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The Official Nintendo 64 Thread!

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Plus, F-Zero X is still one of the best racing games of all time for me personally.

When I think of the Nintendo 64, this is the first game that comes to mind. Always.

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When I think of the Nintendo 64, this is the first game that comes to mind. Always.

 

Years ago I bought my brother a 64 with a small stack of games for his birthday, and that's one of them. No matter how many times we sit down to play it, it's still as enjoyable as the first time. I know the SNES version is the original, and the Gamecube version wasn't bad, but to me the 64 version is the 'definitive' F-Zero game.

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For me, for all the advancements and things through its sort of 5 years of life, Super Mario 64 is still what I think of even if it was the first. I remember all the puffed up love it got in Nintendo Power and in the usually fairly (then) pro-Sega/anti-Nintendo print media like Exaggeration Gaming Monthly, even they gave it good love. There were demo kiosks around and anytime I was near one I'd stick to it until I had to go or some little kids wanted a crack. It's sad to think but we're like 20 years after the fact and disgustingly so it still has the best AI driven/gamer controlled camera setup for a 3D gaming adventure space. Where most got stuck in walls, turned and moved you too (usually throwing your ass in a pit), or just had oddly locked rotten angles that made the game like 2/3 game and 1/3 camera fighting -- Mario 64 never exhibited this and it always blew me away no one would take a lesson from them at Nintendo how to do it the not stupid way. Sometimes a few would try and come close, but never did anyone get it so well which is a shame.

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So Chris of Mobius technologies cracked open my Gold N64 to do the HDMI and further LED mods. Pictures are of my previous RGB and LED mod, by Yurkie....I'll just leave these right here. Shame because his Colecovision work is so well regarded by the AA community.

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My current main N64 setup. Jungle green with a 1st party expansion pak and a current gen Everdrive. Post a pic of yours if you are up for it.

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The N64 was sort of the iMac of the gaming world back then. The "Funtastic" series was a cool addition to N's hardware offerings at the time. I always lusted after the gold one but didn't get one until years later. I have a green and an orange currently, but haven't really seen the others in the wild in good condition or for a good price. The smoke black one seems particularly rare, probably because at the time it was too close to the original grey.

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No pic from me. I still have the same one from the day it came out any stock image online would do fine by.

 

I'm curious how many people went after the system upgrades (4MB exp pack) or accessories (GB transfer pak, the microphone, etc.)

 

I used to have the GB one but that's gone long ago and I see no reason to revisit it for Mario Golf but it was a fun feature at the time carrying my golfer between home and college on GBC while I had some down time around classes.

 

The 4MB though that was a thing of beauty with its various uses and in some cases I guess abuses too. When handled right it did so much amazing stuff on various games, then quite a few others middled with it, but annoyingly some games straight up just abused it to try and look nicer but ended up taking a beating in the frame rate going with eye candy over quality. One of the most useful non-required but definitely best improved I think was Indiana Jones. If you had it the graphics got sharper, cleaner, everything was minimal AA but 640x480 -- so it was this oddity that actually outperformed quality wise the PC version of the game at the same to same resolution. It had bad control and a worse camera on computer, but the N64 ripped off Ocarina of Time for both, and couple that with same quality musical score, all the vocals at the same quality copied (and there's a ton of talking), and it retained the same visual quality and depth of view too -- plus it added another level to the game as well.

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I never went in for the N64 in different colors/pokemon/whatever. At the time (97) I thought they made the system look like a toy. Now I think they're kind of neat....

 

I did get the 4mb pack but really only did so for two games as I recall, Rogue Squadron and Perfect Dark.

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I'm curious how many people went after the system upgrades (4MB exp pack) or accessories (GB transfer pak, the microphone, etc.)

 

The one thing i'll say about the RAM packs, always go first party. I have found ANY of the third party RAM packs make the games that utilize them freeze much more often than if you are using a Nintendo expansion pack.

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I like the different colours. After the SNES, I appreciated that Nintendo wasn't afraid to make a gaming console actually look fun. Everyone else is obsessed with boring, angular black (or sometimes white) boxes.

