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The Decade of the N64 131

Posted by Zonk
from the all-smash-all-the-time dept.
1up is running a piece looking back at the ten years since the N64's launch. The start of Nintendo's slump, the N64 still managed to come out of the console wars with some great and lasting memories, like GoldenEye, Smash Bros., and Ocarina of Time. From the article: "Nintendo certainly gave players plenty of time to get all 120 stars. By the end of 1996, the N64 still had fewer than a dozen games, and even that anemic library was glutted with mediocrity like Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Cruis'n USA. Sure, there were gems like Mario Kart 64 and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, and there was the stubborn optimism of Nintendo of America President Howard Lincoln (who insisted N64 games sold more than 250,000 per title), but industry commentators were starting to see through the emperor's clothes. Meanwhile, Sony was turning up the heat with massive blockbusters like Final Fantasy VII." The Press the Buttons blog has some additional commentary on Nintendo's first 'meh' console.
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The Decade of the N64

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  • Uh Perfect Dark? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Those other games mentioned in the summary are great, but Perfect Dark was the best action game for the N64, more so then Goldeneye. 5 page article and only one mention of it.
    • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:52PM (#16234343)
      Nothing could truly perpare you for unlocking darksims, eagerly loading them into the next slo-motion multiplayer game and watching them spin their torso around and shooting at you while continuing to climb a ladder.

      List 'o memories:

      -You killing Elvis' friend in the underwater mission. "Everything's going wrong!" while he tears at his hair in an eerily poignant moment.
      -The amusing lines of other guards when you headshot someone in another room with a silenced weapon. "MY GOD! Whhhyyyyyy!"
      -The bonus mission where you replay an earlier level but get access to other areas (alien suicide mission to blow up the spaceship so it doesn't fall into human hands). I always liked those "you should not be here..." wall textures in other early FPS.
      -...and Morgan Freeman as "The President"
      -Laptop sentry guns saving the day in combat simulator challenge missions
      • by steveo777 (183629)
        Still one of the best games of all times. Too bad the 360 game was utter crap. I played it and wished I hadn't. I'll take bad framerate 7 year old textures any day over that game.

        Favorte multiplayer moments???

        Poison knife in the corpse so they wake up dieing.

        Lethal injection around the corner!

        Alien sniper rifle campers

        PROXY PINBALL

        Fly-by-wire enemas

        Elvis' head is an easy target

      • Re:Uh Perfect Dark? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Captain Spam (66120) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @03:44PM (#16235345) Homepage
        Nothing could truly perpare you for unlocking darksims, eagerly loading them into the next slo-motion multiplayer game and watching them spin their torso around and shooting at you while continuing to climb a ladder.


        If I recall something Rare said before on their letters page, they specifically made the Dark Sims to be unfair. Like, they could shoot from ladders like that, they could run faster than you could, they could fire without reloading, they could get infinite ammo at their whims, they could see through walls, etc. And I could swear I once saw a Dark Sim that I killed simply fade away and immediately respawn elsewhere, instead of flailing backward and taking a few seconds to respawn like any other player/sim.

        I kinda liked that. If you're so l33t at PD that you can take on anything, it'll give you something blatantly unfair to deal with. Except on that same letters page, they still admitted that none of the sims of any skill knew how to deal with explosions (either firing or reacting to an explosion in progress).

        That's another thing about the N64. They had an interesting amount of quirks to their games. Or maybe that was just Rare's N64 days. Ah, fun.
        • by Ant P. (974313)
          One of the unfair parts is that their accuracy goes up if you run faster. Get a map with 8 darksims, those railgun things, and just stand in a corner. They'll find you and... hit the walls around you with perfect accuracy.
        • by steveo777 (183629)
          Kind of depressing, but my college roommates and I got good enough at PD that Darksims had nothing on us. Even at 4 on 8 we could school them most of the time. I'm not sure if they could see through walls (I'm sure they could see behind themselves as you only had enough time for them to turn around to shoot them in the back), but they didn't seem to ever need to reload or pick up ammo.

          Players could shoot from latters too, you just had to be moving in the direction of the latter. Another trick that you co

          • Kind of depressing, but my college roommates and I got good enough at PD that Darksims had nothing on us.


            Well, I never said they were PERFECT...

            No, wait, those would be the next rating down from Dark. Erm...
    • No question in my mind...

      Perfect Dark had sims, which were cool, and better game modes, but Goldeneye had far better levels and weapons, and ran at a more acceptable framerate most of the time.

      I found the levels in PD cluttered and hard to navigate by comparison.

