What is MyMedia Games Network Retrospective?
Before we get started I though I would fill you in with what’s going on here, MyMedia Games Network Retrospective will be a regular feature that will take a look at various video game systems and accessories from the past, this maybe a trip down memory lane for some people or a history lesson for others. Over time many companies have contributed to the video game industry in their own way, whether it be a evolutionary step forward for others to follow, or a prime example of what not to do, so with that said lets take a peek into the past.
Each week Nintendo Wii owners wait in anticipation for the next crop of Virtual console titles to appear with many hoping for Nintendo 64 titles to emerge, although Nintendo seem to be drip feeding them to us recently, and even though they hold the highest price tag out of all the games available we still desire them, is this because the Nintendo 64 titles are graphically superior to anything else we can download form virtual console or is it because the Nintendo 64 title library holds many unforgettable classics?
What and When
The Nintendo 64 is the result of Silicon Graphics and MIPS Technologies working together to produce a low cost SGI-based system destined for the home console market, originally rejected by Sega’s hardware team but snapped up by Nintendo, this technology along with other supporting hardware is what makes the cartridge based system tick. It was a gutsy choice on Nintendo’s behalf deciding to continue with the cartridge format when the competition at the time has opted for the CD-ROM storage medium, so N64 games were restricted by storage capacity and increased production costs, but benefited from super fast load times and the difficulty of illegal reproductions.
Many casing variations were released.
Nintendo first announced their new up and coming console in 1994 as the Ultra 64 backed by strong software support from Rareware and Midway, and some may even remember the arcade versions of Cruis’n USA and Killer Instinct sporting the Ultra 64 logo and claiming that the same architecture in the arcade unit was what we would be expected in Nintendo’s next console but there were major differences between the two. So while Cruis’n USA and Killer Instinct were still gobbling up coins in the arcades the lucky people in Japan got to experience the newly renamed Nintendo 64 console in the comfort of their homes in June 1996, and released a few moths later the USA, followed by the PAL versions in the first quarter of 1997.
Nintendo surprised us all with their bizarre controller design although it wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing controller, there was logic behind Nintendo’s madness. With the N64 controller having three so grips you could comfortably grasp it in various ways depending on what style of game you were playing, Nintendo integrated both digital and analog controllers (which has become a standard with later released video game systems), with the analog stick working well with games that have you immersed in a 3D environment.
There’s a six button layout on the front of the controller, four of those buttons are "C buttons" which work well for changing viewing angles on games that require it, a “Z” button below the analog stick that can simulate a trigger action, along with the traditional shoulder buttons.
Even though game progression information can be stored on the game cartridges the N64 controller has an expansion port for the use of memory cards for larger files or data transfer, not only can it support memory cards you can add an extra dimension of gameplay by using the N64 rumble pak to feel those crashes and kicks. The icing on the cake for this system was that four controller ports were built in as standard.
N64 Controller pak and Rumble Pak
Even though the Nintendo 64 didn’t have a massive library of games when compared to the Playstation, it did make up for that with unforgettable quality titles, some of these are available for download for the Wii via the shopping channel. Below is hand full of the more notable titles.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Game Detail
Super Mario 64 Game Detail
System Specs and Media
For those that have to know all the numbers and details here’s the list.
- CPU: 64-bit R4300i RISC (93.75MHz) / 64-bit data paths, registers with 5-stage pipelining
- Co-processor: 64-bit RISC (62.5MHz)
- RAM: 4MB (36Mb) upgradeable
- Graphics: Pixel Drawing Processor (RDP) built into co-processor
- Colors: 16.7 million (32,000 on screen)
- Polygons: 150,000 per second
- Resolution: 640x480 pixels
- Sound: 16 to 24-channel 16-bit stereo (up to 100 PCM channels possible)
An extra 4MB of RAM could be added to the N64 for titles that required it
Silicon Graphics Tech Demos
A compilation on N64 commercials