Nintendo has been making systems for a very long time and have become one of the biggest names in entertainment, selling millions of systems throughout their history as a video game manufacturer. Their first major system that released worldwide was the NES in 1983. Since then, they have released many other home consoles as well as portable consoles. Nintendo has been best known for innovation in the gaming industry, creating consoles with a fresh gameplay focus. Systems like the N64, Game Boy, Wii, and recently the Switch have made a major impact in creating a new way to play video games. Some of the greatest games ever made were developed exclusively for their systems, most of them by Nintendo themselves, after all they know how their own systems work better than anyone.
With that said, there are plenty of features and capabilities that most owners aren’t even aware their system is capable of. They could be features that may be in plain sight that are rarely used. Or they could take advantage of accessories that work for specific games. Some systems even have deep secrets locked away in them. There are many interesting features that you may never have heard of. From classic systems like the N64 to even the modern day Switch, there are plenty to learn about them. How much do you think you know about your favorite console or handheld system? Here we will explore most of Nintendo’s history of game systems and talk about many features that many forgot or never knew existed.
25 The Nintendo DS Could Also Be Your Menu For Food
Yes, it was possible to order food through your Nintendo DS. However it was only accessible in a certain location. If you bring your DS to a Seattle Mariners baseball game, you could download an app that allowed you to order your ballpark snacks and have them delivered right to your seat.
This was an experimental service that Nintendo used for the Seattle Mariners as they were the majority owners of the baseball team at the time. The service never did make it to any other baseball park, but it did pave way towards the more general smartphone apps that you could use in various sporting events anywhere today.
24 The N64’s Rumbling Introduction
The Nintendo 64 was an innovative system for many reasons beyond the 3D graphics that the system was capable of providing. One of the biggest innovations was the Rumble Pak that was used for controllers. When the Rumble Pak was inserted to the back of the controller it would provide a small, but noticeable vibration feedback to the controller based on the action on screen. When a character either deals or takes damage, it creates a feeling that immerses the player in the game. This would later on become a staple feature in many video game controllers in the future.
23 The Cords Were Cut With The GameCube
Much like how the N64 complimented gaming with the Rumble Pak, the GameCube also provided its own source of advancement in controller designs. With the release of the Wavebird wireless controller, the GameCube was the first console to have an official wireless controller. While the Wavebird might have dropped the rumble feature, it provided a very ergonomic way to play video games. As a wireless controller, gamers can be more at ease in where to play, and how they get comfortable doing so. This is yet another feature that became standard in gaming controllers today.
22 You Have Access To All eShops On Switch
For multiple system eras Nintendo was very stubborn on having their systems region locked. That means your system will only play software that was optimized for that same region only. You’d have to go through some hacking efforts in order to play certain region exclusive games. Fortunately, the Switch has disabled any region locks.
Additionally, you have the ability to check out all of the eShops from around the world. To do this, all you need is a separate Switch profile that is connected to a separate Nintendo account that is based in a different region. Accessing the shop with that profile will take you to that region’s eShop.
21 The Game Boy Could Print?
Yes the Game Boy could actually print an image into a small piece of thermal paper. The Game Boy Printer was released in 1998 and could connect to all Game Boy systems that can play Game Boy and Game Boy Color games.
It can print images in red, white, yellow, and blue colors. There wasn’t much purpose into printing anything out of your Game Boy games, but it does work with the Game Boy Camera that could print out pixilated images of yourself.
20 The GameCube Actually Had Online Support
The Nintendo GameCube was a strong bundle of joy featuring plenty of incredible and memorable games. However, there was one thing that doomed it into becoming Nintendo’s worst selling console (until the Wii U did worse.)
Nintendo believed that gamers did not care about playing video games online and thus, games were not developed to support online functionality while it was just starting out. This decision came from the poor sales of the one game on the GameCube that could play online, Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II.
19 Most Nintendo Systems Had Microphone Support
A microphone function is surprisingly a staple inclusion in most Nintendo systems. However, not many games over time ever really focused on using a microphone function. Most Nintendo systems implemented a microphone as an accessory and some were built-in.
The N64 and GameCube are examples of having an microphone accessory with games like Hey You, Pikachu! and Mario Party 6. The Nintendo DS systems had microphones built-in, and most games had some kind of gimmicky use of it, but few such as WarioWare games ever made a strong use of it.