      Ah, those were the days, 4 player Goldeneye on license to kill with no-one able to move more than a few metres in the level without being exposed to grenades, rockets, or a hail of RPC-90 fire... and our games would end on scorelines like 20-19-19-1
      • Still my favourite FPS, and I have Half Life 2 on my PC.

        You should try Goldeneye: Source. Not exactly the same, but closer enough that it brings back some memories :P
  • Even though I got my Nintendo 64 two years before I had a Playstation (imagine the N64 kid, but a bit more sedate), I only owned 4 games for the system - Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Super Smash Bros, and TLOZ:OOT. Granted, I spent a lot of money getting games at Blockbuster, but with a few exceptions (Goldeneye, Starfox 64) I had every game I ever wanted to play for more than a weekend. When I finally got a Playstation, I went on to buy at least a dozen games.

    I'm not at all saying that there weren't go
    • "I'm not at all saying that there weren't good games made for the N64...but rather, the amount of "must-own" games was tragically small."

      Sadly, the same thing happened with Gamecube
      • by kyouteki (835576)
        Not only did it happen with the Gamecube, it was worse for the Gamecube. In fact, I think the only "Must-Own" game for the GCN is Super Smash Brothers Melee.
        • by freakboy9 (553277)
          For me, 'Eternal Darkness' and nothing else.
          SSBM was ok too, but it really required friends.. :)
        • by DeadChobi (740395)
          I really hate playing Smash Brothers. So for me, there were NO must-own games, though F-Zero GX was close. I have a feeling I'm going to be waiting several years for something I actually want to play to come out on the Wii. Something in the jRPG set that I can completely lose myself in for several days at a time.
        • by kisrael (134664)
          For Star Wars fans, it's Rogue Squadron: Rogue Leader
          Super Monkey Ball 2, Mario Kart:DD, PacMan Vs, WarioWare might be multiplayer "must haves"
          Metroid Prime comes close as well.
        • I don't have any mod points, but know I would have given you -1 flamebait.
        • by Ryan Amos (16972)
          I can think of at least one more: Metroid Prime. That game was unfailingly awesome. I bought my gamecube specifically for Metroid Prime and I don't regret it at all.
  • Meh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:40PM (#16234033) Homepage Journal
    The Press the Buttons blog has some additional commentary on Nintendo's first 'meh' console.

    I'm not following this sudden 'meh' comment. The N64 was a great machine with a lot of great games. Its only real failing was that it was bloody expensive due to its cartridge format. Nintendo still had a solid base going into the Gamecube. It's just too bad they pissed it away with a poor launch lineup, loss of third party support, and a rather small library of *good* games.

    Probably the biggest blow, however, was the loss of Rare and its properties. Rare carried the N64 with its Donkey Kong, Banjo & Kazooie, and Conqeror titles. Unfortunately, the loss was internal to Rare, so there wasn't much Nintendo could do other than unload it. :(
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Amalas (949415)
      I'm not following this sudden 'meh' comment. The N64 was a great machine with a lot of great games.
      I agree. The N64 was the first console I ever had and it was great! Ocarina was the first game I ever beat and I wasted sooo much time playing Goldeneye.

      I did finally trade in the 64 to get a Gamecube, but I believe I kept the Ocarina game for sentimental value. Or something.

      Anyway, how dare they call the N64 'meh'!
      • by powerlord (28156)
        I did finally trade in the 64 to get a Gamecube, but I believe I kept the Ocarina game for sentimental value. Or something.


        Understandable, I've still got my "Basic Programming" and "Codebreaker" cartridges from the Atari 2600 on my shelf ... ... ...

        Sorry, dozed off, must be time for my nap or something. :)
      • by Pope (17780)
        Hell, the N64 was my first console, and until I picked up a Vectrex last Spring, my only console.

        Did another 120 star Mario 64 over the summer, when it was too hot to do much else. Damn fun game.

        Off to start Perfect Dark for the 2nd time!
    • by Hercynium (237328)
      I'm not particularly enamored with the game selection for the N64, but it had one thing that has spoiled me for every console since - the controller.

      You know, the one that looked like the Batman logo... Maybe it's just me, but I found the control for games like Mario64, TLo Zelda *, StarFox64 and even GoldenEye to be superb.

      The PS* style controllers aren't all bad, but the analog sticks couldn't compare. I could never get the hang of the GameCube controller for some reason - I think it's the different sizes
      • Of course, I still pull out the ol' IntelliVision from time to time and have lots of fun - maybe I'm just getting old and inflexible...

        Space Spartans, Shark! Shark!, Beauty and the Beast, Space Battle, Utopia, Thin Ice, Burgertime, Happy Trails, Dreadnaught Factor... yeah, I could go on. What great games those were.

