Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64 games are not only nostalgic and fun to play, but many of them shaped the gaming industry and have impacted our favorite modern titles. So, being able to play select titles from either console on Nintendo Switch via the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack is a huge deal. Are you thinking about upgrading your membership to include these N64 and Sega Genesis emulators? Here's everything you should know. By the way, this is also how you can access the new Animal Crossing: Happy Home Paradise DLC and the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass DLC.
N64 & Sega Games
Emulators for Sega Genesis and N64
Play your favorite N64 and Sega Genesis games when you purchase the Expansion Pack. This also gives you access to the Animal Crossing paid DLC and the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass. More games will be added in the near future.
Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack What is it?
During the September 2021 Nintendo Direct, the Japanese gaming company announced a brand new Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) service plan that brings Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games to the hybrid console. The base NSO membership only allows you to access online play in Switch games as well as a list of select NES and SNES games. You'll need to upgrade your membership plan and pay a higher amount to access the N64 and Sega Genesis bundle as part of the subscription.
This Expansion Pack allows players to access the Animal Crossing: New Horizons — Happy Home Paradise paid DLC, which brings new decorative items, characters, and functions to the game.
Can I roll over my current subscription?
Yes, Nintendo wants to make it easy to access this new emulator bundle and has a system that allows people to roll their current subscription into the new offer. To do this, you'll need to log into your account on the Nintendo website and then upgrade your subscription.
Do N64 and Sega Genesis visuals and controls get an upgrade?
As we discussed in our Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack evaluation, the visuals and controls are lightly updated for Switch. However, graphics still maintain that strong polygon shape they had in the 90s, similar to how Super Mario 64 looks within the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection.
This is one of the reasons that having one of the classic controllers is a good idea. You don't have to worry about extra buttons or that extra joystick found on modern controllers that don't do anything. You can simply play the games as they were originally meant to be played.
N64 and Sega Genesis controllers
Nintendo also released an N64 Controller and Sega Genesis Controller for Nintendo Switch. They are designed to look and work like those of the classic systems. However, these controllers can only be purchased if you've got an NSO membership. Both charge using a USB-C cable, are wireless, and cost $49.99 each. There's a limit of four per customer.
High res photos of the N64 and SEGA Genesis controllers showing new buttons
Available for purchase ($49.99/each) by any Nintendo Switch Online subscriber, does not require expansion pack subscription pic.twitter.com/jKXGXiWHJYHigh res photos of the N64 and SEGA Genesis controllers showing new buttons
Available for purchase ($49.99/each) by any Nintendo Switch Online subscriber, does not require expansion pack subscription pic.twitter.com/jKXGXiWHJY— Nintendeal (@Nintendeal) September 25, 2021September 25, 2021
The N64 and Sega Genesis controllers have extra buttons on the top like a Bluetooth sync button, home button, screenshot button, and a ZR button. Though not completely faithful to the original designs, this makes them work more conveniently with the Nintendo Switch. The N64 controller's rumble pack slot is just there for show as the gamepad has built-in rumble.
All N64 games
Here are the games coming to the N64 emulator. Anything with a (*) is not currently available but is coming soon.
- Super Mario 64
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Mario Kart 64
- Star Fox 64
- Sin and Punishment
- Dr. Mario 64
- Mario Tennis 64
- Yoshi's Story
- Paper Mario
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
- Pokémon Snap
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
- Mario Golf
- F-Zero X
You'll note that Banjo-Kazooie is on this list. This is a surprising development considering that Microsoft now owns the rights to the bear and bird duo. This means that some agreement was reached between the two companies to allow this to happen. It's not too surprising given that it was such a big N64 game in its time and since Banjo and Kazooie have come to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate already.
It's also worth noting that GoldenEye 007 likely will never make it onto this emulator, regardless of how much we'd love for that to happen. This is because games based on movies are tied up with licensing barriers, and it would cost a fortune plus months of legal agreements for this game to end up on the emulator.On top of that, the rights are partially held by developer Rare, which is now owned by Microsoft. So if it does come to the Expansion Pack, it will be a big surprise.
