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How to Play NES Games With Nintendo Switch Online

by Brandon Russell | September 20, 2018September 20, 2018 9:30 am PST

Nintendo Switch Online finally launched this week months after it was announced, introducing features like cloud saves and the ability to play titles like Mario Kart and Splatoon 2 with people across the world. The service also provides subscribers with access to 20 classic NES titles, with more to come over the next few months.

For a breakdown of Nintendo Switch Online, check out this post. This here post will act as a short guide to getting up and running.

The first few things you’ll need are a Nintendo account and to update your Switch to software version 6.0. The latest software brings support for the online service, as well as several bug fixes and enhancements. You can read the full patch notes on Nintendo’s website.

Once your Switch is updated, head to the eShop, where you’ll see an icon for the service under “recent releases.” Download the app and then launch it from your home screen.

Nintendo offers for four different subscription options: 1 month, 3 months, 12 months, and a 12-month family plan for up to eight people. Prices range from $3.99 to $34.99, with a 12-month subscription costing $19, or about half the price of competing services from Sony and Microsoft.

There’s also a 7-day free trial. Know that when you sign up you’ll be signed up for automatic renewal. If you sign up for the 1-month option and pay for up to a year, the price balloons up to almost $50, so going for a 12-month subscription at $19 is really the best value.

After you sign up, launch Nintendo Switch Online, where you’ll be met by a home screen dominated by the 20 NES titles that are part of the service. You can also choose to play one player, two players, and play online. There’s also a setting menu that lets you choose 4:3, pixel perfect, and CRT filter.

One of the nice things about Switch Online’s home screen is you can rearrange the order of the NES titles. I put Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda, Double Dragon, and River City Ransom at the top for now, because those are the games I plan on playing first.

You can also press “x” to get more details about a specific title, with release date information, synopsis, and more.

What’s really exciting about the addition of NES games is that they also offer online play, so you can play a title like Double Dragon with a friend. There’s also a quirky feature that will display a hand-shaped cursor on your friend’s screen to give hints.

Unfortunately, Nintendo’s solution for online communication isn’t ideal. Rather than offering a built-in chat experience, Nintendo requires users to download a separate smartphone app.

So far, Nintendo Switch Online’s biggest draw is the addition of NES games. In lieu of a virtual console, it’s a nice alternative. Hopefully, Nintendo adds titles from its other consoles, such as the SNES, N64, and Gamecube.

You can subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online now.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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