        Kudos on your taste in systems! Back in the day, that thing kicked the 2600 in the rear. Even now, it kicks the PS2 up between the ears. ;)

        • by NoseSocks (662467)
          And who could forget their many incarnations of "TRON", especially the one that used the voice expansion. I really liked "Minotaur" for the IntelliVision. Very challenging.
      • I maintain that the Goldeney/Perfect Dark control setup is the only one that is in any way intuitive on a console.

        Halo? Meh, after playing it for a couple hours, I could at least move like I wasn't a retarded toddler, but I still felt the baggage of the control system weighing me down. That one James Bond game on the PS2? Same problem. Any game on the N64 that was dumb enough not to use (or even to make available as an alternative) the G/PD button mapping? AWFUL, to the point that playing it was only w
    • by Loco3KGT (141999)
      a lot of great games? I remember getting the N64 for my 17th birthday - I got it with Mario and Cruis'n USA.

      I don't remember playing much of anything after that. 8 years later and now consider the N64 as the worst system I've ever owned on the account of lack of games worth playing. GoldenEye is pretty much the only game I remember ever playing that was actually fun.
      • Re:Meh? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Zardus (464755) <yans@yancomm.net> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @03:27PM (#16235033) Homepage Journal
        Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Turok: Rage Wars, Super Smash Bros, Jetforce Gemini, Bomberman 64, Mario Party. That's 10 absolutely amazing games for the N64. Some of them are unrivaled to this day by any current offerings (I have yet to play a console shooter that is as diverse and fun as Perfect Dark. The amount of weapons, levels, bots, options, etc in that game was staggering. Also, Bomberman 64 is the best bomberman game ever made and the only one worth playing, IMO). Some of these were only surpassed by sequels (Super Smash Bros), and many practically defined current/last-gen gaming.

        Although from that list, 8 of the titles had multiplayer play as one of their biggest features (sure, you could play Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, and Bomberman single-player, and we did, but a huge part of those games was playing with/against your friends), so if you didn't have many friends that played video games back then the N64 probably wasn't for you. Me and my brother had 3 or 4 friends over every weekend, and there would always be at least 4 of us crowding the N64. We played every multiplayer game on that list for hundreds of hours. Every group of friends I hung out at the time had and played the N64, and every gathering would see 4-player of some game or other. To us, the Playstation was a laughingstock. There was absolutely no value in it. Sure, you could sit alone playing FFVII or whatnot, or you could all hang out and have insane amounts of fun playing the N64. So, it was the N64 for us.

        I didn't even know that the PSX outsold the N64 until well into the Gamecube era. I started hearing that Sony won that generation and was very confused, because out of probably 15 or so people that we played games with regularly, only 2 had a playstation.

        Its the same with the Gamecube for me. I have no interest in most single-player games. The only exception to that this generation has been Mario Sunshine and Zelda Wind Waker. Those are my two single-player games. My multiplayer games are: Super Smash Bros Melee, Mario Kart Double Dash, Wario Ware, Zelda Four Swords, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, some Mario Parties, Monkey Ball, F-Zero GX, Pacman VS, and so on. All the gamecube is missing is a decent shooter (the closest I know of this generation on any console is Halo, but Halo pales in comparison with Perfect Dark, so we play Perfect Dark on the 64 instead).
        • by Zardus (464755)
          Starfox 64. I forgot Starfox 64. How could I forget Starfox 64?
        • by kisrael (134664)
          I'd even say Diddy Kong Racing is a match for Mario Kart...especially the battle modes, but it's also the only "fair" racer I've enjoyed.

          Battle Tanx: Global Assault is yet to be duplicated on any current or next gen system... I want my damn Tokyo-Wars like tank combat! (WDL:ThunderTanks blows)

          The original Rogue Squadron is great, as was Pokemon Puzzle League (albeit a rehash), Space Station Silicon Valley, and Blast Corps. And Mario Tennis.

          I need to repurchase Bomberman 64 I think.

          I think you should reconsi
          • by Zardus (464755)
            You know what? You're awesome. I had thought that PD's development talent and tech all died from neglect, but Time Splitters looks really good. I almost got it a while back, when there was a lot of hype about it coming out, but unfortunately I didn't. It does look very awesome from reading about it, and I think I'll try to pick it up later tonight. Thanks!

            Also, you're right on about Diddy Kong Racing. That's another game I forgot. Also Mario Tennis. I haven't played the others, though.
            • by kisrael (134664)
              Well, cool.

              It's only max 2 players, but the co-op story mode (or single player) is great fun, esp in 2 (3 gets a little complex)

              Blast Corp and SSSV are worth hunting down (the latter has a bug that sometimes makes it incompatible w/ the memory expansion... odd) But obviously YMMV so research first.
        • Agreed. The only multiplayer games on the Playstation that were worth playing, IMHO, were the two Bushido Blade games.

