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The Official Nintendo 64 Thread!

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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.

At the time the cgi movies were important. I'll tell you what though I can't stand them now. Now I just want to play the game and find the movies to be a nuisance.

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I don't think a CD drive in the N64 would have done anything interesting. We had enough overlap with Playstation/Saturn as it is, without Nintendo doing the exact same thing. The weird little Switch console doing its own thing while PS4/Xbone are trying to outpiss each other is a similar situation.

 

I love certain N64 games and think it's cool they did so much with a tiny amount of space. I think F Zero X is a work of art, too --- must be a retro person thing, because many kids of that era think it's ugly and plain.

 

Nintendo just filed for the N64 trademark, which is fueling speculation that a plug and play mini is inevitable. I'd buy that, but Travis' HDMI mod looks really cool. It's a shame it's priced like cartridge copiers or import consoles from the 1990s ... I am intrigued, but not sure I'd play enough N64 to make it worthwhile, especially since mine works fine in super blurrovision on my 60" plasma TV.

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In a way the n64 was ahead of the curve if you think about it.

 

The misguided later 90s trying to cover up some piss poor problems went with FMV to dazzle people right along with CD quality audio and for the candy lovers it worked. N64 stuck with older scoring (mainly MIDI based) methods or samples, and then using the game engine to pump out some cinematics which ultimately felt better as it wasn't a jarring shove from jaggy to (then standards) pretty smooth rounded off FMV movies. Look where we're at now with the current stock of systems. Nintendo stood on that ground for the most part, though with the inevitable ports on their disc based titles there were some videos, so let's stick to the handheld trail. GBA, DS, 3DS, and now the Switch. In each case you rarely had or just didn't have FMV to toss around to dazzle people and still the games even to date stick to using the in game models and drop out some stunning sequences, and audio as compression grew got better and cleaner as you'd find with not so much the GB line but the DS's and definitely the Switch. N64 was kind of a precursor to come on large scale games kept on 'old style' technology that just improved and cost reduced over time.

 

I for one ever liked FMV movies, even in the 90s they bugged me as they were in the way, jarring, often you couldn't skip the crap, and usually poorly acted out when it came to people. Wing Commander titles 3+ were some of the few that didn't feel awful and cheesy.

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Wing Commander was the epitome of awful cheese! But I liked it anyway. The 3DO version plays like an arcade game, instant loading and good easy transitions between movie and game modes.

 

It's hard to explain to a young person of today just how shiny and high tech and awesome and capacious CD-ROM felt when it was new. It feels archaic, fragile, and slow to me nowadays, just as floppy diskettes did when CD-ROM came along. I like just having digital files, and not having to worry too much about and and where I'm going to store them. Storage is boring.

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Ehhh I guess, no worse than Star Wars was cheese so yeah, in a good way. Your feeling to CDs is how I've always approached them so I never was much of a fan. That said I do have a PS1 but not a fan of how easy the game discs scratch and the lame load screens.

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Don't think CD's would of helped the N64 as they were in serious competition for system Price with Sony and Sega Saturn especially in Japan

 

N64 wasn't really designed like a PC like the Playstation so PC Ports would still be very difficult as it used lots of custom hardware

 

Sega for example used carts in their Sega Titan Video game system and NAOMI which run Saturn and Dreamcast games designed for the arcade, so Nintendo could always improved their carts if they wanted

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I don't think a CD drive in the N64 would have done anything interesting. We had enough overlap with Playstation/Saturn as it is, without Nintendo doing the exact same thing. The weird little Switch console doing its own thing while PS4/Xbone are trying to outpiss each other is a similar situation.

 

I love certain N64 games and think it's cool they did so much with a tiny amount of space. I think F Zero X is a work of art, too --- must be a retro person thing, because many kids of that era think it's ugly and plain.

 

Nintendo just filed for the N64 trademark, which is fueling speculation that a plug and play mini is inevitable. I'd buy that, but Travis' HDMI mod looks really cool. It's a shame it's priced like cartridge copiers or import consoles from the 1990s ... I am intrigued, but not sure I'd play enough N64 to make it worthwhile, especially since mine works fine in super blurrovision on my 60" plasma TV.

