In October 2021, Nintendo announced an additional online membership option with the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass. This comes with online games available for free with membership from the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis consoles and DLC for games like Animal Crossing, in addition to the NES and SNES games that come with the base membership.
However, the upgrade can be pricey — $50 per year for an individual membership and $80 per year for a family one. To help you decide if the upgrade is worth it, here’s a list of all the games included.
All N64 games on Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack
Perhaps the most tantalizing part of the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack is the N64 classics that it gives subscribers access to. Interestingly enough, the N64 was considered a commercial failure back in the 90s, but that didn’t stop many of these games from becoming the influential and beloved classics that they are.
This dynamic duo made a big comeback by entering Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but you can take it back to where it all began with Banjo-Kazooie.
In this 3D adventure platformer, Banjo’s sister has been kidnapped and it’s up to him and his bird pal Kazooie to save her and defeat the witch. Players run around nine different worlds collecting music notes and Jiggies to move on to the next area. There isn’t a specific order you have to collect them in so you can explore the world somewhat freely. The characters’ unique abilities, along with somewhat open exploration, make this great journey you experience on land and even in the air.
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
Long before Kirby and the Forgotten Land came to Switch, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards released on N64 in 2000. This sidescrolling adventure was created by HAL Laboratory.
Kirby travels around to various levels purging Dark Matter from his infected friends. By combining two different Copy Abilities together, Kirby can come up with new powers. For instance, combining Ice and Electricity can turn him into a refrigerator that spits food at enemies. The main campaign is single-player, but there are also a handful of fun multiplayer games that you can play with friends.
This golfing multiplayer game was one of the many Mario Sports games to release on N64. This game was originally released in 1999 and was developed by Camelot Software Planning.
Players can play through a course on their own or with up to four players total. Playable characters include multiple Mushroom Kingdom inhabitants: Mario, Princess Peach, Baby Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Wario, Donkey Kong, Bowser, and Metal Mario. There are also several generic humanoid characters including Plum, Charlie, Sonny, Harry, and Maple.
Dr. Mario 64
Mario is back to helping the Mushroom Kingdom, but with a twist. In this somewhat Tetris-like puzzle game, Mario is now Dr. Mario, and he’s working to use Megavitamins to help heal the Mushroom Kingdom. The medicine bottle is filled with viruses of multiple colors and to clear out the virus, you must match it with half of a capsule of the same color. When you get four or more, the capsule piece and the viruses disappear. If it gets backed up and you can’t drop any more capsules, you lose the level.
One thing that makes this stand out from Tetris is the story you can enjoy along the way. As you’re battling the computer players, you’re fighting off Wario from being able to take the Megavitamins to use them for profit. There are six different modes for solo play, and it’s also possible to play multiplayer in Classic, Flash, or Score Attack modes with up to four players.
Mario Kart 64
The popular racing series lives on, and not just in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe either. Mario Kart 64 was the first 3D Mario racing game, and some of the most iconic tracks that have made their way back to modern Mario Kart games came from the N64 version. Now you can play it with the expansion pass.
Choose from a variety of Mushroom Kingdom characters with different speeds and acceleration skills. While you make your way around the track trying to beat your opponents across the finish line, don’t be afraid to use Koopa Shells, Bob-ombs, and other items to give you the advantage. On top of the obvious Grand Prix mode, there are three other modes to enjoy: time trials, versus, and battle modes.
Did you know that Waluigi made his very first appearance on the tennis court in this N64 title? Here he appears in a very tense rivalry with Luigi, but you can go head-to-head with other Mario characters and try to win the ultimate tennis tournament.
As you play, you unlock new courts decorated with the Mario Tennis characters. There are six different tournament types, and the cup you choose determines the difficulty of your matches. You can also choose to play double and single matches, although you will play both throughout the story mode. But this isn’t as simple as pressing A in a rhythm to hit a ball back and forth. There are different swing types to learn and try out and the computer players will have you running all over the court.
Paper Mario introduced a new twist to the famous Mario series. It’s a comedic game that plays on the fact that it’s set in a paper world, so it has a unique art style. Instead of the traditional adventure platformer style, this is more like an RPG, with turn-based battles and interactions with NPCs to move forward.
One thing that hasn’t changed here is that Mario is still trying to save Princess Peach from Bowser. Along the way, familiar faces join Mario’s party, and they can aid him in battles and in completing puzzles with their special abilities.
