On October 13th, the Nintendo Switch Online service added Pilotwings 64. This title was announced during the September Nintendo Direct and was highly-anticipated by fans of this classic game. However, Switch Online version of Pilotwings 64 has a framerate glitch that makes the ‘Birdman’ stage unplayable.
The title originally released on the Nintendo 64 console as one of the launch titles. In this unique arcade flight simulator players take control of various aerial vehicles and taking on sky-bound challenges in scenic stages.
The birdman stage in Pilotwings 64 is a free-play mode where the player dawns a winged bird suit to freely explore stages. To operate the bird suit the player presses the A button to flap their wings and increase altitude. However, players of the Nintendo Switch Online version found that the game was hardly responding to their A button inputs. This caused the mode to be near unplayble with players to crashing frequently.
What’s Causing the Glitch
Indie game developer Rhod Brodbent took to Twitter to post a comparison of the Birdman stage on the original Nintendo 64 and the Nintendo Switch Online version. The video shows off the framerate glitch clearly while playing the Birdman stage on Switch Online.
I did the science: N64 (red) vs Switch (grey) #Pilotwings64. New version has indeed lost its chill.
— Rhod Broadbent (@sdrhod) October 20, 2022
In the tweet Broadbent surmises that the glitch is due to the wing flaps being tied to the game framerate. The Nintendo Switch Online version of Pilotwings 64 doesn’t adjust this timing for the higher framerate which causes the glitch. The original Pilotwings 64 had the gameplay running at 30FPS. The Nintendo Switch Online version runs at a constant 60FPS which is the source of the glitch.
So far it appears that this glitch doesn’t affect any of the other game modes. As of yet there has been no statement from Nintendo regarding the bug. Many are expecting that Nintendo will fix the bug in time.