The other day I booted up the old N64 to finish my play through of Banjo-Tooie and to play some of the mini-games on Pokémon Stadium with my friends, only to be greeted with a blank screen and a complete lack of the gaming excellence that I had come to expect. After going through the usual ritual of blowing in the cartridge and the game slot (we’ve all done this at some point) and replaced the input cable, I had to admit that my N64 was dead. Obviously, a new N64 can be bought rather cheaply on many used games sites these days but nevertheless I felt a strange sense of loss. That N64 has been with me for over a decade. It was blue with Pokémon on it and everything. And, as often happens in these situations, I found myself thinking of all the things I still love about the N64. Despite the fact that it is seen by many to be a relative flop in the European market, the N64 provided first class entertainment with a dizzying array of quality titles, many of which literally were the first of their genres, mapping out the genetic code of games for generations to come. It makes me sad to think that some people may never actually play on one of these consoles and play the games which have come to define gaming up to the present day. Many new gamers or the younger current gamers may look at the 64-bit graphics and weirdly proportioned controller and scoff before turning back to their current generation games. There is so much more to the N64 than that though. In a way I often feel that the lack of graphical power forced developers to be really creative with the games that they made in order to ensure an immersing gaming experience. Many games on this console remain the paragons of their genre simply because their developers put everything into making sure that they achieved perfection in their goals rather than focusing on trying to make games more like real life. Many of these games feature genuine humour, witty dialogue and character development and a sense of whimsy and charm which is lacking from many modern titles. Hyper-realism has its own advantages; but the focus on achieving it often means that the quality of gameplay and development of a games personality are somewhat neglected. Very few modern titles make me fall in love with them compared to the N64’s use of genuine Nintendo humour, character creation, primary colours and amazing soundtracks. I sometimes worry that new gamers will not have the same level of excellence to be found and enjoyed in retro gaming. In any case, once you get past the graphical quality of the N64 (which I personally don’t see as a problem) then you will find a wealth of gaming quality. If anyone reading this has not played before, I urge you to do so. You won’t be disappointed. As for me, well, I guess I’ll be in the market for a new N64.