The Nintendo Switch has proven to be a retro gaming fan’s dream console. Nintendo has brought tons of classic NES and Super NES titles to Switch Online. On the eShop, Sega, SNK, Hamster, and other publishers offer arcade archives and retro compilations. And the indie scene delivers modern takes on retro genres. This guide catalogs the many ways to get your retro fix on Switch. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Retro gaming has exploded in popularity recently, and Nintendo has capitalized for Switch owners. The eShop provides plenty of options:
- NES & SNES Libraries – Play original classics via Switch Online.
- Arcade Archives – Individual emulated arcade titles.
- Retro Compilations – Dozens of games packed into collections.
- Indie Homages – New games inspired by retro aesthetics and gameplay.
It can be tricky keeping track of all the ways to enjoy retro gaming on Switch. This guide will break down the key titles organized by platform and publisher. Read on to discover how well the Switch delivers that nostalgic retro feeling!
- Switch Online includes large libraries of NES and SNES classics.
- Hamster’s Arcade Archives are faithful ports of standout arcade games.
- Capcom, Konami, and SNK pack arcade series into bundles.
- Limited Run delivers physical editions of retro-inspired indie games.
- Many indie titles capture the pixel art, music, and gameplay of retro gaming eras.
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
For millions of gamers, the NES represents the golden age of home consoles. The Switch plays host to a library of over 60 classic 8-bit Nintendo titles via its online subscription plan:<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/3wvNX2VM/nes-switch-games.jpg” width=”500″ alt=”NES Games on Nintendo Switch”>
- Super Mario Bros. – The iconic mustachioed plumber’s debut.
- The Legend of Zelda – Link’s original adventure – an Action RPG classic.
- Metroid – Sci-fi exploration perfection establishing the Metroidvania genre.
- Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! – Box your way to a championship belt.
- Dr. Mario – Falling puzzle perfection with infectious music.
- Bubble Bobble – Adorable bubble dragon co-op platforming.
- Castlevania – Set the standard for gothic sidescrollers.
- Final Fantasy – The 1987 Japanese RPG that started a dynasty.
With a Switch Online subscription, this diverse library delivers endless 8-bit gameplay – now in portable form!
Full NES Game List:
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
Following the NES’s success, the SNES ushered classic Nintendo franchises into 16-bit glory in the 1990s. Over 50 iconic SNES titles are included:<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/fy90qvkV/snes-switch-games.jpg” width=”500″ alt=”SNES Games on Nintendo Switch”>
- Super Mario World – Brilliantly polished 2D platforming. Yoshi’s debut!
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – Considered by many to be the greatest Zelda ever.
- Super Metroid – At the pinnacle of exploration-based platformers.
- Star Fox – Revolutionized 3D visuals and rail shooting. Barrel roll!
- F-Zero – Incredibly fast futuristic racing.
- Super Mario Kart – The multiplayer classic that started it all.
- Street Fighter II Turbo – Quintessential competitive fighting. Hadouken!
- Super Castlevania IV – Set new standards for gothic action platforming.
The SNES catalog highlights the brilliance of Nintendo’s 16-bit peak. These definitive editions of iconic games hold up beautifully.
Full SNES Game List:
Arcade Archives (Hamster)
Beyond Nintendo consoles, the Switch offers a treasure trove of classic arcade games thanks to Hamster. The Arcade Archives series releases individual emulated arcade titles with bonus features:<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/SRWcvsfx/arcade-archives.jpg” width=”300″ alt=”Arcade Archives Nintendo Switch”>
Popular picks include:
- Pac-Man – The iconic pellet chomping maze chaser. Waka waka!
- Ms. Pac Man – Pac’s companion adds depth with new mazes.
- Galaga – Save the galaxy from insect invaders.
- Xevious – Ground and air shoot ’em up battlefield.
- Mappy – Hilarious platformer – trampolines and kitty cops!
- Tower of Druaga – Treacherous 60 floor action RPG dungeon.
- Ninja JaJaMaru-kun – Cute ninja platforming and secret doors.
With over 50 titles across genres, the Arcade Archives are a treasure trove of quarter-munching classics reborn on Switch.
