Nintendo Switch Online’s new update is quietly 3 classic Mario games

Nintendo Switch Online’s new update is quietly 3 classic Mario games

Nintendo’s latest additions to the Nintendo Switch Online lineup of Game Boy games is led by Super Mario Land, the 1989 platformer made exclusively for the company’s handheld system. Super Mario Land is joined by two other Game Boy launch titles now available for Nintendo Switch Online, and they’re both Mario games too.

Alleyway is Nintendo and Intelligent Systems’ take on classic brick-breaking games like Breakout and Arkanoid. It’s less obviously a Mario game, though the Super Mario brother is featured on the game’s box art and there’s even a little in-game animation of Mario hopping into the paddle-ship to drive home that, yes, one of the plumber’s many jobs is slamming energy balls on the Vid-Grid. Various sprites based on Bloobers, Bullet Bills, and Bowser also serve as the design for the blocky structures you need to smash.

(Why is Mario in a spaceship in the mysterious zone known as the Alleyway smashing stuff? The Game Boy game’s manual never says, but it probably has something to do with Nintendo wanting to position Alleyway as something more than a Breakout clone.)

Cover art for the Game Boy game Alleyway, featuring an illustration of Mario piloting a pill-shaped spaceship and intercepting a chrome ball as he smashes a grid of rectangles in space Image: Nintendo

Cover art for the Game Boy version of Baseball, featuring an illustration of Mario pitching against a batter who has hit a ball toward left field Image: Nintendo

Mario is also featured in the Game Boy version of Baseball that’s now available through Nintendo Switch Online. He’s featured front and center in the North American version of the box art, and is included among the pitching staff for the USA’s White Bears. Luigi is a pitcher on the Red Eagles team, though Baseball uses a common sprite for all pitchers — they don’t look anything like Mario and Luigi in the game itself.

Those three Game Boy launch titles are now available to play with a Nintendo Switch Online membership. They join Tetris, another Game Boy launch classic, as well as 20 other 8-bit handheld games.

Nintendo Switch Online costs $19.99 annually, and in addition to online multiplayer access, gives Switch owners a library of games from the original NES, Super NES, and Game Boy. A second tier, Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, is the premium upgrade to Nintendo’s online subscription service, and offers a variety of expansions and downloadable content and access to a library of Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, and Sega Genesis games. Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack costs $49.99 annually for an individual user, and $79.99 annually for a family plan (for up to eight users).