All Sega Genesis games
Here are all of the games that are coming to the Sega Genesis emulator on Nintendo Switch.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Streets of Rage 2
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Castlevania: Bloodlines
- Contra: Hard Corps
- Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
- Golden Axe
- Gunstar Heroes
- Phantasy Star IV
- Shining Force
- Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
- Super Fantasy Zone
- Sword of Vermillon
- Thunder Force 2
- ToeJam & Earl
It's interesting having the second Sonic the Hedgehog game on this list but not the first one. Perhaps this was done intentionally since the first game doesn't offer multiplayer. Regardless, it's likely that other Sega Genesis games could eventually find their way onto this emulator. We'll update this list as more is revealed.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass
Expansion Pack subscribers also get access to more content in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe via DLC known as the Booster Course Pass. The DLC will release in six different waves with each wave having eight remastered courses from previous games. This will total 48 courses being added altogether by sometime in 2023.
Players can either access this DLC by purchasing it separately for $24.99 or by subscribing to the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. The first wave of the Booster Course Pass launched on March 18, 2022 and is currently available.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons — Happy Home Paradise
Once you've purchased Animal Crossing: Happy Home Paradise, all you have to do to access it is talk to Orville at the airport and tell him "I want to go to work." You'll be flown out to an archipelago where you can design cute getaways for various Animal Crossing villagers. Clients will come to you, tell you what they're looking for in a getaway, and then you'll be able to design both the interior and exteriors of their vacations homes. Up to two villagers can even share the vacation home together once you unlock roommate abilities. Scanning Animal Crossing amiibo even lets you invite a specific villager so you can create a getaway just for them.
In addition to vacation homes, players can renovate vacant buildings scattered throughout the islands and turn them into things like restaurants and schools, and more. Have fun and share your creations with others around the world.
Note: This Animal Crossing DLC can also be purchased separately for $24.99, and in our opinion that's the better way to go about it. If your NSO subscription expires, you'll lose access to the Happy Home Paradise content until you renew the subscription again.
Is there online multiplayer?
Yes! Players with a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription can play multiplayer games with others around the world. This is perfect for games like Mario Kart 64. Additionally, if your friend is playing a game, you can give them hints on what to do next by displaying a hand-shaped cursor on their screen. You can also clap to encourage them or to celebrate a tricky maneuver they've pulled off.
Can I create suspend points? How saving works
Older games tend to make you wait longer between checkpoints and saving areas than modern games do. Fortunately, the Expansion Pack allows you to create and use suspension points. There are at least four suspension slots per game so you can start up exactly where you last saved. For instance, you can create a suspension point right before facing the Twinrova boss in Ocarina of Time, so when you load up the save you'll be in that same spot instead of at the start of the Spirit Temple.
What do the menus look like?
The main menu shows off the original box art for these classic titles. When you hover over one of them, it will grow larger to indicate it's selected. You can also choose to filter the games by single-player titles, multiplayer titles, and games that can be played online.
There are two purchasing options for the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack: Individual Memberships are $49.99 for one year while Family Memberships are $79.99 for one year.
The Animal Crossing Happy Home Paradise paid DLC can also be purchased individually for $24.99, as can theMario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass.
Should you buy it?
The Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack has been met with very mixed responses. On the one hand, players are especially happy to have access to N64 games. However, many fans are upset with the high cost of the service given how few games are currently available on it. Players also initially reported serious lag with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time along with visual differences from the original games that have frustrated players, like the lack of a reflection in the Water Temple Dark Link fight. However, Nintendo has been releasing updates that have improved these areas. The one that that has not been fixed yet is that you cannot remap the controls, which has been annoying for many people who find the default controls unpleasant.
Still, games that don't use as many buttons like Paper Mario are a treat to play and since it isn't a very intensive game there hasn't been any lag either. If nothing else, the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack does give you easy access to some of the very best N64 games. If you're dying to replay them, then this is the right way to do so.
Classics on Switch
Getting access to classic Sega Genesis and N64 games on Nintendo Switch allows newcomers and long-time fans who played them in their youth to experience them. Grabbing one of those classic controllers will make them easier to play and should definitely be considered.
Updated March 2022: With information about the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC.
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Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.