Nintendo 64 accessories
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- 1 First party accessories
- 2 Third party accessories
- 3 See also
- 4 References
First party accessories
The Nintendo 64 controller is an "m"-shaped controller with 10 buttons (A, B, C-Up, C-Down, C-Left, C-Right, L, R, Z, and Start), one analog stick in the center, a digital directional pad on the left hand side, and an extension port on the back for many of the system's accessories. Initially available in seven colors (gray, yellow, green, red, blue, purple, and black), it was later released in transparent versions of said colors (except gray). The N64 pad's analog stick is notorious for wearing out quickly, eventually becoming unable to return to centre position (though they often still functioned normally). Also, the analog stick would become uncalibrated if not centered properly when the system was booted up; if the stick was not centered, the game would calibrate with the altered position at "zero". Because this may not be discovered until the player enters the game, a universal software recentering method is printed in every manual (simultaneously pressing the L, R, and START buttons). Early titles such as Wonder Project J2: Koruro no Mori no Josette would lose calibration if the player moved the cursor while accessing the Controller Pak save. This feature could be used to cheat in some games. In Doom, when the stick is held down when calibrating, the player will be able to run faster when pushing the stick up.
The Controller Pak (コントローラパック Kontorōra Pakku?) is the console's memory card, comparable to those seen in the PlayStation and other CD-ROM-based video game consoles. Certain games allowed saving of game files to the Controller Pak, which plugged into the back of the Nintendo 64 controller (as did the Rumble and Transfer Paks). The Controller Pak was marketed as a way to exchange data with other Nintendo 64 owners, since information saved on the game cartridge could not be transferred to another cartridge.
It is plugged into the controller and allowed the player to save game progress and configuration. The original models from Nintendo offered 256 kilobits (32KB) battery backed SRAM, split into 123 pages with a limitation of 16 save files, but third party models had much more, often in the form of 4 selectable memory bank of 256kbits. The number of pages that a game occupied varied (sometimes, it used the entire card). It is powered by a common CR2032 battery.
A Controller Pak is initially useful, and even necessary for the earlier N64 games. Over time, the Controller Pak lost ground to the convenience of a battery backed SRAM (or EEPROM) found in some cartridges. Because the Nintendo 64 used a game cartridge format that allows saving data on the cartridges themselves, few first party and second party games used the Controller Pak. The vast majority are from third-party developers, likely because of cost expenses: including self-contained data on the cartridge would have increased production and retail costs. Some games use it to save optional data that is too large for the cartridge, such as Mario Kart 64, which uses 121 pages (virtually the entire cartridge) for storing ghost data. Another game is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, which uses 11 pages. Quest 64 and Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon used the Controller Pak exclusively for saved data. The Japan-only game Animal Forest used the Controller Pak to travel to other towns.
The Jumper Pak (ターミネータ パック Tāminēta Pakku?, Terminator Pack) is a filler that plugged into the console's memory expansion port. It serves no functional purpose other than to terminate the RAMBUS bus in the absence of the Expansion Pak. This is functionally equivalent to a continuity RIMM in a RAMBUS motherboard filling the unused RIMM sockets until the user upgrades. Early Nintendo 64 consoles (prior to the Expansion Pak's release) came with the Jumper Pak included and already installed. Jumper Paks were not sold individually in stores and could only be ordered individually through Nintendo's online store. The system requires the Jumper Pak when the Expansion Pak is not present or else there will be no picture on the TV screen.
The Expansion Pak (拡張パック Kakuchō Pakku?) consists of 4 MB (megabytes) of random access memory (RAM) — which is RDRAM, the same type of memory used inside the console itself — increasing the Nintendo 64 console's RAM from 4 MB to 8 MB of contiguous main memory. Originally designed to accompany the 64DD disk drive expansion peripheral, the Expansion Pak was released separately in Q4 1998 and then bundled with the 64DD's delayed 1999 launch package. The Expansion Pak is installed in a port on top of the console and replaces the pre-installed Jumper Pak, which is simply a RAMBUS terminator.
