The Nintendo Switch Online ‘Expansion Pack’ of N64 and Sega Mega Drive games will be launching later this month, and Nintendo has now put to bed any concerns European fans had that they would be restricted to the slowed down 50Hz PAL region versions of games from N64.
All the N64 games included in the Expansion Pack will be playable witht he 60Hz English language version that would have shipped in the US, while select games will have the option to play the European PAL version and get localised language options.
All Nintendo 64 games included with Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack can be played in 60Hz English language versions. Select games will also have the option to play the original European PAL version with language options. pic.twitter.com/gS0ajmtxnY
— Nintendo UK (@NintendoUK) October 11, 2021
The concern came from eagle-eyed watchers noting that some of the games shown in the showcase were the 50Hz versions of N64 games. Back before all consoles featured HDMI and we had globalised HD transmission standards, European gamers had to live with 50Hz versions of games consoles that were compatible with their TVs. To get around the lowered frame rate (either 50fps or 25fps), developers would simply slow the game down, with everything from animations to music and voices all dropping. It was a strange time.
There’s still plenty of things we don’t yet know about the service, though we do know that it will cost you. Where the $20 Nintendo Switch Online subscription has bundled in NES and SNES games, to get access to N64 and Sega Mega Drive games, you’ll have to pay more. It’s not yet known how much more, but it will be available as a service upgrade. We also have no idea when it will launch, beyond that it’s coming toward the end of October.
We do know the nine N64 games and fourteen Mega Drive that will be there on day one:
- Super Mario 64
- Mario Kart 64
- Lylat Wars 64
- Yoshi’s Story
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Dr. Mario 64
- Mario Tennis
- Operation Winback
- Sin and Punishment
Sega Mega Drive
- Golden Axe
- Shining Force
- Sonic The Hedgehog 2
- Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Streets of Rage
- Shinobi III
- Ecco The Dolphin
- Gunstar Heroes
- Phantasy Star IV
- Castlevania Bloodlines
- Contra Hard Corps
More games from both platforms will be added over time, with F-Zero X, Paper Mario, Pokémon Snap and more already confirmed from the Nintendo Direct last month.
To go alongside the Expansion Pack, Nintendo has created replica wireless versions of the N64 controller and Sega Mega Drive controller, though bizarrely the US and EU is only getting the three-button Mega Drive controller and not the six-button one that will be available in Japan. Everyone will be getting three prongs on their N64 controller though.
Everything will really hinge on how much the company wants to charge for this. Nintendo Switch Online gets to skate along at much lower $20 price point compared to PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold, but if there’s a big jump up from that point for the expanded game library, it might put a few noses out of joint.