Paper Mario N64 game release is Nintendo Switch Online at its best – and worst

Nintendo has revealed that Paper Mario will be the next N64 game to come to its Switch Online Expansion Pack service on December 10.

The classic RPG was extremely well received at the time and kickstarted a beloved series of games starring the paper-thin plumber, with the latest release being Paper Mario: The Origami King on Nintendo Switch.

Paper Mario is the type of title that is an ideal fit for Switch’s new online service and the console in general as the suspend and resume feature means you can pick up and play from any point without a moment’s hesitation. It’s bound to look rather striking on the new Nintendo Switch OLED’s vibrant display, too.

Paper Mario is the 10th N64 game to join Nintendo’s new online service, and while it’s certainly an excellent addition, its arrival also confirms one of our worst fears. It appears that Nintendo will add games to the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack at an agonizingly slow pace, just like it did with its NES and SNES library. 

It means we could be waiting months, if not years for some of our favorite N64 titles to arrive, which is a bitter pill to swallow.


Analysis: Nintendo needs to do more

The Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack launched on October 25, 2021, shortly after the release of the Nintendo Switch OLED. The new subscription service got off to a rocky start, to say the least, and was criticized for being too expensive and for having a stingy number of titles at launch. It also quickly became Nintendo’s most disliked video on YouTube, before Google took the option to dislike videos away.

A number of technical issues were also highlighted with the emulator Nintendo had chosen to run N64 games, with fans complaining that input lag, glitches, and visual oddities were present that weren’t found in the original releases. It turns out, though, the N64 emulator isn't that bad

Thankfully, Nintendo has vowed to improve the service in the future. Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser told The Verge: "We're constantly looking for ways to make our online features and those games better and continuing to add value through more services and more games as we go forward. We take the feedback very seriously, and we're continuing to look at ways to improve the overall performance. For us, it's about quality and great content at a great value."

Unfortunately, it appears that one area Nintendo hasn’t addressed yet is its release cadence for N64 games, which will likely continue to release at a glacial pace.  

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