Sonic 2 and Other Genesis Titles Coming To Nintendo Online’s Expansion Pass

You want MUSHA? Then you better pay up.

During today’s Direct, Nintendo announced a special expansion to their online subscription plan to launch in late October. The plan adds Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games with promises of more to come. The titles revealed include:

  • Castlevania Bloodlines
  • Contra Hard Corps
  • Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine / Puyo Puyo
  • Ecco the Dolphin
  • Golden Axe
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Phantasy Star IV
  • Ristar
  • Shining Force
  • Shinobi III
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Strider

The launch lineup is identical across all the US, UK, and Japan, aside from Japan getting the largely interchangeable Puyo Puyo instead of Mean Bean Machine. It was not specified if PAL regions would receive PAL versions of the games; however, the existing NES and SNES apps often prioritize NTSC over PAL.

Online has been confirmed for N64 titles (and has been available for NES and SNES titles), but Genesis titles have not been confirmed to have online multiplayer support. Nintendo stated further details, including the cost of this expansion pass, will come at a later date.

Nintendo also announced subscriber-exclusive optional Genesis and N64 controllers, available for $49.99 / £39.99 / €49.99 each after the expansion launches.

UPDATE: North America and Europe are offering the 3-button version of the controller (as pictured); however, Japan will be offering the 6-button version.

While I loved watching the internet melt down over the Super Mario movie casting and announcements for future announcements, let’s take a brief moment to remember many of these games have already been released on Switch in some format. Among SEGA Genesis Classics (which is currently on sale for $15), Castlevania Anniversary Collection (on sale for $5), and Contra Anniversary Collection (also on sale for $5), the only titles otherwise not on Switch are Strider, MUSHA, and Ecco.

Let’s hold judgment until the actual price for the expansion is announced, but unless you’re in it for the N64 titles, these Genesis games and the rather expensive controller probably aren’t going to convince you to put in a bit extra. Genesis fans are already pretty well served on the console. No shame in keeping vanilla just for that sweet, sweet PAC-MAN 99.

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A podcaster since 2008, GX originally founded The Spindash podcast, until joining Sonic Stadium's monthly Sonic Talk. He currently co-hosts the show and runs weekly streams on Stadium's Twitch channel at


  1. Worth noting that the Genesis and N64 controllers are available to anyone with a NSO subscription, not just the Expansion Pack version. So you can pick up a Genesis controller and use it with any Genesis games you already own without upgrading your subscription. Of course it’s not like Genesis style controllers both official and 3rd party are hard to find nowadays anyways.

  2. But now here’s the $64,000,000 question: Is Sonic 2 going to be the Christian Whitehead version or the M2 version. The only way that this could be worth it is if it’s the Whitehead version.

    1. It will be the Genesis version. Because this will be Genesis emulation. The Star Engine version isn’t emulation, it’s a complete rebuild of the game. I don’t know offhand who is handling the emulation for Nintendo Switch Online’s Genesis app, but I believe NES and SNES app emulation was handled by Nintendo European Research & Development.

      If you’re interested in the Star Engine version of the game, keep an eye on Sonic Origins next year. We at least know that the games in Sonic Origins won’t be emulated versions. That doesn’t promise the Star Engine versions, but we do know that Sonic CD, Sonic 1, and Sonic 2 already exist in the engine.

      1. I’m well aware of the Christian Whitehead version being in the Origins collection, thank you.

        So this one for Nintendo Switch Online version is just the baseline Genesis version. Okay thanks this will save me money. I’ll just wait for Origins, but till then I have the decompiled Christian Whitehead.

  3. It should also be noted that some of these games also exist on the Switch through Sega Ages, so we already have Sonic 2 twice on the system. They really need to add in more Genesis games not already available on Switch through Ages and Classic Collection if they want people to get into it. Us Sonic fans especially won’t really be looking into it if it adds Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles AFTER Origins releases. If they really want the fans to strongly consider it, they need to add Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles while it’s still only available on Steam and through a semi-convoluted process for Xbox and maybe Playstation. Otherwise, this is going to tank rather hard, and is another sign that makes me wonder just what Nintendo was thinking?.. Honestly, they would have been better off with Game Boy, Master System or Saturn games. A lot of those are hard to find anywhere these days, unlike the near released to ad-nauseam Genesis titles.

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