To mark the 20th birthday of Nintendo's 64-bit wonder we're republishing this feature on the console, which originally went live on the site in December 2014.
The Nintendo 64 is a console which divides opinions, even today. For some, it was an unforgivable fall from grace after the dizzying heights of the SNES; a system which failed in the face of stiff competition from newcomer Sony and its dominant PlayStation console. For others, it's home to some of Nintendo's most accomplished titles — a perspective that is reinforced by the fact we're still seeing "remastered" updates on the 3DS for past classics like Star Fox 64, Zelda: Ocarina of Time and — next year — Majora's Mask. While the N64 failed to replicate the incredible commercial success of its 8 and 16-bit ancestors and was forced to play second fiddle to the PlayStation, it remains a truly essential system with some of the most ground-breaking pieces of software ever seen in the video game industry.
The N64 began life in the early '90s as Project Reality, a much-hyped dream machine which would use a 64-bit tech and showcase incredibly detailed 3D visuals. Coming soon after the launch of CGI-heavy movies like Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park, the notion of working with Silicon Graphics — one of the most famous chip manufacturers of the period — gave the venture a degree of considerable cachet. Early tech demos were, in hindsight, hopelessly optimistic and not a fair indication of what the final hardware would be capable of, but these nevertheless fed the ravenous public anticipation for the new system — as did Nintendo's assurances that Rare's Killer Instinct arcade title was running on the same hardware that the home console would utilise. That would also prove to be something of a fib, but the desired effect was achieved.
Around the same time Nintendo confirmed that its next machine — by this point known as "Ultra 64" — would use cartridges rather than CDs. Speed was cited as the reason for this decision; CD drives were still quite slow at the time and it was faster to pull data from a cart. However, there were questions at the time regarding the validity of Nintendo's statement, with many industry experts saying that piracy was a more pressing concern for the Japanese giant. Irrespective of the reasoning, Nintendo's choice would have long-term ramifications and force some of its closest partners during the SNES era to move their focus to rival, CD-based platforms. Carts were more expensive to the end user and could house less data, and their production required an incredible manufacturing investment from publishers before games could even put on sale.
Prior to launch Nintendo attempted to assemble a "dream team" of third-party software developers that would create unique and exclusive titles for its new console. Nintendo's relations with developers during the NES and SNES eras had been so positive that the company had little reason to think that support would be anything but robust. However, some of the companies granted access to this much-hyped group raised eyebrows amongst players and press alike. The likes of Rare and DMA Design — the forerunner of Rockstar Games — were fair enough, but Williams, Acclaim, Time Warner, Virgin and GameTek hardly ranked as the best in the business. Big names like Square, Capcom and Konami were curiously absent, and this predictably set alarm bells ringing.
The final system — complete with its innovative three-pronged analogue controller and new "Nintendo 64" moniker — was unveiled to the Japanese public at the end of 1995 to a largely positive reaction. This was dampened slightly by the news that the system would not be hitting Japanese stores by the end of the year as was previously mooted; instead, Nintendo chose to hold it back until the middle of 1996. While the official reason was that Nintendo wanted to give N64 software more time to "mature", there were rumours from ex-SGI staffers that hardware issues were to blame. Regardless of the cause, the 32-bit PlayStation and Sega Saturn were allowed to fight it out over the 1995 Christmas season, with Sony's console gaining some valuable market share as a result.
Demand for the N64 was intense upon its Japanese launch in June 1996, and by the time the machine made its way to North America in September Nintendo had deliberately priced it low in order to gain some ground on its CD-based rivals. Early software was impressive; Super Mario 64 was an undeniable system-seller, giving players their first taste of what a 3D platformer could offer. Fellow launch release Pilotwings 64 also turned heads thanks to its expansive environments and deep, rewarding mechanics. In the following months these would be joined by GoldenEye 007, Mario Kart 64, Blast Corps, Banjo Kazooie, F-Zero X and — some time later — The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Out of the 387 games which eventually made it to market, most of the console's true classics were first or second-party releases, setting up a trend which has arguably continued to this day; Nintendo games sell Nintendo consoles. Third party support was weak compared to the NES and SNES, and former bedfellow Squaresoft would cause quite a stir when it decided to move Final Fantasy VII from the N64 to PlayStation, thanks largely to the fact that CDs would allow the company to produce a grander, more impressive game.
As of 2009, just under 33 million N64 consoles have been sold globally — a drop from the 62 million sales of the NES / Famicom and the 49 million sales of the SNES. There are multiple reasons why this happened; low third party support, the high cost of cartridges compared to CDs and the simple fact that it hit the market more than a year after its opponents. A combination of all these factors is more likely to be to blame, and while the N64 was a distant second to the PlayStation — which would go on to sell 100 million units globally — it played host to some of the best games of the period. Ocarina of Time is widely regarded as one of the greatest games ever made, while GoldenEye 007 pioneered the first-person shooter on consoles. Then there was the rest of Rare's incredible output — the company's golden era arguably coincided with the existence of the N64.
The N64 also proved that where Nintendo goes, others follow. The console's analogue controller might not have been revolutionary (the Magnavox Odyssey, the world's first commercial games console, shipped with an analogue controller back in 1972) but it certainly popularised the interface on modern consoles. Soon after the launch of the N64 both Sega and Sony would release their own analogue pads. The N64's Rumble Pack was also something of a trendsetter, bolting onto the back of the controller and offering force feedback — something Sony would copy with the Japanese version of its Dual Analog Controller (which actually launched a matter of days before the N64 Rumble Pack in Japan but was clearly inspired by it) and the iconic "DualShock" range of PlayStation pads. Finally, there was the all-important inclusion of four controller ports on the front of the system, allowing for raucous battles in GoldenEye 007, intense races in Mario Kart 64 and hilarious punch-ups in Super Smash Bros.. In the era before online play, the N64 was arguably the most social gaming platform available. Sega and Microsoft would later include four controller ports on their Dreamcast and Xbox consoles, no doubt inspired by Nintendo's approach.
Another unique feature of the console was the 4MEG Expansion Pak, which gave the system a combined total of 8MEG and was required to play certain games. This small unit docked inside an expansion bay on the top of the system and was sold at a relatively low cost. While it could be argued that such a move splintered the audience, the end result was undeniably impressive — as anyone who has seen Perfect Dark running on the console with the aid of the RAM expansion will attest.
Nintendo didn't stop there, however. Even before the system launched there were rumours regarding a "Bulky Drive" attachment for the console which would allow users to write data to special magnetic discs. The 64DD would only see the light of day in Japan, and it took until 1999 to arrive. Sales were poor and only a handful of titles were ever released for it, but it remains one of the most collectable pieces of Nintendo hardware.
Speaking of which, collecting for the N64 is a fairly painless process these days as consoles are relatively cheap to pick up. Ironically, Nintendo's decision to go with carts over CDs means that most second-hand N64 systems are in fine working order even today, while Sony and Sega's consoles from the same period are starting to experience CD drive failure. You can grab some of the more common N64 games — usually unboxed, thanks to Nintendo's annoying insistence on using easily perishable cardboard packaging— for very little cash. However, over the past few years the more desirable releases have risen sharply in price; games like Conker's Bad Fur Day and Banjo Tooie now cost way in excess of their original RRP. If you're aiming to amass a truly comprehensive collection then you can expect to part with a considerable sum of cash. Flash carts are another option if you want original hardware but don't like the notion of paying through the nose for pre-owned games.
As with most of its home consoles, Nintendo utilised region locking on the N64 — but it's not as strict as you might expect. If you're in Europe then you'll need a converter cartridge — which uses a PAL game to "fool" the N64 into playing an NTSC one — to run import titles on your PAL system, but in the case of the Japanese and North American NTSC consoles, the only barrier is the shape of the cartridges. By using a pass-through connector (or breaking the tabs which obstruct cartridge insertion) you can happily play Japanese games on your US console. With this in mind — and the fact that NTSC systems are generally easier to RGB mod than PAL ones — it makes infinitely more sense to pick either a Japanese or North American N64, even if you're in Europe.
The Nintendo 64 might not achieved the same sales as its predecessor or matched the incredible commercial performance of its direct rival the PlayStation, but it's a console that delivers some of the best gaming experiences money can buy, and is ripe for rediscovery today — even if you played it to death the first time around.
Those cartridges are always fun to put in the system, trust me.
