Holiday Notice

Hello everyone. We are shortly moving to a new, bigger premises so website ordering will be closed for the next month while we move everything to our new building, reorganise and do a full stock take. We will be open again at the start of November. Many thanks. Console Passion

Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64, commonly called the N64, is Nintendo's third home video game console. The N64 was released on June 23, 1996 in Japan, September 29, 1996 in North America and Puerto Rico, 1 March 1997 in Europe/Australia and September 1, 1997 in France. It was released with only two launch games in Japan and North America (Super Mario 64 and PilotWings 64) while Europe had a third launch title in the form of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (which was released earlier in the other markets). The Nintendo 64 cost $199 at launch in the United States.

The N64 was first publicly introduced on November 24, 1995 as the Nintendo Ultra 64 at the 7th Annual Shoshinkai Software Exhibition in Japan (though preview pictures from the Nintendo "Project Reality" console had been published in American magazines as early as June, 1993). The first published photos from the event were presented on the web via coverage by Game Zero magazine two days after the event. Official coverage by Nintendo soon followed a few weeks later on the nascent Nintendo Power website, and then in volume #85 of their print magazine.

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During the developmental stages the Nintendo 64 was referred to by its code name, Project Reality. The name Project Reality came from the speculation within Nintendo that this console could produce CGI on par with then-current supercomputers. Once unveiled to the public the name changed to Nintendo Ultra 64, referring to its 64-bit processor, and Nintendo dropped "Ultra" from the name on February 1, 1996, just five months before its Japanese debut due to the word "Ultra" being copyrighted to another company.

After first announcing the project, two companies, Rareware (UK) and Midway (USA), created the arcade games Killer Instinct and Cruis'n USA which claimed to use the Ultra 64 hardware. In fact, the hardware had nothing to do with what was finally released; the arcade games used hard drives and TMS processors. Killer Instinct was the most advanced game of its time graphically, featuring pre-rendered movie backgrounds which were streamed off the hard drive and animated as the characters moved horizontally.

Nintendo touted many of the system's more unusual features as groundbreaking and innovative, but many of these features had in fact been implemented before. The first game console to bill itself as "64-bit" was actually the Atari Jaguar (although the truth of this is disputed, as the Jaguar merely had two 32-bit processors- albeit its graphics processor was 64-bit). The Vectrex in fact had introduced analog joysticks, while the first to feature four controller ports was the Bally Astrocade. Regardless, the Nintendo 64 was the first popular system to have these features.

The system was designed by Silicon Graphics Inc., and features their trademark dithered 32-bit graphics. The early N64 development system was an SGI Indy equipped with an add-on board that contained a full N64 system.

The Nintendo 64 was the last mainstream home video game console to use ROM cartridges to store its games. (Although the last real cartridge based system to have still continued production was SNK's Neo Geo MVS hardware until 2003) Nintendo's choice had several advantages:

 

  • ROM cartridges have very fast load times in comparison to disc based games. This can be observed from the loading screens that appear in many PlayStation games but are virtually non-existent in N64 versions.
  • ROM cartridges are difficult and expensive to duplicate, thus resisting piracy (albeit at the expense of lowered profit margin for Nintendo). While unauthorized interface devices for the PC were later developed, these devices are rare when compared to a regular CD drive as used on the PlayStation.
  • It is possible to add specialized support chips (such as coprocessors) to ROM cartridges, as was done on some Super Nintendo games.
  • 4. Most cartridges store individual profiles and game progress on the cartridge itself, eliminating the need for separate and expensive memory cards. Storing data at first required a cartridge battery whose energy would diminish over time, though the battery generally lasted for years, and in subsequent games EEPROMs were used instead.

 

While Nintendo chose the cartridge format for the N64, the company originally signed a contract with Sony in 1988 to develop a CD-ROM drive add-on for the SNES. When Hiroshi Yamauchi read the (already signed by Nintendo) original 1988 contract between Sony and Nintendo and learned that it allowed Sony 25% of the profits from the machine, he was furious. He deemed the contract totally unacceptable, and secretly cancelled all plans for a joint Nintendo-Sony SNES CD attachment. Indeed, instead of announcing their partnership, at 9 AM the day of the CES, Nintendo chairman Howard Lincoln stepped onto the stage and revealed that they were now allied with Phillips, and were planning on abandoning all the previous work Nintendo and Sony had accomplished. Lincoln and Minoru Arakawa had (unbeknownst to Sony) flown to Phillips headquarters in Europe and formed an alliance.

In addition to the CD-ROM add on, Sony would release a combination Super NES/CD-ROM system in one unit, which would have been called the PlayStation. Initially, Nintendo's abandonment of the joint project caused Sony to consider halting their research, but ultimately the company decided to use what they had developed so far and make it into a complete, stand alone console. This led to Nintendo filing a lawsuit claiming breach of contract and attempted, in U.S. federal court, to obtain an injunction against the release of the PlayStation, on the grounds that Nintendo owned the name. The federal judge presiding over the case denied the injunction.

Graphically, benefits of the Nintendo cartridge system were mixed. While N64 games generally had higher polygon counts, the limited storage size of ROM carts limited the amount of available textures, resulting in games which had a plain and flat-shaded look. Later cartridges such as Resident Evil 2 featured more ROM space, which demonstrated that Nintendo 64 was capable of detailed in-game graphics when the media permitted, but this performance came late in the console war and at a high price.

At that time, competing systems from Sony and Sega (the PlayStation and Saturn, respectively) were using CD-ROM discs to store their games. These discs are much cheaper to manufacture and distribute, resulting in lower costs to third party game publishers. As a result many game developers which had traditionally supported Nintendo game consoles were now developing games for the competition because of the higher profit margins found on CD based platforms.

