News Article

The Nintendo 64 is Now 18 Years Old in Japan

Posted by Martin Watts

Finally old enough to run Conker's Bad Fur Day

Time flies when you're having fun, especially for those of us who grew up spending excessive amounts of time playing GoldenEye 007 and Mario Kart 64. That's because the Nintendo 64 was released a whopping 18 years ago today in its native territory of Japan.

Released on 23 June 1996, the N64 served as a landmark moment in Nintendo's history as a video game manufacturer, mainly because of its revolutionary launch title, Super Mario 64. For the first time, players could control the portly plumber in full 3D, and the virtual playground in which you were able to do this was unlike anything previously experienced on a home console.

While Mario's first 3D outing proved to be one of the most influential moments in gaming history — so much so that it moved grown men to tears according to some reports at the time — the N64 itself wasn't quite the success Nintendo had hoped it would be. Nearly 33 million units were shifted during its lifetime — a number not to be scoffed at — but a delayed launch and stiff competition from the then-newcomer, Sony's PlayStation, forced Nintendo from its throne of video gaming dominance for the first time. More crucially, the company's stubborn decision to opt for ROM cartridges to deliver its games over the cheaper, higher capacity CD format considerably reduced third-party support for the system, resulting in a relatively small games library of just 387 games.

Despite these woes, Nintendo persevered, making the console as commercially viable as it could. With then second-party studio Rare under its wing, Nintendo-published games stood head and shoulders above the competition, with the likes of GoldenEye 007, Super Smash Bros. and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time leading the charge — the latter of which is still widely considered to be the greatest game of all time. Not only that, but the N64 popularised many of the common features we see in gaming today, such as analogue joysticks and rumble feedback in controllers.

It proved divisive with players — and the youth of today likely haven't a clue how on earth you correctly hold the three-pronged controller — but the 64-bit system marks an important point in Nintendo's history. So, Happy 18th Birthday, N64, and have a beer on us!

What are your favourite N64 memories? Let us know in the comments section below.

Hat tip to @StreetPassUK for the tagline.

Sponsored links by Taboola

More Stories

User Comments (84)

Artwark

#2

Artwark said:

memories......SM64 nailed the way platformers can be played in 3D thus having Rayman 2: The Great Escape

xj220_afiles

#4

xj220_afiles said:

I'm a bit confused ... Does n64 vc's were announced for Wii U last week ? I see different infortmation everywhere...

minotaurgamer

#5

minotaurgamer said:

almost 20 years and people still believes that Nintendo chose cartridge because of "stuborness" and "conservativenes". It was more complex than that.

They chose cartridges because the RAM was very small for all the information it managed. It wasn't even Nintendo's idea, it was SGI's. The pitch for the technology was a very powerful and inexpensive console and small RAM was the solution. They agreed because of their bad experience with their snes cds projects, their quality control and what they saw a slow medium. why do you think they were making the 64DD.

It wasn't stuborness but naivity. It was a logical yet misguided decision. Besides, even if it had CD's the N64 had other issues like complex tools and hardware shortcomings as well as high costs. Just look at the sega saturn it used CDs. was succesful? of course not.

It's time to stop parroting industry's myths, grow up and stop revisiting history. It's ridiculous.

FragRed

#7

FragRed said:

I bought an N64 in mint condition with mint condition box for £40 last year. BEST PURCHASE EVER. I remember it when I was a kid. So many happy memories.

Excuse me while I drift off into fantasy land...

GloverMist

#8

GloverMist said:

@xj220_afiles They were announced as if to say they probably will happen in the future. This wasn't new news, though, as we knew it from the Wii U's launch!

GuSolarFlare

#9

GuSolarFlare said:

and my N64 is still plugged to the same TV from the old times...
might play some later today.

Gerbwmu

#10

Gerbwmu said:

Ohhhhh.....The N64.....Back in the days when Nintendo had a stupid controller, no 3rd party support and inferior ports compared to their competition.....Loved my N64 and I still think the controllers were awesome......Makes me want to break it out and get a group of guys together for some WCW vs NWO, Mario Kart 64, and Turok multiplayer

dinosauryoshi

#11

dinosauryoshi said:

My first Nintendo console. Happy Birthday! So many memories on this thing and so many great games. Will never forget the day my Dad bought one of these and we had our first Mario Kart session. So. Much. Fun.