Game developers can take advantage of the increased memory in several ways, including greater visual appeal. The Expansion Pak is required in order to run two cartridge games, Donkey Kong 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and all 64DD software. Capcom's Resident Evil 2 uses the Expansion Pak for increasing visual details of environments and monsters, and Perfect Dark has limited gameplay options when the Expansion Pak is not present. Supporting games usually offer higher video resolutions or higher textures and/or higher color depth. For example, the Nintendo 64 all-remade version of Quake II features higher color depth but not a higher resolution when using the Expansion Pak. It is used in StarCraft 64 to unlock levels from the popular Brood War add-on for the PC version of the game. Many games such as Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine optionally use the Expansion Pak to add a high resolution 640x480 display mode for games, while other games see the benefit of a smoother frame rate. Certain games, such as Duke Nukem: Zero Hour, offer the user the choice between increased resolution or increased frame rate. The Expansion Pak is available separately as well as bundled with Donkey Kong 64. In Japan, the Expansion Pak is additionally bundled with Zelda: Majora's Mask and Perfect Dark, though the games have been also available separately in other regions. Space Station Silicon Valley is known to potentially crash on startup if the Expansion Pak is present.
IGN celebrated the Nintendo 64 industry's methods in launching and supporting the Expansion Pak, for making a high impact accessory with "immediate and noticeable" effects but which is nonetheless mostly optional.
|Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage||No||The Expansion Pak is required for the "High Quality" graphics setting.|
|All-Star Baseball 2000||No|
|All-Star Baseball 2001||No|
|Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M.||No|
|Army Men: Air Combat||No|
|Army Men: Sarge's Heroes||No|
|Army Men: Sarge's Heroes 2||No|
|Battlezone: Rise of the Black Dogs||No|
|Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness||No|
|Command & Conquer||No||The Expansion Pak is required for high-resolution map textures.|
|Daikatana||No||Allows for a "hi-res" graphics mode, which changes the game to a widescreen view but has little noticeable effect on graphics.|
|Donkey Kong 64||Yes||Used to enhance graphics and provide more expansive environments. Also prevents a game-breaking bug that would cause the game to randomly crash. Since Rare could not fix the problem, the Expansion Pak is packaged with the game. If the Expansion Pak is not used, a notice will freeze on screen notifying otherwise.|
|Duke Nukem: Zero Hour||No||The Expansion Pak allows the player to choose between playing at high resolution or with a faster frame rate.|
|Excitebike 64||No||The Expansion Pak enables the option to turn on "Hi-Res" mode.|
|F-1 World Grand Prix II||No||The Expansion Pak allows a full race replay.|
|FIFA 99||No||Allows for an unadvertised "Super High" resolution mode of 640×480.|
|Gauntlet Legends||No||The Expansion Pak is required for 4 player multiplayer.|
|Hydro Thunder||No||The Expansion Pak is required for 3 and 4 player multiplayer.|
|Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine||No|
|International Superstar Soccer 2000||No||The Expansion Pak is required for high-resolution textures; however, performance suffered as a result.|
|International Track & Field 2000||No|
|Jeremy McGrath Supercross 2000||No|
|Ken Griffey, Jr.'s Slugfest||No||Allows for hi-res gameplay.|
|The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask||Yes||Utilized to increase texture detail, remove fog that is prevalent in Ocarina of Time, and increase number of on-screen models as well as effects.|
|Madden NFL 2000||No|
|Madden NFL 2001||No|
|Madden NFL 2002||No|
|NBA Jam 2000||No||Only the PAL version signifies its Expansion Pak compatibility on the box.|
|NFL Quarterback Club '99||No|
|NFL Quarterback Club 2000||No|
|Nuclear Strike 64||No|
|Perfect Dark||No||The Expansion Pak is required for the single player, co-operative and counter-operative campaigns, as well as most multiplayer features. It also allows hi-res mode.|
|Pokémon Stadium 2||No||States "Expansion Pak Detected" on the Start screen if one is being used. Increases the resolution to 640×480 pixels.|
|Quake II||No||Uses the Expansion Pak for extra graphical detail.|
|Rayman 2: The Great Escape||No||Increased video resolution.|
|Re-Volt||No||Unlocks Medium Resolution mode (doubles resolution); cheat code "FLYBOY" enables higher quality.|
|Resident Evil 2||No||Increased video resolution and texture detail.|
|Road Rash 64||No||The Expansion Pak increases the framerate from 30 Hz to 60 Hz.|
