The 1998 N64 title joins the likes of Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, Banjo-Kazooie and many others as part of the premium section of Nintendo’s online offering, the “Plus Expansion Pack”. F-Zero X will be added on March 11.
The most recent game in the F-Zero series was 2004’s Game Boy Advance title, F-Zero Climax, but since then the series has very much sat on the bench while the likes of Mario Kart ripped up the charts, constantly outselling its rivals.
F-Zero X was also re-released on the Wii Virtual Console, which means the game is also available on the Wii U, although Nintendo is closing the Wii U and 3DS eShops in 2023. These store closures aren’t music to the ears of a non-profit video game preservation organisation, which recently criticised Nintendo’s approach to historic titles.
It’ll perhaps be some comfort to see this released on the Nintendo Switch Online service, with fans at least hoping it means the series hasn’t been forgotten forever, but given the success of the other franchises Nintendo has, it probably shouldn’t be taken as any kind of sign more is on the way.
The quality of the emulation in the Expansion Pack has been criticised since day one, though Nintendo has been improving performance over time. For example, there was a glitch that’s been part of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time which has been fixed.
Nintendo is pushing its Online Service quite hard recently, with 48 new tracks being announced for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as paid DLC, but you can get them all free if you’re a member of the premium “Plus Expansion Pack” tier of membership. Elsewhere, the mobile app has just had an update offering big quality of life improvements.
In other news, if you already have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you’ll be able to play Monster Hunter Rise for free for a full week.