With Mega Man Legacy Collection's Switch Debut, Nintendo Needs to Reassess its Retro Priorities

With Mega Man Legacy Collection's Switch Debut, Nintendo Needs to Reassess its Retro Priorities

Capcom's made a lot of effort to improve its retro catalogue on the Switch. Now it's your turn, Nintendo.

It's been about a year since all the cool kids in games journalism (namely, us here at USgamer) dragged Capcom on a near-daily basis for hesitating to support the Nintendo Switch. First, the Disney Afternoon Collection zipped past Nintendo's console / handheld hybrid in April 2017. Then Volume 1 of the Mega Man Legacy Collection alighted on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, followed later by Volume 2. We waited for Capcom to announce Switch ports for the Collections, but for a long time, we heard nothing but static.

A year makes a big difference: Capcom's since doubled-down on Switch support. Maybe it needed some time to realize the Switch isn't a Flashman-in-the-pan. Maybe the disappointing sales of some of its big 2016-2017 releases lit a fire under its butt. Maybe everyone's nagging and scolding finally got through. Either way, Capcom has seen the light and recognizes the Switch as a beautiful machine for playing some of its newer games, but especially its retro offerings. As of today, Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2 are on the Nintendo Switch.

Disney Afternoon Collection is still at large, though. You've still got homework to do, Capcom.

Beautiful. Wonderful. Now that we've freed up some energy, let's direct our nagging and scolding to a target that deserves it even more than Capcom: Nintendo itself. As crazy as it sounds, Capcom—the kid everyone kicked around just a few months ago for not hanging out with Switch owners—currently has a much larger library of classic games to offer on the Switch than Nintendo itself.

The absurdity of this factoid was driven home when I played Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2 for the Switch. We reviewed Legacy Collection and Legacy Collection 2 when each volume initially came out, but I want to put down three additional thoughts to the reviews now that I've played the Switch versions:

  • Legacy Collection's new "Rewind" button is a godsend, and I'm mad it's not in Legacy Collection 2. In fact, I'm still miffed at how phoned-in Legacy Collection 2's features and menus (all produced in-house) appear next to the loving touches that went into Legacy Collection's presentation (produced by Digital Eclipse). I make in-depth comparisons in my review of Legacy Collection 2.
  • Using the Switch's "d-pad" (i.e. the four buttons on the left Joy-Con) takes some getting used to, but it's worth the effort because—
  • —playing Mega Man on the Switch in handheld mode is as much of a treat as you'd expect by now.
If you love the voice acting for Mega Man 8, playing Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 on the Switch makes it easy to hide your shame.

The first Legacy Collection is on the Nintendo 3DS, and I got a big kick out of playing the classic NES platformers on a handheld. But unsurprisingly, the Switch's tablet-like screen hits that sweet spot between a public display on a television ("Hey everyone, look at what I'm playing and judge me!") and the private but wee display of the 3DS. Even in handheld mode, the Switch's screen is ideal for viewing the Legacy Collections' myriad extras, including character art and box / manual scans.

This is my long-winded way of pointing out playing Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2 on the Switch has a couple of drawbacks, but those flaws are easily outweighed by the convenience of playing my childhood favorites on Nintendo's versatile platform. Now it's time for me to turn to Nintendo, flip my open palms at the company, and mouth "Why?"

Give me Actraiser for the Switch, or give me death.

Why does Nintendo's own system have so few of its own classics available for download, even though its history overflows with games that'd be beautiful on the Switch? I understand the positives of offering a selection of NES titles through Nintendo Switch Online, but in this pre-E3 2018 landscape, we've no assurances Nintendo intends to deliver any of its old favorites to the Switch beyond its Rolodex of first-party NES hits. Meanwhile, Hamster Corp is bringing a steady stream of SNK titles to the Switch, giving fans a chance to purchase games piecemeal if they'd rather not go all-in on a whole collection. Everyone else does what Nintendon't. It's mystifying, and a little embarrassing.

People don't miss the Virtual Console so much as they miss the chance to easily purchase their favorite games from childhood in addition to the occasional rarity. Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2 for the Switch are great games that double as depressing reminders of how Nintendo's won't be giving its retro catalogue the same treatment anytime soon—even though its legacy and its own system is perfectly-engineered for the purpose. As always, Nintendo's gonna Nintendo.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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