Down the Retro Console Rabbit Hole - N64
I was a little hesitant to pull the trigger on an ancient view game console, so I was unsure what would show up when the delivery arrived.
It is here, and while it is used, with some exterior marring, but it is complete.
I bought it from a seller on eBay, who claims to refurbish (disassemble, clean, inspect for broken parts, test) old consoles, bundle them with new 3rd party controllers, and sell them. $149 later, a brown box shows up with the Nintendo 64 console, with all the included accessories expected (power supply, video cables, the two controllers I opted for).
The power supply was brand new. Not sure it was because the one that they receive with it was bad, but it is cool that it was fresh and new.
The video cables are new. Of all the original items, I was worried about the cable being grody, and since a lot of people moved their games a lot, the cable might have bad kinks in it. Nice that it is new. I suspect that the seller just tosses an original into the box.
Since two cartridges arrived on the same day, so I connected the system to my Samsung Syncmaster 710 MP TV monitor. After fumbling to select the composite video in (it was set to S-Video for my Atari 130XE) it just works. The console was alive (tiny worry that was not needed) and the games work.
Well, I am buying cartridges. I have Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64 (these two arrived already), and inbound are Golden Eye, Doom 64, Quake, and Wipeout. The plus is that there are plenty of used cartridges out there, and just about any are available for $15 - $30 each.
And, that’s it.
I have a few more accessories coming in. Two memory cartridges for the controllers, and the optional memory expansion (it is a “cartridge” that doubles the memory available on the console to 8 megabytes (yes, megs, not gigs).
I also want to get a video converter so I can run my S-Video and Composite games to connect to a monitor. I plan on building a “gaming” corner in my home office, and I see my Xbox, and other content sources will share an HD monitor.
I am thrilled. I was never a big early “console” guy because I was heavily invested in my Atari 8-bit computers through the 80s and dove deeply into PC gaming in the 90’s so I couldn’t afford an original NES, but I knew about it. The Nintendo 64 was the last/best cartridge based game console sold, and it is a marvel of technology rolled up in about two pounds of plastic, fiberglass and silicon. The resolution isn’t great (it was built for SD TV’s that were CRTs) but it is true 3D, smooth, and engaging.
I may not become a speed runner, but I will enjoy my trip down memory lane.