In one of the most substantial updates to the Nintendo Switch’s N64 library, Nintendo has announced three new games are available now as part of the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack service. Man, how did this one slip me by until now?
Oh, right, this news broke during The Game Awards.
Well, even if you’re feeling tired from a marathon of game trailers and celebrity appearances, these classic games are still well worth checking out. Also, the trailer for the update features more than a few seconds of gameplay from each game, unlike most of what we saw during The Game Awards. Oh, did I just say that out loud!
Let’s talk about these new old games
Passive aggressive snark aside, I like this spread of games. 1080 Snowboarding is the big nostalgic pick for me. Extreme sports games were all the rage back in the 90s, and I… was not good at them. It took me until Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 to really get into and love the genre. 1080, however, was a very fun game to be bad at. Racing down mountains in the snow was a good time, and the music is Buck Bumble levels of “this is stuck in my head for no reason.”
I still can’t believe that 1080 Snowboarding is a first-party Nintendo game. I await the day that Ricky Winterborn becomes a playable Super Smash Bros. character.
Harvest Moon 64 is next on the list, which I have zero attachment to whatsoever. Even with the rise of cozy and farming games, the genre just never clicked with me. That said, I do recognize that Harvest Moon 64 is a significant entry in the series and remains a fan favorite. With how much love Stardew Valley has (rightfully) gotten, it’s been great seeing classic Harvest Moon become available once again. I hope farming sim fans get a kick out of this one.
Finally, we have Jet Force Gemini. Rare was on a roll for Nintendo during the SNES and N64 eras, to the point that notable games like Jet Force Gemini get forgotten next to Banjo-Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. I’m not going to say Jet Force Gemini is a hidden gem or anything. However, it’s certainly a notable part of the system’s history that deserves to be remembered. This was another one that wasn’t necessarily my jam, but the Nintendo fans in my family absolutely loved this game back in the day.
That said, I dipped into this briefly via the Nintendo Switch, and uh… the controls may need a bit of customization nowadays. The game makes use of all the C-Buttons, but not to control the camera. We were still a few years out from universally recognizing how shooters control with twin-sticks, after all. So this one may be a tough sell if you didn’t grow up with it. I still recommend dipping into it just to appreciate the atmosphere and retro 3D visuals.
Here’s to more N64 games
Overall, it’s nice to see a collection of games like this hit the Nintendo Switch Online service. Typically, Nintendo takes a drip feed approach. Either you’ll see one game at a time or a collection of left-field picks. But regardless of how these three games in particular have aged, they’re all significant pillars of the N64 library. They’re well worth having on hand.
Additionally, it’s not like we’re out of significant N64 games to add to the service either. Off the top of my head, Mischief Makers, Body Harvest, Ogre Battle 64, and the Bomberman games would all serve as notable additions to the N64 library. And that’s not getting into the rest of Rare’s classics or ports like Mega Man 64. I’m personally more of a Game Boy Advance guy myself, but it’s been fun seeing which retro games will get a second wind on the Switch. Hopefully we can still enjoy all these titles on whatever Nintendo’s next system is.
The Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack update is available now.