April 18, 2024

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50 Years of Landmark Video Games, Once a Year, All Playable on Nintendo Switch

50 Years of Landmark Video Games, Once a Year, All Playable on Nintendo Switch

Before we get started, some housekeeping. For the most part, we went with the earliest initial release date for a game on whatever platform it first came out on. However, with histories in different regions sometimes spread across multiple years (hello, Super Mario World), there are instances below where we’ve taken a modicum of liberty in order to accommodate a certain deserving favourite. Complaints to the usual address.

In some cases, we’ve added honorable mentions and even notable nominations other than the switch. You’ll also notice that the excellent Atari 50 series and Hamster’s Arcade Archives do the heavy lifting on the early years (and we had to get creative with 1972-1975 – let us know in the comments if you have suggestions for those early years). All in all, we think you’ll agree that the wealth of historical titles available to play on Nintendo’s minuscule console is impressive.

So, enough ado. Let’s start at…well, not a very The beginning, but certainly much closer to it than we are now. Come with us now on a journey through time and space, back to Minnesota in the year 1971…

1971 - Oregon Road (HP 2100)

publisher: Gameloft / Developer: Gameloft

release date: November 14, 2022 (United States of America) / November 14, 2022 (United Kingdom / European Union)

Created as an educational tool for students at a Minneapolis high school, The Oregon Trail is an “edutainment” text-based adventure famous for teaching American children about the dangers of dysentery to pioneers in the mid-nineteenth century. As with many of the games near the top of this list, the original game is available to play for free online (via Oregon Tourism Board websiteand no less), but it’s also available on Switch in a heavily updated and updated form from Gameloft.

We haven’t played this game, unfortunately, but let us know in the comments if you enjoyed Dying of Dysentery on Switch.

1972-5 - Pong (arcade)

1972-5 - Pong (arcade)

publisher: Atari / Developer: digital eclipse

release date: November 11, 2022 (United States of America) / November 11, 2022 (United Kingdom / European Union)
1976 - Breakthrough (arcade)

1976 - Breakthrough (arcade)

publisher: Atari / Developer: digital eclipse

release date: November 11, 2022 (United States of America) / November 11, 2022 (United Kingdom / European Union)
1977 - Fighting (Atari 2600)

1977 - Fighting (Atari 2600)

publisher: Atari / Developer: digital eclipse

release date: November 11, 2022 (United States of America) / November 11, 2022 (United Kingdom / European Union)
1978 - Space Invaders (arcade)

1978 - Space Invaders (arcade)

publisher: Taito / Developer: Taito

release date: August 17, 2021 (United States of America) / August 17, 2021 (United Kingdom / European Union)
1979 - Asteroids (Arcade)

1979 - Asteroids (Arcade)

publisher: Atari / Developer: digital eclipse

release date: November 11, 2022 (United States of America) / November 11, 2022 (United Kingdom / European Union)
1980 - Pac-Man (Arcade)

1980 - Pac-Man (Arcade)

publisher: Bandai Namco / Developer: Bandai Namco

release date: May 27, 2022 (United States of America) / May 27, 2022 (United Kingdom / European Union)
1981 - Donkey Kong (arcade)

1981 - Donkey Kong (arcade)

publisher: hamster / Developer: Nintendo

release date: June 14, 2018 (United States of America) / June 15, 2018 (United Kingdom / European Union)
1982 - X-eves (arcade)

1982 - X-eves (arcade)

publisher: hamster

release date: September 23, 2021 (United States of America) / September 24, 2021 (United Kingdom / European Union)

Sneaking into Japanese arcades in December 1982, Namco Xworth introduced visuals that were not uncommon in arcades at the time and stands alongside Mighty Space Invaders as one of the most influential entries in the shooter genre. We’re totally partial to the self-driving 3D Classics release on the 3DS, but the Switch version presents TATE mode in all its glory.

Fun fact: Xevious is an unlockable game in Star Fox: Assault on GameCube. Nope, this is not on Switch. Sorry we brought it up.

Honorable Mentions: Donkey Kong Jr., Burger Time, Millipede, Dig Dig

No-switch Nom: headmasterMrs. Pac-Man impasse

1983 - Mario Bros. (arcade)

1983 - Mario Bros. (arcade)

publisher: hamster / Developer: Nintendo

release date: September 27, 2017 (United States of America) / September 27, 2017 (United Kingdom / European Union)