Dpishere

#12

Dpishere said:

The N64 may just be my favorite console of all-time, with genre revolutionizing games like Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64 being supported by some superb RARE games like Donkey Kong 64, Jet Force Gemini, Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Tooie, and many other games. Truly a stellar lineup of games! I also am probably one of the few people who love the N64 controller and feel it is comfortable to hold!

GamecubeComplex

#13

GamecubeComplex said:

Never had one, but was really close to getting one last year. Come on N64 VC, show me what I missed! That being Bomberman 64, Super Mario 64, Yoshi's Story, Star Fox 64, and about every other amazing game on the system.

Cyberbotv2

#14

Cyberbotv2 said:

The N64 represents my high school years, with lots of co-op play for all the WCW and WWF games, Goldeneye, Turok, and Perfect Dark. Such a glorious time.

DrJoson

#19

DrJoson said:

My first home console. Played Mario Kart 64 on it just before 8's release...still a blast to play all these years later.

Squashy

#20

Squashy said:

Happy Birthday to one of the best consoles ever!!! My Nintendo 64 was the first console I ever had bought brand new for me, I love it to bits! The N64 really is a golden era for me :)

@FragRed What a bargain!

@GuSolarFlare Nice I wish I still had the TV my N64 was first set up on.

@dinosauryoshi My Dad and I have had the best of times playing Mario Kart 64 too!

@FalconPunch You have to get one you owe it to yourself as a Nintendo fan!

Jazzer94

#21

Jazzer94 said:

Looking at my (more my Brothers) 64 right now might hook it up on friday for some Pokemon Stadium, MK64 and Golden Eye.

Giygas_95

#22

Giygas_95 said:

My favorite N64 games: F-Zero X, Starfox 64, Kirby and the Crystal Shards, Zelda Oot and MM. Personally though, I think Super Mario 64 is overrated. Not quite as good as any of Mario's other 3D outings (yes, even Sunshine which was a masterpiece!).

Speaking of F-Zero X, I had a dream the other night that I was playing a BEAUTIFULLY remastered version of it on the 3DS. If only...I mean that part on the first Port Town course where you go up an increasingly narrow incline and then go sailing through the air? CLASSIC. I would love a VC release of it on Wii U just so I could play it on the gamepad without classic controllers or Wii mode.

kingston589

#23

kingston589 said:

Well, i have a confession. I didnt buy one around the time they came out (i had playstion). But i still enjoy most of the games for this console like ocarina, starfox, episode 1 podracer, mario party 2 and mario tennis

Also how could i forget fzero x and sm64?

AVahne

#26

AVahne said:

Hahah... It can't have a beer in the states just yet... It can have a smoke and go to strip clubs though.

kingston589

#28

kingston589 said:

@Giygas_95 lol yeah i got it on club nintendo like a month or 2 ago, its prety fun. Do you have any recomendations for other racers though? Its like my favorite genre.

Peach64

#30

Peach64 said:

I never had one at the time, but my best friend did, and we played a ton of Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye and ISS. It wasn't until I got my Wii in 2006 that I could finally go through the great single player games like Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask and Paper Mario.

cfgk24

#31

cfgk24 said:

I just don't remember playing Goldeneye with a Single Joystick. Wierd!

Luigifan141

#34

Luigifan141 said:

64 words: I can not believe that it has already been eighteen years since the Nintendo 64 released in Japan! I still use it pretty often, as it has the best multiplayer games on any system, such as Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye, and many others. I have many memories of playing it, and it is my favorite system of all time. Happy eighteenth birthday, Nintendo 64!

Shambo

#35

Shambo said:

What timing, I just finally added a decently prized BFD complete in box, near mint, to my collection! A few days back, actually.

Ryno

#36

Ryno said:

My least favorite Nintendo system. Glad I had a Playstation instead during this time.

The_Ninja

#37

The_Ninja said:

the subtitle, lol.

N64 was really a evolution in gaming, one of the most important things in gaming history. I don't care what any SONY/Xbox fanboy says, N64 was the begin of all the awesome games we have now. Without it, we would still be playing with a Dpad.
It's not my fav system (gamecube, love it) but it's stil really awesome.

Prime

#38

Prime said:

Still have yet to get this thing, maybe soon. Will like it though.

thedanman64

#39

thedanman64 said:

I remember getting a N64 on my 5th birthday. I wasn't aware what a N64 was at the time (I'd only heard of the playstation) but once it was plugged in and Super Mario 64 started up, i suddenly knew what a N64 was.

