeepers
- Tuff E Nuff
- Wild Guns