The cartridge vs. disc debate came to an infamous climax during the release of Final Fantasy VII. Despite the fact that all six previous Final Fantasy games had been published on Nintendo systems, the series' producer, Squaresoft, chose to release Final Fantasy VII on the Sony PlayStation. This incident provided a highly-publicized denunciation of Nintendo's cartridge-based system which caused negative publicity for Nintendo. The incident also led to Square and Nintendo not working together on a project until Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles was released on the Nintendo Gamecube in 2004.

The cost of producing an N64 cartridge was far higher than producing a CD: one gaming magazine at the time cited average costs of twenty-five dollars per cartridge, versus 10 cents per CD. Publishers had to pass these higher expenses to the consumer so Nintendo 64 games tended to sell for slightly higher prices than PlayStation games did. While most PlayStation games rarely exceeded $50, N64 titles could reach $80.

Despite the controversies, the N64 still managed to support many popular games, giving it a long life run. Nintendo 64 took second place for its generation of consoles while the PlayStation finished first, with 40% and 51% of the market respectively. Much of this success was credited to Nintendo's strong first-party franchises, such as Mario and Zelda, which had strong name brand appeal yet appeared exclusively on Nintendo platforms. The N64 also secured its share of the mature audience thanks to GoldenEye 007, Resident Evil 2, Shadow Man, Doom 64 and Quake II.

In 2001, the Nintendo 64 was replaced by the disc-based Nintendo GameCube, although even with this system they refused to use mainstream CD/DVD technology, opting for the DVD-based but incompatible GameCube Optical Disc. The Nintendo Revolution uses "12 cm discs" for storage, which are just encrypted DVDs, thus making it the first Nintendo console to use a standardized storage format.

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Nagano Winter Olympics 98

Box: 
yes
£8.00
Manual: 
yes
£8.00

Join the biggest sporting event in the World with Konami's official video game of the 1998 Winter Olympics. For the first time ever, utilising the awesome power of the Nintendo 64, there's 12 events presented in super realistic detail. Up to four players can challenge the worlds best athletes in high octane sports. If you want to grab the Gold you'll need more than super fast fingers; a true champion knows the value of speed, timing and rhythm.

NBA Hangtime

Box: 
yes
£0.00
Manual: 
yes
£0.00

Hang on for the time of your life! Sour through the air and slam one home against the big boys! This game rocks with special moves, burning hoops and high flying double dunks. All 29 NBA teams represented with 5 man rosters. Unique features include team fire, alley oops, double dunks and spin moves! Secret codes enable hidden characters, arenas and options.

Mario Tennis

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Box: 
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£28.00
Manual: 
yes
£28.00

It's time for the Nintendo All-Stars. to hit the court in this multiplayer tennis game. The fast paced action of this title will have you unleashing vicious volleys and super charged smashes!

Michael Owens WLS 2000

Box: 
yes
£8.00
Manual: 
yes
£8.00

The young England star has spent many hours making sure that this game matches his own insatiable appetite for perfection, including spending hours being motion captured for that added realism. An incredible array of special touches, stunning hi-res graphics, towering stadiums and perfectly tuned computer controlled players make this game as enjoyable and challenging as winning the FA Cup.

Mario Golf

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Box: 
yes
£22.00
Manual: 
yes
£22.00

Get into the swing in the most hilarious Golf Simulation you have ever played! MARIO GOLF is the ultimate party game with all your favourite Nintendo All-Stars! Ten different play modes and six dream courses. Fourteen different characters, among them Mario, Bowser and Yoshi! Authentic Golf fun for up to four players.

Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside

Facebook
Box: 
yes
£16.00
Manual: 
yes
£16.00

Raise the roof with the NBA's newest superstar with Kobe Bryant in NBA courtside. Run your offense, set picks and slam home alley-oops. Rattle your rivals by double teaming playmakers, intercepting passes and blocking shots. Court jamming moves include high-flying dunks, crossover dribbles and no-look passes. Take on up to three friends and show 'em who's boss with your smooth hardwood style!

Madden 64

Facebook
Box: 
yes
£10.00
Manual: 
no
£10.00

Madden Football 64 - the next generation of sports gaming. Pure texture mapped 3D polygon graphics. Over 5000 frames of animation. Multiple 3D camera angles. Liquid AI based on real playbooks and schemes offenses and defences, adjust on the fly. Depth Chart. 1997 NFPLA Rosters, Fantasy Draft - one to eight players create custom teams. Madden & Summerall call the action.

International Track and Field - Summer Games

Box: 
yes
£12.00
Manual: 
yes
£12.00

Pure adrenaline. Go for gold with the only Track & Field title for the Nintendo 64. Lightening fast gameplay for up to four players. Over a dozen gruelling international events, from weightlifting, to gymnastics, to the 100M dash. It doesn't just look like a champ it competes like one too.

Knockout Kings 2000

Facebook
Box: 
yes
£20.00
Manual: 
yes
£20.00

Get it on with the greatest. The greatest boxer of all time Muhamed Ali, plus Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield ¹ 25 of the worlds greatest fighters ever! Wembly Arena, Caesars Palace, the Collisium ¹ the worlds greatest arenas and gyms. Interactive training, career mode, enhanced create a boxer feature

International Superstar Soccer 64

Box: 
yes
£10.00
Manual: 
yes
£10.00

Ger ready for the best football action the world has seen. Get ready to take control of 36 international squads with recognisable star players. Get ready for the most awesome graphics, with over 18,000 motion captured actions, blended with full running commentary. Get ready for every conceivable move from one-two passes to beautiful overhead kicks. Get ready for International Superstar Soccer 64.

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