|San Francisco Rush 2049||No||The Expansion Pak is required for Track 6, the Advanced Circuit, and music during Arcade races.|
|Shadowgate 64: Trials of the Four Towers||No|
|Shadow Man||No||Improves the texture quality.|
|South Park||No||Enables hi-res mode, increases frame rate in lo-res mode.|
|StarCraft 64||No||The Expansion Pak is required for the Brood War missions.|
|Star Wars: Episode I: Battle for Naboo||No||Increases resolution to 640×480, greatly increasing picture sharpness.|
|Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer||No||Enables hi-res mode, which runs at 640×480 pixels with higher-resolution textures. Also increases the framerate in lo-res mode for smoother gameplay.|
|Star Wars: Rogue Squadron||No||Increases the resolution to 640×480 pixels.|
|The World Is Not Enough||No||Provides enhanced graphics and visual effects.|
|Tony Hawk's Pro Skater||No|
|Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2||No||Increases framerate, especially noticeable during multiplayer games.|
|Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3||No|
|Top Gear Hyper Bike||No|
|Top Gear Overdrive||No||Enables hi-res option, increasing resolution to 640x240|
|Top Gear Rally 2||No|
|Turok 2: Seeds of Evil||No||The Expansion Pak is required for high-resolution map textures.|
|Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion||No|
|Turok: Rage Wars||No||The Expansion Pak allows for hi-res textures, and slight screen resolution increase.|
|Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense||No|
|World Driver Championship||No||Required for hi-res mode.|
|Xena: Warrior Princess: The Talisman of Fate||No|
The Rumble Pak (振動パック Shindō Pakku?) is an accessory which provides haptic feedback to the player by way of vibration. It is powered by two AAA batteries and connects to the controller's expansion port. It was released in 1997 for the new game Star Fox 64 or Lylat Wars, with which it was originally bundled.
The Transfer Pak (64GBパック Rokujūyon Jī Bī Pakku?, 64 Game Boy Pack) is an accessory that plugs into the controller and allows the Nintendo 64 to transfer data between its own games and Game Boy or Game Boy Color games. The Transfer Pak has a Game Boy Color slot and a part that fits onto the expansion port of the N64 controller. It was included with the game Pokémon Stadium, as the game's main feature is importing Pokémon teams from Game Boy titles.
Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Stadium 2 are games that rely heavily on the Transfer Pak. Pokémon Stadium also includes a "GB Tower" mode for playing Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow directly on the N64 via a built-in Game Boy emulator (which includes unlockable "Doduo" and "Dodrio" modes which speed up the game by a factor of 2 and 3, respectively). The Stadium games are the exception, as normally it is not possible to actually play Game Boy games on the N64 with the Transfer Pak, as is possible with the Super Game Boy on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
The Japanese version of the Game Boy Camera can be connected to Mario Artist: Paint Studio. Both Mario Golf and Mario Tennis make use of the Transfer Pak. Rare's Perfect Dark was initially going to be compatible with the Transfer Pak in order to use pictures taken with the Game Boy Camera to create characters with real-life faces, but this function was removed from development after the attacks at Columbine High School and a wave of anti-violent video game sentiment; the Transfer Pak is usable only in combination with the Game Boy Color version of Perfect Dark for unlocking bonuses.
Developed by Intelligent Systems, the Wide-Boy64 is a rather obscure series of adapters similar to the Super Game Boy that was able to play Game Boy games; however, it was only released to the developers and the press and was never released to the public. Two major versions of Wide-Boy64 were released, the CGB which could play Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, and the updated AGB which could also play Game Boy Advance Games, in a similar fashion as the Game Boy Player does with Game Boy Advance games and the Super Game Boy with original Game Boy games. It also allowed the gaming press to capture screen shots more easily. Like the Super Game Boy and Game Boy Player, the game screen itself is surrounded by a template mimicking the appearance of the portable system. This device was used for final matches at the Pokémon League Summer Training Tour '99. It was not a consumer product as only developers and magazines could purchase one from Nintendo at a cost of $1400 USD a piece. The Canadian children's game show Video & Arcade Top 10 used Wide-Boy64 adapters so contestants could play Game Boy titles on some later episodes.
