I remember the day I received my very first gaming system, the original Game Boy. I was mesmerized by Super Mario Land, the stellar graphics (at the time), and simply the fact that I could control a character with the touch of my fingers. Fast forward a few years and a new level of astonishment happened; the first time I saw the Nintendo 64.
Better graphics, bigger games, and a gaming system that I could see on myVTB (and in color)! I begged my parents for years to get it for me. Holiday after holiday there was no success, so I decided to start saving. Once I had enough money for a game (specifically Pokémon Stadium), Christmas had arrived. There was a large box that I was curious about under the tree. Waiting for it to be the last gift, my brother and I opened it with cheers and excitement (which could be comparable to the infamous N64 Christmas reveal). From that moment, I knew I’d be gaming forever. Now the N64 has turned 18. I officially feel old. To commemorate this exciting (and kinda crazy) time, I thought it’d be good to highlight the system that not only revolutionized the gaming industry, but was just flat out awesome:
The Moment You Get It
The anticipation. The disappointment of waiting. The sudden and immediate excitement you realize you own the system. It’s certainly possible that some people bought the system “just because” or perhaps it was an afterthought. But to an 11 year old boy who dreamed of the moment, and to also get Pokémon Stadium, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The amazing visual of seeing all 150 original Pokémon in 3D was simply awesome. I still have the system and games and occasionally connect it to relive those glory days. Today, it’s easy to get lost in the fierce fights and debates about the Big 3 (Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft), or complain about 1080p or about the constant delays, but it’s always nice to remember your roots and why you enjoy gaming.
Super Mario 64, Goldeneye 007, Mario Kart 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Pokémon Stadium, Pokémon Snap and more became symbols of the system and Nintendo. Even today, players still make references to these games. Some even had remakes, while others are still in the wishes of many gamers. Regardless of what type of game you enjoyed, chances are there was a hit on the system.
This game. Easily a top favorite for best game of the N64 (one of the top contenders since there are several amazing). For me, this game was the epitome of competitive actions among friends in fun, creative, and non-repeating experiences. You could play 100 different matches and get 100 different experiences in each–a rare feat in gaming. This is what was so great about it. Mix in several characters that are among the fan favorites and you have a recipe for success. Now that Super Smash Bros. has become a major series, its great to take a look back to its start and see then that it was destined for greatness. With Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS just released and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U coming November 21st, the love and excitement for the series is only getting larger.
When people first saw this three-pronged controller with a control pad, analog stick, and several buttons all over the place, its easy to understand why there were reservations. The simple oval-looking controller was replaced with this monstrosity. However, once you actually used it, the moment clicks where it curves into your hand and instantly makes sense.
The Nintendo 64 was one of those systems that created accessories that made sense for it. With the Controller Pak, Transfer Pak, Expansion Pak, as well as several others, developers and gamers were able to create an elevated level of gaming that original devised by Nintendo. The Transfer Pak, for example, could literally transport your Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue to Pokėmon Stadium. The Controller Pak, similarly, saved information from various games, one of which was the famous Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. In addition to these accessories, the N64 also offered a variety of controllers, something that wasn’t the norm at the time. A green, blue, clear purple, orange, and red controllers brought even more personality to the system and allowed gamers to develop their own individuality (which is especially great since customization is certainly a major thing in gaming, but more on that another time…).
The Nintendo 64 was released on June 23, 1996 in Japan and discontinued in Europe on May 16, 2003. Even with it being discontinued for more than a decade, there is still strong interest in the system. Whether it’s for the games or the fanatic collectibles, or just because it still works, N64s are still relevant in our pop culture. I can’t tell you how many friends, coworkers, and young children who weren’t even born when the system came out can still recognize it and appreciate it. That is a true testament to the significant impact of the system.
This system has certainly made its mark in the gaming world. The longevity, ingenuity, and sheer fun of it makes it relevant to even today’s players. Now that it’s a legal adult, it has more responsibilities, but is still allowed to let loose and enjoy itself.
So happy birthday N64! Don’t celebrate too hard that you lose a button 😉