Ever since the launch of the original Virtual Console on the Wii back in 2006, Nintendo has provided one of the most simultaneously applauded and derided services for people who love nostalgic gaming.
For every beloved title that finds its way into the hands of new generations, dozens of others are mysteriously never added (or are drip-fed at a rate of a single game per month), to the outcry of people who want a convenient way to re-experience their old favorites.
This back and forth has ultimately culminated in the current situation with the Nintendo Switch. They launched the console without a Virtual Console storefront back in March, and it has yet to receive confirmation on a launch date from Nintendo, despite industry reports that it is in the works.
With E3 2017 approaching and hopes high among Switch owners that some kind of Virtual Console announcement is imminent, we're here to talk about five great retro games that Nintendo should absolutely be adding to the system. However, you're not going to find any Mario or Zelda titles on this list; those will be coming whether we want them or not. Instead, these are games that deserve a look if they've slipped under your radar until now, and would benefit the most from a re-release
Chrono Trigger (Super Nintendo, 1995)
Designed by Squaresoft and featuring character designs by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama, Chrono Trigger is considered by many to be the greatest Japanese Role-Playing game of all time.
Despite being over 20 years old, the game's epic story about an unlikely team of heroes (including a talking frog, a sentient robot and a cavewoman from the year 5 000 000 B.C.) having to travel through time to save the Earth from a planet-destroying alien holds up to this day. The prospect of being able to take this gem on the go makes it an absolute no-brainer for the Switch.
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (Nintendo 64, 1998)
The first 3D entry in a long-running series (that only had one release in North America before this one), Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon is essentially a 3D Zelda game set in feudal Japan (it even beat Ocarina of Time to market by seven months!). Of course, it's a feudal Japan that features aliens who invade with their army of robots in order to turn the country into a giant musical stage, so you know, historical fiction.
You even get to pilot a giant Power Rangers-esque robot, who not only destroys countless villages on his way to battle other giant robots, but comes complete with his own theme song (sung entirely in Japanese). This game is a great example of the sheer weirdness of classic games and deserves to be more widely-available for people to be entertained (and weirded-out) by.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time (Super Nintendo, 1992)
Easily the best beat 'em up from the genre's heyday, Turtles In Time is one of the rare examples of a home console port of an arcade game that improves on the original in just about every way. The game is pure, blissful simplicity, allowing you and a friend to each pick your favorite mutant turtle named after a Renaissance painter and beat up on robot ninjas.
With the Switch's emphasis on even being able to take local multiplayer wherever you go, an enhanced port of this that lets up to four players team up against the Foot Clan would be an immensely welcome addition to anyone's library.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (Gamecube, 2003)
Overlooked by many due to being released on the beloved but under-selling Gamecube, Eternal Darkness is a masterwork of survival horror. What starts simply enough as protagonist Alexandra Roivas investigating the mysterious death of her grandfather soon gives way to a horrific tale that spans centuries; one in which her ancestors try (often in vain) to stop the arrival of a Lovecraftian horror from beyond the stars.
This game is especially notable for its innovative Sanity mechanic, in which it actively torments the player with illusions and fourth wall-breaking interruptions (including a fake message stating that their memory card has been erased). The fact that it has not had any sort of re-release in the fifteen years since it came out is borderline criminal.
Super Castlevania IV (Super Nintendo, 1991)
A remake of the NES original (despite the "IV" in its name), Super Castlevania IV serves as a solid introduction to Simon Belmont and his clan's centuries-old war against Count Dracula; thanks to tight controls, gorgeous 16-bit graphics, and a moody, atmospheric soundtrack.
With the upcoming Netflix series poised to bring the franchise to the attention of an entirely new audience, the time is perfect to re-release one of the most beloved Castlevania games.
This, of course, is only scratching the surface on what Nintendo could release to make the Switch's Virtual Console awesome. Given how much they're banking on nostalgia lately, hopefully we'll see not only these, but dozens of other classics and hidden gems re-released for people to revisit, or even experience for the first time.