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Super Mario 64: Do You Need Nintendo Switch Online To Play This Classic?

After checking out "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," you might find yourself wanting to relive your childhood by playing the first 3D "Mario" game for the good old Nintendo 64. "Super Mario 64" holds up remarkably well, despite releasing in 1996, and fans of the platforming genre consider it a must-play. That said, what are you supposed to do if you can't dust off your old N64? Luckily, Nintendo Switch owners can sign up for Nintendo Online with Expansion Pass – a higher tier of online subscription – to gain access to many N64 titles, including "Super Mario 64." Sure, Expansion Pass got off to a rocky start, but things have improved somewhat since its 2021 debut. Still, what happens if you don't want to sign up for Nintendo Switch Online? Is there a way to play "Super Mario 64?"


Thankfully, there are a few ways to save Princess Peach just in time for that cake she promised. Switch players have a couple of choices to play "Super Mario 64," though they're not all legal, strictly speaking.

There are options, but not good ones

First, the good news. "Super Mario 3D All-Stars" – which featured remastered editions of several "Mario" games – was released to celebrate Mario's 35 anniversary, and it contains an excellent port of "Super Mario 64." However, Nintendo held to its promise, only selling the game for a limited time. That said, it's still possible to buy physical copies of the game secondhand, allowing players with a perfectly legal avenue to play "Super Mario 64." Gamers who own a Nintendo DS or 3DS can also look for secondhand versions of the port released for those handhelds. DS versions of the game are much less expensive than "Super Mario 3D All-Stars," likely because it didn't have a limited run. Running into a copy of a used game isn't a guarantee, though, and there's no set price for these titles.


Then, there are N64 emulators, which allow gamers to get their retro games fix and play an important part in game preservation. The existence of emulators isn't illegal, but the distribution of software is – unless those downloading own a copy of the game. The entire legal situation feels murky, and many gamers want to stay away from emulators for a variety of reasons. Still, the option exists.

Though there's hope for gamers wanting to play "Super Mario 64" without a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online, signing up for the service might be the easiest option.