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7 Games That Deserve a Nintendo Switch Version, From the Wii U and Beyond

You know, for AFTER you finish Zelda.

SI_WiiU_SuperMarioMaker copy

After a long wait and an interminable parade of rumors, the Nintendo Switch is finally on store shelves today—or probably not, since they’ve likely sold out by now (but here’s a guide to finding one if you’re feeling lucky). While its launch mostly hinges, as with the original Wii, on a cross-console Zelda port that’s already getting great reviews, we can think of a few other Wii U games (and more) that deserve their time to shine on the Switch.

Even though these games wouldn’t be new, with sales as low as the Wii U’s, it’s clear that a lot of people missed out on them, which presents a big opportunity for Nintendo.

1. Super Mario Maker


Super Mario Maker is not only one of the Wii U’s best titles, but it’s also one of the games that made the best case for the Wii U GamePad. Not only that, but Nintendo has already tacitly acknowledged that the game deserved better than it got with the low sales of the Wii U, since they ported it to the significantly more popular Nintendo 3DS just to get the game in even more players’ hands. Despite being a watered down version of the console release in terms of its online functionality—a big selling point of the original—the 3DS version saw stronger launch sales in Japan and continued to move off the shelves at the beginning of this year.

If the Switch meets any kind of success at all, it’d be a mistake for Nintendo not to release a version of Mario Maker for the new console. Would they just port the same old Wii U game, though? Probably not, since the Switch doesn’t have the same dual-screen setup as the Wii U, which would require more drastic changes to how the game’s level building is handled when compared to the relative ease of a 3DS port. A full sequel—leveraging the best of both existing versions, like the 3DS’s pre-made levels—would be a great addition to the Switch library.

2. A Pokémon Sun/Moon followup


Rumors have been circulating for a while that the Switch will be the first Nintendo home console to finally get a real, main-series Pokémon game, and people across the Internet have been theorizing that it will be a Sun/Moon followup in the vein of Pokémon Crystal and Pokémon Emerald, which were alternate third versions added to existing dual-game Pokémon generations. That would be great on its own, and the Switch’s very nature as a console/handheld hybrid would make perfect sense such a hybrid version of Nintendo’s wildly popular portable franchise.

**Spoilers for Pokémon Sun and Moon follow!** But I’ve got my own theory on another possible option: A full Switch sequel to Sun and Moon that takes place in a sprawling, HD reimagining of the original games’ Kanto region. At the end of Sun/Moon, Lillie takes off for Kanto in order to help her mother’s recovery along, which would be a great setup for the story of those games to continue and also a great chance for Lillie to take the lead. Sun/Moon were a larger departure from the standard Pokémon game story template than usual, and it’d be interesting to keep that going by following the story back to where the franchise began, since that region hasn’t been featured since the second generation.

The games are also littered with references to Kanto: the protagonist has just moved from there to Alola, original Kanto Pokémon return with Alola forms, Professor Oak’s “Alola form” of Samson Oak, Red and Blue’s appearance, and Lillie’s departure. It’d make perfect sense, especially with the series’ recently-passed 20th anniversary, for things to come full-circle and show us what has become of Kanto in a large-scale console recreation. It’d also make the Switch really hard not to buy for longtime Nintendo fans like myself, who may have become estranged over the Wii U’s lifespan.

Whatever the case, a Pokémon sequel on the Switch, due to its portability and the franchise’s escalating popularity (X and Y outsold previous generations, and Sun and Moon did the same), should definitely be a priority.

3. Super Smash Bros.


Heading back to the Wii U’s game library for a minute, Super Smash Bros. is absolutely due for a Switch version, but the form that will take is up in the air. The game’s eSports following is strong, but like all other Wii U software, the console’s unusually poor sales, clocking in at far fewer sold than even the GameCube, hurt the game’s popularity. However, the game was such a massive undertaking, with its DLC only finishing up in the not-too-distant past, that a full sequel for the Switch at this point seems like a waste, not to mention probably difficult to once again secure the rights to all the outside characters in the existing, massive roster, let alone expand it. Rather, a special edition that includes all of the DLC characters and stages—not to mention the 3DS’s excellent Smash Run mode—would be a great way not to leave fans of the franchise waiting too long.

