Paper Mario launches N64 era on Switch Online but doesn’t nail the landing

Earlier this year, Nintendo announced the Switch Online Expansion Pack. While the Expansion Pack doesn’t offer any improvements to the online service at the center of the subscription, it does offer various extra perks for those willing to shoulder the additional cost. Those perks include access to libraries of Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games, along with ongoing access to the Happy Home Paradise DLC for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Nintendo has now confirmed that the first post-launch addition to the N64 library will be Paper Mario.

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A classic Nintendo 64 game comes to Switch this month

As far as Nintendo 64 games are concerned, Paper Mario is right up there as one of the classics. A spiritual successor to Super Mario RPG on the Super NES, Paper Mario blazed a new trail for Mario role-playing games when it was originally released. Paper Mario is a fantastic game, and if you’re subscribed to Nintendo Switch Online with the Expansion Pack, it’s well worth checking out when it arrives on the service later this month.

When will it arrive? Nintendo has announced a December 10th release date for Paper Mario, so release is right around the corner. Sadly, Paper Mario is the sole addition to Nintendo Switch Online for the 10th. There are no new NES, SNES, or Sega Genesis games heading to Switch Online alongside it, so hopefully, it won’t be long before we see more additions to some or all of those libraries.

Does Paper Mario make NSO’s Expansion Pack worth it?

It’s no secret that the price of Nintendo Switch Online’s Expansion Pack is a tough pill to swallow. A standard Nintendo Switch Online subscription costs $20 a year and allows you to play online multiplayer games, allows access to libraries of NES and SNES games, and includes a few freebies like Tetris 99 and Pac-Man 99. Nintendo’s online service is not great – something we’ve mentioned in reviews for games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Mario Maker 2 – but $20 is still a reasonable price considering what a subscription includes.

The Expansion Pack, on the other hand, adds collections of Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games along with access to the Happy Home Paradise DLC for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a DLC that costs $25 to buy outright. The Expansion Pack adds another $30 per year to the Nintendo Switch Online subscription cost, bringing the total to $50 a year. Is the Expansion Pack worth subscribing to?

Simply put: probably not for most. If you’re only interested in playing Nintendo 64 or Sega Genesis games, the Expansion Pack definitely isn’t worth it. It is, admittedly, impossible to play most of the N64 games included in the Switch Online Expansion Pack on modern platforms, but there are plenty of options for revisiting the many of the Sega Genesis games that are included because Sega loves its compilations.

The sole addition of Paper Mario doesn’t really improve the Expansion Pack’s value proposition. Perhaps there will be a point in the future where there are enough Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games to warrant the extra cost. Still, for now, the Expansion Pack should only really be a consideration for Animal Crossing fans who want the Happy Home Paradise expansion in addition to the N64 and Genesis titles.

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Nintendo Switch N64, Genesis controllers up for pre-order: Here’s how much they cost

Going along with today’s announcement of the pricing for the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, Nintendo has opened up pre-orders for the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis gamepads. The Expansion Pack, of course, allows players to play classic N64 and Sega Genesis games, so like it did when it introduced NES and SNES games, Nintendo is releasing Switch-compatible controllers so players can get more of an authentic experience playing those titles.

Sadly, it seems that the authentic experience is going to cost more for N64 and Genesis than it did for SNES and NES. The N64 and Genesis controllers are priced at $49.99 each – a steep price to pay when you consider that the NES controllers run $59.99 for a pair and the SNES controllers are $29.99 each.

Neither the Genesis nor the N64 controller features a rail to slide into the Switch’s Joy-Con connector as the NES controllers do. Instead, they’re charged using USB-C, just like the SNES controller. One interesting thing to note is that the N64 gamepad has rumble support built-in, so in N64 games that supported the console’s Rumble Pak, you’ll get that functionality.

These controllers are full-sized, so it should be like using the real thing. Unfortunately, here in the US, we’re getting the classic 3-button controller for the Sega Genesis. While the 6-button controller is considered to be the better choice, that ultimately isn’t the one Nintendo decided to go with for this release.

Both controllers are going up for pre-order today, and like the NES and SNES controllers that came before these, the N64 and Genesis controllers can only be ordered by those with an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Customers are limited to four controllers per account, and orders will begin shipping out on October 25th – the same day Nintendo Switch Online’s Expansion Pack launches.

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