CPU: 64-bit R4300i RISC (93.75MHz)
Co-processor: 64-bit RISC (62.5MHz)
RAM: 4MB (36Mb) upgradeable
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)
NINTENDO64 - (1996)
$199.00 at Launch
Format: NTSC, PAL
Software type: Cartridge (region specific)
Nintendo corporation had done exceptionally well with the game systems released previous to the Nintendo 64. The Nintendo NES and the Nintendo SNES systems preceded the release of the Nintendo 64. Nintendo decided to release its third videogame system in 1996 and named it the Nintendo 64 to reflect its 64-bit characteristics. Nintendo decided to continue with a cartridge based system, during a time its competitors were utilizing a CD- ROM based system. Cartridges are quicker to load and are less likely to be counterfeited, but they lack the massive data storage of a CD based system. The Nintendo 64 was brought out after the release of the Sega Saturn and the Sony Playstation; both of these units are 32-bit machines. The Nintendo 64 was technically a superior gaming machine when it was released. The cost restraints of new games were a huge factor that prevented the Nintendo 64 from doing well in sales. Cartridges cost the consumers approximately 40 percent more than the average CD-ROM disk from the other systems. Plus the cost of manufacturing cartridges compared to the cost of manufacturing (pressing) a CD-ROM disk is tenfold more expensive. The profit margins of a cartridge based system are much lower than that of a disk system. That made a huge difference and it spelled doom for the Nintendo 64.
When it comes to function, the Nintendo 64 is intelligently designed. The joysticks are easy to use and comfortable in your hand. The downside of the controllers in my opinion is that they tend to break down. This is particularly specific to the analog stick portion of the controller. Over time, the control stick wears down and becomes nonfunctioning. You have 4 controller ports which allows multi-players to enjoy the game system. You can find plenty of accessories to compliment the Nintendo 64 as well. The graphics of the Nintendo 64 were excellent for its time, but it should be noted that the storage capacity of the cartridges limited the amount of textures that could be used in the game. Thus when you compare it to the large carrying capacity of a CD-ROM system, you get a smudge factor to the graphics when the texture is stretched too far. It was the second 64 bit system released (after the Atari Jaguar) and had the capacity to expand its memory capacity from 4 to 8 Megs with the expansion pack. You needed this expansion pack to play some of the premium games on this system. You will need to purchase the expansion pack if you’re going to get involved with this system and get the full flavor of all it has to offer.
There are a lot of excellent games released for the Nintendo 64 and if you’re a lover of the tried and true Nintendo characters then you must get a Nintendo 64. Even though the cartridges are region specific, you can get around this by buying the N64 Passport Plus III adaptor. This allows the person to eliminate the restrictions imposed by the software. You can play Japanese NTSC games, European PAL games and North American NTSC games interchangeably. These adaptors are getting harder and harder to find, so I suggest that you get one whenever you see one available. This may indeed be the last cartridge based system which makes it quite unique . More on this fact later.
The Nintendo 64 is an underated system for sure. Not many people realize that this was the last of the mohicans when it comes to cartridge based systems. This may ultimately change when the pricing of SD memory or the similar type of hard drive memory comes down in price. I predict that there will be another cartridge based system in the future that takes advantage of the memory storage cards like the SD or the Compact flash card. These have the advantages of the speed of loading and the increased abilty to store loads of memory that was limited by the flash type carts of its predesessors. There are some interesting add on's which are available for the Nintendo 64 that many do not realize. Unless your in the scene or luck onto a website like my website, it is obscure.
An interesting item is the Bung Doctor V 64. I have placed a link to more information on such an obscure accessory that many people do not have a clue exists. One of the reasons is due to the fact it is a boot leg system acessory. With that said it is still way too cool not to at least know about it.
Nintendo 64 Games Section (click hyperlink to visit games section).