          Sort-of-realistic, one-hit-can-kill-or-cripple, Japanese-style sword duels? PERFECT for settling a long-running board game that everyone's sick of playing with (Risk and Diplomacy, especially).

          SSB, Goldeneye, and Perfect Dark defined that era of gaming for me, as far as consoles were concerned. Oh, and that one game with the post-apocalypic storyline and the Queen Lords, that played like
          • by jsebrech (525647)
            I pplayed a lot of bushido blade, but tekken 3 I felt was better crafted. It didn't have the "show" or sudden death factor of bushido blade, but I've never seen a martial arts combat game that had a better design when it came to character move variety and balance.
        • So many hours spent stoned with my friends after class playing Goldeneye or Mario Kart 64...ahh...the memories. Both were an intro to what would become LAN parties, except you only had to bring your controller for hours of enjoyment. I can't say I've really had that much fun with any other console. Taking turns with GTA just isn't the same.
        • I'll give you every other game on your list. And agree 100% with you about Perfect Dark vs Halo I & II. But Turok: Rage Wars? I & II were a lot more fun than Rage Wars... Rage wars was like playing Unreal Tournament on the 64. Never enjoyed it. What did you like about it so much?
          • by Zardus (464755)
            Mostly what I liked about it was that it was like playing UT on the N64 :-). I didn't really play any non-DOS games on the PC at that time, so I hadn't seen or heard of UT. RW was more fast-paced than PD, and a few of my friends who were too intimidated by PD for some reason were all for playing Rage Wars.

            Plus, there's something really funny about running around as the velociraptor while playing "catch the monkey" or whatever that mode is called.

            But yeah, I guess you're right. Had I played UT beforehand, I
        • by hal2814 (725639)
          Bomberman 64 is the devil. Bomberman and 3D don't mix. Bomberman 64's multiplayer was such a good idea that they don't make 3D multiplayer Bomberman anymore (Generations and Jetters were both 3D single and 2D multi). Satrun Bomberman is the best Bomberman game ever made. It's a shame hardly anyone ever got the chance to play it thanks to its platform and on top of that few people had two multitaps to witness Saturn Bomberman in all its 10 player glory.
      • Re:Meh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @03:33PM (#16235139) Homepage Journal
        I don't remember playing much of anything after that.


        *deep breath*

        Mario Party 1-3, Mario Kart 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong 64, BlastCorp, Diddy Kong Racing, Killer Instinct Gold, Banjo-Tooie, Wave Race 64, Mario Golf, Super Smash Bros., F-Zero X, Hydro Thunder, SF Rush, SF Rush 2049, and that's without even trying.

        You must have had your head stuck in the sand to not be able to find a good game, especially considering that the N64 had a much higher signal to noise ratio than the Playstation.
        • by Loco3KGT (141999)
          Apparently we've got different views on "great games" ...

          Donkey Kong? Killer Instinct Gold? Wave Race 64?

          I owned Donkey Kong, it wasn't that exciting. It was Mario with a monkey. KI was fun, and Wave Race were fun, but fun as in "$3 weekend rental" when there was nothing else going on and not $50 purchase.

          Of course, this is all subject to personal tastes and such.
          • KI and Wave Race were a lot more fun if you had company over. I had quite a few siblings to play with, so we got a lot more enjoyment out of these titles. Even so, there was still no excuse for not being able to find a fun N64 game. Half those games on the list (e.g. Zelda, StarFox, BlastCorp, Banjo, etc.) are excellent single player titles. :)
        • by zerocool^ (112121)

          Ok, two quick things.

          1.) My brother and I had an N64. It was fun at the time to play golden eye. However, be honest with yourself. These games largely are not fun anymore. The console gaming world was new to 3-D, and most of the play control (I'm looking at you, Mario64) is just abysmal (wait, I was running forward, and now the camera autoswitched and I ran off the cliff to the left...).

          The controller was wonky. The games yes were 3-D but even by standards a year or two after launch looked terrible (co
          • However, be honest with yourself. These games largely are not fun anymore.

            Speak for yourself. I still think Mario 64 is fun, I still love Mario Party, and I still think Goldeneye is cool. Yes, I have played them recently, so I'm basing this on more than feel-good memories.

            The games yes were 3-D but even by standards a year or two after launch looked terrible

            Um, the Playstation looked worse, so I'm not sure what your point is. The games were what they were for their generation. I can go back and laugh at the

        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          KI gold was a steaming piece of crap, and that was sad because KI was an awesome game.
    • by nomadic (141991)
      Its only real failing was that it was bloody expensive due to its cartridge format. Nintendo still had a solid base going into the Gamecube. It's just too bad they pissed it away with a poor launch lineup, loss of third party support, and a rather small library of *good* games.

