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Happy 20th Anniversary to the Nintendo 64 Console & Super Mario 64 Game

posted on by Amanda Whalen

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Nintendo 64 gaming system, as well as the game Super Mario 64, which was released alongside it. The Nintendo 64, also known as code name Project Reality, was first released in Japan on June 23, 1996. It was released in the U.S. in September 1996 and in March 1997 in Europe and Australia. It failed to dominate the fifth generation console war but was still generally well-received and was considered revolutionary for its use of an analog stick that allowed 360 degree interaction with the game environment.

At first, the Nintendo 64 was hoped to be the favorite in the console war, with the catch phrase “The 64 will change gaming.” However, its release kept being delayed due to difficulties with the development environment and the 64DD disk drive. It was finally released in Japan on June 23, 1996, nearly two years after its main competitors, the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn. At the time, the PlayStation was dominating the Japanese market. with its total sales already at more than 2,700,000 systems. The Nintendo 64 continued to lag behind the PlayStation, selling 2,040,000 total systems by March 1997 compared to the PlayStation's 6,500,000, and selling 3,150,000 total by March 1998 compared to the PlayStation's 11,510,000. The Nintendo 64 was more popular in the U.S. than in Japan but failed to surpass the PlayStation there as well, likely due to the higher price of its cartridge-based games.

Despite its lower sales, the Nintendo 64 still holds a special place in many fans' hearts, and there's no denying the impact that it had on the rest of the gaming world. Analog sticks similar to the original Nintendo 64 model are now found on virtually all other console controllers. One long-reaching effect of this is the popularity of first person shooter games for console systems, as the Nintendo 64's controller design made more precise aiming possible. In fact, the Nintendo 64 game GoldenEye 007 is considered the first successful non-PC shooter game.

The game Super Mario 64, which also turns 20 today, is still considered a groundbreaking title that influenced many games to come. Its 3D visuals, dynamic moving camera, and fluid movements worked together to create an experience unlike anything gamers had seen before. According to IGN, prominent developers like Valve's Gabe Newell and Epic Games's Cliff Bleszinski, have said that Super Mario 64 was very influential to them as creators.

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Nintendo announced earlier this year that its newest console, known only as code name NX, is slated for release in March 2017. Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima stated that it will be based on a completely new concept in game systems. The new console was conspicuously absent at this year's E3, but more information will likely be released before the end of the year.

Source: Hachima Kikō, IGN, Nintendo Life


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