Tales of the Nintendo 64

 

Because giant, extensively planned writings about various things usually end up either going nowhere or being too embarrassing

God bless generic images.

to read again, here's a spur of the moment rambling about my Nintendo 64's life! Its birth, its death, and the in-betweeny part.

 

In 1996, the only games consoles we had were the SNES, the Sega Mega Drive, a Game Boy, and a Sinclair Spectrum that was shoved aside in favour of the consoles with more than four-colour graphics.

However, after seeing Super Mario 64 on shelves for so long without having the console to play it on, we introduced a Nintendo 64 into the household. At the cost of, what, 300? Something ridiculous like that. And then the stores lowered it to 100 a few months later, which was a major kick in the teeth, but I imagine I would have exploded or something if I had to wait any longer.

I couldn't find a screenshot from the game, so pretend this is terrifying.

Upon setting it up, I was polite and let Steve play Shadows of the Empire first, which was entertaining to all until those goddamned Wampas showed up and frightened the dickens out of me. I think that may have been where my fear of crappy, badly rendered 3D models that look more frightening than they're supposed to be came from. See, the Wampas in The Empire Strikes Back looked dangerous and not the kind of thing I'd want to meet, but they weren't terrifying to a nightmarish degree. These ones in the game, however, lumbered slowly with bad posture like zombies, emitted roars that seemed to be coming from right behind you than the Wampas' mouths, and were just pretty freaky. It didn't help that I found lots of things terrifying. Captain Scarlet? Scared the balls off me.

 

My first time playing Super Mario 64 didn't involve me going "wow, voices!" or "wow, Mario in 3D!" but going "I can't use the D-Pad to control Mario? That's stupid." It took me a whole five minutes to get used to it. But when I did, I was having the time of my life. He may not have been as snappy to control as in Super Mario World, but it was pretty rad to be able to sock Goombas in the jaw instead of having to dirty his boots.

Aside from the initial control shock, I was having a merry old time with the game, enjoying every bit of it. Until I came to Jolly Roger's Bay, and met a pleasant little fellow who introduced me to a fear of water in 3D games.

 

(it was the best picture i could find it's really scary in person)

Unagi the eel.

My brother and a friend of his were watching, and upon seeing this, we all screamed and jumped up the bed sheets. Like something out of Home Alone, except it was three of us, therefore making the "alone" part of the title a bit redundant. Meanwhile, the eel had done absolutely nothing and Mario was slowly drowning. So we went a bit closer and OH GOD IT SWAM OUT OF THE BOAT. Naturally, the mission where you have to catch the Star off his tail was like a nightmare.

 

(i had to swipe this from a youtube video for the love of god)

Dire, Dire Docks was even worse. MOTHATRUCKIN' SHARKS.

Contrary to just about everyone else on the internet, the mad piano in Big Boo's Haunt caused no panic at all. I laughed, actually.

 

Fast forward a couple of years, where the end of school term was nearing, and for whatever reason, a dipwad in my class had brought in his Nintendo 64. Not a game, but his whole console, five games and three controllers. It wasn't even to plug in the

It is international law that all screenshots of N64 games be tiny, watermarked and terrible quality.

N64 and play it at school (which was actually allowed on certain days in the assembly hall if the weather was terrible and the staff were going nuts), he just brought it in to show two friends and then at the end of the day they would return to his home and play it. I'm serious. I think it should go without saying that it went missing and everyone called him a moron.

Meanwhile, his coat and mine looked relatively the same, and he mistakenly put a wrestling game in my pocket, so I got a mild benefit from the matter. You know, if it weren't for the fact that like all wrestling games that aren't Saturday Night Slam Masters are crap. On the bright side, it did have a really neat create-a-character mode, a function I love as long as it's done good and not just recolouring and editing the stats of characters. There's something humourous about Link pile driving Steve Austin, but it's even funnier if Link is morbidly obese while doing so.

After the summer holidays, I returned to the game to him, and he asked if I enjoyed it. For whatever reason, I said I had, and he offered me to hold for it longer in return for him borrowing all my Mario games, of which there were about four. Four games that were actually pretty good (with the possible exception of Mario Tennis) for one mediocre game.

 

And then came the fateful day that my N64 bought the farm, while away for a week in Sligo, which although a pleasant place,

Looks like a Tomb Raider level.

 looks nothing like Venice, contrary to what this image makes you believe. A friend actually wanted to play Mario Tennis with me instead of me having to nag at them first, but upon booting it up, we just got a screen telling us some wacky technical whatnots that none of us understand. We tried various games, and none of them started.

On the bright side, this gave us more opportunity to play Sonic Adventure 2 and realise just how mediocre the treasure hunting mode is. When we returned home, we continued analysing it, but had no luck in finding a solution. It was toast. Burnt out. Totalled. A goner.

So we started shopping for a new one, and were given the choice of a used, regular Nintendo 64, or a brand new Pikachu N64.

 

(i seriously need a better camera)

We played it safe. It turned out that one of the leads had gone missing or busted or something, and that was the only problem. If I actually remember how much it cost, I could look back and ask why we didn't bother asking anyone instead of immediately looking for a new one, but it could've been really cheap, and besides, it makes for a funny story. There's something amusing about plugging in Turok 2 and having Pikachu light up his cheeks in approval.

 

And that is the story of my Nintendo 64 in summary. I could talk about the four hour Super Smash Bros. slug outs (they were pretty fun), how many goddamned controllers we've gone through (about six or seven), or the various times we bought a game and it was in French (HeXen and Shadowman), but I think these are the only ones worth talking about in length.

It's still around, although not used terribly often; it may not have been the best of Nintendo's consoles, I'm not sure if it would be the worst, but however you view it, I'm glad I have one.

Even if we did pay about 300 for it. Bloody hell.