Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64 (N64) is a game console produce and sold by Nintendo. It was released in June 1996 in Japan; September 1996 in North America; March 1997 in Europe and Australia; September 1997 in France; and December 1997 in Brazil.

The N64 was the third generation home game console from Nintendo and the last to use ROM cartridges. The N64 was discontinued worldwide by the end of 2003. Its successor was the Nintendo Game Cube released in 2001. Worldwide sales for the N64 reached 32.93 million.

There were a total of 387 games released for use on the N64 with Super Mario 64 being the bestselling game (over eleven million sold).

The N64 used tri-linear filtering for graphics, giving textures a smooth look, which gave the system better quality graphics than their competitors. However, some games had small storage limiting the available textures, which resulted in blurry graphics on certain games. This was corrected with multi-layered texturing — using smaller textures to create larger ones and using plain color shading instead of texturing on non-realistic games, e.g. Super Mario 64.

The console used an NEC VR4300 93.75 MHz CPU which was the most powerful console CPU used on any unit at that time. The graphics and audio used a 62.5 MHz co-processor. The unit’s memory or RAM, used a unified memory subsystem, the first of its kind, that had 4 MB (expandable to 8 MB) with a 9-bit data bus at 500Mhz ultimately the system had 562.5 MB of peak bandwidth.

The unit used composite video and S-Video through a multi-out connector on the rear of the console. An RF modulator was also available for the unit as an accessory that could be purchased separately for use on older televisions. The unit supported a high resolution mode that required a memory expansion pack.

The basic unit was a dark gray and the controller was a light gray. A Jungle Green colored unit came bundled with Donkey Kong 64. A futuristic series of consoles features bright colored units that were translucent. The six colors were orange, grape purple, ice blue, jungle green, smoke gray, and watermelon red. Colored controllers were also released — a yellow controller for the debut of Donkey Kong 64. A millennium 2000 controller was released as a contest that was silver with black buttons. A gold controller was released as a raffle drawing and many other limited edition controllers were released as a bundle with certain games.

An add-on for the system was released in Japan called the Nintendo 64 DD. It was a disk drive that allowed players to play disc games, but with only nine games produced for the unit, it was unsuccessful and never released in North America or Europe. Accessories for the N64 are controllers, controller pak, jumper pak, expansion pak, rumble pak, transfer pak, wide-boy 64, S-video cable, Nintendo 64 DD, voice recognition unit, cleaning kit, RF modulator, Euro connector plug, storage cases, travel accessories, and third party accessories.

Image Caption: Nintendo 64 w/controller. Credit: Evan-Amos/Wikipedia