Nintendo surprised a lot of people by releasing another cartridge based system, when Sony and Sega had moved on to use CD based systems. Nintendo's reasoning was that CD's had long loading times when compared to cartridges which require no loading at all. Nintendo also knew that cartridges could contain additional hardware, such as the SNES' various DSP chips.
However, there were never any enhancement chips produced for the N64 and many developers saw the cartridges limited storage space as yet another hurdle they had to overcome, which was not an issue for CD based systems. Cartridges are also much more expensive to produce than optical discs, reducing the developer's profit margin.
Some of the most highly regarded games of all time have been released exclusively for the N64. Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64 and Goldeneye 007, respectively, took the top three spots in Edge Magasine's top 100 games of all time in the January 2000 issue.
The N64 was released in Japan on 23rd June '96 and sold more than 500,000 units in it's first week. A few months later it was released in the US, on 1st October, and sold as many units in it's first week as the Playstation had sold in it's first 13 weeks! It was finally released in Europe almost 6 months later, on 1st March '97.
Only three games were available on the Japanese release; Mario 64, Pilotwings, and Shogi, a popular Japanese chess game. In the US, only Mario 64 and Pilotwings were available, while the European release saw two extra games; Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.
|CPU||93.75 MHz MIPS 64-bit RISC CPU|
|Co-processor||RCP (62.5 MHz)
Built-in Audio/Video Vector Processor (RSP)
Over half a billion vector operations per second
|Graphics Processor||Pixel Drawing Processor (RDP) Advanced Texture-Mapping
Tri-linear Mip Map Interpolation
Perspective Correction Environment Mapping
Anti-Aliasing and Blending
Automatic LOD Management
Vertex positioning and transformations
Depth, color and texture clipping
Transparency (256 levels max)
|Memory||36Mb RAMBUS DRAM|
|Display||256x224 to 640x480
Flicker Free Interlace Mode
21-bit color output
32-bit RGBA Pixel Color Frame Buffer
100 PCM channels possible
|Features||4 controller ports, Ext. port|
Most games console manufacturers employ some kind of regional protection to prevent games from being played in a region before its official release date. The most well known and widely used system is the DVD CSS protection and regional coding.
Japanese imports won't physically fit in a US console, and vice versa, because of two tabs in the consoles cartridge slot that correspond to notches in every game cartridge. It is possible to remove these tabs using a pair of long nose pliers or a soldering iron (and a steady hand!). The same method was used to prevent US/Japanese carts being used with a European console.
There are loads of quality N64 games, most of the best produced by Nintendo and Rare exclusively for the N64, including two Zelda games, Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo Kazooie.
We stock a huge range of N64 games, including many rare and collectable titles