We recently got some great news for fans of both classic gaming and chasing down ghosts of a childhood past that can never truly be recaptured. Sega announced that it was going to be bringing the Sega Ages program to the Nintendo Switch, porting a ...
Dave Thier , Contributor I write about video games and technology. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Sega's Thunder Force.
We recently got some great news for fans of both classic gaming and chasing down ghosts of a childhood past that can never truly be recaptured. Sega announced that it was going to be bringing the Sega Ages program to the Nintendo Switch, porting a number of classic arcade and console games over to Nintendo's new living room/portable hybrid. It's good to hear: the Switch, with its portability, big screen and support for local multiplayer, is a great platform for classic gaming, even if these games harken back to a time when Sega and Nintendo were the bitterest of rivals.
But while this is great news for Nintendo's still-young platform, it can't help but call to attention the elephant in the room: Nintendo, the owner of most of the most popular games from the 80s and 90s, has yet to make much of a peep about just what it plans to do with its own classic library on the Switch. We've heard rumblings here and there, as well as some ports of old arcade games, but the big names are all still missing. Previous consoles had a Virtual Console service that handled these ports, and while it was always far from perfect, it was at least there. More than a year into the lifespan of the Switch and we're still in the dark on just what this will look like.
The likely explanation for this is that Nintendo is also expressing its classic gaming ambitions through the SNES and NES Classic, Editions, two fun-sized little machines that come with capsule libraries of the best games from their respective generations. But I feel like any potential fears of cannibalization here are overblown: the Classic Editions are as much gifts and charming physical objects as they are gaming machines, and they appeal to a much wider audience than the current suite of Switch owners. On top of that, there are likely tons of customers -- myself included -- who would happily buy some of these games on both platforms if the price were right.
Until then, classic gaming on the Switch is necessarily hamstrung by the company that makes it. I'm going to hold out hope here for the ideal situation: a robust online store with a subscription service not unlike Microsoft's Game Pass, offering a bunch of classic titles for $10 a month. And who knows? It could happen. The Switch has lagged on some features, but Nintendo has also delivered some impressive surprises when it comes to an ambitious release schedule. Whatever happens, I'd expect to hear about it at E3, or maybe right before.
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