I suspect many of you are in wait-and-see mode at best given the steep subscription model
Much has been said about Nintendo’s strategy for re-releasing retro games on Nintendo Switch, and today, we’re getting the first wave of N64 and Sega Genesis titles (assuming you’re willing to pony up for the $50-per-year Expansion Pack plan). It’s not an ideal situation — far from it! — but I have no doubt that people will show up to upgrade their base Nintendo Switch Online memberships to recapture fond memories with games like Mario Kart 64, Ocarina of Time, and Gunstar Heroes. The list goes on (a little).
Nintendo’s landing page for Switch Online shows a “buy now” option for the Expansion Pack plan — it’s now live as of console update Ver. 13.1.0. The individual option costs $50 annually, while the up-to-eight-shared-users family membership is $80 per year.
Here’s the N64 and Sega Genesis lists for Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack members
The current list of Nintendo 64 games for Expansion Pack subscribers
- Banjo-Kazooie (added January 20, 2022)
- Mario 64
- Mario Kart 64
- Mario Tennis
- Paper Mario (added December 10, 2021)
- Sin and Punishment
- Star Fox 64
- Super Mario 64
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- WinBack: Covert Operations
- Yoshi’s Story
Upcoming N64 games for Expansion Pack subscribers
- Zero X
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
- Mario Golf
- Pokemon Snap
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (coming February 2022)
- “There is no set schedule for new releases, but each collection will continue to grow.”
The current list of Sega Genesis games for Expansion Pack subscribers
- Altered Beast (added December 16, 2021)
- Castlevania: Bloodlines
- Contra: Hard Corps
- Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Dynamite Headdy (added December 16, 2021)
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Golden Axe
- Gunstar Heroes
- Phantasy Star 4: The End of the Millennium
- Shining Force
- Shinobi 3
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Streets of Rage 2
- Sword of Vermilion (added December 16, 2021)
- Thunder Force II (added December 16, 2021)
- ToeJam & Earl (added December 16, 2021)
Upcoming Sega Genesis games for Expansion Pack subscribers
- TBA — “More games will be added to the Sega Genesis collection in the future, but we aren’t announcing any specific titles at this time,” according to Nintendo.
I’d be much more excited about today’s launch lineup if I had been able to secure one of those made-for-Switch Nintendo 64 controllers, but the stock didn’t last long and I missed out on the initial wave. Bummer! I’m sure plenty of people ordered the N64 controller with no intention of even using it for these subscription-based N64 games.
As for the Switch’s Sega Genesis controller — or should I say “Control Pad”; I love that old lingo — thanks but no thanks. $50 for a three-button Genesis gamepad is too steep.
I feel like Nintendo 64 is getting the spotlight (and I’m guilty of that, too), but there are some absolute gems in the Genesis lineup. That said, with how easy it has been to play Sega games in general over the years, you can’t really blame us for being one-sided.
Time will tell if Nintendo is willing to step up with a timely release schedule — upcoming N64 games on Switch include Banjo-Kazooie, Paper Mario, and Majora’s Mask. There’s also the “expansion” part of the so-called “Expansion Pack” subscription tier. Currently, the big draw in that regard is Animal Crossing: New Horizons‘ Happy Home Paradise DLC, which is a $25 value. What, if any, other expansions might be rolled into this annual Nintendo Switch Online membership? That answer could sway a lot of on-the-fence fans.
If nothing else, online multiplayer (*crosses fingers*) should be nice, and hey, Sin and Punishment! As for how these N64 and Genesis game libraries will expand, “There is no set schedule for new releases, but each collection will continue to grow,” according to Nintendo. Also worth highlighting: “More games will be added to the Sega Genesis collection in the future, but we aren’t announcing any specific titles at this time.”