Dr. Noh Remembers the Nintendo 64
So, today marks the 15 anniversary of the release of the Nintendo 64 in North America. The Nintendo 64 was a great console in many respects. It standardized analog control sticks, four controller ports without the use of a multitap, rumble controls, and most importantly revolutionized 3D gameplay. Many key Nintendo franchises receive premiere iterations: Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are not only thought of as some of the best within their respective franchises, but some of the best games ever created.
I was in middle school when the Nintendo 64 was released. I remember walking to a local Blockbuster video store that had a demo kiosk with Mario 64 weeks before the launch of the Nintendo 64. I didn’t have any money, and my parents refused to buy me anything at full price, but luckily I had a friend that picked one up at launch. My friend told me a mob had gathered outside Best Buy and how it was a clusterfuck of a free-for-all once the doors opened. I remember how we spent hours stretching out Mario’s face in the Super Mario 64 intro. To me Super Mario 64 was strange because in many ways it was unlike any Mario game before it. But the freedom of movement within the game was incredibly invigorating.
I remember staying up for hours on end for a Goldeneye 007 marathon. I had a friend that hung a piece of cardboard from the ceiling in front of his tv so that the screen would be divided to prevent opposing team players from watching each other’s screens. I remember that when I picked up Perfect Dark on launch, I was the cool guy for once and everyone came over to my house and we played for such a long time that I remember the sun had begun rising when we finally finished.
I look at the Nintendo 64 fondly, and nostalgically, but I still appreciate the recent ports of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Starfox 64 on the 3DS. Many Nintendo 64 games have not aged well graphically. The polygon models and textures are noticeably simplistic, and for games like Turok the Dinosaur Hunter, fog invades the entire world. Still, for all its “we’re going to stick with cartridge” faults, I remember the Nintendo 64 as some of the most fun I’ve ever had gaming. The first import games I ever bought were for the Nintendo 64, and the rarest console I own (64DD) attaches to the Nintendo 64. If it weren’t for the Nintendo 64 I wouldn’t be the gamer I am today.
Dr. Noh’s Nintendo 64 favorites:
Sin and Punishment
The New Tetris
Killer Instinct Gold
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
Super Smash Bros.
Super Mario 64
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
WWF: No Mercy
WWF: Wrestlemania 2000
Doshin the Giant
Mario Artist Series
Sim City 64