Entertainment Earth

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Retro Gaming Nerds Presents - The Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64 (N64) was released in Japan on June 23rd, 1996, and in North America on September 26th, 1996. However, the console was in development since 1993 with Silicon Graphics Inc.

Silicon Graphics, Inc. was shopping around their MIPS based R4300 processor to SEGA and Nintendo in the early 90's to push their way into developing wide consumer products. SEGA was the first company approached, and turned SGI down. Nintendo looked at the processor, and was very interested. So much so that "Project Reality" began September 1993.

The R4300 processor used in the N64 was considered the most powerful chip for a console at the time. It was considered to be on par with the Intel Pentium chip of the time by Popular Electronics magazine.

The console was able to produce some impressive graphics and texture effects that were not available on the 32 bit competition of the time in Sony's Playstation, and SEGA's Saturn. However, due to the limitations of cartridges, may of the games lacked the impressiveness that was promised to gamers. Also, developers tended to use the 32 bit code rather than the 64 bit code due to 64 bit code requiring more storage space. Cartridges ranged between 4MB to 64MB in size, and created an issue that was unique in comparison to the CD based consoles having 650MB to work with. Using the 32 bit coding meant that games didn't get to utilize the precision found in 64 bit coding.

The N64 was the last home console to be released utilizing cartridge based medium. Even with the use of cartridges, N64 had a slew of impressive titles based on existing franchise (Star Fox 64, Super Mario 64), and kicked off new franchises (Smash Bros).

The N64 was finally discontinued on April 2003 in Japan, and November 30, 2003 in North America.

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