 

Hope they get rid of the fuzzyness

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I don't think system price was really an issue. The N64 MSRP'd for 199.99 and wasn't the Playstation like $300 and Saturn was $400 due to some faux collusion trickery between them and Sony? I recall Sega wanted their box the same as Sony price wise, then launched early under the assumption of one price and ended up being a $100 more which didn't do them any favors. Bringing up cart improvements, that's one that blew me away they never attempted to do. After the scattered effort on the NES, then on SNES when they really buckled down with the FX1/2, SA1, and the SDD1 compression setup too you would have figured they'd try something sneaky with the N64 but they never did. A good compression chip, even if it meant some load times like SFAlpha 2 on SNES could have allowed them to store much more data in the same space. In time someone figured out how to do it in software which is why there's Resident Evil 2 on there, some consider it for the era the best release, but it was late and the FMVs were blocky/tinny due to mass compression into a 64MB space.

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I don't think system price was really an issue. The N64 MSRP'd for 199.99 and wasn't the Playstation like $300 and Saturn was $400 due to some faux collusion trickery between them and Sony? I recall Sega wanted their box the same as Sony price wise, then launched early under the assumption of one price and ended up being a $100 more which didn't do them any favors. Bringing up cart improvements, that's one that blew me away they never attempted to do. After the scattered effort on the NES, then on SNES when they really buckled down with the FX1/2, SA1, and the SDD1 compression setup too you would have figured they'd try something sneaky with the N64 but they never did. A good compression chip, even if it meant some load times like SFAlpha 2 on SNES could have allowed them to store much more data in the same space. In time someone figured out how to do it in software which is why there's Resident Evil 2 on there, some consider it for the era the best release, but it was late and the FMVs were blocky/tinny due to mass compression into a 64MB space.

I was just playing SFA2 this morning! The load time is 3 seconds between load times which isn't bad. IIRC though the N64 carts are nothing like the older systems. This may have been why they didn't use a processor for extra compression.

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Perhaps, but had they I wonder if it would have helped any versus what the turnout was for FMV in RE2. The game came out at your normal price range of $50 so by that point the larger chips in 98/99 weren't causing games to spike over that though I bet a compression chip probably could have knocked it a $10 higher, or at least left the excuse for it. N64 was an oddity on everything down to price. It seemed some stores chose to charge more than others on the system ($250 vs $200) and games too as I always paid $50 on stuff, but others would argue with me and say it was a $60 game. I do recall 2 early instances where games were globally a ripoff because of the greedy developer wanting to milk the franchise as it was hot crap in the arcade ...$70 for both MK Trilogy and Killer Insctinct 64 (KI2) which was just messed up doing that but some people paid. Wasn't new, but it seemed mostly reserved for hot fighting games (SF2 SNES came out at $60-65) and the Square-gamer tax slapped on any of their RPGs making them $60-70 despite not using larger chips or any special parts inside.

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At the time the cgi movies were important. I'll tell you what though I can't stand them now. Now I just want to play the game and find the movies to be a nuisance.

 

*Generally* I agree, although it still depends on the game. The game that really popularized pre-rendered cutscenes was Final Fantasy VII, which not coincidentally is the game that really buried Nintendo that generation. It was supposed to be an N64 exclusive, but it wouldn't work within the limitations of the N64 cartridges. It would have needed to be a multi-cartridge game. So they put it on the PS1 and it sold 11 million copies and probably even more PlayStations, because Sony used it in all their marketing to show what the system could do that the N64 couldn't. Then FF8 sold 8.5 million and probably also a decent number of systems. If you flip that, then suddenly the N64 probably wins that generation.

 

I still love the FF7 cutscenes, as crude as they look today. I still watch them sometimes and I even occasionally tear up during them. I can't imagine that game without them. But you're right, this set a trend where everybody then thought they had to shoehorn long CGI cutscenes into every game whether they helped the story or not. And most of them don't.

 

One funny thing is that if you go back and play FF7 now, it really doesn't even have that many cutscenes despite its reputation. I think at one point the game goes almost two full discs between cutscenes. The whole thing got overused and ruined by later games.

 

This was also a time when in-game graphics just couldn't do a cutscene justice. Nowadays, for the most part you can just use regular graphics to tell the story, you don't need to go in and out of pre-recorded cinematics all the time.

 

I don't think a CD drive in the N64 would have done anything interesting.

