The Nintendo 64 holds a dear place in my heart as it occupied a significant space of my childhood. The platform was a major shock to me as it was the first time that I've experienced three-dimensional gaming. For the most seasoned gamers, seeing their iconic Nintendo characters transition from 2D to 3D must have been a memorable experience. On top of it, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64 are often considered as the best titles ever released in the video game industry. While its primary rival, Sony, triumphed this generation with its PlayStation, the N64 is still a precious artifact of its era.
Thus, we propose to you 25 Crazy Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With A Nintendo 64. Though the list is mostly directed at younger players who never had the chance to explore the platform, we're also confident that even the most veteran players will also find new pieces of information about this beloved 90s console. It will also give you an excellent reason to rediscover one of Nintendo's greatest consoles through a different perspective. After all, your N64 is probably part of your art collection that is permanently being exhibited in your museum (wardrobe). As always, feel free to share and comment; retroactions for this retro article are always appreciated (hilarious, I know)!
25 So Little, Yet So Powerful
If you're one of those people that tried to rent Majora Mask at your local video store—as a kid—to realize that you cannot play the game because of a "red-and-white" accessory that is missing, the chances are that you may know what an Expansion pack is. While this little tool may look like an average piece of junk, It's a powerful add-on that allows you to play some of the most beautiful games the N64 has to offer.
The Expansion Pack doubles the amount of RAM from 4MB to 8MB.
In simpler terms, it gives more space for developers to create their games. For example, Donkey Kong 64 has so much more content than an average N64 title that it held the Guinness World Record for the most collectibles in a game, back in 2008. Games like Majora Mask and DK64 have such a wide array of content that they require this device to be able to play them.
24 Playing The Game Boy Color On The Big Screen!
Other than playing Ocarina of Time for countless hours, the best memory that I've had with the Nintendo 64 was to play Pokémon Red on the console while my sister was playing Link's Awakening DX on the Game Boy Color (yup, we're a gaming family since diapers, people). Thanks to the Transfer Pak, players were able to transfer some information from the Game Boy Color game cartridge to the Nintendo 64.
While a few games were compatible with the accessory, Pokémon Stadium is the N64 title that uses the most of its features. While players were able to transfer their Pokémon from the GBC titles to the game for usage, they were also able to pursue their adventures directly to the big screen, instead of the portable console. To this day, I still believe that the Transfer Pak was well ahead of its time. Too bad you kids love your mobile-ported games, too much!
23 Racing Side-To-Side
Mario Kart 64 is perhaps one of Nintendo's most iconic games on the N64. While we mostly "enjoyed" playing this racing simulation with the "best controller Nintendo had to offer" (feel the sarcasm), few gamers knew that It was possible to play the game with a racing friendly controller.
Named the Ultra Racer 64, the controller is shaped like a TV remote and is notable for featuring a wheel-like joystick in the middle area. Players can control the direction of the car with this small wheel. While the controller is somewhat useful for the racing genre, its compatibility with other games is scarce as it doesn't allow you to go up or down. In other words, don't waste your time using that controller to play Ocarina of Time (I tried it).
22 From Game Boy To Game Boy Advance In The N64
Canadian 90s babies are surely old enough to remember the iconic video game TV show called Video and Arcade Top 10, on Canadian network YTV (don't bother understanding if you're not from the land of the beaver). In brief, kids would compete in video games for different prizes. The show proved to be a major success as it was one of the early programs dedicated to video games. One of the thing that surprised me the most was that players were able to play Game Boy titles on the N64.
The Wide-Boy 64 is an adaptor that allows you to connect Game Boy cartridges (GB, GBC, GBA) on the N64.
Don't bother going to Nintendo's website as this accessory is unavailable to the grand public- unless you're ready to spend big bucks on eBay. Because Nintendo had a healthy relationship with V&A Top-10, it was easy for the producers to get these little wonders. Mystery solved!
21 Stronger With The DD
I'll always respect Nintendo for doing things differently than rival companies. From revitalizing the video game industry to popularizing motion play with the Wii, the Japanese company has forever left its imprint on the industry. However, some of its creations were also met with heavy criticism. Though most people may think that the Wii U is Nintendo's biggest flop, there is a least-successful platform that even shadows Nintendo's past. The 64DD (1999) was such a mediocre Nintendo 64 peripheral that it never released outside of Japan. Following the Play Station's sudden popularity and game developers migrating to the Play Station, Nintendo decided to strike back with the DD add-on.
In a nutshell, it enabled players to insert magnetic disks to play games that were better performing than the regular N64.
