Several Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64 games are not only nostalgic and fun to play, but they 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 new Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack bundle 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: New Horizons — Happy Home Paradise DLC.
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.
During the Animal Crossing Direct, we also learned that this Expansion Pack allows players to access the Animal Crossing: New Horizons — Happy Home Paradise paid DLC.
Can I roll over my current subscription?
Yes, Nintendo wants to make it easy to access this new emulator bundle and says it will have a system that will allow people to roll their current subscription into the new offer.
Did game visuals and controls get an upgrade?
The visuals and controls will be lightly updated for Switch, however visuals will still maintain that strong polygon shape they had in the 90s, similar to how Super Mario 64 looked 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
As part of this new N64 and Sega Genesis Expansion Pack, Nintendo is also releasing Nintendo Switch controllers designed to look and work like those of 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 will cost $49.99 each.
Some hawkeyed Twitter users have already noticed that 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 should make them work more conveniently with the Nintendo Switch. It's likely that the N64 controller's rumble pack slot is just there for show and that the Nintendo has built rumble into the controller.
All N64 games
Here are the games coming to the N64 emulator—anything with a (*) will not be available at launch, though.
- 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
- Pokémon Snap*
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask*
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards*
- Mario Golf*
- Paper Mario*
- 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. So please don't hold your breath waiting for it.
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
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. However, it hasn't been mentioned yet.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons — Happy Home Paradise
Once you've purchased the DLC in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, 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. 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 will be 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 tended 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. It looks like 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. After purchasing the Animal Crossing paid DLC, players can access it by going to the airport, talking to Orville, and telling hime "I want to go to work".
The NSO Expansion Pack becomes available on October 25, 2021. These classic games and the Animal Crossing: New Horizons DLC will be available during the holiday season, meaning that the Expansion Pack could make for a great gift.
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.