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Is the Nintendo 64 Nintendo Switch Online app any good?

Weird issues have been noticed in the Nintendo 64’s emulated re-releases.

Updated: Apr 21, 2022 3:14 pm
super mario 64

Criticism has been aimed at Nintendo after the release of the Nintendo 64 Nintendo Switch Online application for a list of reasons, including that the image presented sometimes isn’t accurate enough. 

Largely, the graphics seem fine, but the emulator does seem to be removing fog in an attempt to increase draw distance and image quality, which is a problem considering a lot of the games were largely designed around hiding stuff in distant clouds. 

Another common complaint is with the Nintendo 64 app’s default button mapping, which can’t be adjusted without making changes to controllers at a system level. The Switch’s B and A buttons aren’t in the same place as B and A on the Nintendo 64, which makes control in several titles weird. If Nintendo wanted to be more accurate and authentic, the buttons should be mapped to Y and B. 

Nintendo 64 Nintendo Switch Online Controller

The lack of remap options is likely so that Nintendo can sell more N64 controller replicas to Nintendo Switch Online members. This was a strategy that worked with the NES NSO app, so it probably seemed like a surefire way to ensure sales. 

Alongside these problems, some gamers have said that games feature audio, force feedback (rumble) and input delays. None of these things are ideal, but do make the entire thing feel a bit rushed. There’s also a lack of support for the Controller Pak and Transfer Pak, as the emulator just assumes you have the Rumble Pak in the back of your controller by default. This means that games which didn’t save inside of their cartridge (like WinBack) are out of luck, and you can’t hold on to things like ghosts in Mario Kart 64. 

As for the online play on the Nintendo 64 service itself, there are too many variables to pass judgment on it’s quality so soon. Some users are questioning it’s stability already, but it generally seems determined by where players are located and what their internet connections are like. We will say that ours was largely stable and enabled a few hours of multiplayer fun with friends without any real issues. We think this is a good initial effort, but we’d like Nintendo to bring back the fog and let us remap the controller.

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack costs $49.99 / €39.99 / £34.99 a year for a single user. Family Memberships are $79.99 / €69.99 / £59.99 a year and will provide the exact same service to up to 8 users.

What do you think about the Nintendo 64 Nintendo Switch Online app? Are you enjoying playing Mario Kart 64 online? Let us know in the comments below. 

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