It was the greatest console of all time.

hydeks

#40

hydeks said:

sigh I feel old lol I remember playing it for the first time when I was only 10 years old at a local Zellers (now defunct Canadian store) because Nintendo gave Canadian gamers a chance to play Super Mario 64 in stores well before the launch date...it was a magical time in gaming history :-) (unlike now-a-days, sadly....)

chiefeagle02

#41

chiefeagle02 said:

My friend and I killed a lot of summer hours playing Mario Kart 64, GoldenEye, Bomberman 64, and Super Smash Bros. Great times. :)

tzahn

#42

tzahn said:

Still play the old AKI wrestling games on mine. In fact, I recently imported Virtual Pro Wrestling 64 and Virtual Pro Wrestling 2. Oh, and the system had OoT and Harvest Moon 64. Enough said.

Hikingguy

#43

Hikingguy said:

@minotaurgamer The Sega Saturn's issues had nothing to do with the CD component. My guess is because the CD was used instead of ROM of some kind, was the reason it was able to get as many games as it did. It was Sega's mismanagement at the end of the Genesis era and launching of the Saturn that was its demise. Also the Saturn was harder to program.
There is nothing ridiculous about it, if Nintendo would have used CD's they could have got more games from 3rd parties that needed the room.
Anyway, I think it would be great to have cartridges make a comeback as prices of similar technology fall and sizes increase. I would love to see load times return to zero like they were back then.
There is nothing like putting in a game and hitting power and then the game is immediately playable.

Cyberbotv2

#44

Cyberbotv2 said:

@Roadkill409: Can cartridges actually be viable? I wonder how much info and GB can be stored on them now? My memory is a little hazy, but I recall the biggest games being around 256MB.

antdickensAdmin

#46

antdickens said:

@Cyberbotv2 kind of, the 3DS uses them ;) I'm not sure it would be cost effective for large console games though - Nintendo could of course keep their download sizes small, look at Mario 3D World (1.5GB was it?) that would easily fit on a cart/SD card. However, it'll never be cheaper than optical media, which means it'll never happen.

Hikingguy

#47

Hikingguy said:

@Cyberbotv2 I was thinking of maybe applying newer technology. I know SD cards can get very big and maybe even SSD could be used somehow. I don't know how large the older ROM's got, I own a genesis game that was 64 MEG. I don't even claim to know the industry, but I would think some low cost solution could be found that would have very fast read/write times. But I assume that optical disks cost very little. I might just be dreaming.

KoopaTrooper

#48

KoopaTrooper said:

You know in hindsight I'm glad the N64 was ROM based. Have been playing Majora's Mask again with instant loading and made me think how much I've grown to hate loading screens. Go into a room by accident, loading screen, go back, loading screen, trigger cinematic, loading screen.

electrolite77

#50

electrolite77 said:

@minotaurgamer

Nobody said CD would have guaranteed success but it would have helped with third-party support, and CD's had nothing to do with the failure of the Saturn in fact without CD's it would have flopped even harder.

You've also missed the main reason Nintendo went for cartridges which is money. Bigger royalties, paranoia over piracy, complete control over the format and more profit from manufacturing. So yes actually conservatism and stubbornness played a part.

Blue-Thunder

#51

Blue-Thunder said:

I queued all night for one in 1997. I was so hyped for it. I had read it was as powerful as a Silicon graphics onyx reality engine and believed every bit of it.:-)

I think Nintendo's decision to go cartridge instead of CD for whatever reason was the biggest mistake the company ever made. It was their first step at alienating themselves from the masses.

Still I loved it and the likes of SM64.

Giygas_95

#52

Giygas_95 said:

@kingston589 I haven't played a lot of racers, but I do love F-Zero Maximum Velocity which you can get on Wii U. Most people don't like it very much because of the controls, but if you can get used to hammering the accelerator around corners, it's a very rewarding game with a huge sense of speed. Also, there are two great airplane racing games on the 3DS eshop called AiRace Speed and AiRace Xeno. You pilot futuristic aircraft through obstacle filled tunnels in a race against the clock, and the speed is crazy when you hold down the accelerator. Think of it as F-Zero with wings and that's pretty much the idea. You can download a demo of AiRace Speed from the eshop so I'd recommend trying it out. :) Oh also, if you're still into Wii Ware, I've heard FAST Racing League is really good. It's a lot like F-Zero or Wipeout with the futuristic hovering machines. I've only played a demo, but it was pretty good.

