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33 Consoles of Christmas
Nintendo 64 (1996)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 10, 2006   |   Episode 18 (Show Archive)  

   
It's time once again for Defunct Games' 33 Consoles of Christmas, your 33 part guide to the best and worst system designs of all time. Join Cyril Lachel and Chad Reinhardt as they judge 33 different game consoles based on what they think of the look. Forget about actual hardware and software, the only thing these guys care about is talking about their exterior design. Join us every day between November 23 and December 25 for a new console review!


Synopsis: In 1996 Nintendo was fresh off of a decade of ruling the video game industry, their NES and Super NES were two of the most successful consoles on the planet and they owned the portable world with the Game Boy. After so much success what was Nintendo to do? Release the Nintendo 64, of course. The Nintendo 64 was the world's first "real" 32-bit console. It launched with Super Mario 64, one of the most impressive games of all time. Although it would never hit the sales figures of the Sony PlayStation, the N64 did manage to offer gamers a number of amazing games that stressed 3D game play. It was also one of the first consoles to feature four-player game play without the aid of an optional multi-tap accessory. Unfortunately the Nintendo 64 was also known for having expensive games and using outdated cartridges.

Best Games: GoldenEye 007, Super Mario 64, Super Smash Bros., Blast Corps, The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Perfect Dark, Paper Mario, and more!




After seeing the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation, Nintendo had a lot to live to in the mid-1990s. Despite my personal feelings about the Nintendo 64, I want to give the Big N a fair shake when it comes to the look of their system. Unfortunately I keep coming back to the same thought: the Nintendo 64 is just an ugly system. It has some great games, make no mistake about it, but there's just something about its look that just turns me off. Let's start with the good, I like that it has four controller ports. Heck, I even like that the controller ports aren't right next to each other. But that's about the only good design decision Nintendo made when developing this system. I hate how the front of the system is so much larger than the back; it reminds me of cars in the 1940s ... and not in a good way. I also hate how the expansion pack clashes with the color scheme of the system, but that's not a big deal if you didn't invest in the expansion pack. I guess my biggest problem is that it still looks like a toy. At this point Sony had established that video games were for everybody, the young and old alike, yet Nintendo opted to make a system that looked like it was meant for the younger set. While Chad sits there and says "meh", I find that I can't even muster up the excitement to be that interested in the design of the system.

Meh. That's generally how I feel about the design of the Nintendo 64; just meh. It is remarkably un-remarkable in my eyes, with little attitude or sass going for it. It looks eerily similar to the Jaguar, which was a system I didn't particularly care for from a visual perspective. Like the Jaguar, I also genuinely dislike the controller for the N64; it looks like a giant, plastic fork to me, and I don't associate forks with Mario. The four controller ports was a great idea, and were it not for the four-player mode in games like Golden Eye and Mario Kart the system may not have been so highly regarded. The color has been done about thirty-million times before, but it's actually a very good color for a console so I suppose I'm not complaining. While not very bold, Nintendo gave their N64 a very middle-of-the-road style, and I'm sure it offended no one. It didn't score many points with the Sony or Sega fanbases, but it certainly didn't alienate their own demographic.
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