I kinda hate the N64. OK. Ocarina of Time is incredible. Shadows of the Empire is a personal favorite of mine. But honestly, I could do without the rest. I never liked Mario 64 (and still don't like 3D Mario to this day). Mario Kart 64 and Star Fox 64 weren't nearly as much fun as the SNES games. Kirby 64 was boring. GoldenEye and Perfect Dark...eh. I hate FPSes. I could go on. Sure, I had some fun with some multiplayer sports titles at the time...All Star Baseball, NFL Blitz, the WCW/WWF games...but man, those don't hold up at all. If they ever announce Shadows of the Empire hitting the VC or being remade, I will disconnect and sell my N64 immediately. It's the only reason I still have it.
I like turtles.
Probably still my favourite console of all time. N64 was the real 3D revolution.
Amazing console right here! so SO MANY memories ohh...
@Krambo42 dat Rumble Pack doe.
The N64 was definitely the best multi-player system of its era and probably still one of the best to this day. The variety of multi-player titles, the built-in 4 controller support, and the analog stick really made this a fun system. I remember playing lots of Smash Bros, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Chameleon Twist, and Bomberman. That was all I played and there were so many more. I never got into Oot or Majora at the time this system was out because we were too busy playing multi-player. Although we used to play Mario 64 multiplayer by sharing the controller and setting challenges for each other.
As much as I liked Super Smash Bros and Paper Mario and F-Zero X and Gauntlet Legends and the like, the N64 was when Nintendo's "Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology" policy started to actively choke them, and they should have noticed instead of making the same mistakes all over again with the GameCube, Wii, and Wii U. So it's kind of hard to sympathize with late nineties Nintendo.
I wasn't old enough to experience this system when it came out. But I was able to get my hands on an N64 one day along with a few games like Conker's Bad Fur Day and Killer Instinct Gold and it was a lot of fun. I never got the chance to get Zelda OOT and the only thing I really remember was playing a few minutes of it on the masterpiece section of SSBB. I really should probably buy it. Especially since Majora's Mask is arriving next year. And I haven't played that either... Hahaha.
You said it! the Conker,s multplayer matches were insanely fun!
My sniper skills stills sharp to this day.
I don't think I've ever played a multi-player game as fun and varied as Conker's Bad Fur Day. Anyone who has played it needs to.
Never had an N64, always hated the controller when I played it, none of the games grew on me and still haven't played OoT (TP looks so similar to me I don't see the point anymore).
What really caught my attention though is the similarities to Wii U, and it's now about 20 years later which is about the time history always repeats itself, generation after generation.
SNES sales big drop to N64 sales, Wii sales big drop to Wii U Sales
great 1st party, bad 3rd party
Square went to Sony w/ FF7, no Square games on Wii U after Wii had FF:CC:TCB, Chocobo Dungeon, FF:EoT
innovative divisive controller, innovative divisive Gamepad
20 years from now someone will be writing a very similar article about Wii U.
By far my fav console ever. I don't have one right now, but I did pick one up off eBay, along with a stack of games a couple years ago to relive those memories. Still have lots of vc and 3ds remastered n64 games of course. Just not perfect dark or killer instinct
Love my 64. Great memories and great games.
I'm one of the few people who honestly loves the N64 controller despite the fact that I don't have the three hands required to use it well.
A flawed masterpiece of a system. Did so much for console gaming — and gaming in general — even if it did miss the mark in quite a few key ways. The quality of the library is, in my opinion, remains one of, if not the very best to ever grace a system. And as much as it lacked on the third-party front, there were some real gems in there such as Rocket: Robot on Wheels and Body Harvest.
@BaffleBlend you are so funny... Nobody uses the word mistake when discussing the Wii... (Trust me, not even Wall Street) The Wii U, absolutely. But the Wii (weather you liked it or not) was a clear winner last Gen.
@Platypus101: It was a non-sustainable, short-term victory, with the nasty side effect of slaughtering their public relations and credibility among gamers. Most of the reasons the Wii U is failing involve residual damage from the Wii – once the casuals they were targeting moved onto smartphones, they had neither the goldmine they targeted with the Wii nor the fans they alienated with the Wii left.
@BaffleBlend you're still funny... Sustainability Is not really a business term... that a new-age hipster carp. People move on from media all the time... I find it funny that when a sequel doesn't do well, people immediately claim fail. As for losing the casuals as you call them, they'd are as you claim "casual", so like they did with Harry Potter, simply moved on. Does that mean that JK Rowlings not making a movie of her following stories is a failure? I don't wanna get into this.. Too long.
@Platypus101: I stopped reading at "new-age hipster crap". If you don't want to have a rational discussion about this, fine by me.
I bought an N64 after my PSOne died shortly after finishing Final Fantasy VII. I decided to go N64 due to the cartridge technology. PSOne games had insane loading times and were prone to fail.
I picked it up Mischief Makers with the N64 and never looked back. I have a soft spot for the system in many ways. I imported several games for the system including Bangai-Oh and Sin and Punishment. The star Wars games kept me occupied. The amount of time I put into Ocarina of Time alone justified the purchase. Of course, it didn't match the SNES but no home console ever has.
@BaffleBlend I'm sorry... I offense you... Would you like to keep discussing? I take back that statement... Now go ahead read.
@BaffleBlend also, please don't mis-quote me... Because that was NOT what I said.
Love my N64s (NTSC and PAL), love the unfairly maligned N64 controller (b/c as a kid, the NES d-pad was just weird and gave you Nintendo thumb), love its manageable library full of gems. IMHO, Star Wars Episode I Racer is the retro best vehicle racer out there, super fast, nice learning curve and amazing environs. And Sin and Punishment, my other N64 fave, is astounding in a Bayonetta what-the-heck-is-that-coming-at-me-now?!?! way.
@BaffleBlend I'm sorry offended you with the word... Please don't ever mis-quote me again... I take back the new age "carp" comment... Now go ahead and read. But don't put words in my mouth I never said.
My second least favorite Nintendo console, after the Wii. It's... disappointing. On a related note, I started playing Mario 64 for the first time today. it's awful so far. You have so little control over so many of Mario's movements. He slips and slides constantly like he's walking on ice. In place of the tight control of previous (and subsequent) games, you get a bunch of useless gimmicks like somersaulting, punching/kicking, and whatever that weird lunging thing he does is. The music is bland, too, and the worlds feel strangely barren.
But hey, games like Pokemon Snap, the 3D Zeldas, Conker's Bad Fur Day, etc. still give the system some appeal.
I´m impressed by the amount of people who didn´t play Ocarina of Time, just curious.
The N64 was my first console. I would say the 64 is underrated. I was a little to young to play OOT when I had my 64. I remember playing Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2. Star Wars Racer was really fun. If I would have been older when I had a 64 I would of played different games. But, I was about 8 years old. The 64 still holds a special place in my heart for being my first console. Though, it was my first console it was not my first video game. I was really into Pokemon when I had my 64. I was 8 and it was when Gold and Silver were just the newest Pokemon game.
@BaffleBlend - I was one of those that bought a Wii, didn't like it, (Zelda TP being a particular disappointment), sold it and moved over to the PS3.
I wasn't alienated though as I now have a Wii U. I think taking a break from Nintendo was a good thing as I got to see what it was like batting for the other team. I'm absolutely loving my Wii U plus I get to play all the great Wii titles I missed. I think I may be in the minority though.
@Neferupitou Yeah. The multiplayer is the best. I could play it all day. It's just SO much fun!
Back on topic - I re-purchased an N64 18 months ago as I've gone all nostalgic and it's been a fantastic purchase. And I get to play all the titles I missed first time around - Paper Mario, Conker, MM. A truly ground-breaking system and a pivotal moment in gaming history.
It does feel a little dated in places, but not as much as other systems from that period. But includes some of the best games ever made.
@Ralizah The summersaults and lunging moves are MASSIVE helps.
@Krambo42 conker's bad fur day is a good gem for n64 if u never played it.
I never had the opportunity to have a Nintendo 64. Here in Brazil it was extremely expensive in his days. That's why I want so much the N64 Virtual Console on WiiU.
@edgedino Yeah, I used to have that game. Couldn't get into it at all. 3D platformers just don't do it for me. I didn't think it was very funny, either.
Fans of the Nintendo 64 should check out [removed]
Who reported this nearly two years after this was posted..? - Octane
man nintendolife website sucks on a 3ds, yo'd think they would have it work in nintendo devices, it works fine on my psp as does my n64 emulator on it
*vita web browser i mean
I was scrolling down just to see the mandatory @MegaWatts comment on the matter XD
You are right, man. I love my N64 and I will pass down that love to my (future) children as this is one of the greatest consoles with one of the finest libraries ever made 'til this very day <3
@Sherman haha, you know me too well! Am glad you share a similar view of it!
