Nacho 64

Nacho 64 is a homebrew demo for the Nintendo 64, originally published on 15 Jan 2001 by SPLiT. It’s a demo that displays a 3D scene in what appears to be Mexico with various characters walking around and dancing to the music. It is widely considered to be the most advanced demo of the classic era of N64 homebrew development.

Contrary to popular belief, this was not made to compete in the Presence of Mind ’99 competition, it was released almost a year after the deadline and did not appear in the final lineup of competitors.

You can download the ROM from its download page by using the password cheesespinachpimentobacon.

About Nacho 64

There isn’t much that I could find about Nacho 64 besides the release date and author. The team that made it was SPLiT, which consists of Lem, Gin and Pat. However, the readme does mention Tiny, Loonies and Dreamer.

This is also just meant to be a beta version, however they did mention that no final release was planned. It is also unknown what would be different in the final release.

That said, we can still have a look at the ROM itself to get some more insight.

The demo

Nacho 64 starts by showing some aerial views of the scene, which takes place in what looks like the central square in a Mexican desert town.

The camera then focuses on the scene’s main character. I don’t think he has a name, so I’ll just call him Nacho. He’s eating flavoured tortilla chips on a park bench.

The classic Utah Teapot makes an appearance, dancing to the music.

There is (briefly) a blue parrot flapping its wings in a cage.

Nacho then starts walking around the square with a great big grin on his face and his hat clipping through his back. It’s also the first appearance of the Summer 64 bunny.

There there is a shot of the Summer 64 bunny in front of a mirror, showing off the reflection rendering capabilities of the demo.

The parrot from earlier then drops into the central fountain, behind the bunny.

The demo ends by showing a close-up of the bag of chips, labelled “Cheese-Spinach-Pimento-Bacon Nacho 64 variety” with a cartoon picture of the parrot eating some of the nacho chips.

It then loops back from the beginning.

Debug mode

Nacho 64 has a debug mode which allows you to tweak some of the variables to change how it appears. Here’s a list of what can be modified:

  1. Uword – Select support
  2. 3float – Selected coordinates
  3. Float – Select rotation
  4. Fvect – Select axis
  5. 3float – Select scale
  6. RGB24 – Select hide from scene: ma_low_palm_01
  7. 3float – Select scene coordinates
  8. Float – Select scene rotation angle
  9. Fvect – Select scene rotation axis
  10. 3float – Light position
  11. Fvect – Light fall off start
  12. Float – Light fall off end
  13. Uword – Current camera
  14. 3float – Camera position
  15. 3float – Camera target
  16. RGB24 – Light color
  17. RGB24 – Ambient color
  18. RGB24 – Fog color
  19. Float – Fog near
  20. Float – Fog far
  21. Ubyte – Fog switch
  22. Ubyte – Antialias (none-ra-aa)
  23. Uword – Window vertical size
  24. Uword – Teapot Bpatch subdivision (1-2-4-8)
  25. Ubyte – Stats display switch
  26. Ubyte – Scripts run switch
  27. UDword – Resolution (lo-hi)
  28. UDword – Bit depth (16-32)

It took me a while to figure out how to use this mode (almost). I still don’t know how to activate the presets, but it could be that ‘preset’ just refers to the different settings panels that you can modify.

Press START to open the debug menu and select a setting with left/right on the D-pad. Then select the slider you want by holding down C-up for top, C-left for middle and C-down for the bottom slider. While holding, use the joystick to move the slider left/right until it is where you need. You can also use the B button to move the slider to the mid-way point.

Review and conclusion

Nacho 64 is often regarded to be the greatest N64 demo from the classic era and for good reason. It wasn’t often that you’d get 3D models and even then it was likely to be just one object floating in space or a 3D font for a scroller. This demo has everything – animated models, lighting/shading, fog, moving camera, music… And you can even alter the demo by using the debug menu if you like.

I remember running this in an emulator some time in the late 2000’s and was wondering which game it was from because I didn’t know what homebrew was nor that something non-commercial would look this good.

I do like the inside jokes like the bunny from Summer 64, the Utah teapot and Nacho himself does look a bit like the guy from Nintro 64 (though much more lively).

While you can just watch the video, I do highly recommend that you run it on an emulator or on a Flash cart to get the true feel of Nacho 64.

Articles across the web

Nacho 64 is a homebrew demo for the N64 by SPLiT that recreates a scene complete with 3D models in a Mexican desert town.
Article published on N64 Squid


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