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Nintendo Switch could get classic N64 games — and a new controller

Nintendo N64
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You could soon be playing classic Nintendo 64 games on your Nintendo Switch thanks to a potential Nintendo Online upgrade. What's more there are rumors that Nintendo is currently working on a reimagined N64 controller for the Switch too. 

That's according to claimed Nintendo insider NateDrake, who in his most recent podcast episode speculated that Nintendo Switch Online could possibly add support for N64 games in the near future. This tracks with a recent Eurogamer report that claimed knowledge of “other retro platforms” potentially coming to the Switch. NateDrake has also previously claimed Game Boy games will come to the Switch as well. 

We've been keen to see Nintendo bring more retro games to the Switch, especially N64 games which can be tricky to get running on modern TVs unless you go down the somewhat gray area of emulation. So NateDrake's tip is good news... well almost. 

The tipster claimed that Switch-based N64 retro gaming could come at an additional price, with Nintendo potentially looking to increase the pricing for the subscription service to "$30 a year, $35 would be the ceiling," up from the current $19.99.

According to Nate Drake, N64 games could make their way on to the Nintendo Switch some time this fiscal year, meaning that we could potentially be able to enjoy the updated service on the new Nintendo Switch OLED before March 31, 2022.

For obvious reasons, there's no confirmation as to what particular N64 games could be available to play. But it's safe to predict that if Nintendo follows through, we may be to revisit 90's classics such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and GoldenEye 007.

And there could be an extra retro treat to go along with N64 games on the Switch. A recently submitted filing to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission also hints that Nintendo could be working on an upgraded version of the N64 controller, codenamed "HAC-043."

We have a good reason to believe that the new device will be compatible with the Nintendo Switch, as evidence by the "HAC" part of the code-name. It appears that those three letters are featured in all Nintendo Switch products right now, with the console itself being referred to as "HAC-001."

Just last year, Nintendo released an official SNES controller that was codenamed "HAC-042," so it's looking very likely that "HAC-043" could mean that another reimagined retro controller is on the horizon. There also could be a good chance that the controller may be announced at the same time as the addition of N64 games to Nintendo Switch Online.

There's not much known about Nintendo's alleged new device. Video Games Chronicle reported that apparently Nintendo "has previously requested confidentiality when submitting new controller designs to the FCC." 

What's interesting is that when Nintendo submitted the filing for the SNES controller back in 2019, it included a diagram that gave away the shape of the device. However, for this upcoming controller, Nintendo opted for a simpler rectangular diagram to accompany the filing presumably so as not to give too much away. Still, the diagram hints that that the device would feature an elongated thin logo on the front, a defining feature of the classic N64 controller.

At this stage, it's hard to predict whether N64 gaming could really be making its way to the Nintendo Switch anytime soon, if at all. If this is to happen, we'll keep you updated on the latest news as soon as it arrives. 

Denise Primbet

Denise is a news writer at Tom’s Guide covering all things tech, gaming software/hardware, streaming, and more. She regularly produces short-form news articles as well as long-form content, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not live-streaming horror games on Twitch, she can be found exploring East London while playing Pokemon Go. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen. You can reach her at denise.primbet@futurenet.com.