It’s an anniversary special; today we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the iconic Nintendo 64. This ground-breaking console is responsible for many a gaming first. The N64 allowed for some truly revolutionary steps to take place. Without this magnificent console, the industry would not be where it is today.
From the world’s best shooters to the world’s most immersive action adventures, the Nintendo 64 had it all, including a few things that I bet you didn’t know. For instance, did you know that the N64’s controller was the first to have an analogue stick, and that it was the last console to use cartridges?
The world of Nintendo is a vast, beautiful, and bewildering thing — after all its been going for over 126 years. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Nintendo 64, I thought that today, I would provide you with 64 mind-blowing facts about Nintendo that I bet you probably didn’t know. Enjoy!
1. Mario introduced jumping to video games.
2. Sonic the Hedgehog is the result of a Mario speed run attempt.
3. The last ever N64 cartridge was released in 2002 and was none other than 'Tony Hawk Pro.'
4. Mario's pixelated design was the result of hardware limitations.
5. The grey color of the N64’s controller is a hat-tip to the Super NES’s iconic peripheral.
6. It's possible to jump over the flagpole in 'Super Mario Bros.'
7. The Game Boy was invented by a janitor.
8. 'Super Mario Bros. 3' takes up less memory than a single texture image file in modern games.
9. Mario was more recognizable to American kids of the 1990s than Mickey Mouse.
10. There was a mini-game in N64’s 'Mario Party' which required gamers to rotate the analogue stick, causing blisters on many gamers’ hands. Nintendo was taken to court and had to spend $80 million to provide gloves to play the game with.
11. NES carts were deliberately shaped like VHS cassettes.
12. The N64 was the first console to have 3D graphics
13. Bushes and clouds are the same thing in 'Super Mario Bros.'
14. The N64 went through lots of name changes in its infancy. First it was code-named "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.
15. By December 31st in 2009, the N64 had sold 32.93 million units. 5.54 to Japan, 6.76 million to Europe, and an astounding 20.63 million sold in America.
16. 'Super Mario Kart' featured drinking and driving to the dismay to the American market.
17. 'Mario Party 8' was recalled due to the use of the word "spastic."
18. South Korea banned all Japanese imports, meaning that the N64 was banned. Die-hard fan company Hyundai decided to re-brand the N64 as the "Comboy 64."
19. Way before video games, Nintendo made sexy playing cards (and still makes cards).
20. 'Super Mario Bros.' didn't have a Minus World in Japan... it had hundreds.
21. Mario made his debut in 'Donkey Kong' in the early 1980s as a Jumpman.
22. Paul Rudd appeared in a power glove commercial for Nintendo.
23. Super Mario is the best-selling gaming franchise ever.
24. Mario was apparently named after Nintendo's warehouse landlord, Mario Segale, not Mario Lopez.
25. Game Boy was the first video game console to be played in space. The Russians played 'Tetris.'
26. Mario's nemesis Bowser was originally an ox.
27. Donkey Kong, Mario, and Princess Peach are based on characters from the cartoon series Popeye.
28. The Super Mario Bros movie was the first movie adapted from a video game.
29. In 'Metroid Prime 3,' you can enter a secret code into the ship's computer which will result in a secret message from Nintendo executives Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto being displayed.
30. The Koopalings are not actually Bowser's kids.
31. New games were appearing on NES and Famicom until after the original PlayStation's debut.
32. Most NES games produced after 1986 exceeded the basic capabilities of the system and depended on add-on RAM and co-processors built into the carts to work.
33. Nintendo Power Magazine was created as a means to compensate for America's size.
34. The Japanese version of the NES had a microphone embedded in the controller, which allowed for players to kill certain enemies in 'Zelda' by shouting into the controller.
35. 'Donkey Kong Jr.' is the only game where Mario is a villain.
36. In 2007, a radio competition by the title of "Hold Your Pee for a Wii” challenged listeners to drink as much water as possible without using the bathroom. One woman died as a result.
37. The original 'Super Mario Bros.' sold 40.24 million copies.
38. Mario is voiced by Charles Martinet. Martinet has been doing video game voices for years — his Nintendo resume alone includes the voices of Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Baby Mario — including Paarthurnax, the dragon from 'Skyrim.'
39. In the early 1960s, Nintendo started a business that focused on video-game dating called 'Love Hotel.' Adults would meet up at motels to play video games… and maybe more.
40. Bowser has made occasional appearances as a good guy.
41. Nintendo has stated that the brothers do not have last names. It's not Mario Mario or Luigi Mario, it's just Mario and Luigi.
42. No one knows exactly what Nintendo means.
43. The first-ever bootleg NES game was an erotic version of 'Super Mario Bros.'
44. Nintendo once marketed instant rice.
45. Nintendo almost released an NES knitting machine.
46. Nintendo turned down Tom hanks for Mario.
47. The original D-Pad has won an Emmy.
48. Nintendo’s Redmond headquarters have Mario toilet signs.
49. Mario started out as a carpenter, not a plumber.
50. 'Super Mario Land' was the first installment created without Miyamoto’s input.
51. The blinking screen on the NES that affects most old American consoles is due to the security chip.
52. Optimus Prime's voice actor once voiced Mario.
53. Nintendo can afford a yearly loss of a quarter billion dollars until the year 2052 before it goes bankrupt.
54. Nintendo actually owns rights two porn films. Yes, they are both about Mario.
55. The NES was test-marketed as the AVS: "Advanced Video System."
56. More than 30 NES games appeared in arcades through the PlayChoice-10 system.
57. Miyamoto idolized Walt Disney.
58. In 2008, Nintendo made enough money that it equated to 1.28 Million per employee.
59. Nintendo has a breakfast cereal.
60. Nintendo’s top three franchises have sold over 534 million games.
61. The Wii is the best selling Nintendo console of all time with 68 million units sold.
62. Nintendo games were hard on purpose to make them last longer.
63. In 2009, Nintendo sold 2.5 consoles per second.
64. Miyamoto started his career as an artist.