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The N64 Has Not Aged Well


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Evening fellas,

Over the weekend I had one of my duplicate 2600 Woodgrains out to test, along with a mountain of duplicate carts I also need to try out. The idea was that I'd be able find a nice pile of carts I already had, along with a working 2600, to put on Ebay.

After an hour or so of testing the machine and carts I was in a real retro gaming mood. So as soon as I'd packed that lot away I got out the Saturn and a some of my collection. Metal Slug, Sega Rally, Radiant Silvergun, Silhoute Mirage, and more. All the titles were just as good as I remember them, and whilst 3D effects had improved loads since games were originally released, the graphics were nice, crisp and sharp.

With a number of Saturn hours happily whiled away, I decided to move on to the N64. This is when things took a turn for the worst. First-up was Mario Kart. I'd been using this as a save cartridge for my CD64, so this one was sat rattling in the N64 box. I plugged this in and powered the machine off. My jaw dropped.

I knew the graphics weren't going to look that good anymore, but I wasn't prepared for just how bad they looked. The graphics were like me looking at the screen without my contact lenses in. Compared to the Saturn there was no detail at all. Blurry textures zoomed past, the sprite drivers sat on the tracks looked really out of place. Within 5 minutes I'd switched this off.

Thinking something must have been wrong I opt for an old favourite - Pilotwings 64. This was a fantastic game for its time, and so in it goes. I wince at the grainy island that appears on the intro screen, and quickly get into the birdman mode for a flap around the island. The horror which I was presented with left me speechless. Massive borders, a widely variable frame rate, popup, and blurry visuals made the game practically unplayable.

5 minutes later I'd packed up the machine and put it back into storage.

The Saturn and PS1 may not look brilliant these days, but compared to the N64 their graphics have weathered far, far better than Nintendo's offering. Going back to the SNES, and even that's much nicer on the eyes.

The Saturn still has a special place in my heart. The N64 is a different story. I had many happy times on the system back in the day, but I'm just amazed at the speed at how the graphics have aged.

Oh dear.

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I knew the graphics would age quickly as soon as I saw Half Life on the PC. Initially N64 games looked brilliant, but it soon became clear that the standard was little better than that of a highly anti-aliased Playstation. The Expansion pack was pretty much just used to increase texture quality, which really just made the slowdown worse in every game that used it.

To this day, the games that look the best are the ones that relied on making good animation rather than pretty pictures. Goldeneye and Mario 64 are still brilliant games, and you don't notice them looking outdated because you can't really imagine them looking like anything else.

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It very much depends on which titles on the PS1 & Saturn you are comparing the N64 games too. As a rule 3D seems to age very badly (anyone played the Freescape games on the C64 or Spectrum recently?).

The N64 also was blury at its best - however it could chuck around far more polys then either of its rivals. Not everything has ages as badly anyway - try Mario 64 or Banjo-Kazoie - still as bright and virbrant as ever.

Its interesting however the 2D/3D aging process - I wonder how we will view the 128but gen machines in say 10 years time - will wince at Halo or Burnout 3 we do at PSone Ridge Racers or Goldeneye now?

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The low-res textures don't help. N64 games look lovely through an emulator, though - better framerate, razor sharp and (newish) enhanced high-res textures.

But really Sean, there are at least two dozen brilliant games on the N64. Not merely 'good' - BRILLIANT. I'll list them if you'd like.

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default n64 post:

Vaseline-O-vision

big textures/polygons

only 1/2/3 good games for it

unsupported.

Now. Who's capable of covering/denying those points WITH good backup arguments

There are 30-odd classics for the N64. The games look good, since as pointed out, you can't change classics visually, its what makes them what they are. It had 350ish titles for it, which makes it supported "enough".

-----

NEG

-----

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I'm another for the 'most N64 games now look gash' camp.

Put a few on not so long ago and was dreafully disappointed. Goldeneye is a stuttering ficking mess with enemies that blend into the backgrounds, while Conker got switched off after about 5 mins. There are still some amazing games for the machine, but most of them now look rather ugly.

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Aye some of them havent aged that well, funnily enough i think conker still looks fine. If you want to enjoy the N64 the best thing to do is play it on a smaller TV, no use sticking it on some monster Wide screen piece of kit because yes itl look terrible, drop the screen size a little and everythings fine, OoT still makes me feel sick all the time mind.

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The low-res textures don't help.  N64 games look lovely through an emulator, though - better framerate, razor sharp and (newish) enhanced high-res textures.

But really Sean, there are at least two dozen brilliant games on the N64.  Not merely 'good' - BRILLIANT.  I'll list them if you'd like.

Stroker'll back me up here.

vpw2-large2.jpg

END. OF. STORY.

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The N64 was designed to create expansive, solid 3D enviornments and it made games like Mario 64, Zelda etc that wouldn't of been possible on the Saturn or Playsation

It was strange though that the texture quality was usually iffy (Banjo was an exception), I'm not sure what the technical issues were

When it did car racing games, they always seemed to look worse than those on the Saturn and Playstation. The cars never seemed to have been drawn from enough polygons. I'm not sure if it was limited to displaying less polygons than the Saturn/Playstation

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After Ocarina of Time was playable on the N64 I was hoping against hope that they would re-release some classic N64 games on the Cube.

The last time I powered up the N64 on my widescreen TV I thought the machine was faulty.Have to agree about using it on a small TV.On the bedroom 14" it looks much better but still not ideal.

