The Nintendo Switch Online service debuted a couple of nights ago. I, obviously enough, subscribed immediately. I’m not necessarily happy about having to pay for online play now, but it’s less than half the cost of an annual PS Plus subscription. And I had that nice year-and-a-half of free online play, so I won’t be too butthurt about it.
Let’s talk features: Playing online is cool. I have a Monster Hunter on Switch now, so it’s an absolute necessity. Also I like to entertain the thought that I will play Splatoon 2 again at some point. I think those are the only two online games I care about. There’s ARMS, I guess, but I’m even less likely to play that than Splatoon 2. Smash has historically bad online play, so we’ll see about that one.
Cloud saves… I honestly don’t care about. Yeah, it would suck to lose hours of progress through a thing. The truth of it is that I always have way more fun with the beginnings of games anyway. Dunno why, and I don’t have the time right now to do a deep psychological examination of myself.
Apparently Switch Online subscribers will get exclusive deals. I’m hoping that means bigger discounts on games in the future, but all you get right now is the opportunity to buy the special joycons shaped like NES controllers. Which is not something I’m interested in. They’re $80, which is less than a regular joycon pair, but they also don’t function with any games aside from…
NES Online is the real “value add” for the subscription service. It’s basically NES Netflix, NESflix, if you will, in which you are granted unlimited access to an ever-growing library of NES games. This is cool! I prefer owning things, but this is the way that media is offered now, so I’ll go with the flow. There are currently 20 games on offer, with a paltry three to be added each month. That’s not enough, but what can you do?
Me, I plan to just enjoy what I get. There’s no point in complaining, especially since Nintendo is going back and adding online play to any games that can support it. At first, this seems like a dynamite feature. But then you try to go and play some online Dr. Mario and realize that you’re only allowed to play with people on your friends list. That, I’m going to be salty about. I want to be able to just hop in and play online River City Ransom and Tecmo Bowl with randos. But instead I have to schedule playtime with someone on my friends list. Now I have to download the Discord app and figure out how to use Discord, and also how to actually interact with people in a way that will make them want to play Double Dragon with me. It’s an all-around bummer.
The one “saving grace” if you will, is that you can also download the Famicom Online from the Japanese eShop, if you want to play the Famicom versions of all these games. There aren’t really a lot of reasons why you’d want to do this (aside from being a dumb weeb), but The Legend of Zelda at least has enhanced music and sound effects in the Famicom version. It’s not much, and I’m reasonably certain that Nintendo will keep the library of games the same between regions, but it’s still a neat little feature.
So yeah, that’s about that. I kind of hope we see something like the PS Plus or Games With Gold deals where subscribers get free modern games, but the slate of NES games is enough to satisfy me. And there’s the suggestion that SNES games won’t be far behind. It’s pretty good!