Image: Evan-Amos

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.

Nintendo

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.

Sources: Eurogamer, Kotaku

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25 Comments

  1. Still one of my all time favorite consoles. Still have one here and use it occasionally. Perfect Dark comes to mind as well as Goldeneye.

  2. I miss the original Nintendo and [URL=’https://www.zeldaclassic.com/’]Legend of Zelda[/URL]

  3. Happy BD N64! You were awesome for the time. I used to spend hours watching my roommate play Zelda Ocarina on it. He even got the mem expansion pack. Also used to spend hours playing rogue squadron on it. We had many binges with 4 people over a weekend going to town in Gauntlet too. Good times!

  4. Such an amazing console. Really was as integral in my childhood as the NES and Genesis. I started getting into building computers around the start of the N64 era, but continued console gaming at least until the 360.

  5. I always end up remembering the anniversary of N64’s Japanese launch because a good friend’s berfday is on that day, and that’s also the anniversary of Sonic 1’s release on Mega Drive/Genesis. I also remember that I got my N64 for the USA launch in September just a couple days after I had an endoscopy, cuz they wanted to see how my own stomach acid was eroding my esophagus and stomach lining. Fun times.

    N64 is definitely one of my favorite systems of all time, and I still got mine hooked up via S-Video on a CRT that is also used for my NES, SNES/SFC, Saturn, Gamecube, and my Neo-Geo MVS. 5th-gen was definitely a very interesting time indeed. And now I feel old. Well, I always feel old, but this is adding to that.

  6. While I was a PSX fan myself at the time, the N64 was a great console. A friend of mine had one and we played both consoles for years.. I remember endless discussions on which one had better graphics. Overall I felt the PS had more detailed textures, albeit blocky since it had no filtering, and the N64 had somewhat “washed out” textures, specially in 1st gen titles, but higher detailed models.

    In the end it was all about the games and both consoles had awesome titles.

  7. [QUOTE=”Stoly, post: 36530, member: 1474″]
    While I was a PSX fan myself at the time, the N64 was a great console. A friend of mine had one and we played both consoles for years.. I remember endless discussions on which one had better graphics. Overall I felt the PS had more detailed textures, albeit blocky since it had no filtering, and the N64 had somewhat “washed out” textures, specially in 1st gen titles, but higher detailed models.

    In the end it was all about the games and both consoles had awesome titles.
    [/QUOTE]
    It was much the same in our house. In the end, we just learned to enjoy the strengths of each for what they had.

  8. [QUOTE=”Burticus, post: 36584, member: 297″]
    25 years? Jeez I am old.
    [/QUOTE]
    Speak for yourself, I am 51 years young 😉 😀 😉

  9. Talking about the strengths of each. SW games back then could be amazing on each. Rogue Squadron was on just about everything but I always thought it was best on N64. Meanwhile, SW Demolition is still one of my favorite PS1 games and I’d love to see it remade for modern tech. Then on PS2 there was SW Bounty Hunter which, to me, was an incredible experience at the time.

  10. [QUOTE=”Peter_Brosdahl, post: 36595, member: 87″]
    Talking about the strengths of each. SW games back then could be amazing on each. Rogue Squadron was on just about everything but I always thought it was best on N64. Meanwhile, SW Demolition is still one of my favorite PS1 games and I’d love to see it remade for modern tech. Then on PS2 there was SW Bounty Hunter which, to me, was an incredible experience at the time.
    [/QUOTE]
    IIRC Rogue Squadron was PC and N64 only, I still play the PC version @1080p with a patch from time to time.

  11. [QUOTE=”Riccochet, post: 36540, member: 4″]
    Cruisin USA was my shizz
    [/QUOTE]
    The data on my copy kept getting erased somehow, and that game was NOT easy. I kept losing progress. Ended up selling the game to my cousin.

