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Nintendo won’t make Europeans play worse versions of N64 games on Switch

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Good news PAL

The release also includes Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis controllers for Switch.
Image: Nintendo

The Nintendo 64 games being re-released as part of the upcoming Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription will run at 60Hz, Nintendo of Europe has confirmed. The news follows concerns reported by Eurogamer that the re-released games, which include classic titles like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, would run at a reduced 50Hz in European PAL regions.

The disparity is a holdover from the days of standard definition TVs which typically used the 50Hz PAL standard in Europe, but the 60Hz NTSC standard in the US. It meant that footage shown on European TVs would refresh 50 times per second, rather than 60 as in the US. This wasn’t a major issue for regular TV content (which typically ran at 30fps in the US and 25fps in PAL regions), but it had a big impact on games where it could reduce the smoothness and responsiveness of gameplay.

Concerns that the re-releases would run at 50Hz in PAL regions arose pretty quickly after their Nintendo Direct announcement. Eurogamer reported that the broadcast showed the games running noticeably slower in the Nintendo UK version, and Nintendo declined to comment when asked about the disparity.

The problem has cropped up with previous re-releases. Nintendo Life notes that the Wii’s Virtual Console included some 50Hz PAL games, although the company would rectify this with the Virtual Console service on the Wii U.

As well as offering a 60Hz option, Nintendo says select games will also include the option of playing in their original PAL versions “with language options.”

The Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack is set to include nine Nintendo 64 titles when it launches in late October, as well as a selection of Sega Genesis games. More N64 games, including The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and F-Zero X are due to arrive at a later date. The price of the subscription service is yet to be announced.