Sadly, the unit didn't attract many sales and is considered the lowest selling platform in Nintendo's history.
20 An Upgraded Controller
Let's be honest people; the N64 controller is my least favorite controller from the Nintendo consoles. While people mostly complain about its triple handles, the analog stick is the controller's biggest problem as it was very rough for the thumb, due to its hard plastic fabric. However, it was possible for players to safely enjoy playing on the N64, thanks to the Horipad Mini 64.
This third-party controller is significantly greater than the original N64 controller as it fixes many of its initial problems. Among its many improvements, the whole controller can be held with two hands, the analog is partly made of rubber which is more comfortable for the thumb, and the D-Pad has been relocated in the middle section of the controller. While players can find regular N64 controllers for cheap, the Hori mini pads are still pricey as they're starting at about 50$.
19 Play Your Favorite PC Games With The N64 Controller
If you're a full-fledged gamer that is 18 years old at the time that you're reading these lines, It may be possible that you've never played with a Nintendo 64. Sure, you must have downloaded an N64 emulator on your computer, but you must surely be playing with your PC remote. That alone is a reason not to play N64 games elsewhere. However, it is possible for newcomers to connect the N64 controller to their computers.
The N64 Controller Adapter for PC allows you to plug your controller into the PC by connecting the USB wire of the accessory. From there, you'll be able to adjust the settings of the controller to your satisfaction. It is also possible to play your favorite computer games with the controller, as well. That means you can play Fortnite with your beloved N64 controller. Cheers to that!
18 The First Online Shop?
Nowadays, any major consoles are featured with their online services, which allows you to either purchase games or to compete online with friends (or strangers). While we may think about Play Station Network or Xbox Live, many people are unaware that the Nintendo 64 had its online service. Randnet, a premium online service, was exclusive to the 64DD peripheral.
In a nutshell, it allowed players to purchase games and play online against other players.
Additionally, gamers could also play beta versions of upcoming games and even browse the internet. While the web service was still primitive at the time, Randnet is still responsible for laying out the foundation for future online platform services.
17 Safely Deactivate Your N64
We all used to have "those" little cousins that would come over and never ask permission to play our gaming consoles. This typical scenario would often result in either your progress getting messed up or getting your saved data erased (more than a couple of times). However, few people know that you can temporarily disable your Nintendo 64. If players would open the little cap above the N64 logo, they'd find a black cartridge called the Jumper Pack. While this small cartridge may look like nothing, It allows the game to boot onto the console.
Removing the Jumper Pack disabled the Nintendo 64, which only becomes functional when it is put back in.
The Expansion Pack can also serve as a substitute to the Jumper Pack. Though the N64 is now a relic of the past, these troublesome moments I had with my little cousins will never fade away.
16 What? A Keyboard?
Thanks to the 64DD, It was possible for players to access and browse the Internet. However, the controller usage was not the best tool to communicate. Don't get me wrong; I'm sure you must still be using your PS4 or XB1 controller to navigate in your console's internet browser. However, an N64 controller is far from being comfortable (trust me), compared to the current generation. To resolve the problem, Nintendo released an official keyboard.
While the accessory is black, the primary keys would sport the white color while the function keys would be dark blue. Except that, there is no unique feature that the keyboard has with the 64DD. It's only an average keyboard for a failed console.
15 And A Mouse As A Controller?
Of course, a keyboard can't be complete without a computer mouse. While it would've been technically possible for players to use the N64 controller as an acting mouse, we doubt players would have wanted unnecessary blisters on the thumb just for sending an e-mail to a friend (at least, not me!). Therefore, Nintendo released an official mouse for the 64DD. Unlike the keyboard, the mouse was only bundled with Mario Artist and couldn't be purchased separately.
While the mouse would initially be compatible with Mario Artist, players could also use it as a controller to play N64 games, although with limited use.
The analog stick would be replaced with the mouse movements, and the A and B buttons would be replaced by the clicking buttons. In other words, playing games that'd require the other controllers' buttons would've been impossible.
14 Racing With The Real Deal
While the Ultra64 adds a layer of driving simulation on the N64, it will never replace the feeling of holding a real steering wheel and pressing on a gas pedal. Though it was possible to replicate this experience on the PC, many would think that the N64 would not have been strong enough to power a driving setup. To those critics, I'm happy to say that you couldn't be more wrong. The V3 Racing Wheel is the perfect driving accessory for the N64 as it features an adjustable wheel and gas & brake pedals.
