The Latest Batch Of Switch Online GBA Games Is Just Cruel

Mario, Lugui, Peach, and Toad pluck random GBA games out of the ground.
Mario, Lugui, Peach, and Toad pluck random GBA games out of the ground.

The Game Boy Advance isn’t the best gaming handheld ever, but it’s certainly the one I’m most nostalgic about. It let me take gorgeous spin-offs of my favorite 16-bit SNES games on the go, and most importantly included some incredible pixel art gems the likes of which we’ve never seen since. So why is Nintendo wasting time bringing GBA games to Switch Online that are just worse versions of games you can already play on Switch Online?

The company just announced Super Mario Advance 1, 2, and 3 would join Switch Online’s expensive Expansion Pack tier starting on May 26. The first game is a remaster of Super Mario Bros. 2. The second game is a port of Super Mario Word. And the third game is a port of Yoshi’s Island. These are all incredible games. The only problem is that you can already play better versions through the SNES library in the much cheaper base level Switch Online subscription.

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Super Mario All-Stars includes remasters of Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, 3, and Lost Levels. Super Mario World and Yoshi’s Island are also in the SNES library. One of the coolest things about the Advance games when they first released is that it meant taking some of the great games of all time on the go. But the Switch is already portable. And yes, Super Mario Advance 1 and 3 do include some additional content—a Yoshi Challenge mode in the first game and 6 new secret levels in the third—but they’re still arguably not the definitive versions of either game.

The GBA games Switch Online should add instead

Meanwhile, where is Fire Emblem: Sacred Stone or Golden Sun, two excellent portable role-playing games Nintendo teased in the GBA library’s original announcement? What about Metroid: Zero Mission, Mario Vs Donkey Kong, and Kirby And The Amazing Mirror, first-party games that don’t already exist elsewhere on the Switch? Then there are the lesser known standouts like Gunstar Future Heroes, Astro Boy: Omega Factor, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.

This might be pie in the skystuff but what’s the point of a retro library if it doesn’t include a rare curio or two? We sure as hell probably won’t be getting Final Fantasy VI Advance, Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow, or Advance Wars, since each of those games is being sold in a separate retro collection on the eShop.

The GBA library got off to a strong start with The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap and Metroid Fusion, two incredible games that weren’t previously available to buy on modern platforms. It would be nice to see that momentum continue. After all, the Expansion Pack is $50 a year just to rent decades old games many fans already own in some form or another. The Super Mario Advance games are great in their own right, and an important part of the franchise’s history. I’m glad they made it, but there are bigger fish to fry right now. I hope Nintendo proves me wrong and brings Final Fantasy Tactics Advance to the Switch in June.


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