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The Nintendo 64 was popular for many reasons, one of the big ones being the release of Super Mario 64. Super Mario 64 was one of the first games of its kind to feature full 3D graphics and depth of field effects. The Nintendo 64 was able to pull this off because it was the first system to feature a 64-bit processor and 32-bit graphics chip (aside from the failed Atari Jaguar, which was really multiple co-processors using 64 bit architecture on a 32-bit main processor). The Nintendo 64 also featured the first successful analog control stick implementation and four built-in controller ports, unlike it's competitors, the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn. The Nintendo 64 is also noted as the last home console system to use cartridges until the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo started using discs like its competitors and the canceled "SNES CD" add-on, starting with the Nintendo GameCube.
The Nintendo 64 hosts a wide variety of games, but most of its hits are first-party titles such as Super Mario 64, Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 64, Mario Party, Paper Mario, Star Fox 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and F-Zero X. Rareware, however, developed quite a few hits for the N64, such as GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, and Donkey Kong 64. Production of the N64 ended in 2002. The Nintendo 64 sold 32.93 million units during its lifetime.
In 1999, Nintendo released the Nintendo 64DD. The "DD" in Nintendo 64DD stood for "disk drive", and originally "dynamic drive". An add-on device for the Nintendo 64, it was a machine that allowed games to be played in a disk format, similar to zip disks. These were intended as a cheaper version of the Sega Saturn's game disks and the PlayStation's, but the Nintendo 64DD ended up being a commercial failure due to the way it was sold and was never released outside Japan. In total, four Mario games were released on the 64DD, all in the Mario Artist series (these were in fact the only games to be released on the system).
In 2003, the so-called iQue Player was released in the Chinese market only, serving as the Chinese equivalent of the Nintendo 64, albeit with a differently designed controller. Its D-Pad and analog stick are placed as on the Nintendo GameCube controller. The entire system only consists of the controller, which has the chip on-board. It has a limited selection of Mario titles, all of which were released for the Nintendo 64 outside China. These include Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Paper Mario, Yoshi's Story, Dr. Mario 64, and Super Smash Bros.
Accessories and Peripherals
The Nintendo 64 Controller is the standard controller for the Nintendo 64. It is unique among video game controllers, as it has three grips instead of the more common two, resembling the letter M, most likely done because Nintendo was worried that 3D gaming wouldn't catch on, so they made a separate grip for the Control Pad. There are many color variations of the controllers, including solid colors and clear colors, the many different colored controllers being a unique concept at the time.
Contrary to popular belief, the Nintendo 64 is not the first console to use analog control sticks; it is just the first successful console to use them. The Vectrex was the first home console to have an analog stick; it also had four controller ports, something else that wasn't popularized until the Nintendo 64.
The Nintendo 64 controller lost the , , and buttons from the SNES, but instead featured additional buttons:
* - Signifies new buttons
This allowed Game Boy and Game Boy Color games to connect to select Nintendo 64 games. It was bundled with Pokémon Stadium, although Mario Golf (Nintendo 64) and Mario Tennis (Nintendo 64) were possible to connect with Mario Golf (Game Boy Color) and Mario Tennis (Game Boy Color) respectively. Interestingly, the Game Boy Camera is the only Game Boy game to connect with a Nintendo 64DD game; Mario Artist: Paint Studio.
Bundled with Star Fox 64, this made the Nintendo 64 the first home console to utilize force-feedback vibration and has since become standard in gaming. Almost all Mario games included it as something it could use. Super Mario 64 initially didn't have Rumble Pak support but later Super Mario 64: Shindō Pack Taiō Version was released.
This accessory was only commercially available in Japan and was a failure, although it was planned for an international release. Only 4 Mario games were released for it, all in the Mario Artist series.
Appearances in the Mario and related series
The Nintendo 64 has made a few appearances in Mario games as an easter egg. Francis, from Super Paper Mario also owns a Nintendo 64 as well as a Nintendo GameCube, Virtual Boy and Wii. It is found in Wario World as a treasure. It can also be seen in the background of a level in Yoshi's Story.
A Nintendo 64, with the controller, the Super Smash Bros. game cartridge, and box, appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee in the background of the stand where all of the player's trophies are. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, one of the names that can appear whenever a player presses the random button when they're naming their custom stage is N64, which is a reference to the old system.