On this day 20 years ago, Nintendo’s third generation of home consoles the Nintendo 64 was released in North America. And boy, does that make us feel old.
In a time where bits meant everything, N64 had more than any console on the market could boast. It ushered in a new era of fully realized 3D game worlds, forcing veteran players and newcomers alike to experience virtual entertainment like never before.
Looking back at the evolution of how we play games, it’s hard to ignore the N64’s legacy. With the exception of the occasional retro-themed and indie game, rarely has a big budget video game returned to the 2-dimensional perspective that was the norm before the 64’s days. The fully realized 3D world kids and adults first ventured across in Super Mario 64 forever altered the way games were played, talked about, and created.
The Nintendo 64 may have undersold both its predecessors, the NES and SNES, but it still left an impressive mark on gamers, reaching 32.93 million lifetime sales. And while every gamer will make a case for why their generation’s console was the greatest, the N64’s phenomenal library of games easily justifies why it is remembered so fondly.
Super Mario 64 pulled players into the lifelike third dimension. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time gave rise to the great open-world genre. Goldeneye 007 brought multiplayer shooting games to the mainstream. All of these things are staples of today’s gaming landscape – all quintessential elements that N64 gifted players with.
Banjo-Kazooie. Mario Kart 64. Majora’s Mask. Donkey Kong 64. Perfect Dark. Star Fox 64. Snowboard Kids. Super Smash Bros. All unforgettable titles, and those are only what come to mind off the top of my head.
So on the anniversary of this seminal gaming machine, pick up that goofy fork like controller again and have some 64-bit fun. Whether you’re dusting off the old machine or accessing a game on your Wii U’s e-shop, there is loads to do on the N64. Maybe you have a younger generation gamer in your life that you can share the system that changed everything with – should
you they be so lucky.