I got my N64 in june this year and love it the last game i got for it was in NOV. and it was super mario 64 and all games for N64 are very great and I have no trouble with it they should go back to carts instead of disk.anyone without one needs to get one!!!!!!
While a decent article, and I understand it's trying to highlight both the console's good qualities, and flaws. I think it's being a being a li'l hard on it in some ways. While it finished behind the Playstation in sales, it actually did very well market-wise regardless. (People seem to forget just 'cause a console isn't first, or even second place, doesn't make it a "commercial failure.") Especially, when it first came out, it sold out so often, I wasn't even able to get an N64 until nearly a year after it came out.
I also think the controller was more "revolutionary" then the article made it out to be. Despite not being the first console controller to have an analogue stick, it was one of the first to have one small (and comfortable) enough to use with your thumb like D-Pad, (instead of requiring your whole hand) and it was pressure-sensitive to opening up new types of movement. Plus as the article pointed out, it popularized the "rumble feature," and thumb-sized analogue sticks on controllers, so it actually was quite revolutionary, and shaped the way controllers are still made today.
The 3 ways to hold it was also clever, I felt, and in some ways made accessing the control stick or D-Pad easier without one getting in the way of the other like on some modern controllers.
Also, the game cartridges had some advantages over the CD games, while they might not have clear FMV, been more expensive, and such, they didn't have the annoying loading screens, and some minor upgrades in them for the hardware. (Like how some SNES games were enhanced with new chips in the cartridges, like the FX Chip, or how some N64 later cartridges were capable of holding more data then older ones.) Plus, they were more durable then CDs, which scratch easily, and such.
"While the N64 failed to replicate the incredible commercial success of its 8 and 16-bit ancestors and was forced to play second fiddle to the PlayStation"
Really, EVERY Nintendo system since then has failed to replicate those successes, save for the Wii. Still, I love my N64.
If anyone had told me of the sales problems and what many refer to as a limited library when I was a kid, I would have been like, "You're full of it."
Then I would have gone and played Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Mario Kart, Diddy Kong Racing, Star Fox, Donkey Kong, Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Stadium, Smash Bros., Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Kazooie 2 and probably more I'm not remembering, as well as a slew of awesome cross-platform games.
From my perspective that's more awesome games than the Wii U has, definitely more than the Wii had, and maybe even more than the Gamecube had. And it's certainly more games than I've ever even owned on a system, so it's hard to imagine anyone other than non-kids being disappointed with it at the time. Plus I felt like everyone in the world had one; the apparent sales disappointment was news to me many years later.
It's funny how perspective changes things. Now I'M the one who's in the jaded, unsatisfied adult position when it comes to the Wii U. XD
A wonderful console with some of the best games ever made.
Of course I'll still love you when you're 64.
I grew up with the N64. This console was home to what I call "Pionners" of this 3D gaming industry. Game such as Golden Eye 007, Zelda Ocarina of Time were all masterpieces of their own.
The N64 is absolutely not when Nintendos 'lateral thinking with withered technology' started. The N64 was meant to be absolutely cutting edge internally.
I just loved my N64! Mario Kart 64 was my first MK game, I played it non-stop with my brother and friends. Se would also always fight over who had more stars in Mario 64. So many good memories. Cruis'n World made us feel like we were playing at an arcade at the mall. Star Fox, F-Zero, Zelda... I love the N64 library.
I think I caught the N64 at just the right time. I started university in 1995 and got a PS1 but traded it for an N64 in May 1997 when the UK price (two months after launch) dropped to £150. The games library was much sparser and the games themselves more expensive but they lasted so long. Mario 64, Pilotwings 64, ISS 64 (by far the best soccer game at the time), Mario Kart 64, Lylat Wars (the hideous UK name for Starfox), Goldeneye, Diddy Kong Racing, Banjo-Kazooie, F-Zero X, Ocarina Of Time, Mario Golf, even New Tetris all lasted ages. Wave race 64, Blast Corps, Silicon Valley, Rocket, Top Gear Rally 2, Excitebike 64 and Ridge Racer 64 all served me well too. The N64 seemed to offer the long-lasting and absolutely top-quality experiences whether it be getting 120 Stars, multi-player fun, Time Trials, high Score chasing or of course the depth of the adventure itself.
I graduated in 1999 and it was in late '99 that I started to lose interest in the machines library, I bought another Playstation and that got more usage as its back library was so cheap. A lot of late N64 stuff-Jet Force Gemini, Smash Bros, Donkey Kong 64, Perfect Dark didn't really do it for me and I missed out on the likes of Conker, Majoras Mask and Paper Mario as my interest had waned (I was onto the PS2 by the time the latter came out in the UK at Christmas 2001).
Despite that I have such fond memories of the machine, I wish there was some way of finding out exactly how many hours mine got used because it would be a phenomenal number. I never understood the issues people had with the controller. Left hand middle prong, right hand right prong for most games. Very easy. My least games literate friends could cope with it so I never got how it confused some others.
If you're going to play it these days, emulate it. It looks dreadful on modern TV's. if you have a CRT knocking around and the funds for an RGB Mod and those rare, super expensive cartridges go for it but on a HDTV.....ouch.
I Had a lot of fun, with the N64... not as much as with the SNES, but still a lot of fun. I didn't really like Goldeneye, but I loved Perfect Dark.
The N64 was the first console I ever played! I remember playing OoT, MM, Pokemon Stadium, and several others. It's one of my favorite Nintendo Consoles by far!!
@electrolite77 It's not a matter of understanding the controller, it was just awkward and uncomfortable to hold. The analogue stick could have been a bit shorter and shifted to one side, and the 'Z' button could have been placed beneath either the right or left shoulder button (maybe both to accommodate left and right handed players). It didn't have to be this awkward trident. I personally think the Saturn 3D controller was a much better design, especially ergonomically.
While it'd have been awesome to have more 3rd party support (Square especially), the first party and second party games on N64 are second to none. Especially second party, which no Nintendo or otherwise console can match to this day. The output of great games by Rare in the N64 era was just incredible. Losing their IPs hurt a lot in the GCN era, as Nintendo now had only first party. But games like Mario 64, Zelda OoT & MM, Super Smash Bros, Banjo-Kazooie, DK64, MK64, Diddy Kong Racing, Mario Party 1-3, and Conker still get played at my house from time to time.
My PSOne, though, hasn't been touched in a decade, nor have any of its games except for Final Fantasy IX, which i play once every 3-4 years, as its one of my favorite JRPGs. But even then I use my PS2 to play it so i don't have to plug in the original console. PSOne was the place for JRPGs, but outside of a handful of those, the N64 topped it in every way in terms of library.
Such a fantastic console! I'm only a wee teenager now so I never experienced the thing during its heyday, but the fact that it was the last home console to run on the aging cartridge format always intrigued me. I've been collecting for over 2 years now (28 games strong, with Star Fox 64 my top pick) and my appetite for the '64 is more voracious than ever! I'd argue it's never been beaten in terms of a truly gripping multiplayer experience, and so many games pushed the thing to its extremes, particularly near the end. Long live the King!
Wait... I just bought F-Zero X few months ago!
I bought N64 used from a friend for 600FIM (about 100e) with four games, three controllers. I hated that you had to buy extra stuff, such as Extension Pack.
Golden Eye, multiplayer and throwing knives.
And of course it gave us also OoT and MM. I never really had money or ways to buy games, since I think GC was already out and I was still a teen and less and less places were selling games here. And I remember those mad days at internet auctions trying to get OoT and finally MM. And Perfect Dark.
V-Rally also gave so much laugh when playing with my sister.
Still have few games to buy, even tho I just bought StarFox64 3D (because found it cheap)
Conrtoller is huge, but after all getting used to it. Different ways to hold it.
Would you like to hear it again?
@electrolite77 Good post, you seem to have a similar N64 library to myself. As you say the controller was actually very comfortable in the usual left hand on middle prong, right hand on right prong, layout. I can't remember using the D-pad much in any of the 21 games I have for the system!
