OPINION

Nintendo's online Expansion Pack is an overpriced mess | Play Life, Live Games

Dusty Ricketts
Northwest Florida Daily News

After the utter failure that was the Wii U console, Nintendo has been killing it with the Switch. The home console/handheld hybrid system has sold more than 89 million units, its games are selling millions of copies and the company is swimming in profits. 

Even though it's been on a roll, this week proved it's not immune to stumbling.

Nintendo has released its online service upgrade plan, called Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, and things have not gone well.

The base Nintendo Switch Online subscription allows Switch owners to play games online and gives them access to over 100 NES and SNES games, including some of the greatest games ever made. And at $20 a year for an individual subscription or $35 a year for a family plan (for up to eight accounts), it's a pretty fantastic deal.

You can play multiplayer games online with the Nintendo Switch.

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The Expansion Pack adds a selection of Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games to the service. But unlike the great selection of NES and SNES games available in the base subscription, at launch the Expansion Pack offers just nine N64 games and 14 Genesis titles. 

While there are some great games on the lists, like "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" and "Starfox 64" from the N64 and "Contra: Hard Corps" for the Genesis, 23 games are not a huge library.

And some of ther selections are peculiar. One of the N64 games available is "Super Mario 64," an all-time classic for sure, but also a game that was already released on the Switch as a full remaster last year as part of the "Super Mario 3D All-Stars" collection.

That said, if the Expansion Pack only cost $5 or $10 extra a year (for the individual plan, maybe $15 extra for the family plan), it might be worth the extra money.

Instead, the individual plan cost $30 more than the base plan and $45 more for the family plan. All so you can play a small collection of 20-plus-year-old games. Games you don't own, but are more like leasing for as long as you subscribe or as long as Nintendo keeps the service going.

That is a terrible deal.

And on top of it already being a terrible deal, the Expansion Pack appears to be rushed and not working properly for those who did decide to subscribe this week.

There have been numerous complaints about the N64 games running poorly. 

I've come across clips of "The Legend of Zelda's" framerate crashing for no reason before the game itself crashes. Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack does allow you to play the N64 games' multiplayer modes online, but even that is broken right now. There are clips of people playing "Mario Kart 64" online only to have the game stop mid-race so that someone playing on a slower internet connection can catch up.

I'm a big fan of Nintendo and it has done a lot right in recent years, but this Expansion pack is definitely a blemish.

Dusty Ricketts

Dusty Ricketts can be reached at dricketts@nwfdailynews.com. He is currently playing "Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy." You can find him through his PlayStation Network ID: DustRAG316.