After 26 years stuck in Japan, Nintendo finally releases forgotten SNES Mario worldwide on Switch

Wrecking Crew '98
(Image credit: Nintendo)

A new selection of retro games hit the Nintendo Switch Online library today, and while it's not the biggest group of names this time around, there is one notable addition in the form of a Mario game that had never previously been released outside of Japan.

That game is Wrecking Crew '98, a late era Super Famicom title that was originally released in 1998 through a Japanese service that let you print games onto rewritable cartridges. It got a retail release later in that year, but by then Nintendo's worldwide branches had gone all in on the N64, and there apparently wasn't much interest in bringing a new game to the effectively dead SNES platform at the time.

Since the original arcade and NES releases, Wrecking Crew has cast Mario as a construction worker, giving him a hard hat and a big hammer that he can use to bust down walls as part of a demolition crew. Wrecking Crew '98 converted the formula to a Tetris-style competitive puzzle game, where panels you destroy cause obstacles to be sent over to your opponent's playfield. These days, the series is mostly notable for providing one of the most obscure references in the Super Mario Bros Movie

There's another Japanese obscurity in this rollout of games with Sunsoft's Amazing Hebereke, a four-player top-down fighting game with an adorable roster of pugilists. The biggest name in the selection, though, is Super R-Type - a notable entry in a foundational shoot-em-up series, but not one fans of that series rank particularly highly these days.

All three of these games are now available in the Super NES library for Nintendo Switch Online members. Maybe someday Nintendo will see fit to give Mother 3 the worldwide release it's always deserved, too - but honestly, holding out hope for that makes me a bigger clown than the average Hollow Knight fan.

Break out the dog bones because it's time to play the best SNES games of all time. 

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.