SM64 was of course revolutionary, and the first time most people saw it in motion was a revelatory experience; seeing Mario move about in 3D after so many years of enjoying his 2D adventures was incredible. OOT was a bit dull and nowhere near as good as A Link to the Past in my opinion, but I expect I'm in the minority there. Lylat Wars/Starfox 64 was a superb game, as was Pilotwings 64, and in terms of sports games I played ISS64, Madden 64 and Mario Golf for probably a few hundred hours between the 3 of them. 2 or 4 player sessions of Goldeneye were always great fun and would be my abiding memory of the console. We also got a better version of Resident Evil 2 than the Playstation, and Perfect Dark was ahead of its time, although not as good as Goldeneye.
But the most obvious thing, looking back, is how many great racing games there were on the N64. Mario Kart 64, F-Zero X, F-1 World Grand Prix, Ridge Racer 64 and 1080 Snowboarding were all great, but Wave Race 64 and Excitebike 64 were incredible, with the analogue stick allowing subtle movements and precise control that wouldn't have been possible with a D pad.
A great console, although the graphics haven't aged as well as those of the SNES. 33 million consoles wasn't a bad effort: I'm sure Nintendo would be very happy if the Wii U ended up selling in similar quantities.
I was in 5th grade elementary school when I first got an N64, around the time it came out in 1996. They were incredibly difficult to find as stock was sparse and always sold out. When I saw a couple of machines in display at a local Target store, I convinced my mom buy one of those two before they flew off the shelves .
(As a side note, I remember in the same aisle a bunch of unsold Virtual Boys going for $50 a pop)
I was most fond of the N64 for Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., Zelda, Super Mario 64, and Star Fox, etc. Back then, I was more enamored with JRPGs, so I was more of a PSone kid. But for multiplayer, nothing beat playing with my cousins and/or playing with my uncle NBA Hangtime .
Most definitely a classic and I despise how so many people have jumped on this recent social media fuelled bandwagon of claiming the N64 controller was somehow a piece of rubbish when in reality if was revolutionary and basically the pinnacle of controller design when it was first released.
These are some of the things the N64 controller either introduced for the first time or in many cases basically standardised from that point onwards: Analogue sticks, rumble support, memory packs (for transferring game data across systems), 4 player, multiple controller colours, ideal for both traditional/classic 2D games and the brand new 3D games, truly ergonomic handles, trigger button (on a proper control pad as opposed to an old school joystick), dual handed dual analogue dual trigger gaming (Yup; the N64 and it's controllers offered this possibility first and it was available in a few of its games; most notably GoldenEye)...
I have my N64 and still play it occasionally. Diddy Kong Racing will forever be a classic along with Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64
I've never been able to make a solid decision on wether the N64 or the Cube was my favourite Nintendo console. I think maybe the 64 just edges it for having Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, both in my top 20 games of all time. It's certainly the Nintendo console that saw the best of Rare. Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie and Tooie, Conker's Bad Fur Day and Diddy Kong Racing are all top quality games, and Donkey Kong 64 is pretty decent too. Star Fox 64 and Paper Mario are in the top tier too.
The SNES will always be my favorite Nintendo console followed by N64. There's just so many replayable classics on both of those consoles.
The controller was near perfect if not that it wore out easily. I've never understood all the complaint about it... three hands? Alien hands? o_O
Want to play with the d-pad then put your left hand at the left, want to play with the control stick then put your left hand in the middle... What was the problem with it?
WCW/nWo REVENGE — Greatest wrestling game of all time — N64 exclusive.
The N64 suffered from a thin library of truly good games, as most modern Nintendo systems do. Still, there was a lot of good stuff on there. I was pleased with the system overall.
As an 8 year old kid I never noticed a small library as I obviously had no money of my own to spend, I just read NOM every week and looked forward to the next must have that I could beg my folks for. The Snes holds more sentimental value for me but the N64 is first console I ever got my very first game for that wasn't shared with a sibling (Majora's Mask).
NINTENDO SIXTY FOOOOOUUUUURRRRRR!!!!
I love the N64 but it's always bugged me that nintendo didn't make it able to output an RGB signal (the SNES did), meaning composite was the best we could hope for shudders. This is why colours looked a bit washed out and the picture wasn't very crisp.
LucasArts Shadows of the Empire, Episode 1 Racer and Rogue Squadron games are my most played, non Nintendo games on N64. Strange to see them not mentioned in the article.
Also, living in the UK at the time it was all about the Sega Mega Drive not the SNES, but most of my friends went on to buy a N64.
@BaffleBlend despite the GameCube being the most powerful console of its generation?
@WaveWarlock I did first play it in stores back then, and the graphics weren't enough for me. It needed better game play and controls.
3D World thankfully was done right and is the best platformer ever made.
The N64 stole sooo many hours of my youth. Wouldn't change it. My fave so far.
One of the best consoles ever (in my opinion)! So many memories with this thing.
Sad story about probably my favourite game from this console though (after Super Mario 64) - Banjo Kazooie. We will never forget you.
Say what you will about the console and its controller but the N64 played host to many of the greatest games of all-time, and it for that reason that I still play mine occasionally even today!
It was a console of quality over quantity that's for sure. It had very good games but most of them haven't aged well. The same can be said of PS1 games too. It was a very immature experimental era and not everything paid off.
Gamers, specially "journalists", still like to keep repeating the same memes about their demise and yes, cartridges and costs had a lot to do but it wasn't everything. It was mostly the mentality that the Gamecube, the Wii U and to some extent, the 3DS have that is designed around what developers enjoy instead of what customers like. PS and Saturn (kinda) had more arcade, mainstream-oriented games while most of N64 games were weird experiments like Mario 64 and 3D stuff. Only fanboys or "hardcore" nerds enjoyed it.
One may think that after that mistake, and the GC one, and the success of the Wii they will learn their lesson. But then they go and make the Wii U and made you think WTF are they thinking.
My least favourite nintendo console and least favourite gaming generation. it was that strange transitional period where games were forced into 3d whether it worked or not. Mario 64 was a triumph, zelda too, but not much else reached their level for me. PC gaming was on fire around this time too and really blew away everything consoles were attempting.
My favorite 64 was the Commodore 64. Never liked Nintendo 64, Even now as I have gone back and built a collection I skipped it. NES, SNES, Game Cube, Wii, Wii U, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, GBA, DS, 3DS, and just fine without the N64.
Nintendo 64 really did shine though. It has a small library once you cut the sports titles and shovelware (NFL Blitz being the lone exception), but the games Nintendo and RARE put out on the 64 are some of the best gameplay experiences of the 5th generation! Quality over quantity anyday
I enjoy playing pokemon stadium and win all the cups. The low level cups were tough! I like using starmie because of it's speed and versatility. Another great game is Pilotwings 64. I still remember playing the birdman stages.
A great console and some of the most iconic games from Nintendo came out on it.
So many great memories. My N64 still gets lots of love and is still hooked and played regularly to this day. Some of my faovurite single player experiences come from this system and most of my favourite multiplayer experiences have come from it as well. I don't think I've ever played on a console so much with friends as I have with the N64.
@Kirk The fact that the memory card was inserted into the controller isn't really an "innovation". I'd say the PlayStation popularised memory cards as they were a core part of the experience (thanks largely to the fact that you couldn't save to a CD).
I never owned a N64 memory pack as any game which required you to say data did so to the cart itself, so the N64 certainly didn't "standardise" that feature. In fact, I don't feel enough was ever made of the N64 memory pack.
Oh yeah; I forgot that the Playstation had external/removable memory cards too and obviously it came out before the N64 so it got there first. Doh!
Well; let's modify it from being about having memory cards that get inserted into the controller directly to being about the expansion port on the controller in general; that allowed for the easy interchanging of various attachments such as the memory pack, rumble pack and even the transfer pack. It wasn't the most revolutionary aspects of the controller but it was still a pretty unique and cool feature for any controller at the time
I grew up with the N64, we entered the world at the same time, so I will always remember it fondly. It has a small but classic library. Ocarina, Majora's Mask (best game ever), Mario 64, Mario Party 1-3, Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye, Banjo Tooie/Kazooie, DK64, Paper Mario and even Yoshi's Story are all amazing games. I still dig out Mario Party 3 occasionally as it's my favourite and Mario Kart 64 was only recently bested by MK8.
@Damo That's not entirely true, there were quite a number of third party N64 games that didn't have battery back up and used the Memory Pack for level save data, such as Duke Nukem 64, Mystical Ninja, Doom and Quake.
I assume they did that to cut costs because I remember a lot of third party publishers complaining about the costs of manufacturing carts vs CDs, which was the beginnings of Nintendo's poor relationship with them.