      Nintendo deserved their loss of dominance, and it has less to do with the games and more to do with Nintendo's bizarre reluctance to develop new systems. Nintendo execs dragged their feet in every console generation; SNES, N64, Ga
  • by skyshock21 (764958) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:44PM (#16234135)
    Conker's Bad Fur Day was the best game ever for the 64. It'd be great if they did an update on it for the Wii.
    • by ScislaC (827506)
      Rare actually owns the IP rights for Conker. Unfortunately, a few years ago Microsoft bought Rare and with it they got the Conker's franchise... and they released a visually updated (and slightly less challenging) version of the same game from the N64 on the XBOX. For note, there were a couple changes from the N64 to XBOX version but mostly it was in multi-player.
      • The XBox version of the game also has more censored profanity and other gross little things. In the end, the N64 version was more adult-rated than the XBox version.


        This was a pretty rare thing because usually Nintendo has the tightest censorship issues, and the lack of censorship is in part what has sold so many XBoxes.

      • and they released a visually updated (and slightly less challenging) version of the same game from the N64 on the XBOX.

        Admittedly I haven't played through the entire game yet, but it seems to me that the gratuitous sprinkling of those fookin' spikey barrel guys throughout the game--not to mention the changes that keep the camera close to and behind Conker more than previously--make Conker: Reloaded MORE challenging than the original, rather than less.

        • by kisrael (134664)
          At least one place... swimming through the dangerous spinning blades... each MUCH much easier with the ability to place the camera so that it's essentially parallel to the line of the blades. Much less floating bloody squirrel meat chum in the water...

          Still, the voice acting remained absolutely horrendous. Conker mugs like the boys in my middle school drama club.
  • Goldeneye, Starfox, Smash Bros, Mario, Mario Kart, Star Wars Pod Racer, the two zelda games, the other star wars game that was good yet I can't remember the name of. It wasn't that there weren't great games, there simply weren't games falling from the sky like rain.

    It wasn't a 'meh' console, it was simply one that had had quality and not quantity. I'd still play mine if the controllers weren't prone to get that wobbly joystick feeling after almost no time. I guess that's my only complaint, the controll

    • the other star wars game that was good yet I can't remember the name of

      Shadows of the Empire? Good thing they opened with a flightsim level or I'd never have bought it. The Hoth and Asteroid Field levels were fun, but the third-person levels had awful play control. They eventually got it right with Starfighter and Jedi Starfighter on PS2, though.
    • I'd still play mine if the controllers weren't prone to get that wobbly joystick feeling after almost no time. I guess that's my only complaint, the controllers sucked in terms of quality.

      My friends and I still play Mario Kart 64 everyday on our projector. We even have the gaycube version, but never play it. It is one of the greatest games ever, but you are correct about the joysticks... we have about 8 controlls, 5 are so warn down they are the "handicap or marioparty controllers"

      I really hope the Wii

    • PS vs N64 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bussdriver (620565) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:17PM (#16238001)
      PS: 50+ copied games
      played 8 of them
      replayed 3
      heavily played 1

      N64: 12 games, many rented
      played 11
      replayed 9
      heavily played 3

      The best game of the period, Mario Kart 64:
      Priceless.
  • Will any game ever be better than F1 World Grand Prix? I seriously doubt it. If there is a better game in existence, it's probably GoldenEye, or Ocarina. The N64 kicked ass.

    oh, and by the way, does anyone else here prefer the cartridge format? No danger of scratches, quick load-times, generally a physically strong media.

    With today's cheap and expansive flash memory, shouldn't someone be thinking about bringing cartridges back? Surely 1-2GB is enough for passably good graphics
    • by reanjr (588767)
      Still too expensive. Think of how much a 2GB flash costs compared to a DVD and what kind of profit margins the company would be looking at.

      Also, optical media doesn't have to be slow loading, they just need to write better code and organize their data better. As an example, Load up either of the Metroid games and see how blazingly fast they load. You can also test load times for areas by timing how long a door takes to open after you shoot it. Except for the very large rooms, it's near instantaneous.

      Son
      • by Com2Kid (142006)

        Still too expensive. Think of how much a 2GB flash costs compared to a DVD and what kind of profit margins the company would be looking at.

        Think of what flash readers cost, and think of how much they would be saving... Sony is dishing out $250 for that bluray drive, ouch. Flash readers cost what, a few bucks?