Full List of Arcade Archive Releases:
Capcom Arcade Stadium
Capcom has faithfully ported loads of their classic arcade games in two packs – Capcom Arcade Stadium and Capcom Fighting Collection:<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/vHPXkN2v/capcom-arcade-stadium.jpg” width=”300″ alt=”Capcom Arcade Stadium Nintendo Switch”>
- Street Fighter II – The legendary competitive fighting game.
- Darkstalkers – Gorgeous supernatural monster fighting.
- Cyberbots – Customizable mech fighting/shooting hybrid.
- 1944 – Top-down WW2 aerial dogfighting shooter.
- Ghosts N’ Goblins – Infamously difficult sidescroller.
- Mega Man: The Power Battle – Rockman arcade platforming.
- Strider – Sidescrolling ninja action.
- Captain Commando – Crime-fighting beat ‘em up.
Capcom’s arcade legacy is beyond storied. These two packs celebrate their classics in authentic detail.
Konami Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection
Konami gathered together eight of their best arcade games, complete with supplemental material:<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/Nff9Xkmn/konami-anniversary-collection.jpg” width=”300″ alt=”Konami Anniversary Collection Nintendo Switch”>
The stellar lineup includes:
- Frogger – Hop the frog safely across traffic.
- Time Pilot – Blast through stunning eras in this time warp shooter.
- Scramble – Side scrolling shooter with forced vertical scrolling.
- Shao-Lin’s Road – Kung fu street brawling action.
- Road Fighter – Outrun cops in this racer.
- Super Cobra – Furious 8-way shooter.
- Rush’n Attack – Run ‘n gun sidescroller with sharp paratrooper action.
- Haunted Castle – Spooky sidescroller like Castlevania.
Konami ruled arcades in the 80s. This spans their iconic golden era.
SEGA AGES (Sega)
SEGA AGES adapts their most memorable arcade and Genesis games for Switch. The lineup includes:<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/zvKxHpnB/sega-ages-switch.jpg” width=”300″ alt=”SEGA AGES Games on Nintendo Switch”>
- Sonic the Hedgehog – Blast through loop de loop Green Hill Zones.
- Virtua Racing – Revolutionary 3D arcade racer.
- Phantasy Star – Epic sci-fi JRPG adventure.
- Shinobi – Joe Musashi’s shuriken slinging action.
- Alex Kidd in Miracle World – Cute platforming complete with Janken Rock Paper Scissors!
- Gain Ground – Strategic top-down shooter with tablet swapping mechanics.
- Ichidant-R – Off-road truck racing at its finest.
- Puyo Puyo – Competition puzzle perfection.
SEGA AGES brings their unique retro classics to Switch in authentic form.
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection
This jam-packed SNK anthology contains 24 arcade classics spanning decades:<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/vHPXkN2v/snk-40th-switch.jpg” width=”300″ alt=”SNK 40th Anniversary Collection Nintendo Switch”>
- Alpha Mission – Trade turret fire as you take to the skies in this shmup.
- Athena – Platforming goddess warrior saving the day.
- Crystalis – Action RPG excellence rivaling Zelda.
- Ikari Warriors – Rambo-inspired run ‘n gun shooter.
- Psycho Soldier – Early fighter predating Street Fighter.
- Street Smart – Ultra-difficult brawler in gritty city environments.
- Vs. Super Mario Bros – Arcade adaptation of Super Mario Bros with new elements.
SNK’s 40th Anniversary Collection is a must for appreciating arcade history beyond just Nintendo.
NeoGeo Arcade Stick Pro
Strictly speaking not a game, but this SNK accessory plays a curated selection of 20 Neo Geo classics:<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/KzpOqKLm/neo-geo-stick-switch.jpg” width=”300″ alt=”NeoGeo Arcade Stick Pro”>
- The King of Fighters ’95 – Hugely expanded evolution of fighting games.
- Samurai Shodown II – Weapons-based brawler with a feudal Japan vibe.
- Metal Slug – Gloriously detailed run ‘n gunner with great humor.
- Shock Troopers – Top-down run ‘n gun shooting.
