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Alternate History: If the N64 had featured a CD-ROM drive...

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iidesuyo

Member
- no way Squaresoft would have dared to take the risk to develop for the PS1
- many more developers would have supported it
- Nintendo could have countered the low license fees of the PS1
- with the RAM expansion the N64 would have been on par with the Saturn 2D games

Going with cartridges was a stupid idea. Later ones even had loading times because they had to be decompressed.

If the multiverse theory is not just bullshit, I'd love to travel to a universe where there was a CD-ROM N64.
 
 

Oblivion

Fetishing muscular manly men in skintight hosery
They'd probably have won the console race every gen since then if they did, I'd imagine.
 
Goldeneye would have had clips from the movie.

Then Rare would have attempted to make similar ones for perfect dark, and to this day they would remain a cult classic of the camp mausoleum like the Phillip CD-I Zelda ones.
 

chaosblade

Unconfirmed Member
Considering their draconian policies I don't think things would have worked out all that differently. Maybe N64 would have gotten a lot of multiplats and it may have been more successful but for the most part I think third parties would have still embraced Sony and what they offered.

I think the best thing it might have done is put them in a better position to follow up with the Gamecube. But hindsight is 20/20 and it's easy to see where Nintendo went wrong decades after the fact..
 

Sir TapTap

Member
Honestly, and I say this as a strong (but hardly exclusive) Nintendo fan, I'm quite glad the PS1 flourished, even if it more or less started because Nintendo screwed the pooch. Sega's collapse could have been a far larger disaster for console gaming if PS wasn't there to pick up the slack, and I wonder if MS would have even bothered to try the first Xbox if Nintendo's domination had continued.

At the time many were quite defensive of carts though. Save data on the cart was neat (but really not an important feature IMO), load times were great, but the cost was insane, though I don't think most players realized at the time. I just knew of disks as "the reason my games had FMV, voice acting and beautiful prerendered backgrounds" and that was enough for me to prefer the PS1 at the time.
 

Altered_Beast

Neo Member
We wouldn't have had Mario 64, Banjo, Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask.

Fuck CD's.

I don't think the fact that the n64 was cartridge-based led to the creation of those games. Cartridges only led to those games as we know them. Games are one of our society's best outlets for creative expression, so I think those games would still exist...just not exactly how we know them.
 
They could have gone multiplat.
Not really.

They had a succesful story in Nintendo consoles.

A CD Rom based N64 would have ruined Sony's party.

Sony have had good lucky strikes the times they have become market leaders. For example, Nintendo opting for cardtridge based media or MS failed plans and incorrect prioritization of features for the 8th gen consoles.
 

Trike

Member
Honestly, if you want to go back to the point where they really fucked up it is not cartridge N64. It is pissing off Sony so that they make a console out of spite. After that point what would have happened if they went another way with the N64 is not exactly clear cut.

They could have gone multiplat.

They could have, but they would have risked spurning Nintendo. This is the same company that had a feud with Square for so many years because of FF going to PSX, so I don't think they would have reacted positively to it.
 

gngf123

Member
Some developers would have jumped ship anyway due to not wanting to work within Nintendo's restrictions.

Some of Nintendo's best games of that era would have been weighed down with longer loading times.
 

iidesuyo

Member
We wouldn't have had Mario 64, Banjo, Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask.

Miyamoto said that Mario 64 was only possible on a cartridge based console, but that was BS (and he knew it, if not he's an idiot). Booting the console, a few seconds of loading before a level, nothing else would have been be different.
 
- no way Squaresoft would have dared to take the risk to develop for the PS1

I wouldn't be so sure about that. I think a lot of third party devs would've gone multiplatform at the very least just due to Nintendo's well known shitty treatment of third party developers. If you listen/read about Sony back then, they were actively looking to be the opposite of Nintendo in terms of third party relations. So they would've won some of them over with that.
 

JordanN

Banned
Not really.

They had a succesful story in Nintendo consoles.