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My DK64 set came with the 4MB expansion already installed; that was one of the reasons I got it. It came out towards the end of the system's life and IIRC it was something like $129, and that came with both the 4MB and DK64 as a pack-in (plus all the standard stuff of course). So it seemed like a good deal. The other packages that were available at the time either came with less or cost more, and I don't think the Funtastic colors were out quite yet. When they did come out, though, I remember them also being around $129 but they came with nothing but a controller. I think they dropped to $99 pretty quickly, though.

 

I like the idea of colorful consoles too. I especially like clear stuff - my N64 is not the only console I own that's transparent. (I even replaced my PS1 shell with transparent yellow, which is probably not something I'd do today, but since it's done, I actually do still like it.) If there's a fun color of a console available, I'll almost always go for it over basic black, white or grey.

 

I guess there are many people now who collect those Funtastic N64's, and some of them go for insane prices. I wish I'd picked up a couple at the time; I worked in an electronics store back then and we had all of them for a long time. None of them seemed rare at that point.

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The mempaks 3rd party were nearly as bad as the 4MB exp pak too. So random if they'd just totally fail or decide to spin the wheel of doom and jack just a specific save (if it were living) for it's own amusement. I heard enough of those stories about the RAM exp causing overheats and odd graphics problems along with the lock ups.

 

 

Back on the exp pack you know another that had a decent benefit to it, Castlevania Legacy of Darkness (the intended complete version of CV64.) When you used it it would not make the game higher resolution, but what it did do was both bring the frame rate up a bit and also added some more detailed textures and overall more graphics quality to the existing game which was a good thing as it's a fantastic must own for the system.

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I've never been a huge fan of the N64. I had a Playstation during this era. I do love Mario 64, however. I was working at Target in electronics during the PS/Saturn/N64 heyday and sold a lot of them. We had a demo kiosk facing the main aisle with Mario 64 on it. I couldn't really play it much while working, and didn't want to do it when I clocked out, either, as I would still be in my red and khaki and people would complain that an employee was hogging the kiosk that was supposed to be for customers. So I would go down the street to the local Toys R Us and play their kiosk for hours at a time. Then my brother-in-law got an N64 and I was over at my sister's a lot playing it. I bought a strategy guide (one of the few I have ever bought) and beat the game with 120 stars.

 

Funny/not funny story... I was at my sister's house while they were gone (she had given me a key, I would often hang out there between college classes as it was close to the school) sitting in the floor playing Mario 64. I was going for the star racing Koopa the Quick the second time. There's a section of the race where you have to do a several long jumps over pits or whatever with wind blowing or something... anyway, I kept dying over and over and over, getting more and more frustrated. After one too many deaths, I punched a pillow that was on the floor next to me. I hit it a little too hard and broke my hand. Fifth metacarpal on my right hand. I told everyone that I was running for the phone and hit a door facing. Anyway, I had surgery and they put pins in my hand to hold the bone straight while it healed. They were still in there when I finished the game... so I beat Mario 64 with a broken hand. I still have the pins.

 

At any rate, the N64 is the only system I don't have hooked up. I started running out of room. And, as I only have one game for the system (you guessed it, Mario 64), I figured it was the one to sacrifice and not hook up. Eventually I'll get more games and maybe find some room for the console.

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If you like Mario 64, try Banjo Kazooie, it improves upon the platforming gameplay in every way. Then try: Banjo Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and Space Station Silicon Valley for starters.

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I'll drop some links; A couple of members on the krikzz forum made a patch for a 64 version of the GC Ocarina of Time Master Quest. Compatible with the Everdrive. I haven't got the latest patch since I can't find an untouched big endian rom again.

https://krikzz.com/forum/index.php?topic=5281.0

 

Then a rumble pak mod that uses power from the system to power the pak. This was a kiosk mod done by Nintendo. I'll post the zeta boards and Nintendo Age threads.

http://s9.zetaboards.com/Nintendo_64_Forever/topic/7348160/1/

 

http://nintendoage.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=22&threadid=43419

 

 

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I love the N64. It's easily one of my favourite consoles. My parents bought a PlayStation first, but I didn't enjoy the PS1 nearly as much as when we got our N64 second hand.

 

I thought Mario 64 was really the revolution in technology that the PlayStation didn't have for a long time. I played hours and hours of the N64, and it's the reason I always advocate for cartridges over CD ROMs.

