Majora’s Mask Makes Its Switch Debut Next Month on (Hopefully) Improving Online Service

Don't give the best Zelda the worst treatment.

For a company so rich in classics, the recent Expansion Pack service for Nintendo Switch Online was not lookin’ like it was worth the money, especially when you see some of that Mario Kart footage. However, a few recent updates to the service’s emulated library have some old N64 favorites looking a bit better, and they’re just in time for Majora’s Mask February launch.

Nintendo announced on Twitter that the 2000 era Zelda would join its offerings of N64 titles without a specific date, but did confirm it was on the way sometime next month. The Expansion Pack service bringing N64 titles to Switch is relatively new, having just launched back in October of 2021, and will run you $49.99 as an individual or $79.99 for a family membership. Historically, when you compare Nintendo’s service—however shoddy it may be—to its competition, it’s the cheapest deal. That new price tag brings it in line with more modern offers though, just without the real bump in quality.

At least, that was the case for much of its short existence. As noticed by VGC, dataminers like OatmealDome on Twitter have reported that there seem to be very small improvements to Ocarina of Time. Kotaku’s follow-up conversation with another dataminer, LuigiBlood, explained how the poor quality in these N64 titles likely resorts from configuration files breaking in a move from Wii U Virtual Console emulation to Switch. The results from recent emulator tweaks are pretty hard to notice in Zelda, but LuigiBlood did confirm in their Twitter thread Nintendo “cleaned up the code and removed anything unused,” even if you can’t actually see noticeable changes yet.

It’s not a lot, but back in November, Nintendo said it would “continue to improve and expand both Nintendo Switch Online and Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, striving to provide services that satisfy consumers.” While the broad promise sounds wonderful, it’s a little hard to look forward to anything running on a messy emulator. Next month is Majora’s Mask though, and I’ve gotta stay optimistic until it’s here.

All of this is ultimately to say, please, Nintendo, don’t Mario Kart Majora. I’m often overly excited by old ports or emulation announcements, but it’s the chance to share those games—both incredibly good and bad—on modern platforms with new audiences. Majora’s Mask is my favorite Zelda and one of those titles that felt so formative in my early years I recommend it every chance I get. Right now, I have to convince friends on revisiting the 3DS version from seven years ago for easiest access, and believe it or not, most folks are not eager to use their Switch money on a 3DS. Nintendo even making small tweaks to its Expansion Pack service has me hopeful, but February is coming up fast, and Skull Kid’s treatment absolutely determines my fate with the service.

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