Players can either use the pedals or simply use the A & B buttons from the wheel to control the speed of the car.
Contrary to the usual low-quality driving accessory, the V3 remains one of my favorite driving wheels due to its simple setup and comfort. If you got a few bucks to spare, I dare you to buy one and try it on Cruis'n USA. You'll love it!
13 The Glove That Never Made It Big
Though Nintendo has a history of hits and misses, some of its third-party accessories are simply useless, further decreasing the credibility of its consoles. The Nintendo 64's Power Glove controller is one such example.
The accessory allows you to control your character with a glove-like controller whose buttons are remapped from the N64 controller.
The motion function of the glove replaces the analog stick; the character would move based on where the player would move his hand. Though the design may be different from the infamous NES Power Gloves, the 64 Power Gloves suffers from the similar control problems of its NES version. For instance, the remapping of the buttons made the controller very difficult to use. Additionally, players would ideally need to hold their hand straight to avoid moving the player involuntarily.
12 That Dose Of Vibration
Vibration functionality is now considered as a standard feature for current gaming platforms. While gamers often credit the Play Station's Dualshock controllers as first to include this feature, the Nintendo 64 was the first one to add it. When Star Fox 64 released in 1997, Nintendo bundled it with an add-on accessory called a Rumble Pak.
If plugged at the back of the controller, It enabled the controller to tremble through specific situations (when players would shoot their weapons, take damage, etc.).
While the Rumble Pak was very bulky, It was handy for immersing players in the action of the game. Since its release, a majority of future N64 games would also support this feature. While I'm quite satisfied with my current consoles, I sometimes miss the great feeling of playing Ocarina Of Time with the Rumble Pak pulsating. Good memories!
11 That Memory Pak That Would Eat Your Wallet
Before being able to save our game progress to the consoles, veteran players had to buy a memory card that was literally the price of a new game. The worst thing about purchasing one is that it only contains a bit of space to save a few games. Sometimes, it might have been possible for a game to take the full content of the card.
For the Nintendo 64, the Controller Pak would act as the console's memory card.
An original cartridge would only contain 32 KB of saved data, which is enough for a small number of games. There were even games that'd require the whole card to be used. Fortunately, the Controller Pak's importance has lessened with time as most of the future-released N64 titles featured the ability to save directly in their cartridges.
10 From PAL To NTSC, I Got The Passport
We all have this one uncle that always does things at the very last minute. Mine once bought me a Japanese-imported copy of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, in a random pawn shop. Despite the fact that I had just purchased the Wii U (don't judge me) at the time, I still decided to play the good nephew card and dust off my Nintendo 64 to please him. To his disappointment, the console wouldn't read the game as it was region locked.
The N64 Passport would have probably allowed me to play Kirby 64 as the add-on cartridge bypasses the game's regional security. Just like most of its accessories, players would merely need to insert the N64 Passport inside the console socket and put the imported game on top of the attachment. I sure hope he won't try to offer me a Super Nintendo for Christmas. Fingers crossed!
9 The Ultimate Nintendo Tool
While the PlayStation also could play music CDs (yes kids, that was before MP3 players), the Nintendo 64 offered no such feature. Thankfully, Bung Entreprises, a Hong Kong company, managed to resolve the problem by releasing the Doctor V64.
This add-on allowed the N64 to play audio and video CDs just by merely clipping it onto the extension port of the console. While playing multimedia files on the N64 was exciting at the time, most people used the Doctor V64 to play backup games on the N64. Players could insert the game cartridge and they'd then back up the game on the device to play them directly onto the console. Because most of Nintendo games were 32 MBs, it was possible to fit many games onto the device. Players could also download the game data onto a CD and then load from it.
8 Cheat With The Shark
If you've been a veteran gamer, you must have been jealous of your friends getting unlimited lives in a game that had no such manual cheat. For years, you must have wondered how it was even possible to beat the odds of these machines. The answer lies in a cheating device called a GameShark.
GameShark is a code enabler accessory that allows you to use cheats in a game.
By sticking the game onto GameShark's cartridge, players can enable cheats by accessing the cheating menu. Though the brand was available on the Nintendo 64 platform, it was also accessible for other consoles, such as the PlayStation and the Sega Dreamcast, at the time. While Gameshark would remain for a few additional console generations, the company would then file for bankruptcy, which halted the production of the devices. Follow the gamer's code and don't cheat, kids!
7 Ride The Web With The Shark
While the GameShark proved to be one of the most recognizable cheating devices in the video game industry, few people knew that InterAct also released an upgraded model named SharkWire Online.
