Playing NES and SNES games with your Kids


Why you should play NES and SNES games on the Nintendo Switch with your Kids

Hey readers, thanks for coming back to my blog!

As a parent, sharing common interests with your kids is important to creating a strong child-parent bond. Now while it is often the parent trying to relate to the child, learning about what they are interested in, the great parents can share their interests with their children and get them involved as well. As you know from my last post, I am a huge fan of retro games. The truth is, it is always great if I don't have to wait for the kids to go to sleep to get some classic game time in.

Not that I don't like playing new games with my kids. I like playing Animal Crossing New Horizons as much as the next person, but there is only so much time I want to watch my kids strip our island clean of resources and try to make do with what is left. And don't get me started on the local multiplayer mode either.

As an owner of the Nintendo Switch, here is where my subscription to the Nintendo Switch online service really comes in handy. The subscription comes with two pieces of software, Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System. They are a collection of games from the original consoles you can play locally with one or two players, or online with another player using the internet. Once I heard about these two games, they were essential downloads for any Switch in my home.

The next step was to try and get the kids to play the games with me. I explained that these games were games I played growing up and I'd like them to try them out. As a first impression, the graphics didn't exactly pull the kids in. Not many kids would give up the spectacular visuals of Mario Odyssey or Breath of the Wild for 8-bit Mario and Link. Next, I started up a couple of games and told them how much fun they were to play. The results were mixed, with the kids wanting to move on to something new every few minutes.

While this was going on, it was a Saturday afternoon and my "Dad" responsibilities were calling. I had to leave the room to switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer. When I came back, I heard something remarkable. The kids had changed games and were now playing Pro Wrestling, released in 1986 on the NES. They were having a great time battling each other in the ring shouting "the amazon is biting me on the head" and "go Star Man!" This was a rare moment where the children were playing together and not at each other's throats, so it was significant, especially considering I don't know anyone with fond memories of Pro Wrestling (don't @ me).

The whole experience made me realize I didn't really need to sell the kids on the quality of the games, I just needed to allow them to experience them for themselves. This is the real genius behind putting these games on the Switch in the first place. For fellow classic Nintendo fans, it can be a great way to share these games with your kids too.

Before I go on, I want to get one thing out of the way. I am not writing this to be a cheerleader for the Nintendo Entertainment System or the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on Nintendo Switch Online. There are games on it I am not interested and games I wish were on there. The truth is, you take what you can get.

These games also require you to pay for the Nintendo Switch online service. The online subscription costs $25 - $50 annually (Canadian dollars), so it is something you must consider if it is worthwhile for your family.

To sum it all up, here are the reasons you should play NES and SNES games on the Nintendo Switch with your kids:

  • You can share the games of your childhood with your kids. Issues with the games that are offered aside, the games on the Nintendo Switch include some of the must-play games released on the NES and SNES. A lot of the characters your kids will see will be familiar to present-day Nintendo fans; Mario, Luigi, Link Yoshi, and Kirby. Your kids may even be interested in seeing where these characters came from in relation to where they are today.

  • The controller is simple and easier for the kids to learn. This is going to sound like a grouchy old gamer but remember when the controller only had the two buttons and a direction pad? My kids found that they picked up the controls easier and with success, they were able to accomplish more right away. What better way to get them engaged and coming back for more?

  • When the controls are easy to learn, the games are just plain fun. The variety of games offered cover a variety of genres like platformers, shoot-em-ups, beat-em-ups, puzzle games, and sports. It will appeal to button mashers and strategists, coin collectors and puzzle solvers. You don't have to like or even play them all, but there is something for everyone.

  • The last benefit may be mostly for the "Dads" especially during this time of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Playing NES and SNES games with Nintendo Switch Online is extremely easy to set up an online game with your friends. I played a game of Ice Hockey with my brother on the weekend. It only took a couple of seconds to connect and play a 20-minute Canada vs Russia showdown. One of the criticisms of the Nintendo Switch Online service is the lack of dedicated servers to host the games. This can be frustrating for newer games that tend to test the ability of the hardware, but two-player Ice Climber or NES Baseball shouldn't give you any problems.

I think the next time we connect, I'll be talking about the 5 games I'd like to see on the Nintendo Switch that aren't there yet. Some of them may just be a "pipe dream", but why not dream big. I'd like to hear which NES and SNES games you would like to see on the Switch, so please Tweet me (@chris_logel) or the Nintendo Dads (@NintendoDads) with your suggestions.

I would like to thank Marty, Justin, Jesse, Tim and Gary of Nintendo Dads for allowing me to be part of the Nintendo Dads family. I look forward to talking to you soon.