(Pocket-lint) - The Nintendo Switch has its own, paid subscription service which is required for online play.
However, not only does Nintendo Switch Online enable Switch owners to play many games online, membership offers a growing selection of free classic games to download, including Super Mario.
So here's everything you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online, including the price, family plans and what it has to offer.
- Best Nintendo Switch games every gamer must own
- Best upcoming Nintendo Switch games to look forward to
What is Nintendo Switch online and what does it do?
Switch Online is Nintendo's equivalent to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold. It is a paid subscription service that gives you access to online multiplayer play for many games, plus other benefits and features.
You will need to be a Nintendo Switch Online member to play the vast majority of games online. You will still be able to play games such as Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in single-player or local multiplayer, but won't be able to compete against your friends over the internet if you don't have an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription.
What free games do you get with Switch Online and the Expansion Pass?
Classic NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive games list
A growing library of Nintendo Entertainment System games are available to play at no extra cost. Classics on offer include Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda.
Switch Online members also get the chance to play a selection of SNES games. Like the NES library, an increasing selection of Super Nintendo titles, such as Super Mario World and Mario Kart, are available through a free-to-download app. There are more than 100 games on both lists in total.
From 25 October 2021, the service will also add classic N64 and, perhaps surprisingly, Sega Mega Drive / Genesis games. However, they will be only available as part of an "Expansion Pack" - a more pricey, premium tier.
The Expansion Pack will also include access to the Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Happy Home Paradise DLC at no extra cost.
Nintendo Switch Online free classic games list for UK, EU and US (as of 25 October 2021):
- Adventures of Lolo
- Balloon Fight
- Blaster Master (+ SP version)
- City Connection
- Clu Clu Land
- Donkey Kong
- Donkey Kong 3
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- Double Dragon
- Double Dragon II: The Revenge
- Dr. Mario (+ SP version)
- Eliminator Boat Duel
- Fire 'n Ice
- Ghosts'n Goblins (+ SP version)
- Gradius (+ SP version)
- Ice Climber
- Ice Hockey
- Journey to Silius
- Kid Icarus (+ SP version)
- Kirby's Adventure (+ SP version)
- Kung-Fu Heroes
- Mario Bros.
- Metroid (+ SP version)
- Mighty Bomb Jack (+ SP version)
- NES Open Tournament Golf
- Ninja Gaiden (+ SP version)
- Ninja JaJaMaru-kun
- Pro Wrestling
- River City Ransom
- S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team
- Shadow of the Ninja
- Solomon's Key
- Star Soldier (+ SP version)
- Star Tropics
- Super Dodge Ball
- Super Mario Bros. (+SP version)
- Super Mario Bros. 2
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
- Tecmo Bowl
- The Immortal
- The Legend of Zelda (+ SP version)
- TwinBee (+ SP version)
- Vice: Project Doom
- Vs. Excitebike
- Wario's Woods
- Wrecking Crew
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (+ SP version)
- Brawl Brothers
- Breath of Fire
- Breath of Fire II
- Caveman Ninja (AKA Joe & Mac)
- Demon's Crest
- Donkey Kong Country
- Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest
- Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!
- Doomsday Warrior
- Jelly Boy
- Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics
- Kirby Super Star
- Kirby's Dream Course
- Kirby's Dream Land 3
- Operation Logic Bomb
- Magical Drop II
- Mario's Super Picross
- Natsume Championship Wrestling
- Panel de Pon
- Pop'n Twinbee
- Preshistorik Man
- Psycho Dream
- Smash Tennis
- Spanky's Quest
- Star Fox
- Star Fox 2
- Stunt Race FX
- Super Baseball Simulator 1.000
- Super E.D.F. Earth Defense Force
- 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 Puyo Puyo 2
- Super Soccer
- Super Tennis
- Super Valis IV
- The Ignition Factor
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
- The Peace Keepers
- Tuff E Nuff
- Wild Guns
N64 (from 25 October 2021 as part of expansion pack)
- Banjo-Kazooie - (to be added later)
- Dr Mario 64
- F-Zero X - (to be added later)
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards - (to be added later)
- Mario Golf - (to be added later)
- Mario Kart 64
- Mario Tennis
- Paper Mario - (to be added later)
- Pokémon Snap
- Sin & Punishment
- Star Fox 64
- Super Mario 64
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask - (to be added later)
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Yoshi’s Story
Sega Mega Drive / Genesis (from 25 October 2021 as part of expansion pack)
- Castlevania: Bloodlines
- Contra: Hard Corps
- Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Golden Axe
- Gunstar Heroes
- Phantasy Star IV
- Shining Force
- Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Streets of Rage 2
Other Switch Online member benefits
Switch Online allows you to store your save games in the cloud, in order to back up your progress. That way, if you do have to wipe your Switch for whatever reason or run out of storage, you will still have a back-up you can download at a later date.
There is a catch though; not all games will save to the cloud. Nintendo blocks some to "ensure fair play", whatever that means.
Nintendo Switch Online app
Deals and offers are available for members only. As are the occasional free games beyond those for NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Mega Drive / Genesis.
One UK offer for members is the option to purchase a two game voucher for £84, thereby saving you cash on Nintendo eShop purchases.
How much does Nintendo Switch Online cost and is there a family plan?
Switch Online price
The price of Nintendo Switch Online varies depending on whether you like to pay monthly, quarterly or yearly. There is also family membership which includes up to eight Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions. Each different family member can use the full Nintendo Switch Online privileges on different consoles or even the same Switch.
After a one-week free trial period, a standard Nintendo Switch Online subscription will cost the following:
1 month (30 days): £3.49, €3.99, $3.99
3 months (90 days): £6.99, €7.99, $7.99
12 months (365 days): £17.99, €19.99, $19.99
12 months (365 days): £31.49, €34.99, $34.99
Switch Online Expansion Pack price
A Switch Online Expansion Pack is required for access to classic N64 and Sega Mega Drive games, plus other benefits (such as free Animal Crossing: New Horizons DLC).
You subscribe to it as in a bundle of Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack.
12 months (365 days): £34.99, €39.99, $49.99
12 months (365 days): £59.99, €69.99, $79.99
How to get Nintendo Switch Online membership
Alternatively, you can sign up on your Switch itself. Head to the eShop icon on the bottom of the main menu screen, open the eShop and you will see "Nintendo Switch Online" as one of the options on the left-hand side. Click on it and it will take you to the membership options screen where you can choose your membership, even start the free trial period.
You will also need a free Nintendo Account though, so if you haven't got one already, head here: my.nintendo.com.