Nintendo 64

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It has been suggested that this page be split into the following: Nintendo 64, iQue Player. (discuss)

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Nintendo 64
Generation Fifth
Release date Japan June 23, 1996
USA September 29, 1996
Australia March 1, 1997
Europe March 1, 1997
South Korea July 19, 1997[1]
Brazil December 10, 1997
China November 17, 2003 (iQue Player)
Discontinued Japan April 30, 2002
Australia May 11, 2003
Europe May 16, 2003
USA November 30, 2003
China December 31, 2016 (iQue Player)
Predecessor Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Successor Nintendo GameCube


The Nintendo 64 (codenamed "Project Reality"; sometimes referred to as the "N64"; parsed on the logo as "NINTENDO®64") is a video game console created by Nintendo. It was released in 1996 to compete with the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation.

After failing to beat the PlayStation and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System's sales, the Nintendo 64 was described as "a step backwards for the company in terms of commercial success"[2] due to a number of poor business decisions associated with the system, most notably the choice to use ROM cartridges for its games (instead of the higher-capacity CD-ROMs used by competing systems) and a lack of substantial third-party support, the latter of which is commonly pinned on frustrations with Nintendo's licensing policies. Despite this, the Nintendo 64 gained popularity during the first few months of its release, mainly due to the release of the critically acclaimed Super Mario 64. Furthermore, although its sales figures were lackluster, the Nintendo 64 is not considered a true commercial failure, still generating a profit for Nintendo and outselling the Sega Saturn outside of Japan.

Super Mario 64 was one of the first games of its kind to feature full 3D graphics and depth of field effects. The Nintendo 64 was able to pull this off because it was the first system to feature a 64-bit processor and 32-bit graphics chip (aside from the failed Atari Jaguar, which featured multiple co-processors using 64-bit architecture on a 32-bit main processor). The Nintendo 64 also featured the first successful analog control stick implementation and four built-in controller ports, unlike its competitors, the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn. The Nintendo 64 is also noted as the last home console system to use cartridges until the Nintendo Switch. Starting with the Nintendo GameCube and carrying on until the Wii U, Nintendo would shift to using optical discs like its competitors, albeit with proprietary formats instead of industry standard ones.

Some of the best-known first-party titles for the Nintendo 64 include Super Mario 64, Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 64, Mario Party, Paper Mario, Star Fox 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and F-Zero X. Rare developed several games that went on to achieve a similar level of success, such as GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, and Donkey Kong 64. Production of the Nintendo 64 ended in 2002. The Nintendo 64 sold 32.93 million units during its lifetime.[3]

In 1999, Nintendo released the Nintendo 64DD; similarly to the Family Computer Disk System, it was an add-on that enabled support for games on proprietary magnetic disks. The add-on was intended as a cheaper alternative to optical disc-based competitors, but ultimately became a commercial failure due to its belated and limited release. In total, four Mario games were released on the 64DD, all in the Mario Artist series.

In 2003, the iQue Player was released in China, and was essentially the country's equivalent of a Nintendo 64, and its controller is differently designed. The iQue Player's D-Pad and analog stick are placed as on the Nintendo GameCube controller. The entire system only consists of the controller, which has the chip on-board. The system was a commercial failure, and only a total of 14 games were released for it.

Accessories and peripherals[edit]


Main article: Nintendo 64 Controller
The original Nintendo 64 and its six controller colors
The Nintendo 64 Controller, the standard controller for playing Nintendo 64 games
LodgeNet Nintendo 64 Controller

The Nintendo 64 Controller is the standard controller for the Nintendo 64. It is unique among video game controllers, as it has three grips instead of the more common two, resembling the letter M. There are many color variations of the controller, including solid and clear colors. This was a unique concept at the time.

Contrary to popular belief, the Nintendo 64 is not the first console to use analog control sticks; it is just the first successful console to use them. The Vectrex was the first home console to have an analog stick; it also had four controller ports, a feature that was not popularized until the Nintendo 64.

There was also a LodgeNet controller that was made available exclusively in hotels.


The Nintendo 64 Controller lost the X Button, Y Button, and Select Button buttons from the SNES, but instead features additional buttons:

* - Signifies new buttons

Controller Pak[edit]

Main article: Controller Pak
Controller Pak

Although not required like its competitor, the PlayStation, some games utilized external storage by the use of the Controller Pak, such as Mario Kart 64, which can save ghosts for Time Trials.

Transfer Pak[edit]

Main article: Transfer Pak
Transfer Pak

The Transfer Pak allows Game Boy and Game Boy Color games to connect to select Nintendo 64 games. It was bundled with Pokémon Stadium, although Mario Golf (Nintendo 64) and Mario Tennis (Nintendo 64) can connect with Mario Golf (Game Boy Color) and Mario Tennis (Game Boy Color), respectively. Interestingly, the Game Boy Camera is the only Game Boy game to connect with a Nintendo 64DD game: Mario Artist: Paint Studio.

Rumble Pak[edit]

Main article: Rumble Pak
Rumble Pak

Bundled with Star Fox 64, the Rumble Pak made the Nintendo 64 the first home console to utilize force-feedback vibration and has since become standard in gaming. Almost all Mario games include it as a feature. Super Mario 64 initially did not have Rumble Pak support, but later a Rumble Pak-supported version named Super Mario 64: Shindō Pak Taiō Version was released.

Nintendo 64DD[edit]

Main article: Nintendo 64DD
A Nintendo 64 with its 64DD accessory attached beneath it

The Nintendo 64DD accessory was only available in Japan. The system ended up being a commercial failure, although was planned for an international release. Only four Mario games were released for it, all being part of the Mario Artist series.

Game appearances[edit]

Mario franchise[edit]


  • Guinness World Records 2011 Gamer's Edition states that Super Mario Bros. was ported to the Nintendo 64, which is false.[citation needed]
  • Several Nintendo 64 games depict the cartridges with a different artwork than their corresponding box art (e.g., Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Donkey Kong 64, etc.).
  • Super Mario 64 helped to define the layout of the N64 Controller: the Control Stick Control Stick and Camera buttons buttons respectively being incorporated for better movement in a 3D environment and better free-camera control.[4]
  • This was the first Nintendo home console to use the same name and design between the Japanese and international versions.
  • An alternate version of the controller was exclusive to hotels as part of a line-up of hotel service entertainment systems.[5]