And yes, it might just be my favorite genre as well. I love 2D platformers, but there's nothing like a good screamer with face melting speed.

8BitSamurai

#53

8BitSamurai said:

So, 18 years since Nintendo's biggest mistakes they ever made as a game company, barring maybe the Virtual Boy.

Kirk

#55

Kirk said:

What a console.

The most powerful console ever at launch, with the most advanced and innovative controller of it's day and one of the greatest launch titles of all time.

Nintendo hasn't had a launch anywhere near this level of pure all-round awesomeness since imo.

Kirk

#56

Kirk said:

@8BitSamurai

The ONLY mistake it could be argued Nintendo made with the N64 from a gamer/consumer perspective was not including a CD ROM but even then it could be just as strongly be argued there was actually genuine justification for this omission at the time due to the fact it meant we didn't have to suffer any long load times (unlike most of the stuff Nintendo either omits entirely or just gimps for no good reason in this day and age imo).

Nintendofan83

#57

Nintendofan83 said:

N64 is where I finally fell in love with a game. A game i've played on 2 different systems since it's release. A game many argue as the best single video game of all time. Ocarina of Time….man…..before online cheats and walkthroughs…..waiting for my Nintendo Power monthly magazine to come so I could find everything. When I think of the N64, I always think of OoT. In terms of multiplayer, it was revolutionary with games like Mario 64, Wave Race, Diddy Kong Racing, Goldeneye and Mario Party (to name a few).

PlywoodStick

#58

PlywoodStick said:

Nintendo Life is remiss to forget mentioning that even the Sega Saturn beat the N64 handily in terms of sales in Japan... Considering this is the Japanese timeline we speak of. Thus, the N64 was dead last place among the big 3 in Japan for the 5th generation of home consoles.

This is mainly due to the N64 having almost no RPG's, while the Saturn contributed significantly towards creating one of the most acclaimed console generations for JRPG's, the top sellers of Japan. In contrast, the N64 was easily Nintendo's worst selling and least popular home console in it's home country.

...It should have been Nintendo's most shining moment, yet it was actually their most dull moment, from an enterprising perspective.

We think the Wii U is performing poorly now, but I suspect it will beat out the N64 in Japan.

PlywoodStick

#59

PlywoodStick said:

The N64 was a console I loved in childhood. Now that my tastes have changed to favor CRPG's, though, the N64 matches my current tastes about as well as all of Microsoft's consoles and Sony's current direction (not at all). With literally a few notable exceptions. (Ogre Battle 64, Paper Mario when it was still an RPG, and Quest 64.)

8BitSamurai

#61

8BitSamurai said:

@Kirk
I see more than one problem Nintendo made. Just to name 5.
1) Treated 3rd parties like garbage, creating rifts that still plague Nintendo and gamers today, and will likely never heal.
2) Used cartridges instead of CDs, which meant gimped audio quality, gimped/no FMV, gimped/no voice acting, not enough room for larger games (particularily RPGs), expensive to produce which was passed onto gamers. Many games had to be so compressed they still have loading times.
3) Controller
4) Failed to release system until years after the competition
5) Hardware was too hard to develop for, the textures were so blurred and distorted it hurt my eyes, even for the time. Not to mention that fog.

Aside from a small selection of good games, I have nothing good to say about the N64. Even the Saturn, as badly managed as it was, had a library that exuded SEGA charm, and the PS1 remains my favourite console to this day.

PlywoodStick

#62

PlywoodStick said:

@8BitSamurai "not enough room for larger games (particularily RPGs)"
On the contrary, Ogre Battle 64 was a good example of a big RPG that rivaled most anything the Playstation could put out. It's just that almost no one wanted to put the work into cartridges anymore, since economically, discs were much cheaper to mass produce and sold for a lower price than cartridges; while artistically, discs offered genuine orchestral soundtracks, plenty of professional voiceovers, and more room for lush 2D backdrops and exquisitely drawn characters.

"Hardware was too hard to develop for"
That's a far more apt description of the Saturn. On the N64, third parties did eventually get a handle on the system architecture. The Saturn's architecture, on the other hand, was so convoluted that only Sega ever truly utilized the system's power to it's fullest. Even today, the Saturn is notorious for being the only console to avoid being fully emulated, due to it's bizarre system structure.

