Remembering and honoring the past is the only way for us to understand and respect what needs to happen in the future. While that sounds philosophical, considering this is about a video game console, the phrase applies. Looking back at past consoles and how they did, for better or worse, and then looking at how those same developers can do things better in the future is vital. Today, we’re talking about the Nintendo 64, which has celebrated its 27th anniversary! The console is a favorite amongst many fans, and it’s a key part of Nintendo history in many respects.
For example, the console was built to be the first one that could truly handle 3D graphics on a large scale. That’s why it’s called the N64,” because of the processing unit that would allow game developers to create in the 64-bit space. Previously, certain consoles could attempt to do 3D graphics, but it was only in small ways, and it wouldn’t reach what this system could.
Arguably, what fans remember most about the N64 were the video games that helped define it. After all, there are numerous legendary titles that this system had that are still revered to this day. The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, Super Mario 64, Super Smash Bros, Donkey Kong 64, Goldeneye, and more helped make this one of the most legendary systems possible.
It also helped that the system was the first to let four people play on one system at the same time. That helped immensely with the numerous multiplayer titles the system proudly boasted, including the first three entries in the Mario Party series. A trilogy that many uphold as the “best times” for the franchise.
The twist, or irony, if you will, is that while the Nintendo 64 was great in many respects, it was also a major turning point for Nintendo in a bad way. It was during this console generation that Sony stepped up and released their PlayStation 1, and that would go on to win the generation with its superior graphics and potential. Then, in the following generation, Nintendo would follow Sony’s example and drop cartridges to do discs for gaming as that was the “superior format.”
However, fast forward a few extra generations, and you’ll see how the cartridges returned for the Nintendo Switch era, a system that has dominated since its launch.
No matter what, the N64 holds a special place in gaming history, and it’s important to remember that.