Gadgets for humans

Nintendo Switch Online is good, but it needs N64 games to be great

So, Nintendo, give me what I need. Please.

header image mario nintendo switch online

Nintendo doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to online gaming. It’s hard to know exactly why the company has never reached the heights of PS Plus or Xbox Live, but the fact that Sony and Microsoft got there first probably played a part. Nintendo, generally, likes to be an originator.

With Nintendo Switch Online though, this appears to be changing. But, to really take the fight to its competitors, it needs one thing: N64 game support.

First, let’s backtrack. When the Switch was first released, the online features were free. This meant you could boot up Mario Kart and smash suckers across the globe for no extra cost. That all changed on September 8 2018 — the date Nintendo Switch Online became a paying service.

[Read: The AirPods Pro have weaselled their way into my everyday life]

Around the time — and for a little while after — there were a lot of people complaining, especially about the lack of players on Nintendo Switch Online. Since then things have improved.

It appears there’s a healthy number of individuals playing (across the games I’ve tried) and, with the introduction of the NES and SNES classic consoles, you get more bang for your buck. But, to me, there’s something missing. Something… N64 shaped.

Why should Nintendo Switch Online have N64 game support?

The key around this is value. Yes, I know Nintendo Switch Online ($20 a year) is cheaper than PS Plus ($60) or Xbox Live (also $60), but you get a lot more bang for your buck with the latter two services.

Firstly, the actual online experience on both the Xbox and PlayStation is better. There are more games, bigger campaigns, and just far more players. I just feel the infrastructure on both their services is better than Nintendo‘s. This isn’t really the company’s fault (like, technically, the Switch probably couldn’t handle a multi-player mode like Call of Duty)

The real difference though is the content.

With both Xbox Live and PS Plus, you get free games each month. Many of these are AAA titles and really deliver extra value to subscribers. It’s a really fantastic feature.

Now, it’s not like Nintendo Switch Online doesn’t have something like this. The NES and SNES virtual consoles — something you get access to while you have a subscription — are terrific, especially for exploring a generation of games you might’ve missed.

Thing is, as fun as these titles are, they don’t really match up to the modern experience. Something an N64 emulator would.

Just imagine if you could not only get access to a library of fantastic N64 games with Nintendo Switch Online (Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Perfect Dark, Body Harvest, Rogue Squadron, Goldeneye, 1080 Snowboarding, just to name a few), but you could also play the multiplayer modes online.

God, I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Having a library of proper, 3D modern games included in the membership would make Nintendo Switch Online a must have subscription. And after that? Why not add a Gamecube app too? What could be the harm?

I’m waiting, Nintendo. Also, please.

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.

Published March 12, 2020 — 13:25 UTC