All other points are fair; although for me, the N64 controller remains my favorite FPS genre controller among the "traditional style" console controllers.

8BitSamurai

#63

8BitSamurai said:

@PlywoodStick
Ogre Battle 64 is one of the very few exceptions to the rule. And it still lacks a lot of the things you mentioned.

Very fair point on the Saturn, though, I should have mentioned it. I do feel the Saturn was much worse in that department, but the N64 still did suffer from the problem irregardless, so I included it.

PlywoodStick

#64

PlywoodStick said:

@8BitSamurai Certainly, for home consoles, the PS1&2 remain my favorite overall consoles for their time period in hindsight. One would be hard pressed, even today, to find a superior machine for utilizing the library available through a PS2. A Wii with Gamecube backwards compatibility is the only thing that can rival it in my mind.

joey302

#65

joey302 said:

Can we get some n64 wii u vc titles anytime soon?? What on god's green earth is taking so long????

MadAdam81

#67

MadAdam81 said:

Personally, I didn't think much of Mario 64, Dk 64 or Ocarina, they were okay, but just didn't hold my interest for long despite how great they looked at the time.

DaemonSword

#68

DaemonSword said:

This is the system that kept me a NiN fan to this day: Super Mario 64, Shadows Of The Empire, Wave Race, Blast Corps, GoldenEye 64, WCW vs nWo 1&2, Turok 1&2, Ocarina, Diddy Kong Racing, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie, Body Harvest, The Star War Rogue Squadron games, Space Station Silicon Valley.

RedYoshi999

#69

RedYoshi999 said:

Oh, the N64 is just a couple months older than me. We grew up together, the N64 was all I had until I got a Wii in 2007. Games like Super Mario 64, Ocarina, Majora's Mask (still my favourite game of all time), Mario Party 1-3, Mario Kart 64, Yoshi's Story and Goldeneye 007 defined my childhood. Bring them over to Wii U VC please Nintendo!

AshFoxX

#70

AshFoxX said:

I don't know about Europe or Japan, but in the US you can't have a beer until you are 21. Instead, you are allowed to join the military and consent to intercourse.

Also, I never have held the three pronged controller properly. Even today I still hold it from the outside grips no matter what game I'm playing, which invariably leads to cramping in Donkey Kong 64. My system is still hooked up after three moves, and I still enjoy it more often than my other pre-Wii systems, even if I do feel I have to unplug it after every session as I have already replaced the AC unit on my system once. N64 is my favorite video game console to this day, and I don't think anything like it will ever exist from big N ever again.

Happy belated birthday my old friend.

Miyamotoo

#73

Miyamotoo said:

For me best console ever!
This system is reason that I am a hard Nintendo fan today.

I am hoping that soon we will see N64 VC games for Wii U.

Kirk

#75

Kirk said:

@8BitSamurai

1. The rifts were there long before the N64 came along and Nintendo didn't do anything particularly worse within the generation of that platform to specifically worsen third party relationships as far as I'm aware, so that's not really a problem inherent with the N64 in an of itself.

2. I agree with the lack of CDs but at least it can be argued there was still some genuinely good/justified reason for using cartridges at the time, even though in hindsight it was a major blunder not using CDs. Not including the likes of CD/DVD/MP3/MP4/AVi/Blu-Ray playback in future consoles after learning that lesson was a much bigger crime however.

3. To say the controller was some kind of mistake at the time is genuinely idiotic. It was the best controller of it's time by far upon release, introducing three brand new elements and two of which became industry standards in every single controller; analog sticks and rumble (arguably the trigger button could be thought of similarly in the way it was used on N64 since all controller now also use triggers too). Sony even immediately upgraded their controller to include analog sticks after they saw the N64 controller (the Japanese version even copied the rumble too). The N64 controller ushered in the full 3D gaming/controlling era. Only ignoramuses would claim the N64 controller wasn't genuinely brilliant and indeed revolutionary for it's time.

4. Releasing a system a year or so after the competition hasn't historically mattered ultimately. The SNES came out after Genesis/Megadrive and won. The PlayStation came out after Saturn and won. The Wii came out after Xbox and won. The PS4 came out after Wii U and it's already winning. Getting their first or at the same time as the other consoles clearly isn't what wins or loses a console war.

5. All hardware was relatively difficult to develop for at the time and the textures were not a problem with the console per say. It was the developers and artists not making textures that were best suited to the console. Same goes for the fog which most of the best games avoided for the most part. If you look at a game like Conker's Bad Fur day it still holds up now better than basically any PlayStation game in terms of visuals and that's in large part due to the nice clean and smooth textures, which is precisely because of the N64's anti-aliasing, something the PlayStation basically couldn't do. The lack of space to store more unique textures, once again because of not using CDs, was the main cause of the problem with the system often having low-res oft repeated textures in many of it's games.

Here's a few examples of N64 games that actually hold up relatively well visually despite the 'blurry' textures imo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdORFULKwZA (Conker's Bad Far Day)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ50HIoM1mU (Resident Evil 2)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoGJd0k_FR8 (Paper Mario)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwxK62sEdRQ (Wave Race)

I still go back to one main thing Nintendo did wrong specifically with the N64; the lack of CDs. Of course, releasing first, having more texture memory and having better relationships with third parties certainly wouldn't have done the system any harm imo but if the N64 had launched exactly same with that one addition of CD compatibility I think it would have made all the difference. The system would have been attractive to all those casuals who wanted to do more than just game and thought CDs were the cool thing of the moment. Developers like Square Enix would have never pulled a game like Final Fantasy system off the system. Textures overall would have been more detailed because of the extra storage space. More third parties would have felt a little more comfortable developing on the system because they wouldn't have to think about making games fit into that smaller cartridge memory, compressing their textures or getting rid of their extensive rendered cut-scenes which were a big thing at the time etc. It all comes down to the lack of CDs imo.

Nuttertkk

#76

Nuttertkk said:

@antdickens There was a news report a few years ago about Suppler to Nintendo which is assumed to the 3DS Chips size. According that Article, 8GB is tops. The DS Maxed out at 0.5GB. Strange thing is: Most Nintendo made games are so small, it's kinda ridiculous.

BlackHearted1

#77

BlackHearted1 said:

Turok 2: seeds of evil, my favorite FPS ever, been playing that game since i was like 5 years old, ha ha no wonder i'm so messed up, Pokemon snap was pretty awesome, DK64, and shadows of the empire, and that star wars pod-racing game, good times.

8BitSamurai

#78

8BitSamurai said:

@Kirk
1. The Nintendo 64 hardware created many of the rifts, and the ones it didn't it split wide open. Nintendo thought of Nintendo, and nobody else when they designed the system. The controller was suited almost entirely for Nintendo's games, the cartridges forced developers to Sony, and it was still difficult to program for.

2. A lot of historic problems here. No, the Nintendo 64 did not introduce shoulder buttons (What are "triggers", and where are they on the N64 controller?), that was done before. What about the Japanese PS1 controller, though? Sony released rumble controllers everywhere that I know of. The analog stick and rumble as Nintendo's concepts (Though again, analog control was done before)? Sure, but they were still done better by the competition, irregardless of who did it first. The analog stick on the N64 is well known for it's pathetic reliability, and every one I've seen with any use is severely loose and they were all uncomfortable from the get-go. (Just hard plastic). The rumble too, was cumbersome to use in conjunction with any other accessory (Including memory cards) because Nintendo decided everything needed to be in one port on the controller. The controller is not brilliant, it's a cheap piece of plastic apparently designed for aliens with 3 hands, and innovations don't fix it.

By the way, no need to resort to petty insults.

4. Delaying the system over and over until Sony had already signed with dozens of AAA publishers that would either go to not develop at all for Nintendo, or release low-budget games, didn't hurt the N64? Okay.

5. I can agree developers had to adjust a lot to some of the new hardware of the day, but even Nintendo admits it was more difficult than it needed to be. However, the terrible textures look bad irregardless of whatever in the hardware caused it. You are right though, some of the games you mentioned look pretty good and push the hardware to the limits (Conker and the water in Wave Race in particular), but Resident Evil 2 actually does look better on the PS1, even with the expansion pak it looks worse on the N64, because of the limitations of large games like it on the Nintendo 64. (Though it's still an impressive port, considering most people claimed that it was impossible to port it at all.)

I agree though, at the end of the day, it would have all turned out much differently if Nintendo had used CDs on the systems. I think cartridges were the worst decision they ever made, and probably will ever make.