18 A Wondrous Tribute To Satoru Iwata
The Nintendo Switch has a secret game that is stored deep within the systems hardware. NES Golf can be played on the system but only in the most extraordinary of circumstances. In order to activate it, you must take two Joy-Cons separately and do a forward extending motion from your head.
This motion was similar to late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata’s Nintendo Direct greetings. After a few tries, you’ll be able to play NES Golf, a game that Iwata programmed during his early years at Nintendo. However, and this is where it is really sad, this can only be activated on July 11, the day of his passing.
17 The GameCube Was Capable Of Portable Gaming
Before console gaming on the go fluently became such a big thing with the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo GameCube could actually be taken on the go as well. Third party companies have made their own versions of a second screen that can be connected to the top of the system and flip upwards.
Now we have an excuse to carry the GameCube by the handle like a lunch box. The accessory also came with a battery pack that can play the GameCube for about an hour and a half away from being plugged into an outlet.
16 The Wii U Could Support More Than One Gamepad
The Gamepad served as the most important piece of the Nintendo Wii U. According to Nintendo, the Wii U could actually connect to two Gamepads if it was necessary. However, there isn’t a single piece of software that takes advantage of that.
The majority of games on that platform utilized key features that the Gamepad had. With a secondary screen that is also a touch screen, as well as gyro controls, the system’s concept was pretty unique, however very isolated from other control schemes. This further cemented that the Wii U was at its best as a single player game console.
15 Did You Forget About StreetPass?
StreetPass was one of the interesting features on the Nintendo 3DS that could communicate with other 3DS systems locally. Ideally, you would bring your 3DS with you where ever you go and have it turned on, but in sleep mode.
This was a great feature until many later 3DS games stopped using it. If you pass someone else with their 3DS on, your systems will communicate and exchange information. If there are any mutual games that you play there is a good chance that you will receive some nice goodies.
14 The N64 Could Use A Mouse
The Nintendo 64 was best remembered as Nintendo’s evolution into true 3D gaming. It was also remembered for its funky and bizarre controller design. However, there actually was a pc mouse that was designed specifically for the N64DD.
This was only manufactured in Japan, and was used for the game Mario Artist: Paint Studio. Other than having the N64 logo on it, the mouse was really just like your old standard computer mouse, only having the usual click buttons. Mario Artist: Paint Studio was the only game that used this accessory.
13 The Wii U Gamepad Controls Your TV
A feature that is pretty standard, but easy to miss is that the Wii U Gamepad could sync up with your television and become an extra remote. With the press of a TV button on the lower right side of the controller, the Gamepad can turn the TV on and off, change the channel, as well as adjust the volume. This can be done very fluently, even in the middle of gameplay. This feature was to further emphasize the Wii U as a console that you can play even if the TV is occupied.
12 The Switch Can Turn Your TV On Too
While it wasn’t advertised like so for the Wii U, the Nintendo Switch can conveniently change your TV as well. It isn’t a remote that can change the channel or volume, but it allows you to set your system to automatically turn the TV on and change the channel to whatever your Switch is connected to. This can be pretty convenient if you own multiple consoles or somehow lost your regular TV remote. In order to do this you’ll need to make sure your TV’s HDMI settings allow for it. On the Switch just check System Settings, then TV Settings, and turn Match Power TV State on.
11 Any Controller, Any Console
In today’s age of technology you can connect any modern controller with any platform. While the Switches controllers are pretty fantastic, some may still prefer an Xbox One or PS4 controller instead. Well it actually is possible with a controller converter or a wireless controller adapter.
With these you could connect any controller to the Nintendo Switch. The same could be said vise versa as there have been many reports showing that you can connect even a simple Joy-Con to play on PC and even smartphone devices.
10 Need A Buddy? Ask R.O.B. To Play With You
Back when Nintendo entered the video game business, they had to do something very different with the NES to differentiate itself from the Atari. The NES had plenty of toy-like accessories to cater more towards children. One of these toys was a robot figure named R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy.)
Before his Smash Bros. fame, R.O.B. was a robotic accessory that can actually play a couple of NES games, Gyromite and Stack-Up, on screen. R.O.B. would interact with the games based on the actions on the CRT screens.
