Nintendo’s classic console, the Nintendo 64, turned 25 years old today. Released in Japan on June 23, 1996 and considered by many to be one of the greatest video game consoles ever produced, the N64 was revolutionary in that it allowed Nintendo’s biggest franchises to take the leap from 2D to 3D with memorable titles such as Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Star Fox 64. Nintendo’s N64 console is also hard to forget thanks to its unique controller, which comprises an “M” shape with an analog stick in the center and expansion port in the back. According to a new interview with Kyoto-based game designer Giles Goddard, a supercomputer was used to emulate the N64’s hardware during early development.
Nearly all of the tech side of things did – things like the lighting, the inverse kinematics and the skinning, that was all tech that was designed to run on the N64. We didn’t actually have any final hardware for a long time, so what we were doing is we had a huge Onyx supercomputer in the backroom at Nintendo that was basically emulating what the hardware would be eventually. That was quite a good system, because they would just update the hardware virtually. And we could test out on a virtual N64, which was really cool.