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5 best NES and SNES games to play on Nintendo Switch Online

Itching for the good old days? (Images via Nintendo)
Itching for the good old days? (Images via Nintendo)
Siddharth Patil

Say what you will about Nintendo Switch Online - it has its perks. With the Switch, Nintendo followed in Sony and Microsoft's footsetps with an online subscription service. It allows players to utilize online multiplayer features and also provides a handful of perks, such as the retro games catalog.

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These games range from NES to N64 classics, and whether you're a newcomer or a veteran gamer, you will have likely heard of these retro picks. Here are the five best NES and five best SNES games that everyone should experience.


Nintendo Switch Online is a great way to experience the golden years of gaming

The best of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES):

1) The Legend of Zelda

Link's debut was humble yet ambitious (Image via Nintendo)
Link's debut was humble yet ambitious (Image via Nintendo)

The first adventure in Link's beloved saga was released in 1986. Emerging as a product of creator Shigeru Miyamoto's outings exploring the wilderness, The Legend of Zelda takes players through an action-packed journey full of secrets. As would become standard for the Nintendo series, players can explore dungeons, take down enemies, and uncover helpful items needed to progress, such as a boomerang.


2) Super Mario Bros

The game is popular even among non-gamer crowds (Image via Nintendo)
The game is popular even among non-gamer crowds (Image via Nintendo)

Easily one of the most popular games ever made, Super Mario Bros is a true classic. The 1985 platformer continues to live on in gamers' hearts around the world and is played to this day. Players navigate the titular Mario across Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Peach. The game features a series of levels packed with exciting level designs and fair challenges that have stood the test of time.


3) Metroid

Atmosphere has always been the priority of this series (Image via Nintendo)
Atmosphere has always been the priority of this series (Image via Nintendo)

The Japanese game developer's first foray into non-linear platformer level design was 1986's Metroid. Bounty hunter Samus Aran is sent to planet Zebes to stop the Space Pirates from using the parasitic Metroid organisms for their own nefarious purposes. Thanks to its complex level design and item-based progression, its popularity rivals that of other popular sci-fi franchises such as Halo.


4) Donkey Kong

This arcade experience is still nostalgic for many (Image via Nintendo)
This arcade experience is still nostalgic for many (Image via Nintendo)

One of the first major hits released by the Big N, the 1981 arcade game was ported to the NES two years later. It is still one of the most popular arcade games of all time, thanks to its simplicity. Players control Mario as he attempts to climb up to where Princess Peach is being held hostage. This is done by jumping and platforming across gaps and hazards thrown by the King Kong-inspired gorilla and the titular Donkey Kong.


5) Super Mario Bros 3

Its also the best looking Mrio game on the NES (Image via Nintendo)
Its also the best looking Mrio game on the NES (Image via Nintendo)

Arguably one of the best 2D Mario games so far, Super Mario Bros 3 is once again on a journey to save the princess in trouble - this time with new enemies: the Koopalings. It expands upon the earlier entries with not just improved platforming but also new and interesting mechanics. These include the Tanooki suit and an overworld map for Mario and Luigi to select levels across it.


Best of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES):

1) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

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Link's second-generational outing is a far more ambitious and narrative-driven outing than on the NES - even though this is a prequel. Link must rescue Princess Zelda from the clutches of evil wizard Agahnim and eventually take on the antagonistic Ganon and his Dark World. Players once again explore complex dungeons, solve puzzles, slay monsters and defeat meticulously-designed bosses with unearthed gear and items. It has even inspired modern indie games like Hyper Light Drifter.


2) Super Metroid

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Often hailed by many as the best 2D platformer ever, Super Metroid played an important role in founding the Metroidvania genre. This time, fans revisit Zebes in search of a Metroid larva - only to find it stolen by Ridley, the Space Pirate's leader. The SNES outing expands considerably on the first game, with several quality-of-life improvements such as multi-directional fire while moving, and a more expansive, progression-gated open world.


3) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

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For a 1995 SNES game, Yoshi's Island sure does look like it hasn't aged a day. Taking place before any of the previous Super Mario games, players control a Yoshi, the series' brand of cute dinosaurs. The goal is to reunite baby Mario with baby Luigi - but the path won't be easy, especially with Mario's annoying cries in tow. The game focuses on puzzle solving and collecting items, and also introduces new elements like egg-throwing.


4) Star Fox

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This 1993 sci-fi dogfighter was and still is one of the most technically impressive SNES games. This first entry in Nintendo's underrated space series sees the anthropomorphic Fox McCloud and his gang protecting Corneria against the invading forces of Andross. Players fly around in a ship (called Arwing) across pseudo-3D levels, shooting down foes. The visuals and performance are certainly janky for modern gamers, but it's worth a try.


5) Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts

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Developed by Capcom in 1991, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts is a 2D platformer infamous for its ruthless difficulty. Knight Arthur must once again save the day by retrieving Princess Guinevere from an evil emperor. The levels take place across various locales and feature many different monsters with punishing attack patterns to take down. Dark Souls comparisons are inevitable with this one.


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The lineup of retro games has continued to grow since the service went live and is likely to continue with new additions.


Edited by Sandeep Banerjee

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