Last week, we reported that the Nintendo Switch Online’s emulation of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time saw a small graphical tweak with the service’s latest update. It signalled potential good news for the quality of emulated games on NSO, which players have decried for some time. In another promising sign, fans have found that not only did the version 1.2 update make minor graphical adjustments, it also apparently lessened input lag in some cases.
Backing up, NSO version 1.2 did two big things for its N64 offerings. It added Rare’s iconic platformer Banjo-Kazooie, and slightly tweaked the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time so its visuals looked a little closer to the original game’s. Apparently that’s not all it did. As spotted by VGC, YouTuber Modern Vintage Gamer reports that the much-criticised input lag of the N64 NSO emulators has seen some improvement in version 1.2.
Modern Vintage Gaming’s 11-minute video delves into the current state of NSO N64 emulation. He touches on the graphical changes in Ocarina of Time, while also noting that the game’s fog and lighting rendering still need fixing. But he also tests input latency in the 1998 Zelda game, and concludes that it’s reduced by “about 1-2 frames.” Previously, he measured the lag at a whopping 5-6 frames, so while it’s still not perfect, any improvement is much appreciated, and this should definitely make Ocarina of Time more playable.
The vid also touches on the performance of Rare’s 1998 3D platforming masterpiece Banjo-Kazooie. It’s the latest N64 game to hit NSO, so seeing how it runs might give some insight into future releases on the subscription service. Thankfully, MVG notes that it “runs quite well.” There are some framerate hiccups and stutters here and there, but it seems the 1998 platformer is fine, up to and including its famously hard-to-emulate “jigsaw” screen transitions. Most notably, the YouTuber didn’t notice any input lag. That’s a plus!
Of course, every game included in Nintendo Switch Online is an emulation from a past console. Whether talking graphics rendering or input latency, things will never be 100 per cent perfect. But these latest improvements are good signs for the future of the subscription service. Nintendo caught heat from its community for how poorly the emulations ran. After promising to continue “striving to provide services that satisfy consumers,” it does appear that the company is listening to feedback.
Kotaku has reached out to Nintendo for comment.