It's safe to say that this accessory was well ahead of its time as it had internet connectivity and even the ability to get an e-mail address.
Players would need to have an Expansion Pack to use the SharkWire. The telephone line for internet directly connected to the cartridge port, and a Nintendo 64 must be inserted into the SharkWire accessory to bypass security. Players would then get to access to the central portal to download cheat codes, update the software, and even read articles from InterAct partners which also featured some significant game developers, such as Capcom and Eidos. Though I strongly discourage game cheating, the internet connectivity would've been a strong point for me to buy it.
6 Nintendo 64 SD
Though the N64 released in the final years of the second millennium, people often don't know that it is compatible with some of the new technology. Yes, the console may be a relic of the past with its bulky cartridge and limited memory, but did you know that the console could read the content of an SD card?
The ED64 is a cartridge accessory that allows you to back up and play games on an SD card.
Like a GameShark cartridge, players can just insert the ED64 into the N64 game slot and put the game cartridge on top of the accessory. Once done, players can only back up the game on the SD card and play the saved titles without using the cartridges. Additionally, the ED64 is region-free which allows you to play games that are even exclusive to Japan. Technology grows so fast, these days.
5 Nintendo 64 Wiimote!
If you thought that the Wii Console was the first Nintendo console to feature motion controls, then you'd best think again as the Nintendo 64 had the feature long before the Wii was even a dream.
The Tilt Pak was an unlicensed accessory that allows you to move your character by only moving your controller.
The Pak would track the movement of the controller and applies the same sequences in-game. In other words, imagine playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, by merely turning your controller in different directions! While the motion technology was not as developed as it currently is, the Tilt Pak was surprisingly good for the Nintendo 64, except for a few latencies. Its safe to say that the Nintendo 64 was well before its time.
4 I Command Thee, Pikachu
Veterans players of the N64 may remember when the Pokémon mania was taking over the console. First came Pokémon Snap, then came Pokémon Stadium, then Pokémon this and Pokémon that. Out of all of these Pocket Monsters games, Hey You, Pikachu! seemed to be the most unique of all. In a nutshell, the game allows you to interact with Pikachu directly with the Voice Recognition Unit, a microphone headset.
Like the series, players can issue different commands to Pikachu, in which he'll be able to execute, supposing that you gain his trust.
Though the concept was ahead of its time, the game was criticized mainly for the inaccuracy of the microphone as virtual Pikachu didn't seem to understand what players were saying. Sadly, kids these days will never get to feel that nostalgic moment.
3 Nurse N64 In Charge
While people of different backgrounds are more embracing of video games (compared to traditionally being associated with nerds), there will always be a traditional group (e.g., our parents) that consider it to be for the unsuccessful ones. Though we can excuse their opinions because of the generational gap (and because they're our parents), we sometimes want to show them how wrong these perceptions can be. Thus, comes the Nintendo Bio-Sensor.
The accessory allows you to monitor your heart rate by simply attaching the clip onto one of your earlobes.
The game would then read your frequency and would be affected, depending on your heartbeat. However, this attachment is only compatible with Tetris 64 and has never been released outside of Japan. However, we encourage you to buy one and to make your mom try. We'll see if she'll still have the same feelings about video games.
2 The See-Through N64
If you've known people that have been rocking with the Nintendo 64 since the start, chances are you were probably amazed by looking at their bare consoles (you little creeps).
Indeed, Nintendo would release a transparent version of the N64 and its controllers.
Coming out with different color variations (atomic blue, bright red, atomic purple, etc.), the N64 controllers also had a complete makeover. Players were even able to see the interior of their items along with its various components. The palette swap consoles were very popular amongst kids and helped boost the sales of the N64. While I've always been a traditional type of person, I have to admit that I once asked my parents to buy me a clear red controller for Christmas. Don't judge me!
1 Just Have Fun!
Well it's not a surprise, is it? No matter how many accessories you'd buy to enhance your gameplay experience, it'll never top the fact that you can play games. Sure, the Nintendo 64 did suffer from the PlayStation's popularity, but it also boasts some of the most incredible games in video game history.
From Super Mario 64 to Conker's Bad Fur Day, the N64 is a testimony of Nintendo's attempt to appeal to every type of gamer and is also responsible for bringing many new series into fruition, such as Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. One of the N64's most famous game's, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, is often considered as the best video game ever created and is credited to have influenced the 3D action-adventure game. And no, Nintendo didn't send me a blank check to say these lines!