Great read - thanks
@Kirk True, and it's something that Sega would evolve with the VMU. I'm actually kind of sad our modern controllers don't boast something more advanced, but I guess online connectivity negates the need for that.
@ToxieDogg I didn't bother with any of those titles, in fact I can't think of a single N64 game I played that needed the memory pack. I obviously steered clear of them at the time!
@Damo I just thought it was worth mentioning because both Mystical Ninja and Qiuake 2 are pictured in your article above, and South Park too which also used the Controller Pak for save data rather than battery back up. Castlevania 64's another one I can think of that required it.
The N64 was my main console at the time and I've still got loads of my old games, and I was forced to own 2 Controller Paks to deal with save data.....I was always grateful when Nintendo published games had battery back up.
I played this thing to death. The SNES and this are my two favorite consoles ever. Can't even begin to name all the awesome games for them both.
Harvest Moon 64, Pilotwings, and Wave Race were probably my favorites on the N64. Fun times!
"PS and Saturn (kinda) had more arcade, mainstream-oriented games while most of N64 games were weird experiments like Mario 64 and 3D stuff. Only fanboys or "hardcore" nerds enjoyed it."
Hang on, the N64 was for fanboys or nerds but the Saturn was mainstream? The latter having sold 10 million consoles and being most noted for Japanese games that never made it West and 2D fighters and shooters? The former having sold 33 million off the back of Mario, Zelda and James Bond? Hmmm....
Different strokes for different folks I think. I never rated the Saturn analogue pad. It felt like an afterthought after the refined loveliness of its original controller. Opinions and that.
I guess the Wiimote was the last first party controller from any company that really let you directly expand its functionality with various attachments and plug-ins.
To be fair to the other companies though; I actually got a bit sick and tired of all the extra plug-ins and crap you ended up collecting with the Wii and also now with how convoluted the whole controller solution on the Wii U is as a result of all the "options", shall we say, and I really appreciate that you can basically play pretty much every PS4 and Xbox One game with just the standard controller that comes in the box. I honestly wish the Wii U basically only used the GamePad, with the option to use multiple GamePads for any multi-player games that require more than one controller*; with obviously the Wiimote (and Nunchuck where necessary) as basically the only other first party controller option, for those motion games that couldn't realistically be played any other way (Much like the Xbox One has Kinect and PS4 has Move for the handful of games that require them).
In my opinion it's a fundamental design flaw of the Wii U system that you need additional Wiimotes/Nunchucks and/or Pro Controllers/Classic Controllers for any multiplayer games and yet none of those extra controllers actually offers you the full functionality and features of the proper GamePad, which was supposed to be the main unique selling point of the system in the first place
*Just imagine if the core Wii U experience was really only the base system and 1-4 GamePads and you could play basically any/all of the games with just that set-up... Sure; Nintendo would need to find a way to make it more affordable for people to own multiple GamePads but just imagine the possibilities if every player actually had access to a proper GamePad for any multi-player games, with each having their own private screen etc. 4-player Madden with each player drawing plays on their own private GamePad screen. A four player game of poker with each player having their hand of cards displayed on their own screen and the main set on the TV screen (same with a game of Scrabble for example). 4-player fps sessions with each player using their own private screen (Imagine a new version of GoldenEye like this). Along with all the ideas and possibilities that go far beyond those extremely obvious and simple ones I've suggested... I honestly think that could have the been the genuinely stand out feature and experience that would have won the Wii U this generation.
I don't think minotaurgamer fully understands that these games (Mario 64 and 3D stuff) were only "experimental" and for "hardcore nerds" until they clearly became the new mainstream, basically the moment they released, which of course these kinds of games still are to this day.
I remember thinking how odd of a choice going cartridge was, knowing the benefits of durability and no load times but the restraints in game size and production costs.
I think, beyond Mario 64, the N64's lasting legacy was the four player built in support, really ushering in the fun of in person group gaming.
And GameTek was part of my Dream Team! I owned both Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune 64!
@electrolite77 Different strokes… but I find it intriguing that an entire lineage of next gen controllers seem to have evolved from the Saturn 3D controller.
I found the 3D controller to be next to perfect for it's time and purpose. It just felt comfy.
@Tsusasi Lol, yes always the old Sega faithful with their fervent claims. The 3D controller was a rush job by Sega to try and beat Nintendo to the door - all controllers have been based on Nintendo's SNES format with the triggers and layout. The N64 brought analogue control to 3D console gaming.
In actuality, it wasn't a rush job. I love people pulling crap out of their butts. The controller itself (the analog stick) was actually composed of higher-quality components, which you'd know if you actually knew what you were talking about. Gee, I don't remember there being triggers on the SNES controller, but if you're referring to the shoulder buttons… well. They're not triggers. Of course, if your vision is failing you, I can see how you wouldn't recognize the extreme similarities of the controllers in the picture as they progress through the years. Hmmm… I don't seem to see any three-pronged nightmares amongst todays controllers. Even the Gamecube controller (which I love) follows the analogue/digital placement convention of the Saturn 3D controller. Is that really because of Sage's controller? Who knows… who cares? I just mentioned in passing the real similarities between the controllers in the picture, and I don't think that its accident.
Btw...If you take into account development/R&D cycles and the development time for Nights into Dreams, it's clear that SEGA had it's own 3D game/controller combo in the pipeline at around the same time. Don't be a fanboy, be fan.
I probably had the most memories with this console when younger, and through my teens into college. The games were just that good for my friends and I, first time booting up Mario and being amazed with Mario in 3D, blasting my way through Star Fox, spending hours upon hours in Ocrina of Time, single-player and MP with Goldeneye. And just a ton more I could go on and on about, I hope this console and myself make it to 64 so I can still be playing it!
Unfortunately, I'm a bit too young to have grown up with the 64. However, I've absolutely LOVED most of the remakes, like Mario 64 and Star Fox. Ocarina of Time was so-so, but I have high hopes for Majora's Mask.
My very first gaming console !!
Mario Kart 64, Pilotwings 64, Harvest Moon 64, Yoshi's Story, Wave Race 64, etc...so many memories for me!
Yup, still have my N64, still collecting cartridges for it. Too bad the PAL machines have such a strict region lock (I have quite a few NTSC-J and NTSC-U games, and need to use Passport III+ with different boot codes. Doesn't help that my PIII+ is very picky, when it comes to booting up).
I love the N64.
So many great memories. Years of playing games round a tiny TV with split screen.
Goldeneye, Mario Kart, Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie, Wave Race, 1080, Lylat Wars, Turok, WWF No Mercy.....
I'm so glad i have every game box after one point my mum wanted to throw them all out to save space but i packed them up for the loft.
Now i moved out afew months ago I have it set up on a 49inch 4K TV and had to buy another power supply on ebay, but not bad for 20 years.
Too bad. 20 years ago i had never realized N64 existence. XD
My favorite console ever, N64 had small number of games compared to PS1 but N64 game are some of the best game in world: Mario 64, Golden Eye 007, Mario Kart 64, Banjo Kazzoie, Pilot Wints...of course best game ever Zelda Ocarina Of Time. For me nothing cant top N64 and Zelda OoT.
Amazing system probably my 2nd best console of all time behind the SNES.
Oh N64, after all these years I still hate your controller ,however I like your library a lot
Best console ever, mine is still hooked to my TV. If you don't love the N64, you never had one.
Even after all these years N64 is still my #1 system. My most played, my most loved, I even love the controller. Conker's Bad Fur Day, Super Mario 64, Diddy Kong Racing, Banjo-Kazooie, Paper Mario, Ocarina of Time... all defining games for me and some of my absolute favorites of all time. Can'tbelieve it's been 20 years!
It's still a slick looking piece of hardware to this day, imo.
And yeah, the N64 really was the start of Nintendo's long fall from grace—the point where Nintendo started making certain decisions regarding the hardware that in some ways still still hurt it to this day (because it's still making similarly affecting decisions), and the key moment in time where many important third parties started leaving the Nintendo camp—but, in and of its own right, it was still a genuinely brilliant system with many of the very best games and gaming experiences available anywhere at the time.
I doubt there were very many people who actually owned an N64 at the time that were ultimately disappointed with it in any significant way.
