Nintendo Improves Ocarina Of Time Emulation On Switch Online

Promotional art for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time showing Link and Sheik back to back, with Link playing the ocarina and Sheik strumming a harp.

Is there a song that will fix other graphical issues?
Picture: nintendo

It looks like Nintendo is listening to Switch Online fans regarding emulation issues with some of the classic games it offers. Following a January 20 NSO update, which brought Rare’s 1998 N64 platformer Banjo-Kazooie to the subscription service, it appears that the water in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has been improved. This could be a good sign for the quality of future emulation on Nintendo Switch Online.

As spotted by VGC, Ocarina of timeThe infamous Water Temple has had its graphics slightly tweaked to look a bit better. If you recall, the Water Temple is where Link confronts his shadow form. It’s a pivotal moment in the game that angered fans for missing reflections when Ocarina became available on Nintendo Switch Online. In properly emulated builds, the building and tree are reflected in the water and the arena is shrouded in fog, but this is not the case with the NSO build.

Read more: Gamers have a ton of complaints about Nintendo Switch Online’s N64 games

Without the reflective water and hazy atmosphere, the mood of the iconic Ocarina of time the boss encounter is greatly affected in the NSO version.

However, according to Nintendo dataminers LuigiBlood and OatsDomeit seems that the water problems in Ocarina of time have been slightly improved, putting them a bit closer to, say, the GameCube re-release Game.

As evidenced by the tweet, the modified water seems a bit more faithful to the original. OatmealDome noted that the fog is still missing, but that this fix, minimal as it is, is promising for what it could mean for the future.

When contacted for comment, OatmealDome said Kotaku that even though the water doesn’t look as ugly as before, there are ongoing issues affecting other areas of Ocarina of timesuch as Kokiri Forest.

“As for the Water Temple room, the water now has some translucency and renders reflections correctly, so it doesn’t look as ugly as before,” OatmealDome said. “However, there is a scrolling water texture layer which is much less subtle on the Switch when you compare it to N64/GC/Wii/WiiU, so it’s still not quite right. The fog is still missing as well – in this room there is supposed to be a distant atmospheric fog which is simply not present in the Switch version. This also applies to the whole game, so areas like the forest of Kokiri are also still affected.

When reached via Twitter, LuigiBlood echoed the sentiment and also explained why some of the games emulated on NSO have such terribly reproduced graphics.

“[The NSO N64 emulator] is based on the Wii U Virtual Console emulator, which included game-specific graphics display functions inside,” LuigiBlood said. “But in an attempt to make more games work, it was decided to remove these functions from the emulator and try to have a way to configure the graphics through external means like configuration files. This was made specifically for NSO, and in their attempt to do so they clearly broke the graphics emulation in the process and may not have had enough time to fix it.

Read more: Nintendo will continue to improve Switch Online after the backlash

Now it looks like the company is slowly coming back and fixing the graphical flaws.

Both OatmealDome and LuigiBlood are optimistic about what this could mean for other classic games in the subscription service’s vault. nintendo said last november that it will continue to “strive to provide services that satisfy consumers,” and these small tweaks suggest the company is at least making some effort to deliver on that promise. I hope we will see further improvements to Ocarina of time as well as fixes in other particularly buggy NSO games, like paper mario and Yoshi’s story.

Kotaku has contacted Nintendo for comment.