Nintendo Switch Online's Sega Genesis library added five games, including the unshakable Altered Beast


Sword of Vermilion, ToeJam & Earl, Dynamite Headdy, and Thunder Force II round out the list

Nintendo is on a long and potentially never-ending road to warm people up to the idea of the Expansion Pack costing as much as it does, and after the recent Paper Mario drop for the N64 library, it’s off to a slow start. But the pricey Switch Online service has added its first wave of Sega Genesis titles to help pad out the launch list, and it’s, well, a start.

There are five newly-available Genesis games, and given Sega’s prior digital releases and compilations, it was simply a matter of time before Altered Beast stumbled in. Aside from that chaotic beat-’em-up, Expansion Pack subscribers now have access to ToeJam & Earl, Dynamite Headdy, Sword of Vermilion, and Thunder Force II, the latter of which is a pleasant surprise for scrolling shooter fans. Last night, I booted up ToeJam to soak in the music.

If you’ve never played Dynamite Headdy — or if it’s been a while — that’s my go-to pick. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with Treasure. It was the era of strange mascots and even stranger abilities, and as a vibrant action-platformer, one that definitely still comes to mind when I think of Genesis greats, I think it’ll hold up either way. Give it a shot!

Personally, I’m most curious to check out Sword of Vermilion — my expectations are set, and I fully expect to bounce off it before too long, but I’ve always wanted to at least try it.

Even if this all coming later than expected, I do appreciate having some okay-to-great retro games to play on the plane during the holidays. These Sega Genesis titles probably won’t hold my attention for too long — I’ve had ample opportunity to revisit many of ’em over the years — but the Switch Online N64 selection is still calling me, flaws and all. It’s a shame Nintendo is holding Banjo-Kazooie until January, though. The Jinjos need me.

At the current pace, I’ll be shocked if Nintendo can get me on the hook for another year-long commitment to the Expansion Pack. It’s not impossible, but it sure looks dicey.