Mobile Menu
 

 
 

N64 Games We Want from Switch Online

Rumour has it that Switch Online is getting an upgrade. As part of that upgrade you’ll be able to play N64 games. It should’ve been here long before, but now it could happen we won’t quibble…

blank

The Nintendo 64 was an incredible console. As someone who has played a lot of retro games lately, I’m constantly stagged by just how much nicer looking the N64 games are today than their PlayStation counterparts. Ocarina of Time feels much more modern than anything on the PS1.

And if the games are coming back as part of an online service, then Nintendo have a decent selection of things to choose from. And choose they should, because after this amount of time, it would be very disappointing to just get a couple of games.

It would be far too easy to fill this list with Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Super Smash Brothers…

So in the interest of being interesting, let’s get that one out of the way first.

Every Nintendo Published Game

End of discussion. If it works on their software solution, get it uploaded Nintendo.

blank

From Super Mario 64 to Pokemon Stadium 2 – if it’s got a popular Nintendo owned character on the box, you need to slap it on the service straight away.

The success of this service sinks or swims on the ability to play the games you loved, the games you want to share with your family. If you can’t do that, they might as well not add anything.

And if you can’t even support your own games, why would third parties bother?

Now, rights for old games are incredibly finkicky. Releasing anything digitally is a minefield. From music to art, Nintendo will have needed to have navigated a rights maze they didn’t even know existed. Can composers who wrote one song in Smash destroy an entire re-release project because digital didn’t exist in 1999? Then don’t expect to see a re-release.

And so we’ll appreciate if some of these take time. A slow drip keeps people on the service anyway. But the ultimate goal needs to be everything that can be released gets released. And yes, to a point that includes…

Every Rare created game

Microsoft own Rare, and Rare owns most if not all of the original IP they created under Nintendo. That’s no excuse.

blank

This N64 set are as much part of the nostalgia for the systems as some of the more classic Nintendo titles. Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie in paticular.

The good news is that Banjo has already appeared in Smash and Perfect Dark has a sequel coming up, so it seems very doable. I can’t foresee massive wrangling over Blast Corps either.

There’s one exception that we’ll allow: Goldeneye. There’s been something strange going on with the rights to this one, and they seem split between Nintendo, Microsoft and several other companies. With the Amazon purchase of MGM in the works too, I wouldn’t expect this to make an appearance. I’d like it, but I wouldn’t expect it.

The Ports and Other Third Party Games

This one seems unlikely, but it’s such an important part of the N64 DNA that I hope something happens with it.

blank

Nobody is thinking of the N64 when they think about playing Resident Evil 2, but it existed. The Turok games deserve another look as well.

Duke Nukem 64 seems unlikely, but why not?

RPGs weren’t exactly at the forefront of the N64’s catalogue, but Ogre Battle 64 was a rare exception to that. With Final Fantasy being such an important part of the PS1 story, it’d be a nice chance for people to see how things were from the other side.

And, naturally, Rayman 2 deserves to be on this list as well.

The benefit with all these titles is that they’re not hugely likely to be getting a re-release on PS5 or Series X any time soon. They’re sat on dusty old shelves, slowly begin forgotten. And as part of a service with a monthly fee, there’s no reason outside of rights wrangling and poor negotiationg that some or all of these should remain in the shadow.

We’ve covered a lot, but there’s one specific set of games that deserves it’s own section.

Rogue Squadron and Shadow of the Empire

So Rogue Squadron really came into its own on Gamecube for me. But the original game has been lost for twenty years. You can play it on emulators or you can buy the PC version if you’d like. But the N64 version is long gone from official channels.

blank

And really, how do you even have an N64 collection without bringing back titles such as these? Add in Shadow of the Empire for good measure.

Flying classic Star Wars vehicles in classic Star Wars locations. Taking on familiar enemies. What more do you want?

Who knows what it’d take to get the rights to these? You don’t have to go very far down the rabbit hole to realise there could be issues a mile long.

But they’re so important to the N64 story that it would feel like there was something missing if they didn’t make an appearance.

 

Article By

blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

Follow Mat on:
Twitter: @matgrowcott    Google Plus: matgrowcott