Kirk

#79

Kirk said:

@8BitSamurai

1. These extra rifts you mention, the ones that didn't already exist before the N64, came after the fact as opposed to because of it. Developers didn't move away because of anything other than the lack of CD storage in the vast majority of cases or because they were already sick of Nintendo's bullying practices due to it's powerful and influential position in the industry, mostly because of it's dominance in the NES and SNES eras, which was something that was happening long before the N64 ever came into being. It was Nintendo's history of being a bit of a monopolistic bully along with the success of the PS and the hassle of making games on cartridges, once the option of making them for CD became available, that probably tipped the scale for most of the developers that ultimately jumped ship.

The controller was designed in such a way that it was capable of playing basically every single game that had ever been made up until that point, on any platform (this is what the whole 3 prong design was based around). How is that even remotely a case of being designed only to play Nintendo games? I think you are vastly underestimating how revolutionary, paradigm shifting and influential the N64 controller was for it's time.

The N64 wasn't really any more difficult to program for than any other console of the time. Once again, if storage wasn't an issue because of going with cartridges over CDs then most developers wouldn't have had any significant issues compared to the other consoles.

2. The SNES introduced shoulder buttons (or it certainly universally popularized them and made them a standard from that point onwards if some random controller had them before this) but the N64 introduced the Z Trigger Button under the central prong, which was used quite differently to how shoulder buttons were being used at that time. In fact, it was more like a trigger on a traditional joystick (the ones that looked more like plane flight sticks) than your regular control pad. Sony didn't even sniff the likes of analog sticks or rumble until the N64 controller came out, which it then copied and released a new version of the PS controller shortly after. Before it copied the N64 controller it basically copied and pasted the SNES controller to get the first PS controller design, only adding one set of extra shoulder buttons (although I'm pretty sure this was already on the cards for the original SNES CD anyway). Analog was done before N64 but not in the same way and it didn't become the standard for 3D control until Nintendo nailed the design with it's analog thumbstick.

You don't hold the controller in all it's configurations at one time. You pick one configuration depending on the game and hold/use it just like any other controller, with your two hands, using your thumbs and sometimes your trigger fingers. Suggesting you need 3 hands shows how little you actually understand how the N64 pad is supposed to work. You clearly do not understand the genius of the N64 controller and particularly relative to it's time.

3...

4. Right up until launch basically every single significant third party developer/publisher was on board with the N64. Or certainly there wasn't anyone saying otherwise at the time. It was only after the PS was clearly going to be a huge success that many developers decided they might as well go with the platform that made their lives a little bit easier and was the new exciting kid on the block. Just like Square for example. Once again, which mostly came down to the lack of CDs. If Nintendo had went with CDs I'm absolutely certain it would have had every third party developer on board just like it did with the NES and SNES.

5. The textures look "blurry" or "smooth" in most games for sure but if you go back and have a look you'll find that a lot of N64 games actually hold up much better than PS games and that was despite the lack of detailed textures, because of the advanced anti-aliasing the system employed. Yes, RE2 does in fact look better on the PS1 but the N64 version was a port and it clearly wasn't optimized for the N64. I mean the characters didn't even have anti-aliasing applied to stop the jaggies on the polygon edges at least, which is something most N64 games used at the time.

Not going with CDs was definitely the biggest single mistake Nintendo made and unfortunately it still hasn't learned from that mistake in general with each of it's new system.

8BitSamurai

#80

8BitSamurai said:

@Kirk
1. The Nintendo 64 most certainly drove 3rd parties away, and would have irregardless of what came before it. I'm not saying Nintendo's attempted monopolies helped anything, they didn't, but the Nintendo 64 was the final nail in the coffin irregardless.

2. I know how the Nintendo 64 controller works. I won't deny its innovations, but it doesn't mean that it was any more pleasant to use. It was made out of cheap plastic, the analog stick aged horribly, and it isn't even close to comfortable to use. I do understand the three-prong concept, it's just that it's a terrible one. No matter where you hold it, you're missing one third of the controller, and when you hold it in the most common position, middle and right, your hands are grouped to the right in an insanely uncomfortable position. The analog stick and rumble concepts are excellent innovations, but the controller itself is a mess.

Yes, Sony copied the design of other controllers, but is that even a bad thing? The SNES design worked, they added handles for more comfort, it worked. They took the rumble, and put it into the controller, no batteries required, and they added not one but two analog sticks later on.

4. No, developers did not go to Sony solely because Nintendo decided to "treat" them with an outdated storage format. You're underestimating Sony here, again, Sony had already succeeded in getting third party support before the Nintendo 64 came out, and the cartridges just sealed the deal.