A CD Rom based N64 would have ruined Sony's party.
Sony would have been worse off, but I don't think that would have stopped the games from being developed/ported over. They still ported some of their Final Fantasy games to PC.
 

ZehDon

Member
We wouldn't have had Mario 64, Banjo, Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask.

Fuck CD's.
Actually, we probably would have, and we would have had better quality music due to the additional space available on the CD in comparison to the cartridge. A higher quality soundtrack for Ocarina of Time AND Banjo-Kazooie? I don't think the human race would have been prepared for such wonders. Anyway, the size of the cartridge wasn't the only thing holding the N64 back. Sony came in with more flexible policies for working with third parties, which is where Nintendo has gone wrong with virtually every console its made. They might have kept Square, and thus had FFVII on the N64, but Nintendo was still very much not interested in "adult" games on their console, until they were forced to buckle after the PS1 exploded. So, MGS, RE and even Silent Hill probably would've stayed with the PS1.
 

Balb

Member
The media format would not have changed Nintendo's poor third party relations, as you can see with their subsequent disc-based consoles.

Nintendo and Sega did not have the forethought to grow the industry, which is why Sony was able to enter so easily.
 

Rich!

Member
Why?

We'd probably have the same thing, but with CG cutscenes and music tracks instead of MIDI. :p

Banjo and Zelda utilize streaming tech that would not have been possible with the low read speeds and buffer size console cd drives had in that era, afaik.
 
Sony would have been worse off, but I don't think that would have stopped the games from being developed/ported over. They still ported some of their Final Fantasy games to PC.
How many Final Fantasies were ported to the Saturn? Or how many 16 bit ones were on the Genesys?

Keep in mind the Saturn was quite succesful in Japan and it ended up receiving ports of important franchises that are/were related to Sony.

Final Fantasy was prototyped in N64 hardware. If it had the media that could have made SquareSoft vision possible the most probable scenario is for that series to have stayed Nintendo exclusive. Even with all the draconian policies of Nintendo, Square did quite well in the NES/SNES.
 

Rich!

Member
Final Fantasy 7 as far as I know was never prototyped for the N64.

There was a concept video built on silicon workstations. Thats it.
 

Bass260

Member
If the N64 had a CD drive and was successful: The Wii probably would have not existed, at least in it's current form. Take from that what you will.
 

JordanN

Banned
How many Final Fantasies were ported to the Saturn? Or how many 16 bit ones were on the Genesys?

Keep in mind the Saturn was quite succesful in Japan and it ended up receiving ports of important franchises that are/were related to Sony.

Final Fantasy was prototyped in N64 hardware. If it had the media that could have made SquareSoft vision possible the most probable scenario is for that series to have stayed Nintendo exclusive. Even with all the draconian policies of Nintendo, Square did quite well in the NES/SNES.
Saturn was a weird console. It had the worst architecture to work with back then (the quad rendering would have posed a challenge to the triangle based engines along with the complicated two CPU's). It was also designed with 2D in mind with 3D taking a backseat.

The Playstation was the reverse opposite (easier to work with, and built for 3D). Doing ports would still be profitable provided they sell.
 

Tiktaalik

Member
It's still worth noting that the Playstation beat the N64 to market and had a lot of momentum by the time the N64 arrived.

The Playstation had also made gaming cool with games such as Wipeout and Tekken, and had started cultivating the new untapped market that Nintendo had never gone after before.

Surely the N64 would have done better, but I think the Playstation would have still done solidly in the N64-CD scenario.
 

SFenton

Member
Theoretically, if this N64 killed PlayStation, wouldn't it have killed Xbox?

According to Wikipedia:

"The team hoped to create a console to compete with the Sony's upcoming PlayStation 2, which was luring game developers away from the Windows platform."
 
Saturn was a weird console. It had the worse architecture to work with back then (the quad rendering would have posed a challenge to the triangle based engines). It was also designed with 2D in mind with 3D taking a backseat.