Sin and Punishment
In this arcade-style shooter, Ruffians have gotten out of control and you are part of the armed volunteers ready to defend Japan. The player goes through the levels automatically as they shoot enemies and dodge attacks until time runs out.
This title was ahead of its time in a lot of ways. For one, it provided a lot of action compared to other games of its time. It’s fast-paced, with a lot of enemies to target. Players can choose between free aiming mode and lock-on mode at any time. While most N64 games focused a lot on the right of the controller, this one added more mechanics for the left side.
Star Fox 64
This shooter takes you to the skies. Fox, Slippy, Falco, and Peppy are on a mission to defeat Andross who almost destroyed the planet, killed Fox McCloud’s dad, and was banished to Venom. He has now struck again and it’s up to this team to stop him.
As you’re propelled through the levels, you try to collect power-ups, dodge shots from other airships, and keep your team together. There is also the Landmaster and the Blue Marine, taking this beyond air and expanding it to the land and sea.
Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 is a long-time fan favorite. Bowser has yet again kidnapped Princess Peach, and Mario has to collect stars to get her back. Make your way through 15 courses to gather them all.
This was the first Super Mario game to be in 3D, and as such, players can explore Princess Peach’s castle freely, choosing which levels to play as long as they have enough stars to unlock the level. Some stars are earned as each course is completed and some are hidden rewards for other tasks within the level.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Another household Nintendo name is the Legend of Zelda series featuring the silent hero, Link. Hyrule has been taken over by Ganondorf and Link plans to stop him in the classic Ocarina of Time.
It starts with Link and Zelda as children, seeing Ganondorf’s evil intentions. You also play as Link years later, ready to take the Master Sword and bring down Ganondorf. But first, he must help the temple sages so they can unite to seal this Big Bad away.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
After the huge success of Ocarina of Time, Nintendo released a direct Zelda sequel in the form of Majora’s Mask. Link, having grown up, defeated Ganondorf, and returned to his childhood state, leaves Hyrule and goes to a land called Termina. Here he’s ambushed by a Skull Kid wearing Majora’s Mask who takes Epona and his Ocarina from him and then adds insult to injury by turning him into a Deku Shrub.
As another huge part of the mischief in Majora’s Mask, the moon is getting pulled down and will destroy the world in three days. Link must reclaim his things and use the Ocarina to control the flow of time as he repeats these three days while finding a way to save everyone. This game’s time-travel mechanics were way ahead of their time and are still great to experience today.
WINBACK: COVERT OPERATIONS
Choose your moment wisely! You play as an agent whose mission is to stop Crying Lions from using a laser weapon. Throughout the game, you must duck and cover, taking the perfect moment to peer out and shoot your shot. The cover aspect has been taken on by many other third-person shooters since.
Choose to have your weapon lock on or aim freely with your laser sight. To master it, you will need a combination of patience, perfect timing, and skill. As you take on your enemies, your success and your actions affect the overall story. There are two possible endings, which one will you end up with?
So much more than just Mario’s sidekick. This adorable game features Yoshi as the main character and really plays on the “Story” part of the game name, displaying levels on pages in a book. But the adorable aesthetic doesn’t stop there. You can even choose your own color for Yoshi.
It’s a side-scrolling platformer that plays very similarly to a traditional Mario game. You go through levels surviving the surroundings and solving puzzles while you try to collect enough fruit to fill the Fruit Frame all while protecting baby Mario from baby Bowser.
All Sega Genesis games on Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack
The Sega Genesis was the biggest competitor to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in the late 80s and early 90s. Back then, Nintendo had a huge hold on the market, so it’s impressive that Sega managed to make such a big splash with its edgy new console and Sonic mascot.
In this arcade-styled, beat ’em up Sega classic, Zeus’s daughter Athena is in trouble and has sent you to save her. You side-scroll across levels, you fight your way through the monsters in Ancient Greece.
The name Altered Beast comes into play with the special power-ups, which let you take on wolf, golden wolf, bear, tiger, and dragon forms and give you some new abilities to defeat your enemies.
Since it’s 1914, Dracula is gone… or is he? Castlevania: Bloodlines is an intense platformer where you slash your way through vampires as you travel across Europe trying to prevent the monster’s resurrection. Although this Castlevania game has different characters than those before it, it’s still the same gameplay you know and love.
Contra: Hard Corps
Civilians are under attack and it’s your job to protect them. Run through the levels and take down everyone in your path.