 

This is one of those cases where a single game (series) more or less changed everything. It would be different if FF7 was always supposed to be a Sony exclusive, but it was a Nintendo exclusive that they lost because of the cartridge format. So the sales flipped; it wasn't just more for PS1, it was also less for N64.

 

The SNES had been known as the RPG system, but Sony stole that from Nintendo because of the CD drive. The PS1 got all the big RPG exclusives of that generation, and this was at the peak of JRPGs' popularity.

 

Don't think CD's would of helped the N64 as they were in serious competition for system Price with Sony and Sega Saturn especially in Japan

 

Sega for example used carts in their Sega Titan Video game system and NAOMI which run Saturn and Dreamcast games designed for the arcade, so Nintendo could always improved their carts if they wanted

 

Well sure, any system can be improved if you want to jack up the price thousands of dollars (what an arcade machine costs).

 

But the price of the N64 itself wasn't really a problem as I recall - after a couple years it was actually the lowest priced system on the market.

 

The problem was the price of games, which was because they were carts. If you look around the net you find people saying all sorts of stuff about N64 game prices, but like I said I worked at a store that sold them and I specifically remember games starting out at $60-$80, at a time when PS1 and Saturn games generally topped out at $40. They did get reduced eventually but usually not to the degree or with the speed that PS1/Saturn games did.

 

Not all N64 games were that high but the good ones usually were; it was the shovelware that would get the $40 price. That was considered a "discount game".

 

I know we're all old-school people who love carts here but *at that time*, using carts in the N64 was a poor business decision. It cost them Squaresoft, and it forced their games to be too expensive.

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Just curious -- how old were you when FF7 came out in the USA (1997)? You mentioned having emotional responses to it.

 

I was a cynical 27 and hated the slow grindy pace of that game. I never finished it. I have a port on my phone that allows me to skip all the random encounters, basically waltz through the plot, which is probably culturally relevant. I know who dies but have no idea why I should care.

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Believe both console price and game price was important, and Nintendo did have some backlash for game price from both developers and gamers;

Also Saturn and Playstation quickly matched N64 in some areas of the world

 

Still doubt a CD Drive would of improved the RPG offerings much do to below

 

1. N64 had major issue of the Japanese marketed being flooded by Sony and Sega do to their far earlier launch and basically tapped out

2. Nintendo basically pushing 3D games at the expensive of 2d games

3. Nintendo had a lot of top dogs that didn't believe in the future on JRPG or WRPG's in a similar fashion as Sega

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A CD drive in the Nintendo 64 would have made all the difference that generation. Most of your big-name companies were in bed with Nintendo up until that point. Many key ones jumped ship due to the greater flexibility of the CD (larger amount of storage space, CD audio, full motion video) and the lower manufacturing and licensing costs (i.e., greater profitability).

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I was 20 when the game came out and was damned bitter about the fact that Sony f'd Nintendo and turned the tide horribly away from my system of choice. It wasn't even a fanboy response as I was also in hand with a Turbo Duo by then too, but it was just angry because the antics Sony pulled from what I knew only then as a consumer (not the story I got in 01 at Midway) but also because Nintendo lost Square and because of that damned cartridge. Spacecadet there is right, if one thing and one thing alone did it, it was that combination of Square publicly making the statement and bailing on Nintendo because of the lack of space which Sony had on the basic CD. They'd have stayed home since back then Square were console angnostic diehards --they went with one dude and stuck with it -- NES/FC, Gameboy, SNES... and then PS1, PS2...then finally being financially damaged eventually went multi-console platform (because they already did PC with FF7 and FF8 too (but sadly not FF9.)

 

FF7 I've rarely ever touched on the PS1, I got it when it was stuffed on the PC. That version to me was superior. I had a Matrox Mystique card which was total love for that game, and a damn good SB16 card that loved the fully licensed Yamaha Soundsynth Wavetable that was included in the package. That thing made the MIDIs sound so superior to the CD audio of the PS1, sound effects were nicer too with a higher sampling rate (probably due to saved space on no CD audio.) I had this wicked 32MB sound font I used beyond the default 2 or 4MB one Square had and it was insane. Truth is I never finished the game, I actually didn't care for the story a whole lot and it never sucked me in. It felt to me far more like Phinal Phantasy Star than Final Fantasy with too much future tech and weirdness going on, like it just used the name to sell games (which Square seems to do a lot of now.) FF9 was the only FF Sony title in the era I thought was truly fantastic, and of course it was a total love fest (apology?) to real old school FF fans as it was like this wicked mix of FF4-5-6 in 3D. FF7 never gave me an emotional response other than some mild amusement. FF8 turned my stomach and annoyed me by it's presence where i found a kiosk running the legit game an hour or two in and played it for a long stretch (30-60min) in an empty toy store -- that system was complete crap. FF9 made me happy though, felt like an old friend returned and I played that one out.