That might come as a blow to existing players who already bought the game and paid for all of those extras separately, but a Nintendo system without a Smash Bros. just isn’t going to happen right now, and this is probably the best solution. Smash Bros. already has a 3DS version that outsold its console counterpart, but it has the added bonus of not even needing any gameplay changes to make the jump from the Wii U to the Switch.

4. GameCube virtual console


This one encompasses several games, but I’ll keep it to one list item, since all the individual games depend on it. GameCube games were playable on the Wii, but they’ve been left out since then, and even there, they required players to seek out the original discs for purchase. The GameCube, like the Wii U, had some great games despite its low sales, and it’d be a nice bonus to be able to revisit them, potentially rendered in higher definition by the more powerful Switch.

Among GameCube’s library, Smash Bros. would, again, be an excellent choice, with the GC’s Smash Bros. Melee still a fixture of competitive gaming after all these years. Bringing the game back on a newer console would be a great help to players who are tired of dealing with old hardware just to play. Other honorable mentions that Nintendo could bring back this way are the Pikmin games, Metroid Prime‘s first two entries, Luigi’s Mansion, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Kart Double Dash!!, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and Eternal Darkness, to name a few. Some of those have gotten remastered releases on later consoles, but to have them all in one place, easily available to anyone with a few dollars would be a big win for the Switch.

5. Pokkén Tournament


The Pokémon fighting game of our dreams (or maybe just mine, but I’m cool with that), relegated to a console that almost no one owns. As another game that, like Smash Bros., has a fairly traditional design that doesn’t require the Wii U’s dual-screen setup, porting this game over to a console with a potentially larger audience seems like a sure bet. With the Pokémon series still enjoying a ridiculous level of popularity, it would be a waste to let this game languish among the Wii U’s forgotten gems.

6. Xenoblade Chronicles X


Xenoblade Chronicles was a rare exclusive for the Wii—and a somewhat rare RPG for Nintendo—and a popular one at that, and its sequel should definitely get some time in the sun. The original already got a ported version on the 3DS, and the Switch is already getting Xenoblade Chronicles 2, so it’s clear that Nintendo sees value in pushing the franchise. We can only hope they won’t let the imminent sequel cause X to lose out on some new players.

7. Super Mario 3D World

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“But the Switch is already getting Mario Odyssey!” Yes, but that looks like a much more straightforward, single-player Mario game. As someone who was furious when Peach was not playable in New Super Mario Bros. Wii (what is the point of a four-player Mario game without her, honestly?), I was so happy to see her show up in this one and complete my NES Mario Bros. 2 nostalgia. If 3D World doesn’t get a port or sequel on the Switch, with four-player 3D Mario goodness, I will be incredibly disappointed.

While Mario Odyssey is feeling the pressure to innovate the Mario series, 3D World was more of a carefree multiplayer romp through what already made Mario so great, and I need more of it in my life.

Is any of this likely to happen, though? To answer that, Mario Kart 8 would’ve been on this list, but it’s already getting a “deluxe” version on the Switch. That right there is pretty encouraging precedent, as well as Breath of the Wild going the console-jumping Twilight Princess route. Splatoon would’ve also made the list if its Switch-bound sequel hadn’t already been announced. In addition, unlike the Wii U and Wii, the Switch doesn’t have direct backwards compatibility with the previous hardware generation, while the Wii U played Wii games, and the Wii played GameCube games. There’s already reason to believe the Pokémon entry is on the way, as well as the GameCube virtual console.

With all that in mind, we’ll at least hold out some hope for some of these coming true. New hardware is neat and all, but beyond regular early adopters and hardcore fans, systems are sold by great game libraries, and the Wii U has some gems that could easily bolster Switch’s software offerings to appeal to players who skipped the company’s last hardware generation.

Of course, there’s still a whole other list of obvious games for the Switch. (A Metroid sequel, anyone? A Fire Emblem?) There’s also a whole library of Wii U software, beyond what’s in this post, that could make the switch (sorry, I’ll stop) but that I skipped for any number of reasons. (Pikmin 3, maybe?) If there’s anything from the Wii U that I didn’t mention here but you think deserves a Switch version, let me know in the comments!

(images via Nintendo)

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Dan is many things, including a game developer, animator, martial artist, and at least semi-professional pancake chef. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (his dog), both of whom are the best, and he will never stop reminding The Last Jedi's detractors that Luke Skywalker's pivotal moment in Return of the Jedi was literally throwing his lightsaber away and refusing to fight.