For many kids growing up in the ’90s and early 2000s, their first gaming consoles were the Nintendo 64, Game Boy, and the GameCube. Games like the Pokémon series are still wildly popular today,and their previous incarnations still hold up for players.
Nintendo has re-released many era-defining titles for modern players on the Switch, keeping much of the original games’ concepts along with newer touches, improved graphics, expanded features, and bonus content. There are also many older games now available to purchase in the Nintendo eShop which can be played easily on the Switch for an extra dose of ’90s nostalgia.
10 Disney Classic Games Collection
The Disney Classic Games Collection has the original 16-bit console games from the Sega and SNES releases, plus new added content. The classic and new games all have their same aesthetic and soundtrack, as well as behind the scenes extras.
The Lion King, Aladdin, and the most recent re-release The Jungle Book came after avid fan requests, so hopefully there will be more 16-bit Disney game title re-releases in the future. All three games are platformers whose difficulty level still stand the test of time, giving a proper dose of nostalgia along with a good gaming challenge.
9 Spyro Reignited Trilogy
The fan base for the little fire-breathing purple dragon has endured well into the next generation and fans were thrilled when Nintendo remastered three Spyro classics for the Switch. Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon were released in an HD bundle together, combining the gameplay of the late ’90s with modern design.
Spyro always had some of the most gorgeous vistas, even on the Playstation 1, so playing the Reignited Trilogy in handheld mode on the Switch may be convenient but not as immersive. Fans who want the full throwback experience would probably want to play it in TV Mode on the Switch.
8 Luigi’s Mansion 3
Luigi’s Mansion was a GameCube favorite nearly twenty years ago and Luigi’s Mansion 3 is another hit on the Switch. Luigi has a simple, rounded character design, so his look in the new game is both like the original, and a bit more polished.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 takes place in a hotel rather than a mansion, but there’s still plenty of Halloween-esque aesthetic with cartoonish ghosts and a delightfully spooky, shadowy atmosphere. The game controls have changed somewhat, but they still feel intuitive – and the new Slam Meter is a hilarious and useful addition.
7 The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was a side-scroller originally made for Game Boy. While Awakening does have the classic Zelda type of dungeon crawler story, it’s an outlier Zelda game because it has a lot of Mario references.
Rather than keeping the original 8-bit design for the remake, designers went in a whole new chibi-ish art direction, which works really well for the more lighthearted tone of the game. Zelda is a huge franchise to dive into, and Awakening is a game which both veteran fans and newcomers can pick up and enjoy.
6 Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII was the first of the franchise for PlayStation gamers, and it set the bar for JRPGs. Now, players can run it on the Switch with a bunch of extra features. After so many stellar following installments in the series, the original VII may not hold up as well to a contemporary audience, but the world is worth revisiting on the Switch for pure sentimental appreciation.
Players can speed up battle sequences in the remaster, so the game has more of a pick-up-and-play feel than a grinding investment. Though the game was entirely remade in 2020 for PlayStation 4, the more old-fashioned Switch version is perfect for fans who grew up with the game.
5 Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee
Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu are the perfect blend of the classic Pokémon Yellow for Game Boy and the newer, popular Pokémon Go. Let’s Go makes some amazing improvements on the original 8-bit Game Boy game, with stunning visuals, and Pokémon which are easily identifiable in the grass, so players can avoid grinding unnecessarily and gather their Pokédex strategically.
Let’s Go really leans into the sentimentality factor by allowing players to have their Eevee or Pikachu tag along as a perpetual sidekick in the game, as well as select a second Pokémon to follow them around as they explore towns and mountains. Players can also take little breaks to bond with their Eevee or Pikachu directly, petting them and feeding them treats.
4 Metroid Prime Remastered
The best part of Metroid Prime is exploring the world. Playing it remastered on Switch has all the best parts of playing it back in the day on Game Cube, and more. Even diehard Metroid fans enjoy the updated gameplay of the new Switch version. The graphics are bright and beautiful but don’t skimp on the Alien space horror influences of the original game.
The Switch version is so well-made that the remaster itself is considered a second classic. The remaster doesn’t just consider old fans either, it gives the Casual play mode option which is best used for Metroid newcomers, too.
3 Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Though technically Animal Crossing‘s premiere release was on the Nintendo 64, most played it first on the GameCube. Both the GameCube and following DS New Leaf versions are considered classics, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons has joined that well-loved pantheon.
New Horizons doesn’t have all the features which New Leaf has, but updates like the Roost and Kapp’n additions give players hope that more fan-favorite features will follow. From growing hybrid flowers to decorating themed islands to bonding with neighbors, Animal Crossing is the gift that keeps on giving.
2 Pokémon Snap
Both the original Pokémon Snap for Nintendo 64 and the Switch version stand on their own as amazing games. There were so many nooks and crannies to explore in the 64 version; it was one of the first games where players could interact with Pokémon in unique ways.
The new Switch version takes full advantage of modern graphics, giving more dynamic Pokémon poses and activity, and breathtaking vistas, like full underwater scenes. Both games require skill and allow the player room for creativity behind the camera.
1 Castlevania Anniversary Collection
Castlevania fans can revel in the veritable feast that the Castlevania Anniversary Collection provides, compiling eight games in one purchase. The original 8-bit NES game plays beautifully on the Switch, and the collection has been received well by devout fans. The only drawback is playing an 8-bit game on an HD screen takes away some of the blurring effect vintage televisions had which smoothed out the rough pixels.
The collection also includes Kid Dracula which previous to this release was only available outside the U.S. It also comes with an ebook full of details about Castlevania‘s iconic, gothic art style and trivia.
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