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Had Nintendo gone with a 2x speed CD drive and the same mempaks for it, I think the PS1 would potentially have been screwed at best but likely had a meaty argument of a shared market with them and Nintendo going at it with Sega still floundering(unfortunately for them) which would have really shot an odd trajectory for the future generation just after. PS2 never would have been like 85% dominate in that period. It was hardware wise an all around somewhat better system, but it was grossly crippled by storage. Then when Sony launched it's evil 'n64 is a kiddie box' campaign that in some moron circles still is to them a legitimate insulting jibe today the nails were in the coffin. 2 1/2 of its 5 years spend in the toilet because of that garbage only to see a bit of a come back in later 99 with Ridge Racer, Res Evil 2, Mega Man64(Legends) and some other titles but it was too little too late. I own both systems, Ps1 has some true gems and some really slick PC conversions done well (DOS/Win 640x480 and under level era) too -- but N64 really nailed it with quality 3D and camera along with some just really solid titles. Nintendo fans made up the stupid come back that it was quality over quantity, yet looking back it's hard to argue against that too other than just feeling deprived in the later 90s.

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Then when Sony launched it's evil 'n64 is a kiddie box' campaign that in some moron circles still is to them a legitimate insulting jibe today the nails were in the coffin... Nintendo fans made up the stupid come back that it was quality over quantity, yet looking back it's hard to argue against that too other than just feeling deprived in the later 90s.

 

Well these are pretty much the same things people say on both sides of the debate today, about the modern systems.

 

I'm pretty platform agnostic and always have been. I buy whatever has games I want to play on it. Since the PS line has existed, that has meant that I always buy PlayStation first (well, Dreamcast for that one generation), because there's always something in its launch lineup or at least announced games that gets me really excited, whereas with Nintendo I usually have to wait until there's something I like.

 

So I end up buying all the Nintendo systems eventually, but it's often near the end of their lifespans once there are more games out there. At this point, the only Nintendo system I don't have any real access to playing games on the original hardware is the SNES. And I did own one once; I sold it. (Which I regret, but I was just trying to prune.)

 

Anyway, so I have a lot of experience with Nintendo systems, but some people just like different things. Nintendo clearly has a more family-friendly image than Sony, MS or Sega did, and that's definitely 100% intentional on their part. I'm just not really into that. The N64 era was probably the *least* like that of any of their systems, but that's kind of like saying Oscar Mayer hot dogs taste the least like pig noses of any hot dog...

 

The N64 does have a pretty broad and varied library. But most of the games people actually recommend for it are still first-party games that definitely fit that family-friendly image. Those sorts of games, I'm just not usually interested in. I can see why others would be, and I see the things other people say they like about them, I just don't like those same things. To me they're like Disney movies; I can appreciate the craft that went into them, and I see the formula that makes them successful commercially, but I just find them saccharine and cloying.

 

So after I got my N64 and especially even after it went off the market, I was surprised when I looked back and saw how many other types of games there were for it, because people are just always recommending Mario 64, the Zeldas, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart, etc. I typically buy Nintendo systems for games *other* than the ones people normally recommend, usually third party ones. But people just don't seem to talk about those as much on Nintendo systems, no matter how good they are. I mean, Bayonetta 1&2 are probably two of the best games I've ever played, but how many Wii U owners bought them?? I would have bought a Wii U just for the Bayonetta games had I known!

 

So that's kind of the same two sides of the argument you're talking about. I think with the N64, Nintendo actually did a decent job getting some good and varied third party games. But nobody talks about most of those, so you can't blame people for believing Sony's marketing at the time. Maybe if the real hardcore Nintendo fans would actually pay attention to what developers other than Nintendo are doing on Nintendo's systems, it would seem more obvious to the outside world that there's more to play than just Nintendo's own games. It becomes kind of a vicious cycle when people buy a system only to play first party games, and that first party basically only makes kid-friendly games.

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I know they still say it, but Sony is the one who basically started it.