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The N64 could actually render LESS polygons than the psone. But because of its ability to do texture mapping itself it was able to create levels without major pop up. Unlike the psone which had to use some of its power to do the textures.

Also rob, try out the n64 games on an emulator, fixes up the blurryness loads and really makes the games look good again. Also theres a project going on at the moment to redo all the textures for certain n64 games. Mario and goldeneye are already underway. It was posted here a few weeks back with screenshots and my did mario 64 look great with proper detailed textures.

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Oh, I don't know, not to start a N64 vs PS1 argument, but I never had a PS1 when it came out and I recently got given one with a few games. After viewing a few games I felt like my eyes had been gouged out with a blunt rusty spatula. I put on the N64 and, yes, the graphics are a bit blurry and chunky in some places, but, hey, it made me feel all warm and cosy and it bandaged up my damaged and bleeding sore eyes.

That PS1 is going to Hell [Gamestation] as soon as I put it there.

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Put me in the 'shockingly bad camp'.

My first real experience of nintendo games since my brief encounter with the great super mario kart was with the gamecube.

The beauty and scale of mario sunshine, zelda etc. was stunning.

So about 18 months ago I bought my first N64 and couldn't believe what I was seeing. How the hell could anyone claim that these games were the best ever for all the reasons mentioned above.

The N64 quickly became the worst console of all time for me with 2 shining lights: excitebike 64 and banjo-kazooie.

The former as it just plays great and there is nothing to compete this gen and the later as it seemed so much slicker and un-washed out than everything else.

My opinions have changed a little since, with Mario 64 DS and the Zelda GC disc convincing me that they were great games just on shockingly bad hardware.

I think the N64 as a piece of hardware was terrible. It may have been the forerunner in terms of 3d but it just seems like it was too early. The GC 3d games are technically what Mario 64 and ocarina wanted to be but just couldn't achieve on the hardware.

Yet somehow saturn and ps1 games do still seem to hold their own better by todays standards. Hell even sonic 2 on the MD holds it own better by todays standards.

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It's a shame they never had RGB as standard because it does make a difference on my modded machine.

Thanks for your link to the US N64 by the way from a few weeks back.It turned up yesterday and now all I have to do is give the modding a go or send it of to Yod@ for him to have a go at it for me.I can't wait to play the games in full RGB.

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Although they were blurry, I can still play most of them. The N64 is my favourite console of all time, and I really can't see that ever changing. I spent so many hours on various games of quite spectacular quality.

There's always the memories....

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I think both the N64 and Playstation games look awful these days. A few months back I tried out a couple of old Playstation games and was shocked at how awful they looked. Games like Gran Turismo, MGS, Resident Evil once wowed me, now made me cringe. The same can be said of most N64 games.

The old 16-bit systems have faired much better, as have many 2D titles from the 32/64-bit generation. Everything about them just seems cleaner and sharper.

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It just takes a little time to adjust :)

It has a style to it, a style I kind of like. When 3D hardware was still being toyed with, explored by developers. The N64 hides a lot of failed experiments well and, once passed the hardware, has some brilliant examples of 3D. It's not fair to blame the N64 though; 3D just doesn't age well, full-stop.

Two games mentioned in the opening post? That's shocking. I always have a little trouble adjusting to most 'retro' 3D though, like Sega Rally. Again, a little time to adjust and I'm knocking out times on a racer that's barely 20fps. That's hardly even animated :angry:

I don't think Mario Kart ever looked 'great', to be honest. That later levels are cool though, stick it on Rainbow Road or something or get some mates around for a laugh. You'll quickly see that the graphics don't matter. Pilot Wings though, what the hell is wrong with you?! :lol:

How about some later titles, like Starfox, Sin and Punishment (a graphical tour-de-force).

Oh, I assume you're playing on a PAL system too. Get an NTSC deck, get it RGB modded. And then come back and tell us it hasn't aged well :D

Out of the the three generation consoles, the N64 comes out on top in my opinion. It hides its age well (behind all the vasoline).

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Played goldeneye and perfect dark with a friend about 2 weeks ago :) still thought they were great and the graphics didn't really bother me.

A few games on the machine are just as enjoyable:

Goldeneye/pd

sm64

Michief Makers

Bangaio

sin+pun

lylatt wars

oot

snowboard kids (once you get used to the multiplayer framerate :angry: )

majoura

etc

However pretty much all ps1 3d bar pretty much Ridge Racer 4, Metal gear solid and the odd rpg battle sequence is awful. Just look at ape escape I mean fucking clipping out corridors about 2 meters in front of you for fuck sake it makes the game weird and unplayable.

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I must admit, in some ways 3d on the N64 has not aged well. But I still love playing the likes of Majoras Mask, Conkers, Quake 2, banjo and Dk64 today as they are simply fantastic games.

I preferred the PS1, but the n64 was a brilliant machine (I still find both infinately preferable to the Saturn).

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As regards to those who say Goldeneye has aged badly, I'd disagree.

I played this with a friend the other week and I had a blast. The graphics, whilst not brilliant, are still fairly easy on the eye and didn't cause me many problems. The framerate in single player was solid, as it was in 2-player multiplayer. There are problems when you up the number to 3 or 4 players, but that's to be expected on the 64 I think.

However, we then proceeded to load up Perfect Dark and that wasn't as enjoyable. It didn't seem to run along at anywhere near a consistent framerate and was rather choppy. Quite headache-inducing too.

Even so, long live Goldeneye ;)

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