Unique to the Contra games, your decisions throughout the game can change your path to the end. What made Hard crops so unique when it came out was that it had cutscene stories and gave you four new playable characters to choose from.
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
Similar to Dr. Mario, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is another Tetris-style puzzle game that has a bit of a story, although his one is from Sega. Sonic’s Dr. Robotnik has taken the people of Beanville and turned them into robots for him to use for evil. You have to save Beanville by beating the computer in puzzle battles. Match four or more beans of each color to drop the beans down. Unlike other games of this type, the beans don’t have to be in a row; they just have to be touching. The screen that fills up first loses.
Headdy is a puppet who really uses his head — to attack that is. King Dark Demon has come in and is stealing all the puppets of the world to do his bidding. Headdy now has to fight the King and his army.
Throw Headdy’s head in any direction to attack as you go through this platform world. Collect power-ups to give it different abilities.
Ecco the Dolphin
This game is beautiful and oddly peaceful, even if it’s sad. Ecco is a bottlenose dolphin who found himself suddenly alone when his bay was stripped of all living things except him. On his journey to find a new dolphin pod, he meets a lot of new marine creatures.
The sea isn’t full of just friends though. Fight enemies, talk with other animals in the sea, and use objects in the area to help you. Don’t forget to come up for air.
Three warriors have a vendetta against Death Adder, who has killed somebody close to each of them. Battle your way through to him so you can get your revenge.
The main developer of Altered Beast created this game and they work very similarly. The level side scrolls and you fight through enemies and obstacles as the world moves beneath you. You can even steal the animals your enemies are riding for yourself.
An empire is coming for powerful gems, and you have to stop them. Jump, maneuver, and fire to keep them from getting away with it!
There are seven total levels, and the first four can be played in any order. Try a variety of weapons with fixed or free shooting. Play around with the options to see what works for you!
It’s 2290 and Earth is under attack. Terri and her M.U.S.H.A. weapon are out to destroy Dire 51 before it destroys us.
In this side scroller, you will come across many enemies on your way to the main boss. Power up your weapon with Power Chips, and collect special weapons as you get closer. To add to the experience, make sure your volume is up so you can hear the awesome heavy metal soundtrack.
Phantasy Star 4: The End of the Millennium
The last in a series of RPGs, Phantasy Star 4 has turn-based battles, magic, and a party of characters with different strengths in battle. Motavia went from lush and beautiful to a barren desert, and the people who live there are struggling. Biomonsters are terrorizing everyone, and you and your party set out to make it stop.
As you play, your characters gain levels and new abilities. What sets this game apart from its predecessors are the visuals. The story sections look like manga, and it really adds to the visual experience.
Another platformer on Nintendo Switch Online you might not have heard of is Ristar. Much like Mario or Sonic, you run through a 2D world and complete puzzles to get to the end of the level. However, with Ristar you have super stretchy arms. Attack, grab, and climb while you reach in eight different directions.
Ristar is a shooting star in the Valdi System. Kaiser Greedy has the system’s planet leaders under his command with mind control. It’s up to this stretchy star to defeat the pirate and bring peace back to the system.
This popular title has been re-released quite a few times since its initial 1992 release and has become a fan favorite. Shining Force is a tactical RPG that takes place in a kingdom where you and your party will battle Runefaust led by Kane. Like in other tactical RPGs, the game takes place on a grid. Your units are only allowed to move a certain amount of spaces per turn. After they move they can perform an action. Each unit type has special abilities depending on their class.
Play as Shinobi Joe Musashi as he uses his ninjitsu moves to take down Neo Zeed, and luckily he has quite a few good ones. In addition to the melee attacks you’d come to expect, you also get to throw shurikens and use magic. Take on the bosses along the way and get through all seven levels to win.
In each level, you can use one ninjitsu move until you find a bonus. Explore each round carefully to find them and become more powerful.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
In Sonic’s second adventure, we meet Tails for the first time. Dr. Robotnik is taking the Chaos Emeralds again and this duo is ready to stop him. Play solo as either Sonic or Tails, or play with a friend and have both!
In this platformer, you will run, jump, and maybe even fly through the levels, collecting rings and emeralds to keep them from Dr. Robotnik. Take on bosses at the end of each level until you get to the evil doctor himself. You can also choose to race a friend in competitive mode!
