Difference between revisions of "Nintendo 64"

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[[Category: Video Game Platforms]]
[[Category: Video Game Platforms]]

Revision as of 10:17, 9 August 2019

The North American Nintendo 64.

The Nintendo 64 is a fifth-generation video game console created by Nintendo. It was first released in 1996 in Japan and North America.

I first played a Nintendo 64 after a high school friend bought one. I first watched him play Super Mario 64 and played a little myself. While I was a bit impressed with the look of the game, and found the controller to be ergonomically comfortable, I didn't care much for how you controlled Mario, the poor camera following, or the strange looking goombas and koopas. I later saw Mario Kart 64 being played which I was more impressed with. A different high school friend bought one to play the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but after it failed to meet its release date, he returned it and got a PlayStation instead. Not seeing a game that I really needed to have, I never bought an N64, and, looking back, I'm glad I didn't. Years later, I bought one with a couple games at a garage sale for about $10, but I still didn't play it very much.


I own an original dark gray Nintendo 64 and a transparent green one.


Lacking a top label, people resort to custom displays.
See all Nintendo 64 Games.

Because I didn't have a Nintendo 64 growing up, I didn't play that many of the games for the system. Most of my interaction with the system has come much later through the use of emulators, but, when you have the entire catalogue of a system, it makes it difficult to focus on a single game, so I've only gotten far into couple games.

One of the annoying things Nintendo did with the design of the N64 cartridge was to forego a label on the top of the cartridge, no doubt due to cartridge's curved shape. This makes it impossible to identify a game when they're packed on a shelf or in a box. Gamers often resorted to writing the name on the top of the cart, creating custom labels for them, or building special displays.

These are the Nintendo 64 games that are important to me:



  • There were a couple of great games released solely for the platform that took advantage of the new hardware.
  • The N64 controller is very well-designed for those 3D games made specifically for the system.
  • Technically speaking, the 3D hardware of the N64 was superior to its contemporary competitors.
  • Having 4 controllers built into the system was a wonderful way to increase the involvement of other players during parties, sleep overs, and similar gaming sessions.


  • For several reasons, Nintendo failed to attract the usual amount of third party developers to their system so the N64 only saw a huge drop in the number of titles compared to their previous platforms. Around 1,500 games were released for the NES, almost 2,000 for the SNES, but only 389 for the N64.
  • Because N64 games still relied on cartridge memory with a maximum storage space of only 64 MB (though more typically 16 MB), it was impossible to make games that were as long and complex as those seen on competitor platforms which utilized CDs. This is partially why the platform saw so few epic RPGs or adventure games.
  • 3D graphics at a resolution of only 320×240 (max of 720×576), especially with a low poly count and low-res texture mapping, look awful. When compared to the 2D pixel graphics, which were at their peak at this point in history, they look especially pathetic.
  • While the N64 controller was certainly innovative, it was awful for most traditional 2D video game genres. This eliminated a lot of tried-and-true game styles from the platform.
  • With limited ROM space, speech and video had to be kept short. So, while games for the PlayStation and Saturn, consoles released nearly 2 years prior, often featured as much video as a short movie, the N64 was incapable of this impressive feat.
  • Demonstrating either how weak the hardware was, or how difficult it was to program for, most games ported from MS-DOS and Windows looked and played inferior on the N64 even when released years earlier (e.g., Command and Conquer, StarCraft 64, SimCity 2000, Quake 64, etc.).
  • Although it wasn't Nintendo's fault, a lot of the 2D franchises that switched to 3D looked and played terribly (e.g., Bomberman, Castlevania, Mega Man).


  • The N64 is notoriously difficult to program for. Trying to take advantage of its more impressive graphical features requires custom coding preventing the developer from being able to easily port the game to other platforms. Game developers had to choose between making a game that could only be sold on the Nintendo 64, or one that could be sold on the PlayStation, Saturn, and Windows.





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