The best arcade games on Switch and how to play them

Les meilleurs jeux d'arcade sur Switch et comment y jouer

The arcades were so good

I'm talking to you about a time that those who affectionately refer to us with the term "boomer" cannot know.

That of the joys of old smoky arcade rooms, of the pleasure of inserting the pieces at the time of the "insert coin", of mastering the quarter-circle movement to the right with the stick to release a ball of fire in the fighting games, frantic pressing of buttons to survive in shoot'em ups.

It's time to find all that again, without breaking the bank, without worrying about complex configurations, in a plug and play spirit and immediate pleasure which has always been the strength of arcade games.

And for that, you don't have to look very far: your little Nintendo Switch is entirely capable of rekindling the flame of the arcade spirit. Follow the leader.

Rediscover the sensations of the arcade on Switch

It might not seem like it, but the Switch is a little paradise for arcade games. If you're looking for superb 2D sprites like no other, catchy music, thrilling action and repetitive but highly addictive gameplay, you've come to the right place.

You can easily play Street Fighter, Metal Slug, Mortal Kombat and other stars of 90's fighting games.

Are you more of a retro gamer who wants to play small games of arcade games from the 80's? Nothing is easier than playing Pac Man, Donkey Kong or Space Invaders on Switch.

And if you're curious to discover neo-retro arcade games, whether they're 100% new like Streets of Rage 4, Windjammer 2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge or excellent remakes like Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap, and Double Dragon Advance , the Switch is full of treasures.

Nintendo's hybrid console is in fact a little-known paradise for arcade fans, who can access a large catalog of games, whether retro or modern, from famous franchises or independent, in original period versions. or improved in the form of remaster or remake.

How to play arcade games on Switch?

There are several ways to play arcade games on Switch, depending on your preferences and budget. You can opt to purchase games or compilations in physical or digital version, or to subscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online online service, which gives you access to a selection of games from retro consoles. Here are the pros and cons of each option.

Purchasing games or compilations

Purchasing games or compilations is the easiest and most straightforward method to play arcade games on Switch. All you have to do is go to the eShop, Nintendo's online store, or in a specialized store, and choose the games that interest you. You can therefore enjoy your games without needing an internet connection, and without time limits.

The advantage of this method is that you have access to a wide choice of arcade games, whether retro or modern, whether official or independent, whether in original or remastered version. You can find cult games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong or Space Invaders, fighting games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat or Metal Slug, platform games like Donkey Kong Country, Shovel Knight or Cuphead, or even games rhythm games like Guitar Hero, Tetris or Mario Kart.

The downside to this method is that you have to pay for each game or compilation you buy, which can quickly get expensive if you're a collector. Additionally, some games or compilations may be difficult to find, or may not be available in your region. Finally, certain games or compilations may be of uneven quality, or may not respect the fidelity of the original games.

The e-shop contains a lot of hidden gems. It must be said that from the first day of marketing of the Switch, we could already find titles from the collection there Hamster ACA NEO GEO with SNK hits.

Today , the e-shop offer is quite extensive, because you can find:

  • Almost all SNK games for Neo Geo
  • Almost all of the rare Nintendo games released in arcades in the 80's
  • Almost all versions of Street Fighter 2 (Champion's Edition, Turbo, Ultra, Super...)
  • Real “hubs” like Capcom Arcade Stadium which functions like a real virtual arcade with access to different games

Examples of retro arcade compilations

  • Capcom Arcade Stadium 1 & 2
  • Capcom Arcade Stadium 2
  • Capcom Fighting Collection
  • Street Fighter 30th Anniversary
  • SNK 40th Anniversary Collection
  • Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection vol1 & 2
  • Namco Museum Arcade Pac
  • Konami Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection
  • Konami Contra Anniversary Collection
  • Taito Milestones

Subscription to the Nintendo Switch Online online service

Subscribing to the Nintendo Switch Online service is another way to play arcade games on Switch, which allows you to play a selection of games from retro consoles, like the NES or SNES. All you need to do is sign up for a subscription, which costs €19.99 per year for the normal pack, and download the Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online and Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online applications, which contain the available games.

The advantage of this method is that you can play retro arcade games for a low price, and without having to worry about how much space they take up on your console. You can also enjoy additional features, like online save, online multiplayer, backlight mode or rewind mode.

The disadvantage of this method is that you have access to a limited choice of arcade games, which are mainly NES, SNES or Sega Megadrive games, and which are not necessarily the most popular or most representative of the genre. You also need to have a stable internet connection to play these games, and you can't keep them if you stop your subscription. Finally, you depend on the goodwill of Nintendo for the addition of new games, which is done irregularly and randomly.

Without publishing only in this catalog, you will only have access to the console versions of these arcade games: the Street Fighter 2' Champion's Edition from Magadrive is not the arcade version, but a version adapted for home console period, with certain limitations. The pleasure is still present because among these games are several major arcade titles, such as Streets of Rage 2, Golden Ax or Space Harrier.

    The best arcade games for Switch by play style

    If you don't know where to start, here is a small selection of the best arcade games for Switch, classified by era and style.

    🕹️ Retro 90's
    1 vs 1 fighting games : Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Mortal Kombat, Samurai Shodown.
    Beat'em all in co-op : Final Fight, Golden Axe, Shinobi, Ninja Turtles in Time.
    Co-op shooters : Metal Slug, Contra (Probotector), Gunstar Heroes.
    Shoot'em up shooting games : Raiden, R-Type, Galaga, Parodius.


    🕹️ Retro 80's
    Timeless hits : Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble,
    Nintendo terminals : Donkey Kong, Excitebike, Punch Out, Arcade Archives Mario Bros,
    Sega terminals : Hang On, Space Harrier, Out Run

    🕹️ Arcade-style console releases
    Shoot'em up : Ikaruka, Radiant Silvergun
    Modern suites in a neo retro style: Streets of Rage 4, Wonder Boy, Alex Kidd...

    With this selection, you'll have plenty to keep you entertained for hours, whether you're alone or with friends.

    Best accessories to enjoy arcade games on Switch

    To fully enjoy these classic arcade games on your Nintendo Switch, it may be useful to invest in suitable hardware, such as an arcade stick or a controller capable of reproducing the precision of the controls and the satisfaction felt with each movement.

    Because if you tried to play these games with the classic controller or joy-con, you felt that something was missing, and that the pleasure was not completely there.

    And that's normal: these arcade games were first designed to be played on an arcade machine, with a "hard" multidirectional stick and large buttons that you tap flat.

    The sensations of the classic controller equipped with an analog stick or a directional cross therefore have nothing to do with playing it with a real arcade-type stick.

    Here are the two reference accessories to rediscover the sensations of the arcade on Switch.

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