Nintendo is the one company that never forgets its origin. Before the release of the Nintendo Switch in March of 2017, fans were treated to the backwards compatibility of the Wii U. This follow-up to the hit Wii console supported Wii games and Wii controllers, making upgrades easier. Nintendo kept this thinking with the Nintendo Switch. While it isn’t backwards compatible with the Wii or the Wii U, it does provide access to extensive past libraries through Nintendo Switch Online. The recent N64 update, 2.7.0 proves this.
Along with access to a sizable library of Nintendo 64 games, Nintendo Switch Online also offers gamers the ability to play officially ported games from the Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES), the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (or SNES), and the Sega Genesis. Every so often, Nintendo will release updates with new and improved games for its virtual consoles. The new N64 update 2.7.0 brings new titles, updated titles, and more. Here’s the nitty gritty.
N64 Update 2.7.0 Brings a New Game
Nintendo Switch Online N64 Update 2.7.0 brings a new game (or is old a more appropriate descriptor?): Pilotwings 64. Those who bought an N64 upon its release back in September of 1996 are sure to recognize this iconic title. It was one of just two launch titles available for the N64 on September 29th. The other, Super Mario 64, is not likely to be forgotten.
The Nintendo Switch Online’s virtual N64 console now comes with Pilotwings 64 built right in. The game tasks players with controlling one of six planes as the pilots attempt to earn their wings. From flying in an autogyro, soaring around with a jet pack, and even doing some hang gliding, Pilotwings 64 covers almost every form of aviation imaginable. There’s even a skydiving game as well as a human cannonball mission. Pair these fun tasks with the game’s gorgeous open 3D environments, and you’ve got a great N64 title.
Critics were well aware of Pilotwings 64‘s excellence at the time, and it’s cool to think about a whole new generation of gamers getting to bask in its seriously underrated glory. Even though it sold over a million copies in the late 1990s, Pilotwings 64‘s ongoing legacy has undeniably been bested by Super Mario 64 in the years since. This N64 update 2.7.0 is akin to the game finally getting the spotlight it always deserved: There’s no Mario game to share the stage with now. Pilotwings 64 is the one and only new (old) game to come with this update.
Updated Games in the N64 Update 2.7.0
While Pilotwings 64 is the only new title, several games in the pre-existing Nintendo Switch Online N64 library got essential updates and bug fixes with the N64 update 2.7.0. Most notably, Nintendo cut back on the total number of tasks per frames for the F-Zero X port. A famously fun futuristic racing game released in 1998 and ported to the virtual N64 in March of 2022, F-Zero X‘s new tweaks should hopefully make the game feel less buggy when playing on Nintendo Switch Online.
In addition to F-Zero X‘s updates in the N64 update 2.7.0, Mario Golf also saw some minor tweaks to its GPU settings. Very few (if any) Mario Golf players had complaints about the game on the Nintendo Switch Online virtual N64 console, so whatever it was that Nintendo felt the need to fix, it’s likely something only a keen developer’s eye was able to pick up on. Regardless, even if we don’t know exactly what was changed, it’s sure to keep one of the N64’s most famous titles all the more enjoyable in its virtual console iteration.
What Still Needs Fixing in Nintendo Switch Online N64?
Undoubtedly, future updates will come to the Nintendo Switch Online virtual N64 console. The truth is N64 update 2.7.0 is far from the first and the last of its kind. Most of the issues surrounding the original release of the virtual N64 console are yet to be resolved. If enough users raise an issue, then Nintendo will take the time to create and deliver an update promptly. They tend to act fast, and the N64 update 2.7.0 is no exception. If you’ve any suggestions, drop a line on Nintendo’s website.
History of the Nintendo Switch Online N64
A few have gone by since Nintendo first released the Switch Online version of the N64. Dropped in October of 2021 alongside the Sega Genesis virtual console, the Switch version of the N64 launched with almost a dozen great games. These included Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, Dr. Mario 64, Mario Tennis 64, and Yoshi’s Story. At the time, Nintendo made clear this wouldn’t be all. They made public their plans to release Banjo-Kazooie, Mario Golf, Paper Mario, and more.
In the twelve months since, Nintendo has kept its promise (and more). To date, the virtual N64 has nineteen games with more on the way. (We’ll explain exactly what to expect in future updates below.) Notable franchise entries range from Pokémon Puzzle League and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards to Pokémon Snap and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. At $35 a year, it’s practically a steal to get all this (plus three other virtual consoles) included in the price of an annual subscription. This is especially true in light of the $60 price tag for just three Mario games (Super Mario 3D All-Stars).
The same goes for the virtual Sega Genesis, released on the same date as the virtual N64. The Genesis continues to see its most iconic games ported to the Switch. These include Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Castlevania: BLOODLINES, Zero Wing, and more. It’s interesting how the SNES and the Genesis competed so fiercely against one another in the early 1990s. Now, the Sega Genesis arrives on Nintendo Switch Online simultaneously as the N64. (And alongside a virtual SNES, no less.)
N64 Update 2.7.0 and Beyond
While the virtual N64 library is great as-is, there are still some titles Nintendo has yet to deliver. While the N64 update 2.7.0 didn’t bring these highly anticipated games, you can be certain future Nintendo Switch Online updates will. Most notable of the bunch? GoldenEye 007, perhaps one of the most significant and well-known N64 games of all time. It was first released in 1997 and based on the 1995 James Bond film of the same name. 007 GoldenEye has long been called the most fun and exciting first person shooter (FPS) for the N64 ever. Needless to say, its inclusion is a big deal.
The game follows the titular 007 secret agent James Bond as he makes his way through various levels. However, 007 GoldenEye is not precisely known for its single-player story mode. With this game, it’s always been all about multiplayer. In this mode, as many as four different people can compete against one another in a split-screen deathmatch. It effectively laid the groundwork for the multiplayer FPS experiences we know and love from games like Call of Duty.
In addition to the highly anticipated 007 GoldenEye release, future Nintendo Switch Online N64 updates will bring:
- Mario Party (1998)
- Mario Party 2 (1999)
- Mario Party 3 (2000)
- Pokémon Stadium (1999)
- Pokémon Stadium 2 (2000)
- 1080 Degree Snowboarding (1998)
- Excitebike 64 (2000)
- Harvest Moon 64 (1999)
If your favorite Nintendo 64 game wasn’t included in this N64 update 2.7.0 or any upcoming titles, worry not. Nintendo is always known to keep a few surprises up its sleeves. Other N64 titles will likely make their way to Nintendo Switch Online in between these other big titles listed above.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/Wachiwit.