The Playstation was the reverse opposite (easier to work with, and built for 3D). Doing ports would still be profitable provided they sell.
"Provided they sell". That's a big IF, the Xbox was a lot easier to develop for and more powerful than PS2, it was a system with good reception in North America and it never received a main Final Fantasy port.

The Sega Genesis was quite succesful in North America and Europe. It didn't have any FF ports.

SquareSoft is a company that likes to work in their confort zone. When the Nintendo systems were enough for their needs they remained there withouth pursuing other opportunities. Same for PS systems when Nintendo lost the format wars. Not until the budgets for development skyrocketed beyond their capacity, porting was considered.
Soul reaver?
Not saying you are wrong... but the draw distances and area sizes in Soul Reaver are not comparable to the enormous stuff you see in games like Zelda or Banjo. Ceratinly not even close to something like Majora.
 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
Theoretically, if this N64 killed PlayStation, wouldn't it have killed Xbox?

According to Wikipedia:

"The team hoped to create a console to compete with the Sony's upcoming PlayStation 2, which was luring game developers away from the Windows platform."

Yes, Microsoft wanted to emulate Sony muscling their might into the gaming space as it happened... but I think they were thinking of how to get Microsoft into your living room long before the success of Playstation.

Case in point: WebTV



If you go back and read Bill Gates' 1995 book The Road Ahead, I'm sure he talks about living room experiences at some point. In any number of alternate realities, "games" is the obvious main trojan horse in the living room.
 

JordanN

Banned
"Provided they sell". That's a big IF, the Xbox was a lot easier to develop for and more powerful than PS2, it was a system with good reception in North America and it never received a main Final Fantasy port.

The Sega Genesis was quite succesful in North America and Europe. It didn't have any FF ports.

SquareSoft is a company that likes to work in their confort zone. When the Nintendo systems were enough for their needs they remained there withouth pursuing other opportunities. Same for PS systems when Nintendo lost the format wars. Not until the budgets for development skyrocketed beyond their capacity, porting was considered.

Square were fine working with DS and PSP or Gameboy and Wonderswan. Both not requiring massive budgets.

I don't think Xbox is a good example, because everything about the console and its marketing were never on good terms with Japanese publishers. Even today, you see the xbox still skipped with games being exclusive to Playstation/Nintendo.
 
Not saying you are wrong... but the draw distances and area sizes in Soul Reaver are not comparable to the enormous stuff you see in games like Zelda or Banjo. Ceratinly not even close to something like Majora.

The world size and draw distance were more of a limitation of the PSone. Soul Reaver demonstrated that CD's could stream large worlds without loading. So Zelda or Banjo would've certainly been possible without either being impacted negatively.
 

Rich!

Member
The world size and draw distance were more of a limitation of the PSone. Soul Reaver demonstrated that CD's could stream large worlds without loading. So Zelda or Banjo would've certainly been possible without either being impacted negatively.

I dunno. Ocarina of Time loads the entirety of Hyrule Field at once without loading. I doubt that would have been possible on CD
 

Alfredo

Member
Resident Evil 2 on the N64 probably wouldn't have the option for no tank controls, because it probably would've gotten the original game instead of a late port, which might've meant I never would've gotten into Resident Evil in the first place!

...don't worry, I've learned to appreciate tank controls since then. :p
 
If the N64 had a CD-Rom drive, it would have cost $150-200 more (cost of CD-rom drive + additional memory to make up for the slower medium read/seek speeds) and would have become another 3DO and likely ended up selling far worse as a result.
 

Y2Kev

TLG Fan Caretaker Est. 2009
I dunno. Ocarina of Time loads the entirety of Hyrule Field at once without loading. I doubt that would have been possible on CD

Based on what? This seems entirely like sticking a finger in the air.

Soul Reaver has a number of huge environments too, and does some other very impressive things with real time geometry transform.
 

120v

Member
yeah i'm also not too sure games like mario or zelda could've been done on CD, or at least with technical knowledge of the time. but maybe somebody more knowledgeable can shit all over that theory

anyway, nintendo would probably be wherever sony is right now (in the games market, not sony as a whole of course), for better or worse
 
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