Sunday, January 25, 2015

Nintendo Double Diamond Anniversary Retrospective... Part 5: The Slow DISC-truction of the Mighty Castle... (56k WARNING)

Here it is... the big one, My favorite era of video games and Nintendo. The PS1-N64-Saturn era. What is it about this era that makes it so memorable? Is it the introduction of video games for a lot of people to Video Games (including myself)? Is it the high quality Games that were released in that era (Mario 64, Zelda: Ocarina, Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, etc.)? Is it the introduction to 3D graphics? Or is it Possibly the introduction of more complex, more intelectually challenging, more mature games? A lot of 90s babies remember the N64 pretty well, but there's more to this era than meets the eye...

Read Part 4 if you haven't already...

I think it was safe to say that 1995 was a weird year for video games... With a console overload that hasn't been seen since 1983 (Bandai Playdia, Apple Pippin, Pansonic 3DO, Atari Jaguar, Amiga CD32, NEC PC-FX, Casio Loopy, FM Towns Marty, ALL OF WHICH BOMBED!!!!!!!!), A weird transitional period between 2D to 3D graphics (with the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation), and the end of the 16-Bit era and the beginning of the 32/64-bit Era. Nintendo was developing it's next big thing. And it needed to get there fast because the war has already begun in 1995. One problem emerged... It wasn't going to be ready for another year. In the meantime, Nintendo released what could possibly be their biggest flop since their First Dark Ages...

The Virtual Boy (known as VR 32 in Development) Brought the 3D of the new consoles with the "Portability" of the Game Boy. Yeah, it sucked. You looked like a total doof while playing it in any way, It was just as portable as a brick, and the games would give you eyestrain if you played too long, it was too expensive (twice as much as a Game Boy at $180), and had barely any games. Like how much? Twenty-something? Most of the games are better off on the Game Boy, only 2 or 3 games actually used the 3D really well, heck I forgot to mention that there was no VR (virtual reality) in this VR system. One more thing, Is it just me, or does the controller look kind of dirty, those of you who are old enough will know what I mean. Anyway, The Big N released their new console in 1996, and it was...

THE N64 WAS WHERE IT WAS REALLY AT!!!!! 64 BIT GRAPHICS, GREAT GAMES ON THE HORIZON, 3D GRAPHICS, THE FIRST ANALOG STICK THAT ACTUALLY WORKED, THIS CONSOLE HAD EVERYTHING GOING FOR IT!!!!! And it still did even after facing some stiff competition from Sony. It only had 2 launch games, Super Mario 64, and Pilotwings 64, Oh get used to hearing 64 at the end of everything. One game had a ripple effect that is still being felt to this very day... 64.

Mario 64 Changed Video Games forever. Full 360 degree control of your character. Graphics that haven't been matched up to that point, This was as good as a Mario game could get. Mario wasn't just limited to stomping on enemies, he could punch, kick, throw, body slam, any attack you can think of, He also had crazy Acrobatics, at times he could have been in the WWF, (fast fact, He actually was, Former WWF Superstar Captain Lou Albano played Mario in the live action segments in the original Super Mario Cartoon in 1989), 64.

Before the N64 was released, games supposedly using it's technology emerged. Midway's Cruisin' USA (a racing game), and Rareware's Killer Instict (a fighting game in the vein of Mortal Kombat). They were supposed to be launch titles but they were downgraded because they were on more powerful hardware, Heck KI had to be released on the Super Nintendo. KI's sequel got released on the 64, but the ports of both games onto the 64 got mixed reviews, 64.

Fans wanted more to wet their appetite, so Nintendo delivered by bring out some of their biggest hits around this time.

In the Multiplayer Department, We had Games like Goldeneye 64 (from British developer Rareware(Remember Them?)), and Mario Kart 64. These games fueled late night game parties and these were the funnest games to play with friends or sometimes alone. These were must-haves for the 64, 64.

The Sequel to The Groundbreaking Star Fox, Star Fox 64 even better Graphics, a cool multiplayer mode, methods of traveling on the land in the air, and under the sea, a better story, and the Groundbreaking Rumble Feature, Made Possible by the N64 Rumble Pak 64. While these games were fun, The N64 fans wanted more, but what did the Playstation have going for it? Could it hold up? Was the Playstation a one trick pony? Well...

The PS1 had great games like Final Fantasy VII, and Metal Gear Solid. These were more mature, dealed with more philosphical topics Nintendo just couldn't face, Not to mention Nintendo had very little 3rd party support for the N64, mainly due to their unwillingness to evolve, from more and more kiddie games being released for the system, to not willing to go to disc based system (possibly after looking similar failures), Nintendo was seeming more and more like a liability. Heck the game boy was in need to evolve. It had such ideas as...

The Super Game Boy (1994; middle), Which allowed you to play GB games on the big screen with a Super Nintendo, the Game Boy Pocket (1996; left), which shrunk the Game Boy Considerably, and the Game Boy Light (1996; right), released only in Japan, which gave the GB a back light. However Nintendo needed more. and 1998 would be the Big N's biggest year to date.

The Game Boy Color, released in 1998. Gave the Game Boy Color Graphics. a better refresh rate, infrared connectivity, and gave new light to the Dying Game Boy. It had better 3rd Party Support than the N64, however it still had it's kiddie reputation. there was still more that the game boy could do, like...

