Tales From a Console Graveyard: Nintendo 64

Tales From a Console Graveyard is a series of videos made by the guys over at g4tv.com (full series here), and today we’ll be having a look at the episode where they have a chat about the Nintendo 64, seen below:

Tales From a Console Graveyard: Nintendo 64


By 1996, sales of consoles were at an all time high. The 32-bit Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation were pushing the CD format. Atari was making one last effort with the Jaguar, and Nintendo would release their new console, the Nintendo 64. Codenamed the Ultra 64, this was the world’s forst true 64-bit gaming console, and one of the first systems to offer 3D gaming.

Adam Sessler: The Sega Saturn has come out, and has kind of been bundled in terms of its marketing. And the Playstation is already out and here comes the Nintendo 64 and it’s really offering all these 3D graphics, these polygons, this sense of explorable worlds.

The N64 sold for 200 bucks, was packed with a 32-bit graphics chip, 4 Megs of RAM and ran on a 64-bit processor, making it the most powerful console of its day. It was also boxed with a single controller, which drew a lot of attention due to its odd shape, buttons and expansion slot for memory card and rumble pak.

Kevin Pereira: That was an awkward, awkward joystick. But with that said, it gave us the analogue stick and that is now a mainstay of any console controller.

The n64 would sell half a million units in its first four months, and launch with two games: Pilotwings 64 and the 3D version of everyone’s favourite mustachioed plumber, Super Mario 64.

Blair Herter: Mario 64 for me is probably one of if not my favourite console game of all time.

Morgan Webb: It was revolutionary, you had a camera never worked quite right and was incredibly frustrating but at the time it was a miracle of modern invention.

Game cartridges were ROM-based and could hold up to 512 Megabits of memory. However Nintendo would be the last major console to produce games in the cartridge format.

Adam Sessler: The cartridge format was very very expensive. The disc format was very very cheap. This was one of those moments when Nintendo started to lose that affinity of third parties.

This choice eventually led to many companies like Squaresoft leaving Nintendo to produce games like Final Fantasy 7 on the Playstation. In spite of this, several games would become huge hits for the system, including the first person shooter, Goldeneye.

Blair Herter: If you were in college or even high school during that time and you didn’t play Goldeneye, you unfortunately didn’t have hands and life must be really tough for you now.

Kevin Pereira: For the longest time you thought “First person shooter: Mouse and keyboard”, but really Goldeneye made ot palatable and made it entertaining.

The classic braler Super Smash Brothers. And the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which is considered by most critics to be the best game of all time.

Adam Sessler: Something as simple as the Z trigger lock-on. Just once again chained how you’re going to be building and designing games inside of a 3D space. That was copied almost instantaneously in every other game that followed.

Of course, it did have its fair share of missteps, namely Superman 64 in which the Man of Steel would fly through rings in a virtual world.

Adam Sessler: Superman 64 deserves every bad thing ever said about it. It was unplayable.

Blair Herter: I think it was one of the most important games of this console generation cycle because it showed people how to make a game in the worst way possible.

Over the next few years, Nintendo released several colour schemes of the console and sold about 33 million units worldwide. But by 2002 the console would finally be discontinued as Nintendo would finally give in to the CD format with the Gamecube.

While the Nintendo 64 would push several innovations, ranging from the analogue stick to 3D gaming, Nintendo ultimately lost its foothold on the market to the Playstation.

Adam Sessler: The N64 shold be remembered as being a very very solid system that was rather maligned at the time. But it was just a wonderful moment where there was just a little bit of experimentation and that Nintendo perfection coming out on that system.

Overall, I really love this video. None of the facts are off, and it paints the N64 very accurately. Have a look at the video and decide for yourself.

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The guys over at Tales From a Console Graveyard take a look at the Nintendo 64, as part of a series on consoles throughout history.
Article published on N64 Squid


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