Streets of Rage 2
Choose from one of four characters and make your way through the streets fighting your enemies in this classic beat ’em up. Gather weapons and items that change up your abilities and attacks as you progress. Use your special attack to do extra damage!
Criminals are out in the street raiding the city. Axel, Blaze, Thunder, and Skate are ready to take on the criminal leader, Mr. X, who has taken Skate’s brother, Adam. Get through his gangs and get Adam back.
This big arcade game was an award winner when it was initially released. When it was brought to the Sega Genesis, it did not disappoint in staying true to the original.
Strider is a hack-and-slash title where you play as ninja Strider Hiryu. The Grandmaster has control of the world in 2048. Strider Hiryu has the sole responsibility to take him out. To get to him, you must take on the other bosses first. Using his Cypher, dodge and attack your enemies through five challenging stages.
Sword of Vermilion
You are the son of Erik, the King of Excalabria. King Tsarkon took in rings of evil and turned on his friend, your father, and invaded the kingdom. Now that you are old enough, it is your mission to get revenge.
This RPG uses a few views depending on what you’re doing, which was very different from other RPGs of the time. It has an attention-grabbing story and the active combat where you get to try out your weapons to defeat your enemies makes this adventure a must-play.
Thunder Force 2
In Thunder Force 2, you fly your ship through the galaxy trying to find and destroy enemy bases. Obtain new weapons and CRAW add-ons to improve your ship’s abilities. However, get ready to do your best to keep up with the speed and number of enemy ships!
ToeJam & Earl
This co-op classic follows alien rappers ToeJam & Earl after they crash-land their spaceship on Earth. When they crashed, the pieces of the ship have scattered, so the duo must find them to leave. Help them explore the landscape and avoid conflict as they try to gather what they need.
While you can play single-player, the game is definitely best played as a pair. The characters have a special dialogue that you only see when you’re playing together. This dialogue was a big draw to the game and is what gives the game its trademark humor. This is a great family option as you don’t battle enemies; you can largely avoid them unless you have the temporary tomato throw power up.
All DLC on Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack
Source: Rebecca Spear / iMore
In addition to N64 and Sega Genesis classics, the Expansion Pack gives subscribers access to some extra downloadable content (DLC) for existing Nintendo Switch games. You do need to have the base game in order to play these expansions. It’s also worth noting that you lose access to this DLC if your subscription isn’t renewed. You can also purchase these expansions separately from Nintendo.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise
There are more than just classic titles available as special perks to the Online + Expansion Pass membership. The Happy Home Paradise DLC for Animal Crossing: New Horizons is automatically applied to your game, if you have it, once you purchase the membership. You will need to make sure you have an internet connection to use it this way.
With Happy Home Paradise, you get to build villagers their dream vacation home! The villager will tell you what vacation means to them and you will have access to building and decoration materials to use as you see fit. Bring out your creativity and make dreams come true!
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass
Another DLC included is the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass. This DLC comes out in waves with the last wave expected to release sometime in 2023. As with any DLC received through membership, you will have to have an internet connection to start playing.
With the Booster Course Pass, players will enjoy 48 new courses including old favorites and courses based on real places. With so much more to explore, this DLC offers many hours of additional gameplay to one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch.
N64 games coming soon to the Expansion Pack
Source: Rebecca Spear / iMore
When Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack N64 games, it revealed a list of classics that wouldn’t be on the service at launch, but would eventually find their way to it. Over the last few months, we’ve received one additional N64 classic each month, but these are the ones that have yet to release.
Pokémon Snap (TBA)
We recently got New Pokémon Snap on Switch, but the original game came out way back in 1999. Developed by HAL Laboratory, this game was one of the first that allowed Pokémon fans to see their favorite creatures in 3D. There is currently no set date for it to release on the Expansion Pack.
In this fun title, you ride around on a track and attempt to take the best pictures that you can of the creatures you pass. Players also have access to fruit and music which can sometimes make Pokémon act in unique ways for more interesting pictures. Then you take your shots back to Professor Oak who gives out scores based on your work.
Play old favorites in a new way
The N64 and Sega Genesis had a lot of classic games that have been long-standing favorites in the video game community. Now the whole family can enjoy these titles any time and anywhere with the Nintendo Switch and the Online + Expansion Pass membership. As you get ready to enjoy them on the go, make sure you have the best accessories for your Nintendo Switch to keep it safe and keep you comfortable.