I miss the days of older consoles.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my PS4. I love how online gaming has taken off, how massive hard drives allow me to download dozens of games and never need to change out a CD. Wireless controllers let me sit back and relax in bed after a long day, and of course, new technology has allowed games to evolve in ways I never would have imagined as a ten year old boy.
Sometimes though, it can be important to remember the good old days.
Downloadable Content is a separate podcast run by Brian Williams, a longtime friend. It’s a rambling affair, where topics are put up for conversation, and anyone can join in on the podcast to weigh in their thoughts. I’ve had the pleasure of being on a few episodes in the past, ranging from convention wrap-ups to how Dungeons and Dragons has influenced video games.
Recently though, I’ve noticed many of the episodes are devoted to remembering the past: a thirty-year anniversary of Mario, a twenty-year look at the Pokémon franchise… the world of gaming isn’t exactly young anymore, and it’s a surreal feeling, knowing how old the hobby has become.
In this podcast, I was able to talk with Brian about the N64. How wondrous it felt, how unique and fresh. We talk about the games that came out for it which helped now launch veritable empires. Super Smash Brothers saw its first game emerge, and it rose from obscurity into a franchise. We got the Ocarina of Time, which brought Zelda into the modern world and recapture the hearts of fans everywhere. Golden Eye gave birth to the popularity of the split-screen, FPS shooter, paving the way for console FPS in later generations.
We also remember how much changed. The N64 saw the death of the cartridge in modern consoles, as stronger technology emerged. Companies like Rare were heralded as heroes during this era, but vanished into obscurity soon after the next generations of consoles overtook the N64. People forget that the rumbling controller feature was born with the N64 with the ‘rumble pack’ add on.
The weird old days, before every controller had two joysticks.
There was a lot of innovation in the N64, a lot of weird, bold ideas. It seems archaic to dig up such a console, but I think it’s honestly important to remember your history, whether it’s the history of your country, your family, or just your hobby. If you can appreciate where things started, after all, you can better appreciate what you have now.
With that being said, head on over to the DLC website and take a listen for yourself; you can even find the podcast on iTunes. Do you have good memories of the N64? What did owning a console like this feel like when you were twenty years younger? What was your favorite game on it? Let us know: a moment of respect for a long-left-behind titan of gaming history.