During today’s Direct presentation Nintendo finally confirmed what a lot of observers already suspected: Nintendo 64 games are coming to the Nintendo Switch Online service this October. Sega Genesis games will also join the service at the same time in a new membership plan called the “Expansion Pack.” What’s more, some of the N64 games will support up to four-player online multiplayer.
Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) is the premium subscription service for Nintendo Switch owners. Cheaper than similar subscription services from Sony and Microsoft, NSO gives members a couple of benefits, including online multiplayer, voice chat, the ability to upload save data to Nintendo’s cloud, and the ability to play over 100 classic NES and SNES games, akin to the Virtual Console feature of several previous Nintendo consoles.
Today’s news sees the premium service’s classic game library embrace the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis, news that should make ‘90s kids’ hearts soar.
Nintendo calls this addition to its NSO service an “Expansion Pack.” The company said it’ll be part of a new subscription plan that existing subscribers can upgrade to when it launches next month. Details on an exact release date and pricing are unknown, but Nintendo said these bits will be disclosed at a later date.
In the meantime, Nintendo revealed the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games making their way to NSO. The list contains the usual suspects, including Contra Hard Corps, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Sonic 2, and Super Mario 64. Check below for a full list of N64 and Genesis games.
Nintendo also mentioned a few additional N64 games that will be coming to NSO in the future, including The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, F-Zero X, Mario Golf, Pokémon Snap, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Paper Mario, and Banjo-Kazooie.
Alongside the expansion to Nintendo Switch Online, the company confirmed that Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis wireless Bluetooth controllers will also be available for purchase by NSO members. Yes, that means the N64's weird, three-pronged form factor is back to haunt us in the modern day. Both it and the 3-button Sega Genesis pad will retail for $50 USD, though an exact release date has not been announced as of yet.
Rumors began to circulate earlier this month that Nintendo would introduce “other retro platforms” to Nintendo Switch Online. Around the same time, the company filed a “game controller” application with the Federal Communications Commission, leading many to suspect a new gamepad was in the works. An N64 controller was the most prevalent theory.
Though N64 wasn’t quite as popular as its predecessors, it did pretty decently, and a generation of ‘90s gamers have fond memories of playing hits like Mario Kart 64, Mario Party, and Pokémon Snap on candy-colored, transparent controllers. It’s also the birthplace of all-time classics like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Now you’ll be able to play a bunch of those on your Switch. Without hacking, even.
Beyond its embrace of cartridges—which felt old-fashioned even then—the N64 was known for its extremely unusual-looking, three-pronged controller, which was the first of its era to feature an analog joystick. This was meant to suit its focus on 3D gameplay, allowing Mario and other characters to creep, walk, and run through polygonal worlds in an intuitive way. It was also good for opening beers.
Read More: The Nintendo 64 Is Now 25 Years Old
Of course, this isn’t the first time Nintendo’s gone back to the Nintendo 64. Way back in 2006 the original Wii’s Virtual Console feature launched with Super Mario 64, which was soon followed by Mario Kart 64, Ocarina of Time, and Star Fox 64. But during its lifespan, the Wii only ended up getting 21 Virtual Console N64 releases, so Nintendo has plenty of room to do better with its new Nintendo Switch Online N64 offering. Between launch games and confirmed future ones, it’s up to 15 so far.
In any case, happy 25th anniversary, Nintendo 64. You were an odd one.