This one time I read about a guy who was going to force his kids to finish Super Mario Bros. on the NES before they got to move on to any other game. And they wouldn’t get to jump to Minecraft, no. It’d be Legend of Zelda, the rest of the Nintendo classics, then onto the Super Nintendo, and so on.
Let me be clear: I think this man should be intervened on. These kids are going to be at school and while everyone’s talking about Fortnite at recess they’re going to be stuck inside asking their 36-year-old math teacher for tips on Slipslide Ride in Donkey Kong Country.
Still, there’s something to be said for pulling your attention away from the new, flashy thing to take in the classics. What I’m trying to say here is that Mega Man X is the Wuthering Heights of video games.
Flashback — $5.99, down from $19.99 (until 7/25)
Flashback is almost 30 years old, but it’s still visually stunning. The game’s rotoscoped style gives its animations a smoothness similar to that of the first Prince of Persia and the earlier Another World. It’s hard — you’re playing as a normal guy, and you’re going to die a lot. Even if that doesn’t sound like your thing, at watch some footage of the game in motion and try and imagine what it was like seeing this on the Sega Genesis in 1992.
Outrun — $5.99, down from $7.99 (until 7/22)
I used to play Outrun at 7/11 with my dad, but even without the iconic arcade cabinet the game is still a blast. Designed by Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki, Outrun is a classic that defined the arcade racer genre and is considered by many to be one of the best games ever made. There’s really nothing like it.
Kero Blaster — $4.99, down from $9.99 (until 7/31)
The first major project of developer Pixel since the legendary Cave Story, Kero Blaster shares much of its predecessor’s sensibilities. But whereas Cave Story is a game about exploration, Kero Blaster is much more similar to old, straightforward run-and-gun games like Contra and Mega Man. Oh, that reminds me…
Mega Man X Legacy Collection — $11.99, down from $19.99 (until 7/25)
Every Mega Man title on the Switch is on sale right now, but of them all I’d recommend Mega Man X Legacy Collection the most highly. Mega Man X is one of the best 2D action games ever made. The second and third are great too, if extremely difficult. And the fourth represents the series’ first Playstation entry, which switches things up and lets you play as fan favorite Zero. Just be sure to turn off the hideous pixel-smoothing filter before you jump in. The second Legacy Collection sees a sharp dropoff in the quality of the series, so avoid that unless you’re an X superfan.
Goetia — $0.99, down from $9.99 (until 8/7)
The Switch seems to be the perfect platform for a point-and-click game renaissance (though if you think about it, aren’t shooters basically point-and-click games too?) and Goetia fits right in. If you’re a fan of the genre, definitely pick it up.
Baba is You — $10.50, down from $15.00 (until 7/27)
Baba is You quickly became a critical darling when it was released earlier this year. It’s easy to see why, too — it’s one of the most unique puzzle games in a long time. Rather than assigning you a consistent framework with progressively more difficult puzzles, the game invites you to play around with its rules to solve its levels. It’s very complicated and very good.