Also, the N64 controller absolutely was revolutionary for its time, regardless of a previous console having a variation of an analog stick on it. No controller prior to the N64's had managed to do analog control quite so well, or as an actual thumbstick (as opposed to a joystick or whatever), which is a crucial differentiating aspect of the N64's particular analog implementation (and Nintendo surely owns the Patent that says so), and the likes of the trigger, multiple grip positions for playing different types of games, properly ergonomic grips, and a built in expansion slot for adding things like rumble feedback and memory cards was also very innovative. Even the multiple colour variations was pretty novel and awesome. Also, the console having four controller ports built right in there was brilliant too. It was all the elements working together, both old and new, that made the N64 controller revolutionary for its time.
The Magnavox Odyssey2, which is the version of the console that apparently came with little analog sticks, actually didn't have proper analog sticks at all (so says this article):
And the original Magnavox Odyssey's bundled controllers were just WFT?
No one in their right mind would consider that as the first example of "analog control" as pertaining to the specific analog thumbsticks as seen on the N64 controller. lol
Edit: Actually, this could be a contender for the first proper implementation of an analog thumbstick (and it was available for the Sega Mega Drive in 1989 no less):
The Vetrex' analog controller could count, but I expect people used that stick like a small joystick, gripping it between their thumb and index finger, rather than a proper thumbstick:
Regardless, I think it's very important that history doesn't undervalue just how revolutionary and brilliant the N64 controller was for it time (even if some other random third party company did in fact make a controller with an analog thumbstick first).
LucasArts never get a mention in these kind of articles. Every Star Wars game on the N64 was excellent!
You can get the PC version of Shadows of the Empire on GoG. And for cheap.
I couldn't love you, dear Nintendo 64,
back in the nineties, I didn't know you before,
but now I'll love you even when you're sixty-four,
and when you reach 100, I'll love you even more.
No matter how high I increased my score,
no matter how you did in the console war,
you were there, a cool system to the core,
because in a good game, you needed no gore:
that was a lesson, and it wasn't a bore,
nor did your games feel like a chore.
You taught us to love the Legend Of Zelda lore,
showed us the beauty of slaying a demon boar,
back then games weren't rushed out of the door,
lesser graphics could still make our minds soar,
in the bright blue sky of Super Mario 64.
As a Nintendo fan, that's what I once swore:
never be ashamed if you couldn't do more,
as long as you gave us platformers to explore,
as long as we could see a polygonal Bulbasaur,
as long as we had a reason to rush to the store,
no HD was needed, no game was an eyesore.
Now as the summer breeze caresses the shore,
our bodies are ready for it but our souls are not:
the only thing that drives us as the sand is hot,
is a TV set in front of which we could play once more.
So long, and thanks for all the fish, o dear Nintendo 64.
Great system, great memories. After the SNES, Rare continued to create magic on the N64, so I have all of their titles, along with classics like Wave Race, 1080 Snowboarding, Pilot Wings, all Mario games, both Zelda games, and a whole bunch of arcade racers like F-Zero, Star Wars Episode 1 Racer, Hydro Thunder, Ridge Racer 64, San Francisco Rush 2049, Extreme G and the N64 version of WipeOut was also quite good if not better than the PSX version.
And then there was also the first part of the Star Wars Rogue Squadron series that would continue on the GameCube, but I certainly played the heck out of that N64 version too.
And I also liked the games that were a bit more unique than the usual games in their genre, like Space Station Silicon Valley, Glover and Mischief Makers.
I was also into games like Body Harvest and the (imho) brilliant story that was Hybrid Heaven.
And I was also a fan of ISS at the time, played a lot of those games during championships and such.
Oh, I could probably go on and on about how much fun it was both alone and with friends, crowded around a small color TV playing Goldeneye, Mario Kart and F-Zero, but I'll just stop right here before I start crying...
Really, REALLY great times indeed...
I certainly had fun on the N64 - Mario64 and OoT blew our minds; Starfox64 and GoldenEye defined competitive multiplayer; and Perfect Dark and Shadow of the Empire proved strange, wonderful tokens - but, honestly I have no desire to play these games ever again. Unlike every other Nintendo console, N64 games have aged horribly, and I consequently can't stand to revisit them. Fun memories, historical artifact, but that's it.
@AlexSora89 Okay, now that was just... just.. >sniff!<
f-ing beautiful, man!
But seriously, hat is tipped and a bow to your mad rhyming skills...
Thank you, Mad Titan, the honour is mine,
but there's one reason I'm good with rhymes:
it's a lot like juggling, once you begin
you get used to it and give it another spin.
The difference, however, is one, and is enough -
if you mess it up, you don't destroy stuff.
@Project_Dolphin The graphics of the PlayStation's video games are also "hideous" by today's standards. But, in its day, the N64 was pushing some of the best looking and running video games we'd ever seen in the home.
I mean, this still looks pretty nice, even today (all things considered):
As does this:
And even Res Evil 2 on the N64 has visuals that are still perfectly good enough to enjoy playing the game even now:
100% my favourite Nintendo Console. Didn't have one at the time but all my close friends did so got plenty of game time.
Used to have N64 sleepovers, Mario Kart, Goldeneye, Smash Bros. so many games to play together.
Favourite game has to be Jet Force Gemini. Also love F Zero X.
Picked one up in my late teens and still play it every now and again when I get the time.
This will always be my favorite system.
F Zero X
Jet Force Gemini
...and so many more experiences that turned me from a casual gamer to a lifelong addict.
SNES, N64 and GameCube are the best three consoles Nintendo has ever made.
@VanillaLake That would be NES, SNES, and N64, imo.
I personally think the Game Cube was just one of those consoles that really didn't stand out above the competition in any significant ways at all. In other words, if you'd had an Xbox (which I also did) or PS2 your experience would have been nigh-on identical on whichever of those systems you owned, maybe even better in some ways on Xbox or PS2 (such as having the awesome hard drive functionality and features on Xbox for example, and CD/DVD playback on both Xbox and PS2), and other than a few games you might personally enjoy on GC (probably and handful of first part titles), there's no particularly great reason to pick it over the other systems to be honest, in my opinion at least. I don't even consider many of the first party titles on GC as particularly stand out versions of the games in those franchises either to be honest. It's like, there's almost zero Nintendo franchise where I'd personally say "Yeah, the best game in that series was the GC version". So, I just don't really rate it in the grand scheme of things, and I actually consider it one of Nintendo's most meh consoles.
And even Wii and Wii U genuinely stand out from the competition in some significant and positive ways, even though I personally found too many areas of those consoles frustrating and disappointing to find them overall satisfying in the end. They were, to me, largely disappointing and unsatisfying consoles that had some nice highs.
Most of Nintendo's consoles prior to the GC, however, really did have genuine reasons you might very reasonably consider them a superior choice than the competition, beyond just a couple of game random first party games. So I absolutely rate those systems.
But that's just my view on GC (and those other consoles), and I know quite a lot of people rate it. I don't particularly. It was "solid" in pretty much every way, and that's about the best I can personally give it.
NES too, but I never had it as I was too young. Super Mario Bros. 2 (Western version) and 3 are my favourite NES games.
@Kirk Yes, but GameCube was a really solid system from a technical point of view and it was a time when Nintendo's first-party games were polished and high-quality.
@VanillaLake It was definitely solid, and many of the games were indeed polished and high quality.
@Kirk And after that, Wii and Wii U only got worse with under-powered systems and so much shovelware and gimmicks, even though of course you can find good games for them. That worked on Wii, it didn't work on Wii U.
@VanillaLake I agree with that too.
@Project_Dolphin They're "hideous" by modern standards, but this console isn't being released today. To sit there and act like it's ugly next to the other consoles of today, as though it were just being released into the market or something, is bordering on mentally challenged. The games mentioned in the article a still totally classics, so of which defined the industry as we know it today, and they are absolutely worthy of the praise heaped upon them. Also, as retro games someone might play on the VC or whatever, many of them are still perfectly fine visually. I've seen indie games released today that look worse in some aspects graphically/visually. But, regardless, this really shouldn't be a debate about how good N64 games look next to current-gen consoles or by current-gen standards. Many of them are simply very cool games and still perfectly able to play played and appreciated even today.
This was the last true console in the traditional sense. I wouldn't mind it at all of Nintendo brought out an offline, cartridge based, beefed up console.
@OneBagTravel In some ways, I feel exactly the same. I long for a modern console that just goes back to being a simple and very small box you insert the game into (ideally game cards like those on the original PC-Engine or something like that) then press Start and off you go. Everything you buy you own for all time, and it's all just easy fun with no complications or hassles or anything to worry about (although ,we can still benefit from things like wireless controllers and convenient usb recharging). But alas, it's probably just a silly fantasy. lol
@Kirk #130 Completely agreed. World Driver Championship was a really tough game to beat, though.