 

Really though in the end had the N64 went with a CD Square wouldn't have jumped ship and it really would have driven all those fence sitter sales that Sony scooped up. Given what then shifted towards them that had some Nintendo ties still would have stayed home too, and many others would have popped on board given the really cheap cost of pressing CDs in mass vs chips, silicon and plastic.

 

 

Oh and enoofu, not sure if you ever heard this or it's really discussed much but did you know that Sony was anti-2D even more than Nintendo back in the mid/latter 90s? They actually went so far as to FINE developers who made 2D games. It wasn't a huge one, but it was prohibitive enough you best hope your game moved some considerable copies to offset it. They slapped Capcom repeatedly with that anti-2D tax for their arcade ports earlier on, but they sold so well they ignored them, paid the fee and kept on trucking (good for them.) Another nugger I learned during my time at Midway which really made me think lesser of Sony because I love 2D games still more than 3D stuff. :)

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I wish old videogame systems had "hours" meters like a forklift or an industrial truck...my PS1 was my solo machine, I had a ton of games (worked at Toys R Us during high school), and I played it a LOT. But once I got an N64....I bet I played that system far more, with ALL that time being centered on 5-10 multiplayer games. If you limit that to series with sequels, I spent all that time on less than 5 series total.

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Many fond memories...

 

N64 Marketing always cracked me up. Sometimes they tried to be "extreme" like the Sega scream era of the mid-90's (Get N or Get Out!!) but it never really suited them. Mostly they played nice and typical Nintendo with the "Fun Machine" branding, which I always appreciated and felt like rung true for the N64.

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I don't quite follow what that guy did in the mod, it's more of a gloss over, but i see there are other examples with detail. It's interesting, just would need to find that one little part to pull that off. Not a big problem either since I don't have 4 controllers around if having over 2 may cause a loss in rumble power.

 

The other one, not a big fan of channels like that but sometimes they do a nice piece of work, and that is a solid one on N64.

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Take some pics of the picture quality too please. I'm interested to see the difference.

 

 

N64 HDMI vs Composite

 

The difference is night and day for me. A much brighter and clearer picture. In some ways it's almost too clear as you notice pixels that were always there but were softened by the fuzziness of composite. The solution is to not sit so close to such a huge TV haha. But choosing between them i'd go HDMI in 1080p any day. It really does look the best the N64 ever will.

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Make your own N64 repro's...interesting. I'd probably rather just play this stuff on my Everdrive V3 but still cool this is out there for the craft minded.

 

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Seems interesting, but how useful unless you're looking to peddle reproductions. Everdrive gets the job done without meddling with all those tools and plug n play CIC chips. Very nice it better late than never exists though.

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Seems interesting, but how useful unless you're looking to peddle reproductions. Everdrive gets the job done without meddling with all those tools and plug n play CIC chips. Very nice it better late than never exists though.

 

For sure. I'm wondering where he bought those clear cart shells personally.. I'd like a repro of Worms Armageddon in something like that.

 

I'm all about repro's, just so long as people don't try to play them off as original and charge accordingly. That's why these "clearly not factory, yet still look cool" translucent cart casing appeal to me.

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Just got my N64 but no games for it yet. I went PlayStation, though my roommate had an N64. We played TONS of Goldeneye 007 four-player over the course of around three years. I missed out on some apparently great games, though. Mario 64 is classic that I played on my Wii via Virtual Console, but looking forward to trying it out with the original weirdo controller.

 

Are all 20 of those games in the first post's YouTube video really worth playing? Did I really miss out on that much amazeballs?

 

edited to add: Are the current-day 4MB expansion packs by third parties (ex: Stone Age Gamer sells one NIB) still flaky like you're saying the old ones were? Should I really track down an Nintendo-branded one even today?

Edited by derFunkenstein

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