        Assuming flash costs an extra $20 per game (and I imagine it is not that high, I don't know what the production cost for bluray discs is, especially if you take into consideration the cost of ramping

      • by grapeape (137008)
        The local Microcenter here sells 1gig flash drives and 1 gig sd for $15.00 now they are impulse items at the registers, if they can sell them for that you know the cost of the memory itself is pretty minimal. Most games are still under a gig but I would be more than willing to pay the extra $20-30 in media costs for the durability of a cartridge.
    • With today's cheap and expansive flash memory, shouldn't someone be thinking about bringing cartridges back?

      The Nintendo DS handheld video game system takes DS Game Cards for official games and, with an adapter that sits in the GBA slot, CompactFlash or Secure Digital cards for homebrew games.

  • My favorite game for the N64 was also the same one that I worked on at Infogrames (now Atari): Duck Dodgers! I went on to be a lead testers for multiple titles on the GameCube and GameBoy Advance since Nintendo wasn't cool to PS2/XBox jockies. Love Nintendo but they were a pain in the ass to work for since a lot of their stuff was documented and you had to learn from past mistakes to know what's official and what isn't.
  • I really thought the N64 was a fun system. For many years I got a game for my birthday and a game for christmas, and built up a pretty decent library. Honestly, I can't say that the single player was worth repeating in many of those games. But, the multiplayer almost always shined, at least with the games I bought. Mario Kart, Goldeneye, Smash Brothers, Starfox, Perfect Dark, and more were just really, really fun when you could get lots people to play with you, which was easy for me since I had 3 siblin
    • by Eccles (932)
      Still own one? heck, I still sell N64 cartridges. Buying low and selling high, you can make a profit off of them even with shipping included. Then again, the same is true of Pokemon DVDs, so one man's trash...
    • Harvest Moon wasn't a great game, but it was intresting.

      You know that there was a Harvest Moon game on the SNES, right?

      It was the kind of game you'd never buy if you saw it on the shelf at the store, but if a friend had you try it out, you'd only realize what you were doing hours later, after you'd wasted all that time trying to get with one of those 4 town girls and weeding your fucking in-game garden. You'd feel disgusted with yourself, and stop.

      Man, I still get urges to fire up that game in an emulator

  • by TibbonZero (571809) <Tibbon.gmail@com> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @03:01PM (#16234525) Homepage Journal
    I'd say that Nintendo's first released flop was the Virtual Boy. It wasn't quite portable, but it wasn't quite a home VR system either. Sales were horrible, people had headaches, and games all in red just look bad!

    I personally think that the N64 was pretty darn good! Mario 64 was great, as were the Zelda games. Ok, it wasn't a huge library of tons and tons of games, but quite a few were very high quality. Nintendo was thinking outside the box a bit with Smash Bros, and started on the 'party game' thing again, something that Sony only got a bit of with DDR and guitar hero, and MSFT has been left out mostly on IMHO. Sure Sony/MSFT can put out a lot of pretty games, but nintendo makes just fun ones that still are fun, and to my eyes don't look that dated, as they weren't made to be 'the super pretty hyper-realistic games'. They were meant to be fun. There's a reason that I still have a 8 bit, and 16 bit nintendo sitting around, AND two game boy advances. I also have a PS2, but I don't have an Xbox/Xbox 360, or a PS1. Nor will I have a PSP, etc. I just want fun games.

    Of course Nintendo's first super stupid major flop, was the falling out with Sony while developing the PS1.
    • by VirionNW (936737)
      Oh geez, the Virtual Boy, I forgot I even had that! I agree, it was their first seriously heavy flop. If they had held out a year or two to either develop a color system or reduce it's size things might have been different. I don't regret buying one, but I wish I had held out for a few more months when everything dropped in price as stores tried to dump their surplus inventory (and had some surplus income to hunt down those few games that existed state-side for the system, there were around 20 right?) A si
  • I got my NES with my paper route money as soon as it came out and could afford it. As a kid I loved Zelda and company. The Super NES came out when I was in High School but I was too busy spending my money on other things to purchase that. While I was in the Marines the Play Station came out and I was seriously impressed. Still I had my loyalty with Nintendo and bought the N64. I regretted that. While there were some mature games it seemed to me that Nintendo was focused on saving the princess type gam
    • by revlayle (964221)
      So, 30 year-olds require games NOT saving princesses and fighting koopas and anything similar to the ilk? I'm 35, and I still enjoying doing it... and shooting colored balls on a track, and making headshots in an FPS, and console and hard-core RPGs, and party games, and dance games, and rolling a ball around and sticking everything i can to it, and jumping on things, and 2D as well as 3d games, and.. and.. it goes on.

