This month sees the N64 celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release in Japan, and what a monumental occasion that was. Well, for me at least anyway.
The N64 came into my possession at a time when I was actually getting better at games and could begin to appreciate the art of the medium and the patience and skill it took to create such majesty.
It was also the first time 3 friends and I could sit down at the same console and beat the crap out of each other on a Mario Kart game, which was very exciting!
So in order to celebrate the birth of a damn good console, here's some trivia that you more than likely already know, but it's nice to reminisce over good times passed, right?
20 Nuggets of N64 Trivia
1. Due to South Korea's ban on all Japanese cultural imports drafted after WWII, all N64's sold in South Korea were distributed by South Korean company Hyundai and renamed the Comboy 64!
2. The N64 went through lots of name changes in its infancy. First it was codenamed ‘Project Reality’ when it was in development, then it was dubbed ‘Nintendo Ultra 64’ in homage to vintage toys like ‘Ultra Hand’, but due to Konami having a trademark on the name ‘Ultra Games’, the ‘Ultra 64’ became the Nintendo 64 as we know and love it today.
3. The N64’s controller was the very first controller to have an analogue stick! That should silence PlayStation zealots!
4. And, whilst we’re on the subject of firsts, the N64 was the first console to have 3D graphics! Outrageous.
5. Marc Andreessen, the creator of Netscape, proposed to Nintendo the idea of building their very own online service for the N64, but Nintendo wanted full control over the service so, naturally, it didn’t come to pass.
6. But the N64 did in fact have its very own online service in Japan. Called Randnet, the service was released with the 64DD and cost around $25. Probably why it never made it out of Japan.
7. Speaking of the 64DD, the peripheral was the N64's very own disc drive that was also never released outside of Japan.
8. The N64 was released to pretty high demand. Everyone who was anyone wanted one. So that led a few celebrities to throw their weight around in attempt to nab one. Friends’ Matthew Perry and legendary auteur Steven Spielberg are a few luminaries that tried using their social standing to their advantage. Not today! Get to the back of the line!
9. When it was first released, the N64 came with only 2 games – Pilotwings 64 and Super Mario 64. But lucky Japan got a third in Saikyō Habu Shōgi, a Japanese board game!
10. The N64’s controller grey coloring is a hat-tip to the Super NES’ iconic peripheral.
11. The N64 didn’t ship particularly huge numbers in Japan perhaps due to its significant lack of RPGs, a genre beloved by the nation.
12. There was a mini-game in N64’s Mario Party which required gamers to feverishly rotate the analogue stick, which caused insane blisters on gamers’ hands. After Nintendo were taken to court over this, they had to drop $80 million to provide gloves to play the game with.
13. Killer Instinct was originally intended to be a launch title for the N64, but thanks to the console’s delay the game saw its release on the Super NES instead.
14. Nintendo delayed the release of the N64 because they realized they could undercut rival consoles like PlayStation and Sega Saturn. The lower price of the console actually made people wait for it!
15. The N64 was the last home console to use cartridges.
16. And the last cartridge ever released for the N64 was Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3.
17. Super Mario 64 was the best selling game of the 5th generation of console games, selling over 11 million units worldwide!
18. Though The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the biggest selling N64 game in the US!
19. After some stroke of…erm…genius, Nintendo teamed up with General Mills to put games tips on packs of Fruit by the Foot treats. Great if you don’t mind acing games with the risk of looking like a gummy mess by the time you’re 25.
20. And finally, you may remember your N64 as a dust covered, dark grey plastic box of joy, but it was also one of the last console to have loads of different variants of colors! There was a yellow one, a red one, a pink one, a special edition yellow and blue Pikachu one, see through ones…