Happy 15th Birthday N64! - PodcastvsPlayer.com

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Saturday, 1 October 2011

Happy 15th Birthday N64!

Tech Beever takes a look back at Nintendo's N64 as it celebrates its 15th birthday

Balloons fly high, that pesky donkey is still without a tail, and whoever is still playing pass the parcel is more interested in just sitting down. We're all waiting for the birthday boy to show up, but where the hell is he?

Taking a nice, long, hard look at himself, that's where.

15 years ago, Nintendo brought the world the Nintendo 64; the worlds first 64bit home console, and with it, came a legacy of great memories (and some poor ones, but we'll forget them...).

I remember first playing on an N64, my Uncle brought one for my cousin (although it was really for him), and the three of us crowded round the CRT TV in the lounge. The moment it loaded up, and we were greeted with "Its a me, Mario", followed by the giant head of that fat Italian plumber we'd become acquainted with over these years; only now he was in 3D.

It was amazing, my Uncle Paul, cousin Martin and myself all in awe as we took turns pulling Mario's face with the gloved hand. Then we pressed the start button.

The Mario games we knew before -- these flat, colourful 2D games; were now just a distant memory, in their place was this magnificent, fully realized three dimensional world -- one that would change the way we play games forever.

My birthday was a whole 8 months away, but my Grandad being the incredible person he was, got me my very own N64 early, so the month of May became the 'real' era that the N64 changed my life.

An N64 Ad, goofy kid not included

I've owned many consoles, but the N64 was one of my favourites, that although may have been a comercial failure compared to Sony's Playstation 1, Nintendo did an amazing effort bringing amazing titles such as Mario 64, Goldeneye, Wave Race 64, Star Fox 64, Jet Force Gemini, Super Smash Bros, Mario Party, Turok, and of course, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Goldeneye; the game to change a generation
To myself, the N64 was the defining multiplayer console. Every day before school (I'm talking 7:00am) my friends Davy, Matt and Rob would come round, and we'd play Goldeneye and Super Smash Bros, followed by more rounds after school -- it was just that good. But the single player mode was actually a great play too, taking the nonsense that FPS' can only be played on a PC, and spitting it out into a genuinely fantastic console shooter, one that would change the way we play shooters forever, and create the perfect multiplayer game.

The controller to some may have been one of the worst (the Sega Dreamcast takes that prize...), but I found it to be pretty good, especially for games like Goldeneye, the contoller just seemed to fit perfectly.
That 'Z' trigger felt as if you'd pulled the trigger on a gun, making you feel more like James Bond with every kill you ranked up on Goldeneye. Just utter genius.

Then there was Super Smash Bros. a premise so simple; take much loved Nintendo characters, and let them duke it out; but with a twist -- the winner is the first to knock their opponent/s off the arena. Simple eh? Throw in some ridiculously fun weapons, power ups and even moving levels that will attack you, and it quickly turns into a frantic attempt to get your 99% damage down. Brilliant, brilliant fun.

Super Smash Bros, Yoshi sticking it to the Mario Bothers

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was one of the consoles finest moments, and a feat that would go down in gamings history as one of the best games ever made.
A technical marvel, OoT took a world we loved, and turned it into a three dimensional world that was both beautiful, endearing and when needed; haunting. The first time you entered Hyrule Field, you knew you were embarking on something that was truly magnificent, and when you were able to ride Epona, you never wanted to leave Hyrule. 
Legend of Zelda: OoT

The N64 was, and still is one of Nintendo's finest moments. Sure, it may have lost the war to Sony's Ps1, but without it, we may never have been able to swim beautiful underwater levels with Mario, gallop through Hyrule Field in Zelda: OoT, shoot your best friend in the face during a split screen Goldeneye session, or throw Fox McCloud off his very own ship. And for all that, we thank you, Nintendo 64.

Now, blow out your candles and eat your cake.

Video Source: Youtube

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