The S-Video Cable provides a better quality picture than composite RCA cables via the MultiAV port. The NTSC cable is identical to and compatible with earlier SNES (NTSC/PAL) and later GameCube (NTSC-only) S-Video cables. The 1st party NTSC N64 S-Video cable sold by Nintendo, however, was not available in PAL regions. PAL N64's do natively output S-Video (Luma/Chroma), but require a different cable to NTSC N64s due to a design difference in most/all PAL N64 motherboard revisions. Nintendo never released an official S-Video cable for the PAL N64. Using an NTSC N64 S-Video cable on a PAL N64 will usually produce over-bright, garish colours; or it may not produce any video image at all.
Third party S-Video cables for both the NTSC and PAL N64's were, and may still be, available, though it is important to note that many cheaper N64 S-Video cables currently available do not deliver a true S-Video signal, merely passing the composite video signal (the yellow plug of the N64-standard red/white/yellow AV cables) through the S-Video plug.
The 64DD (short for "Dynamic Drive", and subsequently "Disk Drive") is an official peripheral capable of reading and writing disks. The peripheral was initially announced in 1995, planned for release in 1997, and repeatedly delayed until its release in December 1999. It launched alongside a now defunct online service called Randnet. With nine games released, it was a commercial failure and was consequently never released outside of Japan.
The Glove Controller is a wearable controller with buttons like a normal controller, usable in any game. Almost like the power glove that went with Nintendo's older console; the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES
The VRU (Voice Recognition Unit) has only two compatible games: Hey You, Pikachu! and Densha de Go! 64. A VRU is included with every factory package of Hey You, Pikachu! and is required to play the game. Densha de Go! 64 does not require the VRU, and as such, they are sold separately. The peripheral consists of a ballast connected to controller port 4 of the system, a microphone, a yellow foam cover for the microphone, and a clip for clipping the microphone to the controller. The VRU is calibrated for best recognition of a high-pitched voice, such as a child's voice. As a result, adults and teenagers are less likely to have their speech recognized properly by the VRU.
VRUs are region dependent, and a USA region VRU cannot be used with Japanese games and vice versa (foreign region VRUs are not detected by the games). No VRU compatible game was launched in the EUR region (PAL, Europe), so there is no EUR-region VRU. A similar device was also released for the Wii called the Wii Speak.
Nintendo released a first party cleaning kit for the Nintendo 64. It contains everything required to clean the connectors of the control deck, controllers, Game Paks, Rumble Paks, and Controller Paks.
RF Switch and RF Modulator
These accessories allow the Nintendo 64 and model 2 SNES (redesigned after the launch of the N64) to hook up to the television through RF. It was primarily intended for customers with older televisions that lack AV cable support. Since the Nintendo 64 and model 2 SNES lack built-in RF compatibility, the modulator acts as a special adapter that plugs into the Nintendo 64's AV port to give the Nintendo 64 RF compatibility. The RF switch itself is identical in every way to the RF switches released for Nintendo's prior systems (the NES and the SNES) and can be interchanged if needed. This set was later re-released for the GameCube to give it RF capability. The cables intended for the GameCube will also work with the N64 and SNES. In the United Kingdom, all N64 consoles were shipped with RF Modulators and Switches to start.
Euro Connector Plug
The Euro Connector Plug is an adaptor packaged with European releases of the console, which converts RCA composite and stereo cable inputs to Composite SCART.
Nintendo licensed N.L.S. Industries to make two types of black wooden system organizers. Both feature a plastic drawer, bearing a Nintendo 64 sticker, with slots designed to hold Nintendo 64 game cartridges, controllers, and controller paks. The larger of these two organizers holds up to 24 game cartridges, and is designed to hold the Nintendo 64 on top of the organizer. The larger organizer is also designed to work with Super NES consoles, game cartridges, and controllers. The smaller organizer holds up to 12 game cartridges.