      Just because one has reached an "older" age doesn't mean the taste in certain game types
    • by DarkJC (810888)
      This isn't meant to be an insult, but this post is dead in line with the "mature + blood and gore = good game" school of thought. I just found it amusing that you so closely mirror the stereotype of the "only blood and gore is good" school of thought. Not that there's anythign wrong with that, to each their own...personally I thought Ocarina of Time was one of the best games I've ever played, if not the best. In fact, most of my "best game ever" memories are from the era of the N64.
    • by Millennium (2451)
      If you're so enslaved to your hormones that you can't be entertained by content that isn't "mature", then you are not mature enough to handle such content. Real maturity is when you realize that "maturity" isn't everything.
    • I am 41 and in the past I have spent all night playing Doom, DoomII, and other FPS with friends on a network.
      Frankly I love fun games now. Mario Kart Double Dash is great fun with my wife. If you want hard core Pick up Resident Evil for the GC.
      The GC is lacking a good racing game but over all the quality of GC games really impresses me. I don't think they are lacking compared to my PS/2.
      I can hardly wait for the Wii. I might get a 360 after a price drop and them maybe a PS/3 when they come down in price and
  • Ahh, nostalgia. (Score:2, Interesting)

    Has it really been 10 years since I was in college? Wow.

    I remember the day the N64 came out, my roommates and I rented one (and Mario,) and played Mario non-stop until we finished it. Different roommates would take over as others had to go to classes. But we finally finished it. Four days later. We played through the night, a few of us even skipping a class or two. That game was played for about 96 hours straight. It was cool.

    Hopefully Wii can bring back that feeling.
    • N64's Secret Gem (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      With the possible exception of Pong - Nintendo has ruled console Tennis games with an iron fist. First was Super Tennis for the SuperNes - still the best tennis game around - followed by N64 Mario Tennis. Not that anybody has really noticed seeing as Tennis games are just so rabidly popular... I have played just about every console tennis game (it's a quirk of mine) and I can honestly say that most developers forget to include gameplay (especially H2H) in their game design.

      Hats of to the Big N for their
      • Virtua Tennis [gamespot.com] anyone?

        This is not to say that the N64 didn't have plenty of must have games. Zelda and Goldeneye make the console worth owning all by themselves, and there are plenty of other good ones (Banjo Kazooie, Wave Race, Conker's BFD, Paper Mario, etc)

        With the possible exception of Pong - Nintendo has ruled console Tennis games with an iron fist. First was Super Tennis for the SuperNes - still the best tennis game around - followed by N64 Mario Tennis. Not that anybody has really noticed seeing

  • N64! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @03:28PM (#16235063) Journal
    Brilliant, I got mine with Goldeneye, a fantastic game and still the gold standard for FPSs, Then there was Zelda:OoT, a perfect game, stunning in every way, then Majora's mask - even better. The best game ever. In fact it was one of the best systems I've ever owned, and my first downloads on the wii back game system will be n64 games.

    Simply stunning, no room for "meh"
    • by AsnFkr (545033)
      Sorry, Majora's mask is unplayable man. Time limits in Zelda games are horrid.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by scot4875 (542869)
        The entire point of the game was the 3 day 'cutoff'! It was an absolutely brilliant device that added a ton of urgency to the game.

        That said, the so-called "time limit" wasn't even much of a factor for most things. It was mainly used for repeating certain events so that you can figure out peoples schedules, and get some of the optional masks or heart pieces. Did you miss an event? Oops, reset the timer, fast-forward to where you want to be, and do it again. 30 seconds lost.

        My guess is that you never ev
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Speed Demos Archive [speeddemosarchive.com] has just posted a new run of Mario 64 that collects all of the game's stars in about 2 hours and 10 minutes. How long did it take you when you first played the game 10 years ago?
  • Paper Mario was a huge game - with a lot of play time. My kids got me hooked on it...how come none of you have mentioned it?
  • by LeglessMoof (605697) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @04:12PM (#16235881)
    N64 was my first console ever, and also my last (although I am considering buying a Wii). I played my fair share of games for SNES, GameCube, and PlayStation 2 at friends' houses but I never owned any of those systems. I bought the N64 a couple weeks after launch. As I was only 12 at the time, my friend and I pooled our money together to buy one and he had to trade in his SNES. (Eventually we pooled our money to buy a 2nd one so we each had one.)