5. I can agree with the AA, a lot of PS1 and Saturn games have so many jaggies you could get a cut from touching the screen, however, I still prefer the way many PS1 games look, without the massive blur and fog of the N64.

Resident Evil 2 looking better has nothing to do with not being optimized for the N64. The fact that it even exists is a testament to how optimized it is for the system. It was considered common knowledge before it was announced that it was not possible on a basic level.

I still agree with you that N64 cartridges were the worst decision they ever made, and probably the root of most of the system's problems.

ogo79

#81

ogo79 said:

the sega genesis ahhh...now theres one system that gets older each year but never shows its wrinkles, unlike the n64.
n64 should take some youth tips from the genesis

Kirk

#82

Kirk said:

@8BitSamurai

1. Yes but the point is, it was the N64's lack of CD support that was at the heart of all this in the case of the N64 specifically. Most of the issues that plagued the N64, be it a developer like Square defecting to Sony or a game like RE2 having worse looking textures than it's PS1 counterpart, trace back to not having that CD support in the first place.

2. It was great to use. I really don't know what you are actually talking about here. When you hold it by the left and right prongs it feels just like a traditional SNES controller except even more ergonomic. When you hold it by the center prong and the right prong it's ideal for those early 3D games. It wasn't uncomfortable in the slightest imo. Maybe we just have totally different opinions on the comfort of the thing but I certainly never found it uncomfortable in actual use. In fact, I found holding it very comfortable due to the ergonomic shape of the handles and the fact it was easy to reach every main button from the default grip position.

Nope, it wasn't a bad thing that Sony copied Nintendo at all. I'm just pointing out that it did, which goes to the fact that they knew fine well both the SNES and N64 controllers were worth copying because of how brilliant they were.

4. I'm saying this in terms of what Nintendo did wrong with the N64 specifically. Not in terms of what Sony did right, which has no bearing whatsoever on your claim that Nintendo made all these mistakes with the N64 console itself. Nintendo had no say over what Sony decided to do or how well it did it (so that doesn't go to the mistakes Nintendo itself made with the N64). Kudos goes to Sony for that.

5. Well I guess that's just a matter of personal taste. In some cases I prefer the N64's graphics and in others I prefer the PlayStation's. I definitely appreciated the increased texture details on PS1 for sure but at the same time I also appreciated the anti-aliasing on the N64 games.

Res Evil 2 not looking as good on N64 absolutely has to do with it not being optimized for N64 imo. If it were made for N64 in the first place and they were actually trying to get the game to look as good as it could on that platform then they certainly wouldn't have went with compressed PS1 textures for a start. They could have simply used less textures overall but at their full resolutions, got rid of the intro cinematic and rendered cut-scene stuff entirely (which took up a huge chunk of that available storage space), and they would also certainly have used anti-aliasing on the polygon edges too. They just never designed the game around the N64's limitations in the first place and you can see that in the final results of the conversion, which still looks pretty sweet on N64 but is basically just a very compressed looking version of the PS1 game.

Let's not beat around the bush here though. They game looked so good because of that extra storage space afforded by the CD medium, for all those unique textures and stuff, and it's a perfect example of why not having CD support in the N64 was a major mistake on Nintendo's part. With the CD support AND the extra power of the N64 with stuff like anti-aliasing, it really could have had some pretty amazing looking games.

watford1

#83

watford1 said:

Best days of my life. Goldeneye 007, Mario Kart 64, Blast Corps, Doom 64 amongst many others. What a classic console. Hope all my favourites come out on the virtual console for WiiU

8BitSamurai

#84

8BitSamurai said:

@Kirk

1. Sure, but even with CDs, I highly doubt it would have been a 3rd party masterpiece.

2. I guess the controller is just a love it or hate it thing, honestly. I know some people who swear by it, and others who despise it. I am far in the latter camp.

4. Nintendo did make the mistakes though, Sony just helped seal the deal.

5. I just don't see how the Resident Evil 2 port can be considered anything less than very impressive, let alone unoptimized. Again, the game was not even supposed to be possible on a basic level on the system. If the game was originally built from the ground up for the N64, maybe it could have looked a little better, but as a port it's nothing to scoff at.

I agree though, if it had CDs and improved textures, some of the games could have looked amazing. With the added RAM of the expansion pak? Just imagine something like Perfect Dark x2... Crazy stuff there.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...