N64 Games For Nintendo Switch Online Have Some Issues
Technical issues, the inability to remap controls, and lack of support for the N64's controller pak have some fans unhappy with Nintendo Switch Online's N64 games.
Nintendo Switch Online subscribers who have upgraded to the new, higher-cost Expansion Pack can now play N64 games on the go. Unfortunately, some fans are less than pleased with the service, citing various technical issues and lack of support for N64 features like the controller pak.
The N64 classic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is sure to be one of the service's most popular games, but it's clear that something isn't quite right with the version of the game Nintendo is currently offering. Screenshots shared on Twitter show the Nintendo Switch Online version doesn't look the same compared to previous versions, with differences in draw distance, water textures, and fog. Some of those differences look like they may come down to variations between the Japanese and North American versions, but it's clear that the version currently being offered as part of the service isn't living up to fan standards.
Stuttering, input lag, and framerate issues also look to plague multiple games, from Ocarina of Time to Super Mario 64. Players have reported latency issues when attempting to play online in games like Mario Kart 64. While some of the footage being shared on Twitter could come down to poor connections, others are claiming the issues stem from a "lockstep" netcode that effectively pauses the game until other players are all in sync.
[Expansion Pack - Nintendo 64]— SpookmealDome 🎃 (@OatmealDome) October 26, 2021
As expected, the Nintendo 64 emulator implements the same lockstep netcode (everyone must be in perfect sync) that Nintendo *really* loves to use.
It seems that emulation is paused while other players catch up, causing the choppy audio. https://t.co/mADnCT3BEg
One of the biggest complaints across the board is the inability to remap controls for games on the service. The original N64 controller has six buttons on the right side of the controller: A, B, and four direction C-buttons. Nintendo Switch controllers only have four, meaning many of the N64 games on the service have had their controls remapped. While the A and B buttons stay the same, two C-buttons are mapped to X and Y, with the remaining two mapped to the triggers.
That makes sense in theory, but fans are quickly discovering that the button layout for some games makes them almost unplayable without purchasing Nintendo's new N64 controller for Switch. As pointed out by Eurogamer, in Sin and Punishment, for example, the default button layout makes it impossible to shoot and move to the right at the same time.
Lack of support for the N64 controller pak, or a substitute mimicking the pak's function, is also a bummer. On the original N64 hardware, the controller pak effectively served as a memory card. Mario Kart 64 uses the controller pak to save ghost-driver data, allowing players to race against themselves. The feature isn't supported here, and the N64 controllers for Switch don't support controller paks either.
Fans are hoping Nintendo will address some of the issues outlined above in future patches, but the company has yet to announce any official plans. Nintendo Switch Online's Expansion Pack tier costs $50 for a 12-month membership, and includes access to a selection of Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games. It also includes access to the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons Happy Home Paradise DLC.
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