I remember it well, queuing up in Electronics Boutique as a 9-year-old with my best friend and his dad, about to collect his birthday present, the brand new Nintendo 64
I was always a Sony Playstation fanatic as a kid, me and my friend would often argue about which console was superior; “the Nintendo 64 is twice as powerful as the PlayStation, it has 64 bits”, “the PlayStation uses CD ROM, that’s the future” Either way, this console marked the transition from the 16-bit 2D SNES to 64-bit 3D.
In the end, both of the consoles shaped my childhood gaming memories, let’s have a look at the Nintendo 64 on its 20th Birthday, like us, it’s now an adult, with children and responsibilities.
The console released for a price of £250 with a pretty pathetic launch lineup consisting of:
- FIFA 64
- Pilotwings 64
- Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
- SuperMario 64
- Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
- Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey
Being a hockey fan, the prospect of playing as my all-time favourite player in Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey was pretty appealing, even if I couldn’t actually score, I think after about an hour of playing I managed to bundle the puck into the net. It was a sweet victory.
We were mesmerised by Super Mario 64, the colourful visuals and immense 3d worlds were something we’d not yet seen in a Mario game and paved the way for the franchise to become what it is today, also putting a strong competitor into the market to rival Croc & Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation.
There are a handful of games which I adored and still adore to this day, some of them were blockbusters and genre-defining titles, others were special to me because of the times we had playing – I’d like to share my memories of 3 in particular.
Along with Doom, the godfather of the FPS. This game had it all, an immensely authentic campaign with memorable character, weapons and level design. No matter how many times I replayed the story, it would never get old. Obviously the multiplayer was the highlight of this game, having golden gun duels in Temple and knife only brawls in Complex was the order of the day, many nights spent fueled on nothing but cola and crisps were spent playing this absolute beauty of a game with my group of friends, something modern day gaming lacks, a time bygone.
Mario Kart 64
Another blockbuster, multiplayer madness ensued whenever this was put on, from the absolute fear of being in first place and you hear that blue shell coming towards you, to stacking it off the edge of rainbow road on the final straight of the final lap, this game was never short of laughs, good times and great fun. This was a game changer in the multiplayer world and again helped pave the way for the future, Stunning colourful visuals for the time and a great selection of modes and tracks all made for true replay value.
Again, an FPS game changer, taking the formula which made Goldeneye 007 such a massive success and taking it to the next level, a new story with a strong cast and plot laid down the basis of another excellent multiplayer experience, with the addition of combat statistics, working extra hard to get your rank up when playing against friends gave you much more of an incentive to better yourself, a truly epic game which I still enjoy today thanks to the Rare Replay compilation.
Other titles which helped give the N64 its reputation as a groundbreaking console include:
- Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Super Smash Bros.
- WWF No Mercy
- Mario Party series
The Nintendo 64 sold just over 32 Million units worldwide in a production run which ended 4 years later following the release of the Nintendo Gamecube.
It seems right to pay homage to this fantastic console with the release of the Nintendo Switch being such a success, It will always be remembered as the origin for the modern FPS, the modern party game and a stalwart in shaping the platformer as we know it today.
Happy 20th Nintendo 64! – Have a cold one on us.
Why not share some of your N64 memories with us?
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