informa
2 MIN READ
News

Nintendo Switch Online's N64 emulator is off to a rough start

Nintendo finally made a Nintendo 64 emulator, and it's...got some issues

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack went live late last night, giving players a chance to increase their annual subscription spend in exchange for access to emulators for the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis (as well as some Animal Crossing DLC).

As the sun came up however, it was clear that Nintendo's re-introduction of its celebrated late-'90s console has some technical issues. These range from re-creating 64-bit graphics to trying to adapt the console's wonky controller to work with modern setups. 

One Twitter user compared the Switch's N64 emulator's version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to the N64 and Wii U virtual console editions. The changes to draw distance and water textures...don't look great.

Here's the N64 version:

FCm-L--VgAIKJzr.jpg
Image by @StopSkeletons

And here's what you see on the Nintendo Switch:

FCm-L_CVkAI6M3x.jpg
Image by @StopSkeletons

While graphical fidelity might slip by the wayside of casual N64 players, other users are reporting technical issues like input lag and frame drops.

Then there's the issue of the controls. The N64 controller is a bit of an oddity, with a joystick at the center, a D-Pad on the left, and the "C-buttons" that sat above the A and B buttons. Confusingly, only two of the C-buttons are mapped to the Joy-con buttons, and one of them is the "down button..." which is mapped to X, the upper-most button on the Joy-Con.

That issue's alleviated if you can purchase a Nintendo 64 controller for the Nintendo Switch, but those are out of stock.

Nintendo's stumbles with its Nintendo 64 Emulator launch present two issues. First, the company is charging an additional $30 per year to access these services, and it'll be hard to justify that purchase if the games you're getting access to don't run well.

Second, it's another misstep in Nintendo's rough relationship with emulation and reliable access to older titles. It's gone through a lot of effort to shut down third-party emulators while refusing to provide an easy way to purchase and play classic games on modern devices.

If Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack doesn't course-correct on technical issues, it might wind up being Nintendo's first real misstep in the Nintendo Switch's lifetime. 

Latest Jobs

Xbox Game Studios

Redmond, Washington
10.5.22
Technical Lighting Artist

Innogames

Hamburg, Germany
10.5.22
Game Designer - Elvenar

Six Foot

Houston, TX
10.3.22
Six Foot Director, Player Relations

Hometopia Inc.

Remote
10.7.22
Lead Engineer
More Jobs   

CONNECT WITH US

Explore the
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer Newsletter

@gamedevdotcom

Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Browse
Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Subscribe
Follow us

@gamedevdotcom

Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more