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 Zelda game, 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 handful of 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.
- 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 never gotten that far into very many games. However, of the games I've played on the system, I have particularly enjoyed:
- 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 competitors.
- For several reasons, Nintendo failed to attract the usual amount of third party developers to their system so the N64 only saw about half the titles of their previous platforms. 715 games were released for the NES, 783 for the SNES, but only 388 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 the long and complex games seen on competitor platforms which utilized compact discs. This is partially why the platform saw so few epic RPGs or adventure games.
- 3D graphics at a resolution of only 320x240 (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 memory, full-motion video or lengthy speech had to be kept short. So, while games for the PlayStation and Saturn, both released nearly 2 years prior, often featured as much video as a short movie, the N64 was incapable of this impressive feat.
- Most games ported from other platforms looked inferior on the N64 (e.g., Command and Conquer, StarCraft 64, SimCity 2000, Quake 64, etc.).
- The N64 is notoriously difficult to program for. Trying to take advantage of its more impressive features requires custom coding that could not be ported to other platforms. Game designers were often forced to choose between the Nintendo 64, or all other available platforms.