Codename: Project Reality
After Nintendo’s back to back win with both the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo, the company wanted to create a console that would give them the edge over their long-time rival Sega. Nintendo also wanted to create a console that could counter the newcomer, Sony’s PlayStation.
Development for Nintendo’s 64-bit console began in 1993 under the codename “Project Reality.” This moniker came from the speculation that the console could produce CGI on par with then-current supercomputers. It was not until 1994 that we would get our first look at the first publicized prototype.
The Nintendo 64
The final product was unveiled to the public and was called the Nintendo 64. It was first made playable at the Shoshinkai Software Exhibition on November 24, 1994. The Nintendo 64 was initially due to be released in the holiday season of 1995. But after a number of times it was pushed back. The console was finally released on June 23, 1996 in Japan. There was a lot of frustration from gamers and the media about the delay of the console’s release. Shigeru Miyamoto responded to the criticism by stating, “a delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is bad forever.”
Miyamoto wanted to allow his team time to produce launch games that would reach their full potential. Of the three games that were released during the console launch, Pilot Wings 64 and Super Mario 64 received ground-breaking achievements. Both titles became critical commercial successes. The Nintendo 64 was an amazing system. It was the first console to have a dedicated analog stick and 4 player capabilities straight of the box. One of the Nintendo 64’s biggest legacies is its catalog of incredible games. Some of the best games of the era were released on the platform including The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, Star Fox 64, Mario Kart 64, and Super Smash Bros.
Nintendo 64 Forever
Although the Nintendo 64 did not have as much third party support as the PlayStation, it had amazing first-party titles. Thanks to Nintendo’s close relationship with Rare, the console also managed to maintain momentum in both sales and popularity throughout its lifecycle. The Nintendo 64 was finally discontinued in 2003. It had sold 32 million units globally. The Nintendo 64 is seen as one of the best video game consoles of all time and was the pioneer of 3D video games.
I thank Nintendo for all the fond memories and amazing experiences that the Nintendo 64 gave me and my friends.
What fond memories do you have about the Nintendo 64? Let us know in the comments.