The Messenger Bag is a black bag made to carry on the left side of the body. It is branded on the front with the Nintendo 64 logo and name. It comes with zippered compartments on the outside and inside and with mesh pockets. It can only hold a few games and a controller.
Nintendo also made a Traveling Case—a black bag, with the Nintendo 64 name stitched on the front. Two plastic buckles on the front keep the bag closed. It is made to carry the Nintendo 64 system with controllers, games, and accessories. They also made a standard black backpack with the Nintendo 64 logo on the top and a zippered compartment on the front. Lastly, Nintendo made a basic 35 mm camera, complete with a timer and flash. Official cameras have a Nintendo 64 logo on the front. They come in different colors such as blue and orange.
Third party accessories
- Bio Sensor — An ear-clip that plugs into the Controller Pak slot of the N64 controller to measure the user's heart rate. Released only in Japan and compatible only with Tetris 64 where it will slow down or speed up the game depending on how fast the player's heart is beating. This device is similar to the Wii Vitality Sensor.
- Tilt Pak — A combo Rumble Pak and Motion sensor made by Pelican.
- GameShark — An unlicensed cheat device made by Interact in two versions. The first version had an LED display that would count down 5 seconds upon turning the system on. The period in the display would be lit while playing to show that the unit was functioning. There is a slot on the back of the unit for an expansion card that was never made. The second version (known as the "Pro" series, versions 3.2 and up) had a SCSI or parallel port on the back for connecting to a computer for downloads. It also featured a cheat search function. Version 3.2 had a similar LED display as the earlier versions. This feature was removed in version 3.3. GameShark cards (or Action Replay cards in Europe) could be used to access content that would normally be inaccessible if a game is played normally without the card.
- SharkWire Online — An InterAct GameShark with modem and PC style serial port for keyboards. Allowed emailing and Game Shark updates through the now discontinued sharkwire.com dial-in service.
- GB Hunter — The GB Hunter is one of two Nintendo 64 items released by EMS Production Ltd., the other being the N64 Passport. It is a Game Boy emulator for the Nintendo 64. A N64 game is plugged into the back of the item and a Game Boy cartridge is plugged into the top. Like the Super Game Boy, it connects to the N64's cartridge slot and requires a N64 boot cartridge plugged into its back, and allows you to play Game Boy games on it. There is also a cheating device programmed into it, called the "Golden Finger" (like the Game Genie or Game Shark). Holding the "L" and "R" buttons simultaneously will cause the game to freeze at that point and the GB Hunter's Menu to appear. The Game Screen can be maximized or minimized, from the Main menu, allowing the player to see the game full screen. The GB Hunters color palette can also be changed from the menu, to view the game in a variety of the 3 different colors. Most sellers of this item, on eBay and other places such as the EMS site itself, do not mention that the video game sounds while being played on the GB Hunter are not emulated. Rather, users are subjected to the theme song of the GB Hunter, which loops endlessly.
- High Rez Pack — Mad Catz's less-expensive version of the Expansion Pak. There were reports of overheating due to inadequate cooling/venting, and the unit suffered from poor build quality.
- N64 Passport — Adapter and cheat device allowing players to play games from different regions on their model N64, with a few exceptions.
- Memory Card Comfort by Speed-Link — A sort of Controller Pak with four separate memory areas, and 123 pages each, selectable via a small switch.
- Battery-free Rumble Paks — Late in the N64's run, a few third-party companies made Rumble Paks that, instead of requiring batteries to work, drew power from the system. Curiously, it was possible to modify an official Rumble Pak using basic soldering in order to make it powered by the console.
- Tremor Pak - A rumble pack.
- The Nyko Hyper Pak Plus - contains internal memory and allows the user to adjust the amount of feedback between "hard" and "too hard".
- Mad Katz Steering Wheel - Steering wheel and pedal set compatible with the N64. Used for racing/driving games.
- Tristar 64 - A third party adaptor that made it possible to play NES and SNES games in addition to N64 games. The device features three built-in cartridge slots, one for each cartridge type, and it plugs into the N64 console's existing cartridge slot.
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