The Nintendo 64 Entertainment System was a console from Nintendo released in 1996. It is remembered for its 64 bit graphics, 4 controller ports, and for being one of the few direct miracles ever bestowed on man.
One day God looked down on the gaming landscape and was displeased with what he saw. Nintendo and Sega were fighting like retarded children squabbling over the last Cheez-it; and Sony was acting like a total douche because their PlayStation system was shiny and new and used CD's.
So, for the first time since he gave mankind the idea to create Velveeta Shells and Cheese, God decided to get his divine intervention on and give mankind a legitimate, full blown miracle.
What happened heard was a miracle, and I want you to fucking acknowledge it!
The Nintendo 64 was originally named the "Ultra 64", but the folks at Nintendo realized how fitting the title was and decided to be a little more modest, renaming it simply, the Nintendo 64. Unlike it's competition, Nintendo stuck to cartridges instead of moving on to CD technology for its software. Many have seen this as a reason for the Nintendo 64 losing alot of help from it's close developers, like Square-Enix, who bailed on the Big N and took Final Fantasy 7 to the PlayStation after they discovered that FF7 would have to be stretched out across 9 N64 cartridges. Some say Nintendo lost a great first party title, but these are the people who somehow believe FF7 was better than all of Nintendo's first party games combined.
My ass it was.
The console was also remarkable for the innovations it introduced, particularly in the field of game control. The N64's controller, while not the first to use analog control, was the first to get it right. The little stick helped make 3D gaming what it has become today, and also forced Sony to play the penis envy card and stick not one, but TWO analog nubs on their redesigned PS1 controllers.
Mine's bigger, and I HAVE TWO!
Nintendo introduced other controller innovations, some popular, some forgotten. The Transfer Pack was an accessory used to move data from Game Boy games to compatible N64 titles, however, the Transfer pack quickly became outdated because the Game Boy line was remodeled more than Michael Jackson's face.
But the real genius move was the invention of the Rumble Pack, which not only made playing video games cool for excitable teenage girls, but it has become an industry staple that has been reducing battery life for years.
But besides how awesome the system itself was, the Nintendo 64, like other consoles, can only be measured in greatness by the games that were released for it. Games make or break a console, as a lack of quality titles can bring a consoles existence into question...
See me after class.
Fortunately for the N64, there was no end to the quality of titles released during its lifespan. What follows is a year by year summary of Nintendo's top-notch software.
Starting with Super Mario 64, which ripped Mario kicking and screaming out of this 2D world like a newborn male Hebrew gripped by the firm arm of the Pharaoh's finest. But instead of being tossed into the cold unforgiving Nile, Mario was thrown in a 3D wonderland, where jumping into paintings did not get you thrown out of the establishment, but instead, transported you into worlds of platforming bliss. With its lengthy, 120 Star field quest, it was shit loads of fun with alot of mileage.
But that wasn't the only classic the N64 had out in the consoles early days. Gems like Killer Instinct Gold, Pilot Wings 64, and Mario Kart, made 1996 such a kick ass year, that not even attendees of the Atlanta Olympic Games could say their year was THAT bad.
1997 was even better. While some people were raving about a certain RPG over on the PlayStation, the N64 saw the release of Diddy Kong Racing, Star Fox 64, and Goldeneye, three games that would solidify Nintendo's place not only as the home for innovative single and multi-player gaming, but would also fuel internet memes, both tasteless and tasteful, for years to come.
Tasteful or Tasteless? To each his own.
1998 was colossal. Banjo-Kazooie was released and made everyone forget that Super Mario 64 ever even existed. Mario Party came out and gave us new reasons to hang out with our friends (and even more reasons to fucking hate them), Star Wars Rouge Squadron showed us that it WAS possible to make a good Star Wars game, and finally, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time put all other games on the market to shame (yes, even 1998's Metal Gear Solid).
And then there was light.
in 1999, things seemed to be getting bumpy. Titles like Army Men: Sarge's Heroes, A Bug's Life, and the notorious Superman 64 somehow managed to see the light of day, staining the N64's reputation. Hope seemed lost, and Nintendo quickly and quietly bowed out of the console market, becoming a third party software developer for other consoles.
Hah, couldn't do that with a straight face any longer. No, instead of doing something gay like that, Nintendo stayed alive and kicking while Donkey Kong 64, Jet Force Gemini, Mario Golf, and Super Smash Bros continued to justify Nintendo's claim to awesomeness.
Show me your freakin' moves!
Sadly, all good things must come to an end (take the hint, creators of The Office), and in 2000, the end of days became more and more apparent for the 64. The PS2 was on the horizon, and its dominant new graphics and DVD playback was about to make the N64 fucking ridiculously obsolete. The N64 fought hard, with Banjo Tooie, Paper Mario, Zelda: Majora's Mask, WWF No Mercy, and the FPS classic Perfect Dark rounding out the consoles "swan song" period.
The PS2 came and conquered, but the big N managed to release one last attention grabbing title: Conker's Bad Fur Day. The game, originally developed as a kid-friendly romp, was retooled as an adult themed wonderland with slick platforming and great humor. Nintendo, realizing they needed to go out with a bang, decided to make a big deal in the press and label BFD as "almost too filthy for release". This helped and hindered the game. Sales were low, but opinions were high, and ultimately...
...the game came to a fucking unfit end.
As stated over and over again earlier, the N64 has a big impact on the industry. All consoles since the N64 have made rumble and analog control mandatory since Nintendo perfected the methods. Nintendo also learned a lesson, switching to CD's over cartridges starting with the GameCube.
The games have also had a huge impact on the world. Goldeneye showed us that consoles COULD do first person shooters just as well as PCs could, creating a schism in the FPS community that doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon.
Several of the consoles multiplayer titles have become and/or spawned staples in many video game tournaments throughout the world, most notable Smash Bros, which went on the spawn two sequels that have become huge events in MLG.
Most of the gems introduced on the 64 didn't shine so well once they were carried elsewhere. The Star Fox, Banjo Kazooie, and Perfect Dark series haven't seen the same level of quality and prestige on new consoles, and many other franchises, despite huge success on the 64, haven't been seen since.
We're waiting Rare, we're waiting...
All in all, the world was a better place when the Nintendo 64 was around, and the world hasn't been the same since. Those who were lucky enough to grow up with it experienced a natural wonder, while all who detract it really just don't know any better. The N64 was an absolute good, which brought joy to millions: