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Nintendo 64
N64
Production Credits
Developer(s)

Nintendo IRD

Manufacturer(s)

Nintendo
Foxconn

Distribution
Release Date

JP June 23, 1996[1]
NA September 29, 1996[1]
EU March 1, 1997[1]
AUS March 1, 1997[1]

Discontinued


JP April 30, 2002
NA November 30, 2003
EU May 16, 2003
AUS 2003

Unit(s) sold

Worldwide: 32.93 million[2]
Japan: 5.54 million
Americas: 20.63 million
Europe & Australia: 6.75 million

Best selling game

Super Mario 64, 11.62 million (as of May 21, 2003)[3]

Platform

Video game console

Media

Nintendo 64 Game Pak
Magnetic disc (64DD)

Graphics

SGI RCP @ 62.5 MHz

CPU

64-bit NEC VR4300 @ 93.75 MHz

Storage

64 MB Game Pak, 256 Kb (32 KB) Controller Pak for game saves

Controller input

Nintendo 64 controller
Online services, RANDnetDD (Japan only)
SharkWire Online (third-party)

Backward compatibility

None

Chronology
Generation

Fifth generation

Preceded by

Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Followed by

GameCube

  

The Nintendo 64, often abbreviated as N64, is a console developed in 1996 following the SNES. Star Fox 64 is the only Star Fox game for this console. Fox McCloud also appears in Super Smash Bros. as a playable character representing the Star Fox series.

General Info

N64logo

The logo for the N64.

The Nintendo 64 (ニンテンドウ64, Nintendō Roku Jū Yon, NINTENDO64) is Nintendo's third home video game console for the international market. Named for its MIPS 64-bit processor, it was released on June 23, 1996 in Japan, September 29, 1996 in North America, March 1, 1997 in Europe and Australia, September 1, 1997 in France and December 1997 in Brazil.



December 10, 1997 in Brazil. It is notable for being Nintendo's last home console to use cartridges to store games (with Nintendo switching to a proprietary optical format for the GameCube, then to standard DVD-sized media for Wii), and for being the first modern home console to come with a controller featuring an analog stick. 

The N64 was released with two launch games, Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64, plus an extra one in Japan, Saikyō Habu Shōgi. The N64's suggested retail price was US$199 at its launch and it was later marketed with the slogan: "Get N, or get Out!" The N64 sold 32.93 million units worldwide. It also was home to the currently most popular game in the Star Fox series, Star Fox 64.

The N64 owes its existence to Silicon Graphics, and MIPS Technologies, who were responsible for the R4300i microprocessor and the 3D graphics hardware used in the N64.

Hardware

Rumble1

A red Nintendo 64 controller and how the Rumble Pak is inserted and rumble function.

The new controller included with Nintendo 64 consisted of 1 analog stick, 2 shoulder buttons, 1 digital cross pad, 6 face buttons, a 'start' button, and one digital trigger (Z).

The Nintendo 64's central processing unit (CPU) is the NEC VR4300. This processor was the most powerful console CPU of its generation. Popular Electronics said it had power similar to the Pentium processors found in desktop computers. Except for its narrower 32-bit system bus, the VR4300 retained the computational abilities of the more powerful 64-bit MIPS R4300i, though software rarely took advantage of 64-bit data precision operations. N64 games generally used faster (and more compact) 32-bit data-operations, as these were sufficient to generate 3D-scene data for the console's RSP (Reality Signal Processor) unit. In addition, 32-bit code executed faster and required less storage space (which was at a premium on the N64's cartridges).

In terms of its random-access memory, or RAM, the Nintendo 64 was one of the first modern consoles to implement a unified memory subsystem, instead of having separate banks of memory for CPU, audio, and video, for example. The memory itself consists of 4 megabytes of RDRAM, made by Rambus. The RAM is expandable to 8 MB with the Expansion Pak. Rambus was quite new at the time and offered Nintendo a way to provide a large amount of bandwidth for a relatively low cost.

The system allows for video output in two formats: composite video and S-Video. The composite and S-Video cables are the same as those used with the earlier SNES and later GameCube systems.

The Nintendo 64 supports 16.8 million colors. The system can display resolutions of 256 × 224, 320 × 240 and 640 × 480 pixels. Few games made use of the 640 × 480 mode, many of them required use of the Expansion Pak RAM upgrade. The vast majority of games instead used the system's low resolution 256 × 224 (256 × 240 for PAL models) mode. A number of games also support a video display ratio of up to 16:9 using either Anamorphic widescreen or Letterboxing. However, very few of its games provided options to use this feature.

The Nintendo 64 comes in several colors. The standard Nintendo 64 is dark gray, nearly black, and the controller is light gray (later releases in America included a bonus second controller in Atomic Purple). Various color variations and special editions were released.

The majority of Nintendo 64 game cartridges were gray in color, but some games were released on a colored cartridge. Fourteen games had black cartridges, while other colors (such as green, blue, red, yellow and gold) were each used for six or fewer games. Several games, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, were released both in standard gray and in colored, limited edition versions.

A number of accessories, from the Rumble Pak to the Transfer Pak, were available for the Nintendo 64.

The controller was shaped like an "M", employing a joystick in the center. Popular Electronics called its shape "evocative of some alien space ship." While noting that the three handles could be confusing, the magazine said "the separate grips allow different hand positions for various game types."

Star Fox 64

SF64 Player's Choice

"Player's Choice" edition of Star Fox 64.

Originally available at a MSRP of $39.95, every copy of Star Fox 64 was released with the new Rumble Pak add-on accessory. When equipped with the Rumble Pak, the Nintendo 64 Controller becomes a new implement for fun. Not only does the Rumble Pak provide force-feedback in response to the game action, the Controller's analog Control Stick gives total, precise control of the playable vehicle, be it a sleek "Arwing" starfighter, an armored "Landmaster" tank, or the deep-diving "Blue-Marine" submersible.

Strategy Guide

In promotion of Star Fox 64's release, Nintendo Power magazine assembled all the best tips, tactics, maps and secrets into one comprehensive game briefing in the Official Star Fox 64 Player's Guide. The 128-page full-color Player's Guide helps players learn how to get the highest scores, win the medals, get the best endings, find all the hidden routes to Venom, and where all the mysterious worm holes are located. Along with game play information, the Player's Guide contains exclusive interviews with the game's creators, and behind the scenes character information unavailable anywhere else.

The Official Star Fox 64 Player's Guide, available after June 30th, purchasable from video games retailers, or ordered directly from Nintendo of America by calling 1-800-255-3700 (North America only).

See also

Trivia

  • ROB 64's "surname" is a reference to this system, as Star Fox 64 was his debut game. In Star Fox Adventures, ROB bears the letters N.U.S on his chest, which is an abbreviation of Nintendo Ultra 64, the alternative name of the Nintendo 64. These letters are gone by the time he appeared in StarFox: Assault, yet on the character rollcall before the staff credits, his japanese name appears next to his western one.
  • The head of Spyborg resembles a Nintendo 64 console.

References

Nintendo Video Game Consoles
Home Consoles
Super Nintendo Entertainment System | Nintendo 64 | Nintendo GameCube | Wii | Wii U |
Handhelds
Nintendo DS | Nintendo 3DS
Other
Virtual Console

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