- Alpha Mission II – Vertical scrolling shoot ‘em up.
- Super Sidekicks – Cute soccer action with great controls.
- Puzzle Bobble – Match colored bubbles in this falling block puzzler.
With a slick replica joystick and sharp display, this piece of hardware celebrates Neo Geo’s arcade dominance.
Indie Retro Homages
Beyond faithful ports, the eShop offers great modern games capturing retro style:<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/xdMCfSSp/indie-switch.jpg” width=”300″ alt=”Retro Indie Games on Nintendo Switch”>
Some of the best include:
- Shovel Knight – Nails 8-bit Mega Man and Castlevania gameplay beautifully.
- Stardew Valley – Farming/life sim with SNES inspiration.
- Dead Cells – Brutally tough and fun Metrovania action.
- Carrion – Unique ‘reverse horror’ perspective.
- Downwell – Simple but challenging pixelart roguelike shmup.
- Blazing Chrome – Love letter to run ‘n guns like Contra.
- Blaster Master Zero – Faithful sequel to the NES cult classic.
- Undertale – Clever RPG that meta-comments on game tropes.
The indie gaming scene has mastered modern retro-style experiences. These capture gameplay and aesthetics of gaming eras while innovating with new twists.
For more indie recommendations browse publishers like:
- Devolver Digital
- Mega Cat Studios
Physical Editions from Limited Run
Specialty publisher Limited Run offers physical collector’s printings of digital indie titles in retro-style boxes:<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/wMNvBNCw/limited-run-switch.jpg” width=”300″ alt=”Limited Run Nintendo Switch”>
Cool releases include:
- Star Wars: Republic Commando – Tactical FPS in LucasArts’ classic era.
- Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove – Funky fresh return of the cult hit roguelike.
- Flashback – Cinematic platformer with fluid animations.
- Castlevania Anniversary Collection – Eight classics spanning the early eras.
- Shantae – Charming belly dancing hair-whipping adventurer.
Limited Run enables collectors to own physical retro-inspired titles along with extras like manuals. Their catalog has something for every retro taste.
With hundreds of arcade, console, and indie selections, the Nintendo Switch is a retro gaming wonderland. Nintendo continues expanding its NES and SNES libraries with new additions every month. And third parties keep classic franchises alive through detailed emulated re-releases.
Whether you want to replay childhood favorites or discover gaming history, the Switch has you covered. Considering adding a Pro Controller or Arcade Stick to round out the retro experience.
Now it’s time to put on those rose-tinted glasses and dive into some old-school gameplay magic on the go. The past never looked so good. Game on! 🕹️
Will the Switch get Game Boy and Game Boy Color games?
Nintendo hasn’t announced plans to bring their Game Boy libraries to Switch Online yet. But Game Boy and Game Boy Color seem very likely future additions based on NES and SNES. There are so many classics like Pokemon Red/Blue, Link’s Awakening, and the Super Mario Land series that would fit Switch perfectly.
What about Nintendo 64 or GameCube games on Switch?
Again, no official plans yet, but Nintendo 64 seems the next logical step after NES, SNES, and eventually Game Boy. Nintendo could sell it as an upgraded Switch Online subscription tier. GameCube may still be unlikely due to its more complex hardware, but Wave Race on Switch would be amazing!
Will Switch get Genesis or TurboGrafx-16 games?
Potentially! Sega Genesis Classics compilations already exist for Switch, but official Genesis ports would be great. NEC’s obscure TurboGrafx-16 also included some hidden gems that deserve preservation like Bonk and Splatterhouse. Don’t count out third party retro additions down the road!
Can you play physical retro cartridges on Switch?
Unfortunately no, the Switch lacks any cartridge slots for original physical media. You can only play retro games that Nintendo has ported digitally. Homebrew may make NES/SNES cart support possible down the road unofficially. But don’t expect official support for physical retro media.
Where can you buy classic style Switch controllers?
8BitDo makes exceptional wireless controllers replicating SNES, NES, Genesis, and more. You can use these for added retro authenticity. Some great options include the SN30 Pro+ and the N30 Pro 2. Make sure to enable Switch support with their Ultimate Software.