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 was 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 were 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 used it to save optional data that was too large for the cartridge, such as Mario Kart 64, which used 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?) allows the random access memory (RAM) of the Nintendo 64 console to increase from 4 MB (megabytes) to 8 MB of contiguous main memory. Game developers can take advantage of the increased memory in several ways, including making games that are more visually appealing. The add-on was released in 1998 and contains 4 MB RDRAM, the same type of memory used inside the console itself. By increasing system memory, there is potential for enhancements to games designed with the added RAM storage in mind. The Expansion Pak is installed in a port on top of the Nintendo 64 and replaces the pre-installed Jumper Pak, which is simply a RAMBUS terminator.
A few games, including Rare's Donkey Kong 64 and Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask require the Expansion Pak in order to run. Capcom's Resident Evil 2 used the Expansion Pak for making areas of the game and monsters more detailed. Perfect Dark had limited gameplay options when the Expansion Pak was not present. Supporting games usually offered 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 was 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 used the Expansion Pak to add a high resolution 640x480 display mode for games, while other games saw the benefit of a smoother frame rate. Certain games, such as Duke Nukem: Zero Hour, offered the user the choice between increased resolution or increased frame rate. The Expansion Pak was available separately as well as bundled with Donkey Kong 64. In Japan, the Expansion Pak was additionally bundled with Zelda: Majora's Mask and Perfect Dark, though the games were also available separately in other regions. The cult classic Space Station Silicon Valley is known to potentially crash on startup if the Expansion Pak is present.
The RAM in the expansion pack runs at a slower speed than the system RAM due to increased latencies in accessing the pack. It is therefore less useful than simply doubling the amount of RAM.
|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 fixed a game-breaking bug that would cause the game to randomly crash. Since Rare could not fix the problem, the Expansion Pak was 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.|
|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 had plagued 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||Yes||The Expansion Pak is required for the single player, co-operative and counter-operative campaigns, as well as most multiplayer features.|
|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||Used 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 frame rate 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||Dramatically 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 frame-rate 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 frame-rate, especially noticeable during multiplayer games.|
|Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3||No|
|Top Gear Hyper Bike||No|
|Top Gear Overdrive||No|
|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 Pack Allows for High-Res Textures, and slight Screen Resolution increase.|
|Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense||No|
|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 plugged into the controller and allowed the Nintendo 64 to transfer data between Game Boy or Game Boy Color games and N64 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 was 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 included a "GB Tower" mode for playing Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow on the N64 via a built-in Game Boy emulator (which included unlockable "Doduo" and "Dodrio" modes which would 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 was possible with the Super Game Boy on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Reports of mapper carts for playing more Game Boy games on the Nintendo 64 turned out to be not true.
Both Mario Golf and Mario Tennis also made use of it. 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 scrapped after the attacks at Columbine High School and a wave of anti-violent video game sentiment, and the Transfer Pak was usable only in combination with the Game Boy Color version of Perfect Dark for unlocking bonuses.
Developed by Intelligent Systems, the Wide-Boy 64 (CGB/AGB) 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. A device similar to the Super Game Boy and Game Boy Player, the Wide-Boy 64 allows video game developers to play Game Boy Color games on the television screen 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-Boy 64 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 cable is identical to and compatible with earlier SNES and later GameCube S-Video cables. The cable, however, was not available in PAL regions since PAL N64s do not support S-Video output.
The Nintendo 64 Disk Drive (known as the Nintendo 64DD or just 64DD) is an official add-on which was capable of reading magnetic disks. The add-on was supposed to come out in 1997 but actually came out in 1999. Only 9 games were released for the add-on. It was a commercial failure and was consequently never released outside of Japan. It featured networking capabilities similar to the SNES Satellaview.
The VRU (Voice Recognition Unit) had only two compatible games: Hey You, Pikachu! and Densha de Go! 64. A VRU was included with every copy of Hey You, Pikachu! and was required to play the game. Densha de Go! 64 did not require the VRU, and as such, it was sold separately. It consisted of a ballast that was 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 was 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 dependant, 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 contained 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 — A 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 Game Shark 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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