Sunday, January 5, 2020

Rediscovering N64, Part Zero: It Lives!

My Nintendo 64 sat in my bedroom, untouched for nearly 16 months. The last time I used it was for a video I had shot for my YouTube channel on NFL Blitz. The controller and the console were shrouded in a thin layer of dust, and the games had been relocated out of their drawers and put into some bins.
There had been a few times in 2019 that I had thought about getting rid of the Nintendo 64 and games. I had actually sold off a few of the more valuable titles, like GoldenEye 007 and Paper Mario, to fund other retro purchases, but couldn't bring myself to part with everything. Something in my brain always put an end to that idea-- perhaps because the console has some emotional significance, or maybe because I had a feeling that I would return to it someday.
I have always loved this logo design. 3D for a 3D console.

That feeling grew stronger late in the year. There are a few Nintendo 64-related accounts that I follow on my Twitter timeline, and seeing the regular mentions of the console and games got me to thinking about getting back to my own console. Converting that feeling to reality was a bit challenging, though, as I was generally worn out every day after working; most days, despite having a collection of over 3,000 retro games to play at will, I would just come home and collapse onto my bed-- usually falling asleep to a YouTube video. 

After an 11-day break from work, I felt refreshed enough to try turning the Nintendo 64 on after work on January 2nd. I took time to clean the dust off of everything, and then popped in NBA Hangtime for the moment of truth-- would the console still work after more than a year of neglect and idling in the dark, lower regions of my entertainment center? Admittedly, I got nervous as I flipped the power switch upwards. What would I do if the console had just died? Would I get another, or just sell what games I had and move on? If it did work, what kind of shape would the controller be in? 

My fears were unfounded. The console came to life immediately, and I blew through a couple of games of NBA Hangtime. Happy feelings and memories rushed through me as I played, and then I started switching to other games. WCW/nWo Revenge, WWF No Mercy, Cruis'n USA, Pokemon Snap, and others all got a turn. Those three hours were, in a word, awesome. While exhaustion from my first day back at work eventually caught up with me, I had achieved a pretty important goal in successfully testing the Nintendo 64. It was ready for more use, and I couldn't be happier. 

"Dig-dig-diggety... dig-diggety dog." Seriously, those are the lyrics to the theme song.

It also meant that my goal of rediscovering the Nintendo 64 this year became attainable. I still have to take stock of which games I have, and put together a list of games that I'd like to add to my library... but I'm thrilled that I can play it and hopefully have the time to write about it for the website soon. It was also awesome to follow through on an objective like I had set for myself when the year began. 

So, now what? I have two goals for this year:

1. Build the Rediscovering Nintendo 64 series on the website. I can talk about the games I'm playing, share certain memories, and talk about my new experiences with the Nintendo 64. How will my perception of the console change, if at all? What are my favorite games? How do the sports games compare to their PlayStation cousins? I have a lot of angles to write about, so ideas won't be the problem. That's why this entry is "part zero"-- now the fun part begins. 

2. Add to my Nintendo 64 library. I'm going to be selective, but I'd like to find some CIB (complete in box) games to upgrade from my loose cartridges... and maybe even a few sealed games to open for the Unsealed show. Any loose games would be ones that I don't currently own and want to revisit, including games that I foolishly parted with last year. Money is going to be tight in 2020, so this will be a very gradual effort. 

At this point, I'm thrilled that the console still works. It feels new again, as it had been so long since I played it. Let the adventure begin. 


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