During today’s Direct presentation Nintendo finally confirmed what a lot of observers already suspected: Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games are coming to the Nintendo Switch Online service later this October.
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 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 expanding beyond 8- and 16-bit to embrace the Nintendo 64, the 1996 cartridge-based console that was the Kyoto game maker’s answer to Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation.
Read More: The Nintendo 64 Is Now 25 Years Old
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-coloured, 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 analogue 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.
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.
In any case, happy 25th anniversary, Nintendo 64. You were an odd one.