The Nintendo 64 (often called the N64 or just 64) was Nintendo's third major home console, succeeding the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was succeeded by the Nintendo GameCube on September 14, 2001 and was discontinued on November 30, 2003.
This was Nintendo's first home console to have the same name across the world, dropping the "Famicom" name altogether in Japan.
Why It Rocks
- The N64, together with the Sony PlayStation, was a major contributor to the shift from 2D to 3D gaming.
- Though its library of games is smaller than its main competitors, it had many great and memorable games such as:
- Super Mario 64
- Mario Party 1, 2, and 3
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
- Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
- Banjo-Kazooie and its sequel, Banjo-Tooie
- GoldenEye 007
- Perfect Dark
- Diddy Kong Racing
- Conker's Bad Fur Day
- Mario Kart 64
- Donkey Kong 64
- Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
- Super Smash Bros.
- It introduced the analog stick into popularity, allowing for better movement in 3D gaming than a D-Pad.
- It was the most powerful console of its generation.
- The system also allotted four buttons intended for the changing of camera angles, the yellow directional C buttons, making player controlled camera angles a major feature for gaming.
- The 4 C buttons, while usually meant for camera control, also act as independent trigger buttons in several games.
- It has 4 controller ports right away, unlike its main competitors which only had two.
- The Expansion Pak accessory improves the console's performance.
- The slot for the Memory Pak in the controller can also be used to attach accessories like the Rumble Pak.
- The console and the controllers come in a several different colors, which would eventually make it to later consoles. There are also several special edition versions, like the Pikachu version sold by Toys R Us. This is great for collectors due to variety.
- Though the use of cartridges had its downsides in terms of storage capacity, it also meant that games on the system had little-to-no loading times, and also prevented the reliability issues that early CD-based consoles tended to have.
- There were some exceptions though, such as Quake 64.
- A fatal flaw was that it continued to use cartridges instead of discs, which its main competitors were using. There was not much that the system could do with all its power since the cartridges that it used could only hold 4-64 megabytes when a CD could hold up to 700 megabytes. Another thing worth noting is that unlike the cartridges for the NES and SNES, the cartridges for the Nintendo 64 have no end labels on their tops, which is especially difficult for anyone with a vast collection of N64 games to identify them. N64 games are also usually sold with only the cartridge displayed, so you will have to buy the manual and/or box art seperately.
- To add insult to injury, they still released an add-on that would play disks called the Nintendo 64DD (Disk Drive), and it was a total failure.
- Many RPG and fighting franchises like Final Fantasy and Street Fighter migrated from Nintendo to PlayStation or Sega Saturn and Dreamcast for fighting games case, leaving the N64 with very few games of those genres.
- Many games struggled with camera control. Games generally used the C buttons for camera control which was less reliable than a second analog stick.
- The controller, while lauded at the time for its analog stick, is seen in retrospect as a very poorly designed controller, for various reasons:
- It only has one analog stick which had major flaws. The C buttons somewhat act like a second analog stick though. You can also replace the analog stick with a GameCube spare analog, which is far better.
- The three-pronged design made it impossible to easily use the analog stick and the d-pad at the same time. Supposedly this was to allow the usage of three different control configurations, even though just using an analog stick and the d-pad was absolutely useless for any real game (with the exception of Sin and Punishment).
- You could only have a memory pak or a Rumble Pak inserted into the controller, not both at the same time. The Rumble Pak also needed batteries, though third-party versions would fix both of these issues, coming with inbuilt memory and taking their power from the console.
- Its game library has much less 2D games than its competitors and the consoles that came out after it.
- The system was notoriously difficult to program for, meaning that multi-platform games could often end up looking worse on this system than on the PlayStation (albeit usually better than they did on the Saturn) and many games had framerate issues. As a result, a small number of about 400 games got released for the system, compared to the PS1 which got more than 7,000 games.
- Some of the games haven't really aged well, but that's understanding due to it being a fifth generation console.
Though not Nintendo's most popular console, and despite losing to the PlayStation by a large margin, it remains one of the most recognized systems in the world with 32.93 million units sold during it's life span and is still popular among gamers and game collectors. It along with the PlayStation are regarded as two of the most influential consoles of all time for their contribution to 3D gaming.
It is also well known for being the last major home console that used cartridges. Handhelds continued to use cartridges and later cards though.
- The console was initally named the Ultra 64, but due to Konami owning the trademark for Ultra at the time, they had to change the name.