 

I was one who was platform agnostic too for over a decade, but the N64 being pounded in the middle of its life ran me to a Turbo Duo of all things and no regrets, but the larger of them, it also made me MORE into handheld games as the GBC and a lifeline of past GB games i missed from a wicked local shop drove me to enjoy so much of that stuff around college courses to keep the ol sanity as I was at a very small school (not so much now, but then.) PS I didn't get into until I was working at Midway throughout all of 2001 and 2002. I enjoyed peeking a generation back, was some interesting stuff, and for me more so than the PS2 got in the end given what also hit the PC anyway in better form. From the Duo, then I hit the Dreamcast weeks after it came out, and so on...I had a lot of stuff once and leave it at that.

 

Thanks to the double punch of the (not so much) Wii but WiiU I was done on them for consoles, but as Switch ended up being a handheld that docks I'm glad I have it, but waiting on more to tinker with now so it's mothballed kind of as I've been doing other things (handheld again and PC.)

 

Back to that Midway thing, it was a few years before me but employees there I actually asked, and one in particular was a pretty friendly supervisor I was under and I found out various dirty things you don't see on the public end. Sony Media basically tweaked things with SCEA handing them the knife. They weren't making headway well against the N64 too much up until the FF7 blowout, and so the media end decided to peg Nintendo as of the past and a stupid kids box. Doubling down they decided to grossly reduce rules, regs, and licensing fees to get people on board in spades. That first year the 64 was out vs PS1 they had more T and M stuff than Sony, yet they're the kiddie box...right. Between making sweetheart deals and sullying the public and gaming media perceptions with pure bullshit, it ran long enough it ran people on the development side (deals), media and the game buyers (the lies) away from them. Not everyone ran, the N64 was like the kids box stupidly in the end, but also the frat boy party box of choice with all those 4P racers, wrestlers, mario kart, the FPS games, etc...but it was a niche market around the family angle Nintendo got tagged and bagged with. Not that Gamecube helped much looking like a purple lunchbox to posers who liked to fanboy it up despite the releases. :)

 

That's what I was eluding to. There's always that conspiracy theorists guiding hand behind stuff, kind of like the crazies with the illuminati or the builderbergs, but usually there tends to be some even if twisted grain of truth even in that and less scandalous stuff.

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I don't think the N64 was really the start of that, though. I had a Genesis in college along with a few of my friends, and some of my dorm-mates had SNES's. The Genesis guys used to snicker at the SNES guys behind their backs, because already we thought of it as kind of a kids' machine. Yeah, it was dumb, but I mean we were playing Outrun and Chase HQ II on the Genesis and the SNES guys were playing Mario Kart. (Note: these days I love Mario Kart.) It was just a different image, and 18 and 19 year old kids were thinking that way before Sony was even a player.

 

I think Sony just tapped into something that a lot of people were already feeling. (Keep in mind too that people in college going through that Genesis/SNES war would have probably been running Sony's marketing department by 1995.) And especially the way the industry was going at the time with cinematics on CD, the N64 just felt anachronistic at that time. It was the start of Nintendo kind of doing their own thing and ignoring trends, but honestly, to their detriment IMO in this case. Sometimes doing that works out for them (e.g. the Wii, the Switch or their entire handheld line), but sometimes it really doesn't, business-wise at least.

 

I appreciate the N64 a lot more in hindsight even though I owned one while it was still current. I only bought maybe 6 games for it back then, most of those after they'd been discounted down to $20 or so. S&P was probably the one game I paid full price for. But nowadays, there are a lot of N64 games I want, but a lot of them have gotten out of hand price-wise. When you think about that, I can only imagine that a lot of other people are in the same boat as me. Obviously if there'd been demand like that at the time, there'd be more of those games available now and prices would be lower. So I think a lot of people are discovering now that hey, the N64 actually had some good games. And now, years later, there's more demand than supply.

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Yup the Japanese had a lot more crazy one offs and colors. The most strange one we ended up with probably was the odd glowing cheeks of the Pikachu system.

 

And yes while the Nintendo got ripped on a bit on the SNES era, it wasn't an industry or a media thing really but was a school yard personal attack level thing amongst kids quite a bit. I know it's a more negative modern turn, but in a way the old Genesis was the original dudebro system where it was the jocks with their EA sports games, and others wanting their hardcore stuff because up until Nintendo got its ass handed to them for their heavy handed SWEATY Immortal Kombat fiasco which was well corrected with MK2 -- the ammo was already there for plenty of ripping on their tactics.

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