But there were more nice looking games to mention:
Jet Force Gemini
And some of the other games I previously mentioned in comment #125.
Can't call any of these hideous, but of course it depends from which decade you are and also what one's personal taste is.
Personally, I enjoyed the N64 solid and "quiet" 3D a hell of a whole lot more than the PSX's 3D, that always had that "heat sink" effect, and I also didn't like the graphics being built out of what looked like pieces of ministeck/colored bricks.
From what I've understood of the difference, the PSX used fixed point calculations and the N64 used floating point, making the 3D considerably more steady, whereas the PSX kept re-calculating every point when something in the game (vehicle or character) moves, creating the aforementioned heat sink effect, or if you will: wobbly 3D graphics with everything writhing all the time.
and therefore, in my opinion, the N64's graphics have aged far better than the PSX's.
@Project_Dolphin Because that game set a bar, a standard to which all games had to be measured and as such it is still fondly remembered. Of course the graphics are dated now, but the same goes for most of the other older systems too, unless it concerns either 2D or highly stylized graphics.
And the SNES doesn't have ugly graphics, it offered the best graphics of its time. You need to see things in the right context and in their correct time frame, not compare them to the HD era of graphics, that's just dumb. I wouldn't go as far as @Kirk just did, but you do need to make a fair comparison.
Normally, I'd only expect really young people to act like this and call everything that came before the Xbox 360/PS3 ugly or trash.
All of these consoles had and still have some really great games, that even to this day are still very playable, if you aren't too stuck being hung up on purdy graphics...
@ThanosReXXX Agreed, except for Jet Force Gemini being an example of a good looking N64 game. Outside of some of the cutscenes (which are pretty nice at times), that game is actually fugly as hell. The levels are just really limited with backgrounds that are huge pixellated cutouts, and the animation on the main character is and always was utterly terrible—seriously, go and check it out again today with fresh eyes:
I can, however, still enjoy a session on a game like Perfect Dark even today. I don't recall Hybrid Heaven off the top of my head though, so I'll have to go check that out.
Yeah, it's interesting to go and look at both the N64 and PSX and see what aspects hold up. I think they both actually have strengths, like the cleaner/sharper look of the N64 games, largely due to the proper anti-aliasing (not even Breath of the Wild has that ), but the generally more detailed textures on PSX games (although there was some tearing and warping of the textures at the edge of the screen in most PSX games).
When you compare a game like World Driver Championship to Gran Turismo you get a great sense of where each system's strengths lie imo.
@Kirk "They're "hideous" by modern standards, but this console isn't being released today. To sit there and act like it's ugly next to the other consoles of today, as though it were just being released into the market or something, is bordering on mentally challenged".
I could not have expressed it better than you, so thanks.
@Project_Dolphin You don't understand the notion of a "classic", do you. lol
Your comments/thinking would be like someone saying "Citizen Kane, Casablanca, 12 Angry Men, The Apartment, The Third Man, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, etc. aren't classics because they're in black & white".
'Tis absurd to even imagine such a notion—unless you're like a teeny-bop who doesn't really understand quite what they're talking about yet.
@Kirk Yeah, you're actually right. It was more of a youthful sentiment thing, I suppose. Me and a friend used to play it all the time, which is probably why.
@Project_Dolphin You must have missed the part where I mentioned context and correct time frame. Comparing Zelda OoT with the Witcher 3 on PS4 is beyond dense. That would either mean that you're not even twenty yet, or that you have been poisoned by the current gamer culture that seems to think that anything that isn't current, is ugly.
If not for all these older systems and games, you wouldn't even have these games you're playing today.
They're called classics for a reason, like @Kirk and @VanillaLake are trying to explain to you, probably in vain.
@Project_Dolphin Oh, and this is an article about the N64, so if you're looking for a reason why we are talking about it...
A better question would be: if you're apparently so anti-Nintendo, why are you on this website anyways? I can't imagine, seeing the "trash" consoles you already named, that the Wii and Wii U will fare any better in your mind...
@Project_Dolphin Dude, a classic console like the SNES still plays host to some of most fun games to play of all time, even by today's standards, and that is an absolute indisputable fact. Christ, I played the GBA version of Mother 3 recently and I rate it as one of the greatest video games I have ever played, and that's next to every single game in existence, including every single game available so far in 2016. Also, by your logic, no game on the likes of 3DS or PS Vita could be fun in the slightest, because they don't have graphics as good as a PS4 or whatever. And, going even further with that example, you probably wouldn't even consider any console games fun because modern high-end PCs can technically put out better graphics. Again, the notion is absurd.
I can understand if you think the graphics of most of these older games are total junk, but that doesn't mean the games are automatically totally not fun to play. And, your view of what constitutes good graphics might also be kinda broken, because some of the best games on SNES still look totally gorgeous, even by today's standards. Yoshi's Island would be a great example of a lovely looking SNES game (and there's many, many more). I'm not talking about technically cutting-edge; I'm just talking about beautifully realised visuals that can still be fully appreciated on their artistic merit alone, even today.
I have a few on my Wii u: Mario 64, paper Mario, dk64, kriby64 and ocarina of time. The ones I can't get I emulate on my laptop. Some great games.
@ThanosReXXX "They're called classics for a reason, like @Kirk and @VanillaLake are trying to explain to you, probably in vain".
That's right. You and @Kirk have more patience than me, I think.
@VanillaLake Or, I just have more time to waste. lol
Not a good thing.
@Project_Dolphin Yeah, I'm sensing some "great" trolling.
But, if you think you're making some valid point about my Breath of Wild presentation and graphics/visuals criticisms, you're missing the point.
Of course, it might not be "all about me", and maybe you're actually being dead serious here.
God . . . I hope not. lol
@Kirk LOL You're the best.
@Kirk A few more transgressions of the same magnitude and denseness and I think I'm going to have to slap him with the Billy Madison videoclip...
@VanillaLake I try,
@Project_Dolphin If a game is simply a brilliant game then its graphics won't affect how much fun you can have playing it to any great extent. Hence the oft' used—sometimes slightly misused—comment "Gameplay > graphics", or something along those lines. But, a game can still have graphics that are worthy of criticism, especially if it's a modern game that can fairly/reasonably be compared directly against other modern games. The two points/things are not at conflict with each other. And, pretty much all the classic games mentioned above did in fact have great graphics relative to their times and the other games available at the time. In fact, I think you'll find it's a rare case where there's a game we talk about as a "classic" that actually had crap graphics even back in its day, quadruply so if it's visuals were simply consider ugly artistically in its day.
But if you don't want to play some clearly retro game on the VC, or wherever, because you simply can't see past the graphics, that's entirely your prerogative.
And yes, I absolutely did:
@Project_Dolphin It doesn't in terms of gameplay—and it's not even close.
It does have a pretty sweet art style though.
I think the one thing, in the UK at least, that indelibly stained Nintendo's image was the N64. The long, long wait till March 1997 for the console to launch, the paltry 20,000 units available, the infernal cheek to charge £250 for a console that was much cheaper worldwide, and £60 for the initial games (a BIG hike up from the hitherto customary £40) and then, 2 months later, a £100 price cut... I remember my mum boxing the console back up, marching down to Argos, returning the console as "faulty" (with the connivance of the store manager) and then going next door and buying a new one from Dixons. She was disgusted with Nintendo, she felt ripped off and I am sure there were many other parents who felt the same way. And a lot of what was promised (64DD) failed to materialise.
In the late 80's and early 90's Nintendo enjoyed an almost "Disney-like" reputation in the UK. Even deliveries of games were a tightly-controlled, semi-mystical event. The expectations of everyone for the N64 was huge and they blew it big-time.
Funnily enough, she is a huge fan of the Wii U. In her words, "Nintendo have finally delivered what they promised"... and they have, regardless of sales of the console and games... just too late for anyone to care in this country. The Wii was a phenomenon which as a fad was destined to be successful, but how many people bought it because it was Nintendo is questionable.
@Project_Dolphin Whoa whoa whoa! Yoshi's Island's graphics are a stroke of genius. It's adorable, crisp, colorful, and most importantly, pleasant to look at. I'll take Yoshi's Island graphics over Dark Soul's 50 shades of grey any day. (Dark Souls is a great game, just talking about graphics here.)