    So perhaps I am a bit biased in my opinion, but I always thought N64 was an underrated system. Who could forget such great games as:

    Super Mario 64
    Starfox 64
    Goldeneye 007
    Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    Super Smash Bros.
    Donkey Kong 64
    Mario Kart 64
    Perfect Dark
    Turok: Dinosaur Hunter

    I also got many hours of enjoyment out of the following games, even though most people considered them to be mediocre:

    Mario Party 3
    Mario Tennis
    Waverace 64
    Blast Corps
    Gauntlet Legends
    Diddy Kong Racing
    Misson: Impossible
    NFL Blitz
    Quest 64

    With the exception of NFL Blitz and Gauntlet Legends, all of those titles were exclusive to N64. In the past 10 years, I have only seen 4 non-PC games that would make me want to give up my N64 for a different console:

    Guitar Hero (PS2)
    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)
    Super Smash Bros Melee (GameCube)
    Mario Party 7 (GameCube)

    I am not going to deny that there weren't other good console games out there, but I certainly wasn't exposed to them....
    • Jet Force Gemini is missing!
      Has to be one of the most enjoyable games I've ever played. And I completed every inch of it. Ugh.
    • Blast Corps was much better than mediocre :P

      It was a fun, challenging combination of a puzzle game and a driving game. Learning all the individual car mechanics was a blast. The whole concept behind the game was just great. And then there were the moon levels, and the additional levels, and all that kind of stuff... lots to keep you busy, hehe.

      I'd buy an updated version in a heartbeat.
  • Sure, Tony Hawk (1 & 2) didn't come out on the N64 first, but they sure looked better than on the PSX. Other games that ruled were Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire and all the THQ WCW and WWF wrestling games (No Mercy, Wrestlemania 2000, and etc).
  • I read once on Gamespot that Nintendo was considering either a voodoo or powerVR based console. Voodoo was bcked by Nintendo America, and powerVR was backed by Nintendo Japan. The N64 was powerVR based, and subsequently did not benifit from the heavy development that the voodoo got.

    I wonder how much say Nintendo America has in the hardware for the Revolution (Wii) because of that.

  • ..but I'm buying a Wii sometime in the future. The N64 was a flop, almost like the Dreamcast. Both had their pleasant moments, and I personally prefer the Dreamcast because of its superior graphics and plethora of side-scrolling shoot 'em ups. Shenmue > Zelda IMHO, and as for Perfect Dark and Goldeneye they were stellar in their day, but I really don't see myself playing either in an emulator. So many better FPS's are already out there so why the bother. Oh and Turok was hardly groundbreaking. Pretty at
  • That should be enough to put the N64 on a pedestal forever. I haven't seen anything like it since.
  • Innovation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by marshallh (947020) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @07:03PM (#16238603)
    This article seems to miss the point that the N64 introduced a number of new things that Sony shamelessly copied - take the Rumble Pak and analog stick for example.

    The games are different from the PSX - Mostly "meh" titles, and maybe a dozen games that were to die for.

    I'm currently developing homebrew for the N64, and from a hardware standpoint, the design is very forward-looking. The RCP 3d coproccessor was fully upgradable - the game transferred microcode to the RCP to tell it how to draw polygons, for example. This was a very sensible design choice - as Nintendo optimized their Fast3D microcode, you got better speed in the game you were developing.
    Unfortunately, Nintendo neutralized that advantage by not making microcode tools available until it was too late - some developers did some amazing things by writing their own microcode (Boss Games, and Rare for example)
    It was a pretty solid design, the only glaring limitation I can think of is the small (4KB) texture cache and high memory latency (making the N64 fill rate limited, instead of polygon limited.)

    It's a shame Nintendo didn't make it easier to develop for - it seems they kinda pulled a Sega with it, and lost some 3rd party support. In any case, it's quite an adventure to learn about.
  • I still disagree. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by justchris (802302) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:04PM (#16239831) Homepage
    I had both a PS1 and an n64. The n64 clearly had more rally good games than the PS1 did. The PS1 just had more games, and, specifically, it hard RPGs and Racing games, something the n64 significantly lacked. I don't actually like racing sim type games (I prefer arcade style racers), so half of that issue never bothered me.

    To this date, I think the n64 is probably the console I had the most fun with. The quality of the games was superb. PS1 was great fora single player experience, but I was still in university at the time, in a house full of roommates, so the n64 got at least 20x the play time of the PS1.

    There were genres that were invented on the n64, as well as techniques that redefined existing genre's. There still has not be an FPS on any console that compares to Goldeneye or Perfect Dark, either one. This is not nostalgia speaking, I still play these games occasionally. For all the framerate issues and decreased graphics, they are just that good.

    In some ways, I think GC was more disappointing. It hasn't produced nearly as much that has invigorated console gaming. All the innovation and newness has been on the PS2, with GC and Xbox presenting a lot of the same old, same old. Of course, I suppose that's to be expected, the PS philosophy is to keep throwing rice at the wall, and eventually something will stick.

    And now, in handhelds, the DS is doing what the n64 and PS2 did before it, it remains to be seen which of the 3 upcoming (or 2 upcoming +1 existing) consoles will actually move videogaming forward.

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