Switch Online’s NES classics app now has titles and descriptions for 22 Super Nintendo games buried in its code, according to dataminers who have looked at the program. That’s a welcome glimmer of hope for anyone hoping to play Super Mario World on their Switch, but it doesn’t necessarily mean those games will show up any time soon.
The arrival of SNES games on Switch would not be, itself, surprising. Even prior to the launch of Switch, Nintendo had originally said that subscribers to the online service would get one free NES or SNES game per month, not unlike PlayStation Plus or Games With Gold. Eventually, as the service was delayed, that “one game a month” plan became a much more palatable arrangement: an all-you-can-play, steadily-growing library of NES games. SNES disappeared from the equation at that point, but the recent news indicates that it might not be gone for long.
Over the weekend, a hacker by the handle of KapuccinoHeck—who, last year, hacked the program to inject more game ROMs into the app—posted his findings from examining the latest update. Formatted the same way as the NES games’ titles and descriptions is a batch of information for 22 Super NES games, much of it in Japanese but some in English.
The games named in the program’s code:
- Breath Of Fire II
- Contra 3: The Alien Wars
- Demon’s Crest
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- Kirby’s Dream Land 3
- Kirby Super Star
- The Legend of the Mystical Ninja
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
- Pop’n Twinbee
- Star Fox
- Star Fox 2
- Stunt Race FX
- Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
- Super Mario All-Stars
- Super Mario Kart
- Super Mario World
- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
- Super Metroid
- Super Punch-Out!!
- Super Soccer
“We have nothing to announce on this topic,” read a statement emailed from Nintendo to Kotaku on Monday. Last year, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told Kotaku that “as the consumer looks forward to engaging with our classic content, that is going to happen more and more with the subscription service.”
So what does all this mean? Well, it’s a good indication that Nintendo is moving towards adding Super NES games to Switch. This list of games makes a lot of sense: In good part, it’s what we saw on the SNES Classic, mostly popular first-party Nintendo games with a few scattered third-party entries from two of the same publishers that are already providing games for the NES service: Capcom and Konami. And there’s also a game that’s never had an official re-release before, Stunt Race FX, a racer that used the Super FX chip to do 3D polygonal graphics.
The more pertinent question to ask right now is what does it not mean? Just because dataminers found something in the code doesn’t tell us anything about when Nintendo plans to release these games, or even if these games will definitely come to the service. Maybe the current plan is to release these games, but the licensing hasn’t been all sewn up yet. Maybe these are the games, but they won’t go live until Nintendo is ready to start selling Super Nintendo-style wireless controllers for Switch.
Or maybe there’s a Nintendo Direct this week and we’ll all be playing Super Mario Kart online together on Thursday. Who knows! What’s definitely true is that Switch owners are salivating at the prospect of playing SNES games on the system, moreso than NES games, and they can’t come soon enough.