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You can play two of the best Mario games for (almost) free soon

Links and rackets

Mario Day 2024 has come and gone, and while Paper Mario The Thousand-Year Door and the Mario movie sequel got most of the attention, Nintendo snuck another announcement in the mix. Two of the best retro Mario games are coming to Switch Online soon.

Starting March 12, 2024, you can play the Game Boy Color Mario Golf and Mario Tennis with an active Switch Online subscription. Since these are the Game Boy Color versions and not the later Game Boy Advance counterparts, you don’t need the Expansion Pack subscription add-on.

Mario Golf first showed up on Nintendo’s handheld platform in 1999 as a sort of alternative to the N64 version, but it was more than a trimmed-down port. Golden Sun-maker Camelot worked on Mario Golf and Mario Tennis, and in addition to the normal golf mode, the team added some pretty robust RPG elements. The result was something that played a bit like a cross between the Pokemon Trading Card Game and an early version of Golf Story.

In campaign mode, you play as an up-and-coming golfer – or ambitious tennis rookie – and travel around to different courts and courses, challenging established players, leveling up, and completing golf- (or tennis) based challenges. The Mario-themed obstacles and other fantastical elements from the Gamecube’s Toadstool Tour and later Mario Tennis games are absent, but the courses are designed well, with strong variety and steep, but fair, difficulty levels.

The Puyo Puyo-like Dr. Mario will be available on the same day, so check that one out as well if you’re up for some color-matching puzzle action.