Pokemon Red and Blue brought new life to the Game Boy. It was an urban RPG where you collected Fantasy creatures called Pokemon and be the best like no one ever was. It spawned a multi-billion dollar Franchise. Spawning Movies, Manga, Anime, and every single product you can imagine. If you grew up anytime between 1998 and now, you probably remember Pokemon. This franchise was pretty much Paying all of Nintendo's bills up to that point.

Nintendo wasn't done churning out hit games just yet. They released Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Arguably the best game of all time, This made up for Square Soft switching Final Fantasy VII from the N64 to the Playstation. It had an epic scale, long cutscenes, big bosses, great graphics, unique puzzles, and it topped many best of lists to this very day. There's often many debates in which "Did Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time single handedly make owning a N64 worthwhile?", 64.

Banjo-Kazooie was Rareware's answer to Super Mario 64. It was released in 1998, and some even consider it better than Super Mario 64. It had great graphics, vibrant colors, varied levels, and lots of things to collect. It was supposed to be released Shortly befoore another Rareware platformer we'll discuss at the end, but that game never saw the light of day until 2001. This game was recently released on XBOX Live Arcade. 1999 kept the N64 train rolling with games from new and old franchises, 64.

Super Smash Bros. was Nintendo's answer to the fighting games on the Playstation like Battle Arena Toshiden, Dead or Alive, Tekken, Street Fighter, and Soul Edge. Sure it was a game that didn't take a big budget to make, but it was insane multiplayer fun for all ages. 4 player madness, a simple to understand, yet hard to master system, certain characters were dangerous in the right hands. It introduced many players to obscure franchises like Earthbound and games that haven't made an appearance on the N64 like Metroid, 64.

Oh dear... what's that?

Yep, it's the awesomely cheesy DK Rap from the game Donkey Kong 64. There was beautiful graphics, vibrant colors, complex gameplay, varied worlds, and it had the most collectibles out of any Rareware platformer. Here's something that'll make you laugh, get a friend who never curses ever, and make him play the Original Donkey Kong emulation in this game, He'll start dropping F Bombs like crazy. But in all seriousness, It was near impossible to get 101% in this game without help. It also used the power of the N64 Expansion Pak to make a game so big in scale, not even the Playstation could hold it. Speaking of...

Nintendo was still struggling against Sony, so the still needed a little something to make 3rd parties come to the N64. they've been in development of the system since at least 1994, and they weren't going to up and make a new console from scratch, that would screw over consumers, heck people in japan would rather play the Saturn, which wasn't doing all that good in the west. So this add-on was in development for 5 years, and in 1999, the 64DD was released, and it blew. It could have been a decent add-on had it been released a year or two earlier, but by that time the Dreamcast was already out, heck the PS2 and Dolphin (which I'll discuss next time) were on the horizon. So all craps that could've been given were lost. But how is the system at the whole? Well... It was a trophy item, For one thing I do like the inclusion of diskettes, and it could connect to the internet, but on the other hand, it had like 9 games, and they're better off being released on the Dolphin/Gamecube, heck some games came out on cartridge form (like Zelda, Kirby 64 (a particular childhood favorite) Animal Forest, Pokemon Stadium, Banjo-Tooie, Conker, Paper Mario, etc.). But it's failure was so fascinating, I can't help but be curious about it, 64.

As the N64 train slowly came to a halt, some of the finest games for the system sent the system to maximum overdrive, and games like Paper Mario, Zelda: Majora's Mask, Banjo Tooie, Rareware's Perfect Dark, Pokemon Stadium (1 & 2), and Kirby 64 showed what the system was capable of. Using key features like the Expansion Pak, Rumble Pak, and Transfer Pak (which allowed you to transfer data from your Game Boy games to your N64). One game in particular was considered the N64's swansong, and it was developed by none other than Rareware...

The Following video may not be appropriate for all audiences, so viewer discretion is advided.

Twelve Tales: Conker 64 (which was once a kiddie game) was reworked into a raunchy, sick game that made most players uncomfortable known as Conker's Bad Fur Day. If a game like this were released today, it would probably get the AO (adults only) rating. Those who weren't offended by the game found a clever satire of cutesy kiddie 3D platformers that had tons of pop culture references and jokes. The game had more than just satire behind it, it had some of the best multiplayer on the system, and unique gameplay, it wasn't just another Mario 64 clone, 64.

As the N64 was coming to an end, a new generation of consoles emerged with the Dreamcast (which would end life shortly before this new mythical Nintendo system emerged), and the Playstation 2, the game world would be exposed the Nintendo's mysterious Disc-Based Dolphin (aka [REDACTED]). Coming up in part 6, a tale of gaming's adulthood.


Shigeru Miyamoto Developed Mario 64 And Ocarina of Time, 2 of the best games of all time, seriously, If a AAA game developer doesn't say they didn't take cues from Ocarina of Time or Mario 64, They're lying.

Gregg Mayles was lead designer over at Rareware and developed Banjo-Kazooie and Conker.

Satoshi Tajiri Developed Pokemon and started the craze known as Pokemania. This was arguably the company's biggest success at the time.


To most people, all you need to understand is 3 games, Super Mario 64 (for an examination of the 360 degree camera), Goldeneye (not just for the muliplayer, but an examination of FPS games on Consoles), and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (for 3D gaming perfection with a lock on system, and an epic scale yet to be seen on Nintendo consoles up to that point). You know the drill when it comes to what version you should play.

Coming this Febuary, Gamecube, Game Boy Advance, rise of NEStolgia, Nintendo's 2nd Dark Age, and more...

With the series more than halfway over, what do you think? Any corrections, additions, ways I could improve?  Comment down below...

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