9 Additional Save Files For Some Certain Switch Games
Video games having multiple save files is starting to fall out of style. Nowadays large single player games would only allow you to have one file, and for those type of games, that’s all you really need. However, if you want to completely restart a game from scratch without deleting the previous data, you can do so by accessing the game with a different profile. Save progress will be based on whatever profile you use to play the game, so if you want to experience the story of Super Mario Odyssey again, you should try this out.
8 The 3DS Is Also An Audio Editing Machine
In one of the many forgotten features of the Nintendo 3DS, you have the ability to record brief voice clips and store them on your system through the Nintendo 3DS Sound app. Additionally, you can also edit the sounds in various ways such as the pitch. You could also alter sounds to the liking of a parakeet, electric fan, trumpet, or in a low harmony tone. You can only record 10 seconds at a time, but it can be funny to mess around with cheesy voice lines.
7 USB Keyboards And Headsets Work With Switch
The Switch has a less than efficient keyboard function as well as a curious approach to voice chat through a mobile app. But, there are ways you can enhance your experience with the system. While Nintendo never addressed it, you could hook up a USB connecting keyboard to the dock of the Switch and can use it whenever you are in a chat room.
With the Nintendo Switch Online app you won’t be able to sync game audio with voice chat audio. However you can connect a headset into the headphone jack on the console even when docked and you’ll be able to experience the sound through your headset.
6 The 3DS Acts As A Pedometer
Nintendo may encourage you to carry your Nintendo 3DS in sleep mode everywhere you go for any StreetPass content, but that is not the only benefit in doing so. The Nintendo 3DS also acts as a pedometer, keeping track of how many steps you take when walking about. By taking walks, your 3DS will then convert those steps recorded into play coins that can be used as in-game currency for many of the earlier released 3DS games. Not many games of the last few years utilized any play coin functionality, but nevertheless it was a really cool feature to include.
5 The 3DS Made Real Life Look Like A Fantasy
One of the coolest features of the Nintendo 3DS is its functionality to read augmented reality cards. The 3DS can read cards through its camera and alter the image in the system based on the card. It can turn a regular looking table into a robust mini game where you are physically moving around battling a dragon. Most of the software that supports it is the built-in mini games that are in every system. Kid Icarus: Uprising is the only game that had AR support, bringing various characters to life, battling each other Yu-Gi-Oh style whenever the camera is focused on them.
4 The GameCube Could Also Play Your Game Boy Advance Games
A must have accessory for every Nintendo fan during the Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance era is the Nintendo Game Boy Player for the GameCube. This accessory allows you to play your Game Boy Advance games on your TV screen. The GameCube and Game Boy Advance’s combined library made this one of the best accessories to have.
The Game Boy Advance had an incredibly consistent quality lineup with amazing games, playing them on your TV really helped during some of the quieter times for the GameCube. What’s great is that you didn’t even have to have a Game Boy system, you could play nearly all games with the GameCube.
3 The DS Had A Noticeable Upgraded Version
Late into the Nintendo DS’ long life Nintendo released the Nintendo DSi. A system that had a larger screen, stronger battery life, and a camera that is exclusive to that version. That camera could obviously take photos and record videos, but it would also support its own library of games. There was a nice complementary selection of games that utilized the DSi camera as part of its gameplay. WarioWare Snapped! is the best example of this. This would pave way for the 3DS in its use of the camera.
2 One Wii Game Could Use An MP3 Player
An early experimental feature in a Nintendo Wii launch title never made it beyond that. Excite Truck was a racing game that featured trucks pulling off trick moves in air, similar to the NES classic Excitebike. The game had one unique feature of allowing the player to upload a customize soundtrack. You could have any song downloaded to an SD card and insert it into the Wii, with it you can play Excite Truck to any tune you desire. This feature would never be utilized again.
1 The N64 And Game Boy Can Exchange Data
The Nintendo 64 Transfer Pak allowed for certain N64 games to communicate with certain Game Boy games. The most noticeable of these examples were the Pokémon Stadium series where players can transfer Pokémon from their Game Boy games and use them for the competitive battles in 3D. Mario Tennis can also do the same, unlocking the characters from the Game Boy Color version and being able to duplicate their stats relative to how you trained them in the Game Boy Color game.