The Nintendo 64 was an amazing console in its time, and along with the Sony PlayStation, introduced us to some of the gaming concepts we still play today. If you owned both consoles, you were the coolest kid on the block, the envy of all your peers.
However, even though the N64 had significantly better hardware than the PS1, the console sometimes receives a little too much credit. A number of myths often float through online articles and social media comments, giving credit to the N64 for inventing this or that video game feature.
In this article, we’re going to dispel 5 common video game myths regarding the N64 and things it pioneered (or didn’t).
The N64 was the first console with four controller ports
When the N64 was released, the fact it had four controller ports was a big deal. Nintendo’s previous console, the SNES, required a separately purchased multitap device for connecting more than two controllers, as did rival consoles like the Sony PSX and Sega Saturn. This meant groups of friends had to take turns at gaming, instead of today where you can play an io game online with hundreds of players.
This may have led many to believe that Nintendo created the first console to have four controller ports, because two ports were the standard in the 90s. But in fact, two consoles existed before N64 that had four ports. These were the Bally Astrocade (1977) and the Atari 5200 (1982) – the same Atari that gave us Breakout, which has influenced a great number of modern remakes you can play on CrazyGames.
What we may be able to credit Nintendo with is popularizing 4-player party games, such as Mario Party, but interestingly, no multitap was ever created for the N64.
The N64 technically could’ve handled 8 or even 16 player games, like the Sega Saturn, assuming 1 multitap per controller port, but Nintendo never released an official multitap peripheral for the N64.
Ocarina of Time was the first game to feature Z-Targeting
Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, released in 1998, was a smash-success on the N64, and has sold over 7 million copies worldwide. A very notable feature of the game was its Z-Targeting system, more commonly known as “lock-on targeting” today.
Because Ocarina of Time was so highly-praised at the time, many game journalists erroneously credit OoT with inventing lock-on targeting for 3D action-platformer games. Yet this is just another myth. The reality is that Mega Man Legends, released in 1997 for the Sony PSX, had already featured a lock-on targeting system before Ocarina of Time.
What’s true is that Nintendo polished and perfected the lock-on targeting system, as Ocarina of Time allowed players to strafe and circle around the targeted enemies, while Mega Man Legends made the player stationary while using the lock-on targeting. However, to credit Ocarina of Time with inventing lock-on targeting is false.
Star Fox 64 was the first console game with rumble support
This is an interesting myth that stems from the difference in Japan and North American release dates. N64 released the Rumble Pak peripheral for their controllers in both Japan and NA in July 1997. Sony’s DualShock controller was released in Japan in November 1997, followed by NA release in May 1998.
Star Fox 64, released April 1997, was the first N64 game to support the Nintendo Rumble Pak feature in North America, thus being the first console game in North America with the rumble feature. This led many to credit Nintendo with inventing the controller rumble feature for console games.
However, what many do not realize is that the original model of the PlayStation Dual Analog Controller as sold in Japan, released to market in April 1997, had rumble motors, and was launched alongside Bushido Blade and Tobal 2 with rumble support. The North American version of the dual analog controllers did not have the rumble feature.
So in this case, Sony beat Nintendo to the rumble feature, but Nintendo beat Sony to the NA market. It was not until May 1998 that Sony released their DualShock controllers in North America, which were upgraded versions of the original dual analog controllers, with the rumble feature as a selling point.
GoldenEye 007 was the first console FPS with dual analog support
This is a very tricky myth, because it relies on interpretation of “first person shooter”. GoldenEye 007 was released in August 1997, and had dual analog stick support, even though the N64 controller only had one stick. It was achieved by holding two N64 controllers, one in either hand, similar to how you would hold a Wiimote and Nunchuck today.
This could possibly make GoldenEye 007 the first console first-person shooter game to feature dual analog stick support, if we count “explicitly designed as a first-person shooter”.
However, Sony and Saturn both had dual-flight sticks on the market, for a limited number of games in Japan. There were a lot of third-party gaming accessories with strange uses in those times. Gamers could remap controls intended for the dual flight sticks to the Sony Dual Analog controller.
Thus, MechWarrior 2 released for both the Saturn and PlayStation could be considered the first FPS console game with dual-analog controller support, as it is a mech combat game played in the first-person.
Mario Kart 64 was the first console game with four-player split-screen support
Another example where Nintendo popularized a concept, but didn’t invent it. Mario Kart 64 featured a four-player split-screen mode, and because the N64 naturally had four controller ports, many believe today that Mario Kart 64 was the first racing game with 4-player split-screen.
There were several racing games with 4-player split-screen that predate Mario Kart 64, including on the SNES. Top Gear 300 released for the SNES supported the feature by using a multitap peripheral, and Street Racer released for the Sega Saturn and PS1 also had it through multitap. Super Mario Kart for the SNES did not have a 4-player split-screen, as the game was released before the invention of the multitap for the SNES.
Hina Irfan is a professional blogger, outreach expert, and writer. She is an active content creator who aims to inspire. She writes for several online magazines and on diverse topics with the focus on offering useful and actionable information to the readers. You can contact her for outreach opportunities at [email protected]