  12. [QUOTE=”Stoly, post: 36599, member: 1474″]
    IIRC Rogue Squadron was PC and N64 only, I still play the PC version @1080p with a patch from time to time.
    [/QUOTE]
    For sure, I think I was mixing that detail up with a half dozen games I started playing on consoles and then sought out the PC versions for. I never enjoyed it as much on PC though. Sure it looked better but the controls never quite felt the same.

  13. [QUOTE=”DrezKill, post: 36600, member: 230″]
    The data on my copy kept getting erased somehow, and that game was NOT easy. I kept losing progress. Ended up selling the game to my cousin.
    [/QUOTE]
    God, I forgot about that. Bad memory suppression lol! I didn’t play Cruisin but I vividly remember those days of corrupted console memory card saves. All the headaches you could go through if taking chances on cheap third-party alternatives. Not to say there weren’t good ones but definitely a lot of bad ones.

  14. [QUOTE=”Stoly, post: 36599, member: 1474″]
    IIRC Rogue Squadron was PC and N64 only, I still play the PC version @1080p with a patch from time to time.
    [/QUOTE]
    I actually had no idea about that. Going to try and get a copy and apply that patch. Would love to see a PC counterpart to an N64 game as I had realized any existed before. Blame youth!

  15. [QUOTE=”Eduardo_Domingot, post: 36624, member: 246″]
    I actually had no idea about that. Going to try and get a copy and apply that patch. Would love to see a PC counterpart to an N64 game as I had realized any existed before. Blame youth!
    [/QUOTE]
    It was a pretty magical time back then. Between all the consoles, PC gaming really reaching a lot of new heights with GPUs, there was a lot going on back then.

  16. [QUOTE=”Peter_Brosdahl, post: 36614, member: 87″]
    God, I forgot about that. Bad memory suppression lol! I didn’t play Cruisin but I vividly remember those days of corrupted console memory card saves. All the headaches you could go through if taking chances on cheap third-party alternatives. Not to say there weren’t good ones but definitely a lot of bad ones.
    [/QUOTE]
    I’d say Cruisin was among the best arcade ports of that generation. Loved it in the arcade, loved it in the N64

  17. [QUOTE=”Eduardo_Domingot, post: 36624, member: 246″]
    I actually had no idea about that. Going to try and get a copy and apply that patch. Would love to see a PC counterpart to an N64 game as I had realized any existed before. Blame youth!
    [/QUOTE]
    I got it from GoG
    The patch actually supports 16:9 AR. Doesn’t work very well on some missions though.

  18. [QUOTE=”Peter_Brosdahl, post: 36613, member: 87″]
    For sure, I think I was mixing that detail up with a half dozen games I started playing on consoles and then sought out the PC versions for. I never enjoyed it as much on PC though. Sure it looked better but the controls never quite felt the same.
    [/QUOTE]
    I used a MS sidewinder precision pro joystick and it was awesome. Still works to date.

  19. I bought a N64 just to play Zelda on. Ended up playing an awful lot of Mario Kart on it though.

    I think it may have been a Donkey Kong edition, back when they were pushing the 3D stuff from SGI (N64 had SGI graphics iirc), and for it’s time, DK Country did look good. I miss the old Rare.

  20. [QUOTE=”Stoly, post: 36632, member: 1474″]
    I’d say Cruisin was among the best arcade ports of that generation. Loved it in the arcade, loved it in the N64
    [/QUOTE]
    Wow! I never even realized this made it the N64. Kind of forgot about it actually. Just did a quick google and watched a vid and that brought back some memories. I sank a lot of quarters into this back in the day. The racing games that let you go city to city were always my favorite. There was one I had way back in the 80s on my Atari 400 I used to love but I can’t remember what it was called anymore. Sure the graphics were primitive but it even had environmental effects(day/night snow/rain etc.)

  21. [QUOTE=”Stoly, post: 36635, member: 1474″]
    I used a MS sidewinder precision pro joystick and it was awesome. Still works to date.
    [/QUOTE]
    It’s been so long I don’t remember what I originally used(some kind of cheap junk that’s long gone). These days I only use an Xbox controller or K+M. I used some program to map to it but it never quite felt the same. Never like K+M for this one either.

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