Mission Briefing

Prepare Your Basement: GoldenEye Is Coming To Nintendo Switch & Xbox

The N64 classic is back.

Originally Published: 
BANGKOK, THAILAND - 2018/05/24:  In this photo illustration, a Japanese edition of the Nintendo 64 c...
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James Bond is back! After much speculation, video game giants Nintendo and Microsoft announced that the legendary GoldenEye 007 will be returning in all of its original glory. Bond, Alec Trevelyan, and the rest of the crew are downloadable for both Xbox consoles and the Nintendo Switch on Friday, January 27th.

GoldenEye occupies a fond nook within the hearts of those who grew up playing Nintendo 64. It was a faithful recreation of Pierce Brosnan’s very first Bond film, but in a first-person shooter style that had, up until then, been largely the domain of PC players. It was immersive, imaginative, and fun to play. And it had a robust multiplayer mode that only required owning a Nintendo 64 controller, provided that you already had a friend with the console and the game. No internet was required, either. That’s right, no internet. And depending on which weapon or character you were using: no mercy.

This time around, booting up GoldenEye and spamming remote mines until all of your friends hate you is a little more complicated than just going over to Mark’s house. What’s a Switch Online? What’s an Expansion Pack? Can you still cheat by playing as Oddjob like the thorn-hearted creature that you are? Here’s what you should know about playing the classic GoldenEye on Nintendo Switch and Xbox.

GoldenEye on Xbox is much easier to get but lacks the multiplayer mode

Wait, why are we focused on Switch? Why not tell me how to get the game on Xbox? Pay attention 007: Because downloading a game through Xbox’s GamePass feature is a lot more straightforward. But, you shouldn’t want GoldenEye on Xbox, for one crucial reason. The Xbox version of GoldenEye does not repeat, does not, let you play online multiplayer. While, no, the original title didn’t have online multiplayer, we’re guessing it would be easier at this point in your life for you and your buddies to be able to boot up and play from the comfort of your own homes. This takes away the in-person antics that made us spend a many greasy-handed hours with the game. But, hey, things change. So why is there no online multiplayer on the Xbox? The reasons for this are only known to this, the Darkest of Timelines. (To be clear, you can make in-person multiplayer happen with XBox.)

Do I Need a Nintendo Switch Console To Play GoldenEye?

Actually, no! You can still bring a Switch controller (JoyCon or Pro Controller) over to Mark’s house and play multiplayer in the same living room that, aside from a flat-screen TV, somehow has not changed since 1997. Clean up the place, will you, Mark?

Do I Want a Nintendo Switch Console To Play GoldenEye?

Yeah. Listen, it’s the best console Nintendo has put out in decades. You’re gonna get your mileage out of it. GoldenEye is for reliving the good days. But most importantly, having your own Switch means you can play GoldenEye multiplayer with your friends from the comfort of your couch as long as you all have each other’s friend codes (i.e. the product identification number your Switch console essentially comes with).

What’s a Nintendo Friend Code?

It’s like friending someone on social media except Nintendo doesn’t let you just find your Switch-owning friends via their username. It requires that you manually punch in a 14-digit code that your friend has to text to you. Is it weird? Yep. It really is. Thankfully, you only have to do this once.

Which Nintendo Switch Do I Buy?

GoldenEye will play on any of them. The Switch Lite is handheld-only, which we honestly would not recommend because, man, those remote mines are small and that screen makes them even smaller. The regular Switch can be played as both a handheld or docked and broadcasting through your television, and is perfectly fine. If you think you’re going to be using your Switch a lot, you may want to spend the extra $50 and go for the OLED version. The screen on that is bigger and sharper, and the hardware itself is a little hardier than the regular version.

I Have A Switch But I Don’t Know How To Get GoldenEye

GoldenEye comes as part of an overall online access subscription program called Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. Turn your Switch on and on the home screen select the red circle on the bottom left. Under “Membership Options & Support” you can find information on the options and cost of the basic Switch Online plan and the Switch Online + Expansion Pack plan.

Do I Have To Get “Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack” To Play Goldeneye?

Yes, and I’m sorry because it is $50 (!!) a year. GoldenEye is only available to players who have purchased the Expansion Pack. While a basic Switch Online yearly subscription gets you online play and free NES and SNES games, the Expansion Pack gives you all of that plus free Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis games, and some free DLC from three Nintendo titles. So you can also play old-school classics like Sonic and Donkey Kong Country 64 with the expansion.

Anyone you want to play GoldenEye with online/remotely must also have the Switch Online + Expansion Pack. You may have to loan Mark some money.

What is the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack Pricing?

There’s also a “family membership” option that is $80 (!!!!) but which lets a total of eight Switch owners use the Expansion Pack, so technically you can split the cost amongst your friends. You know, the friends you will soon be sniping and exploding.

I Purchased Switch Online + Expansion Pack. So How Do I Play GoldenEye?

It’s easy from there. Once the subscription service has been downloaded onto your Switch, the games queue on your home screen will update with a bunch of new red squares. One of these will have a Nintendo 64 controller on it. Select that and you’ll be taken to a menu with all of the N64 games you are now able to play, including GoldenEye.

From there it’s just a matter of remembering how the menus worked in the original game.

Wait, the N64 Buttons Are Different Than the Switch Buttons

They are. The GoldenEye aiming and walking controls are the same but, you don’t know what buttons to press on the switch controllers.

Here’s the solution:

The right control stick on your right-hand JoyCon or Pro Controller takes the place of the C buttons you used on the Nintendo 64 controller. We haven’t had a chance to play the game this way as of yet, but if it’s too unwieldy, you have a couple of options. Really, only one good option and one bad option.

Bad Option: Buy one of those Nintendo 64 controllers made especially for the Switch. Here’s why this is a bad option: They’ve been out of stock for a while now, though, and secondhand controllers often go for three times (!!!) the retail price.

Good Option: You can re-map the buttons on your Switch controllers to a more modern first-person shooter configuration, or something you’re more comfortable with by:

  • Go to the Switch’s home screen.
  • Then System Settings. (That circle on the bottom row that looks like a hollow sun.)
  • Down to Controllers and Sensors.
  • Select Change Button Mapping.
  • Select the controller you want to re-map and hit Change.
  • Re-map!
  • Don’t forget to save this button configuration as a “Preset” so you can shut it on and off when you like.

Bonus: This helpful god of a Reddit user here has already put out a guide for re-mapping your buttons for optimal GoldenEye configuration

Is GoldenEye screen peeking over?

Not at all! If you play with your friends in person, it will feel like the old days at Mark’s house (Don’t forget the Doritos!) But, if you’re only doing it online, they can’t punch you in the shoulder. If you really want a vintage N64 version of GoldenEye, you can find one out there. Just be prepared to have more money than James Bond to get it.

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