Yoshi's Island is one of those few games I can go back to and say "wow this game hasn't aged a day." It's a masterpiece.
Bash on Nintendo 64 games all you want, but if you say Yoshi's Island graphics are "bad", you're just ignoring the elephant in the room.
Without a doubt it is my personal favorite system ever made and that will likely never be topped but how can you argue when you have some of the absolute best games ever made like Jet Force Gemini, Orcarina of Time, Majora's Mask and so many more! There will never be another system as great as the N64 though the 3DS is pretty darn amazing too but for me nostalgia plays a huge role in how much I love the 64 and I just don't think anything will ever match that same feeling for me as I have a blast even today when I boot up the system.
Loved the system but hated the controller.
I just turned 12 when the N64 came out,I never owned one,but played it a lot at my friends. Mario kart and GoldenEye were my favorites on it ☺
@Project_Dolphin I dunno, can you see the gameplay? You tell me. . . . I don't want to read your mind without your permission.
So, which is the "weaker" of the two to you, Super Mario 64 or Mother 3?
@MasterWario Yeah, I'd rather look at Yoshi's Island than Dark Souls any day of the week.
I still love my Pikachu N64.. Best looking themed console ever!!
@BaffleBlend you do understand this was when Nintendo threw that thinking out the window, the Nintendo 64 was more powerful than the playstation, what actually got them was a lack of RPGs like the wii U, only Japan is swimming in wii U rpgs.
the Gamecube was more powerful than the PS2.
little fact, the Sega Master system was stronger than the Nintendo Entertainment System, yes, times are tough, but this is a company that went from making playing cards to Sex hotels, Taxi services, TV channel and instant ramen. then after thw Disney contract they made the very first console (not home console with carts) it was a pong machine like Atari's and it won the first Generation of consoles with the color TV game.
during the 2nd gen, Microvision was released then in 1981 the Game and Watch was released and battered the microvision into the same abyss the Vectrex lives in.
some history on Nintendo's foray into console gamming.
@Shy_Guy this system was what made me what I am today.... an avid gamer and Nintendo fangirl, and in 1998 Australian shores this arrived and Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon snap is what I got for my Christmas.
i'll never forget my N64 and I still have it to this day, and I know it wont die.... I just know...
Your projecting quite a bit there. I bought my N64 day one and loved it to death. The games were overpriced and the wait for Zelda dragged on forever. Apart from that it was all gravy.
@Fandabidozi Yeah, that was pretty much my experience too. And I expect it will be a similar account for most people who owned the system. N64 def had its issues but many of them weren't quite as obvious back then or as big a deal to people who actually owned the system as they are now in retrospective analysis. But I do remember losing Final Fantasy VII to Sony was a major thing at the time that rippled across the industry; that one certainly stung.
@Kirk Still at it? I gave up and after browsing through his older comments, I had to unfortunately find out that we got punk'd.
And I quote:
"Talking about which Nintendo console had the best Nintendo video games is quite a task (personally, I have my list as the Wii, N64, and GameCube in that order). What do I think about Nintendo consoles before the Wii? I thought they were good consoles."
That is part of a comment he made only 6 days ago...
So, today he is either in full-on trolling mode, got out of bed on the wrong side, is on drugs and had a bad trip, tried to be funny and failed or for some incomprehensible reason truly is done with Nintendo.
In case you're wondering why I went through the trouble of browsing through his comments: I remembered him as being WAY more positive about Nintendo before, so something just didn't add up.
Either way, I suppose he had his fun, must also be why he isn't responding to you anymore...
@ThanosReXXX Yeah, we def got punk'd. But I'm a glutton for punishment. lol
@LordOfGamez lmao yeaaa
To this day, the Nintendo64 remains the single biggest leap in a generation in history. Nothing has broken more ground over its predecessor and its competition than this console.
An absolutely amazing system. I played some of the best games with my friends back in high school. Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, WCW/NWO Revenge, WWF No Mercy, All Star Baseball, NFL Quarterback, Shadow Man, and so many others. And zero load times! Man, I miss that Nintendo.
@GH05T : is that real? I've never seen that. I only remember a translucent system which was wicked.
@DESS-M-8: Agreed. I was thinking today about some of its similarities with the Wii U (poor sales, small but excellent library, divisive controller, lack of third party support), but the comparison ends with the innovation the N64 represents. Gaming in 3D space. Huge leap forward.
@NintyFan fewer games but of higher quality. Its the reason I'm seriously thinking of going Nintendo only next round. I'll only need a PlayStation for persona anyways.
I absolutely loved the Nintendo 64. The first console I ever received was a used NES in around 1990 followed by a brand new SNES in 1994. The N64 was my first console that I paid for with my first real job (not counting paper delivery) as a sweeper at a nearby Jr High school. I paid the full retail price on day one as well as buying the only other two games out at the time, Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64. The degree of control and the visuals were unlike anything else at the time. I bought Cruisn' USA later that Fall and Shadows of the Empire. Mario Kart that next Spring and Goldeneye in the Fall were both amazing games that I still have great memories of today. Being able to have four players sit down and play couch co-op or versus was great and uncommon at the time (even by today's standards in many ways). I don't have my original console and games and longer, but I have since recollected many of the controllers and games I had and still play them from time to time with my kids.
@Project_Dolphin So, it is your assertion that Mother 3 is the "weaker" game?
Is the 2D Shovel Knight also a "weaker" game than Super Mario 64 then?
Note: "weaker" is in relation to the graphics based on your posts.
I played Paper Mario, Smash Bros and Total War in Conker's Bad Fur Day to death. Beetle Adventure Racing was fun too!
@Project_Dolphin I didn't mean SNES in general, just Yoshi's Island's graphics in particular.
And I do agree, Nintendo does go with cartoony art styles because their hardware is weaker; however, I prefer that art style over realism in a lot of cases, which is probably why I'm a Nintendo gamer in the first place. And it's also a great skill to have: Nintendo knows how to make astounding worlds without resorting to realism, and Nintendo doesn't have to pour millions of dollars into photo-realism just to have a hollow shell of gameplay leftover.
It's clear to me that you prefer graphical prowess when it comes to your video games, and that's all good. But, there are a lot of people out there who would rather have an innovative and exciting gameplay experience at 480p over a boring or broken game running at 4k resoultion, myself included. Like I don't care if it's 1600k, I'm not playing Knack.
@FritzFrapp cool step toe son picture
The N64 was one of my first memories in gaming as a kid in the 90's , I didn't have one myself (I had a PlayStation) but I do remember the great games . Smash bros ,Pokemon snap,diddy Kong racing , Mario kart etc for sure in my top 5 systems of all time .
AMAZING system! This is why I have one hooked up to my TV now! The Turok series, Killer Instinct Gold and Rogue Squadron are still some of my all time favorite games.
While I do love the Nintendo 64, I came here solely to compliment the Beatles reference. It made me smile. Nice work, @Damo.
My fav games are Turok series, ISS series, Shadowman, RARE games (all of them), Zelda series, Mario 64/Kart 64, San Franciso Rush series and i remember they have some of the best wrestling games ever made. You also can't forget 4 player multiplayer, Nintendo original seal of quality, the gorgeous fog and the first time they showed off Mario 64. I saved all my lunch money for months to buy one just in time to buy Goldeneye 64 when it was released.
I love the N64 even if I wasn't a fan of the controller at first.The next game I will play on it is Zelda's Majoras Mask.
@Project_Dolphin And what about this game:
Is this "weaker" than Super Mario 64?
How about this game:
Is this "weaker" than Super Mario 64?
What's your take on this game:
Is that "weaker" than Super Mario 64
Well, then. What about this game:
What about this game:
Is this "weaker" than Super Mario 64?
"Weaker" than Super Mario 64?
How bout this game:
"Weaker" or not?
OK, this game:
Is this weaker than Super Mario 64?
What about this game then:
Is it "weaker" than Super Mario 64?
OK, OK. This game:
Is that "weaker" than Super Mario 64?
And this game:
Would you say this is "weaker" than Super Mario 64?
Right, this game:
Is it "weaker" than Super Mario 64?
Well, what about this game:
Is that "weaker" that Super Mario 64?
Stop feeding the troll, guys
@Project_Dolphin I never claimed they were or weren't 2D or 3D.
And that's not what I was asking. I specifically asked you to tell me if each example was "weaker" than Super Mario 64 or not, in your judgement.
Right now I don't care about anything else you have to say.
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