PSA: You can't do Nintendo 64 online multiplayer with another local Switch player in the mix


It’s either “all online” or “all local” for N64 games with Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack

We’re only a couple of days removed from the launch of N64 games on Switch with the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack service, and the issues, complaints, and caveats are piling up. One of them — a problem that reveals itself when local players try to compete together in Nintendo 64 online multiplayer — ticks all three boxes at once.

It’s kind of a clunky issue to explain, but basically, if you and another local player want to compete together in Mario Kart 64 with additional online players in the same match, that isn’t possible. You can’t have two players on one Switch in a match with two other players on another Switch. That goes for Mario Tennis, Dr. Mario 64, Star Fox 64, and WinBack, too.

As pointed out by Reddit user Newblius, the brick wall comes when you try to connect multiple controllers for an online N64 match-up. The Switch will spit out a message that says “You can play online with a single controller. Would you like to continue?”

As the user succinctly puts it, “you can play locally, or you can play online, but there is absolutely no mixing of the two. […] I kind of thought this would be a no-brainer.”

Does that go without saying? Cynicism aside, not necessarily. It’s one of those “wait really, why not?” situations that sometimes crop up with Switch games, like when we couldn’t play Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or Super Mario Party using a Switch Pro Controller.

To the average player who loves Nintendo 64 games enough to want to pay $50 (or more for a family plan) per year for the Expansion Pack subscription, this should “just work.”

For many people, there are much bigger fish to fry with the Expansion Pack plan’s pricing and N64 emulation quality, but that doesn’t lessen this particular disappointment, which I really sympathize with as someone who has tried — and often failed — to jump into online multiplayer with my partner in the same room, playing on the same console. As a quick aside, I get that netcode can be tricky, but I wish that more developers (especially big studios!) prioritized this blended local/online multiplayer support in their games.

I mean, there’s still lag to stress about, but at least give us the option this time, Nintendo.