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

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Nintendo has made two critical mistakes :

1) N64 used cartridges instead of CDs

2) Nintendo grossly overestimated the Wii sales potential --> Iwata: Wii could beat PS2's sales record (Feb 2009) (coincidentally, Xbox 360 will overtake the Wii in the US over the coming weeks)


Forbes (9/19/1997)

-the Company's agreement with Nintendo for N64 products requires prepayment of costly cartridge-based inventory, minimum orders and no rights of return.

-Under the terms of the N64 Agreement, the Company engages Nintendo to manufacture its N64 cartridges for distribution by the Company. Accordingly, the Company has little ability to control its supply of N64 cartridges or the timing of their delivery. A shortage of microchips or other factors outside the control of the Company could impair the Company's ability to obtain an adequate supply of cartridges.

-In connection with the Company's purchases of N64 cartridges for distribution in North America, Nintendo requires the Company to provide irrevocable letters of credit prior to Nintendo's acceptance of purchase orders from the Company for purchases of these cartridges. For purchases of N64 cartridges for distribution in Japan and Europe, Nintendo requires the Company to make cash deposits. Furthermore, Nintendo maintains a policy of not accepting returns of N64 cartidges.

-Because of these and other factors, the carrying of an inventory of cartridges entails significant capital and risk

EA (8/11/1998)
Wow. Just looking at what EA said is enough to make me say FU to Nintendo(from a development standpoint) but they were the big game at that time. The 'no right to return' is complete BS, though.

It's like Nintendo was more interested in having their cake and eating it. Charge money via cartridges to those who make the games and get royalties off sales (I'm assuming they did). The industry probably wouldn't have moved forward as fast as it did if we still have the cartridge based gaming system.
 

Noobcraft

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I think a lot of N64 games would have suffered from the huge increase in loading times. Mario 64 has a lot of entirely different maps with different assets, Majoras Mask may have not had a time travel feature because it would suck having to load clocktown over and over, and so on. I remember being super happy I had an N64 over my best friend's ps1 because the loading times were awful on it (some 1 minute plus?) And his PS1 only read discs when it was upside down otherwise it overheated.
 

JordanN

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I'm surprised at how much people think load times would have dragged you out of the experience.

And I'm not just saying that because I like PS1, but the load time complaints seem exaggerated. Depending on the game, you never waited more than 5 seconds. The load times also only happen during non-remedial stuff.

Example: Crash Team Racing. Load intro, load title screen/main menu, load race, play. When race is over, does it load the main menu.
 

virtualS

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I feel that the only option for Nintendo at the time was caddy based optical media with perhaps a small amount of ROM for security and reduced load times. This would have countered many of the advantages Sony had with PS1 and reduced manufacturing costs and perhaps lead times. No doubt there would be more 3rd party N64 titles. Knowing how conservative Nintendo are on costs then no doubt the machine would have seen compromises elesewhere to accommodate the expensive drive.

Sony brought a sense of 'cool' to the party though and expanded the gaming marking in ways which should never be underestimated and I'm sure would still have posed a competitive threat.
 

Trike

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A couple things on both statements: Sony hoodwinked Nintendo first with their "Cd-rom" clause in the SNES sound chip contract which would have given Sony software royalties (a big no-no for Nintendo), which was why Nintendo at the time abandoned the deal. They did strike up a new deal, and CD-Rom design, more favorable to Nintendo, only for Sony to leave and strike it on their own.

As for the Square deal, Yamauchi didn't lose too much sleep when they left. It was after Square responded out of spite towards said lack of reaction by convincing Enix, one of the few Nintendo 3rd party holdouts, to join Sony and the PSX that Yamauchi completely lost it.



FF7 for PSX still mainly happened because Nintendo stuck with cartridges.

It was enough, for the time being, that Square prototyped for the N64.



Those mini-discs cost about the same to manufacture. Optical media is still optical media.
Whoever failed to read that clause is who really screwed over Nintendo, but regardless it is on Nintendo. Not only that, but the insulting way they ended the deal didn't help. They were embarrassed. IIRC, the way they found out was when Nintendo announced the Phillips deal, days after Sony announced their partnership with Nintendo. There is no way to spin this in Nintendo's favor, they were complete assholes towards Sony and refused to negotiate fairly with Sony so they jumped ship. They created their own terrible situation.

Square stopping all Nintendo developed games in favor for their recently created rival more than likely did make Yamauchi pissed. No doubt the other stuff fueled that fire even more, but he clearly wasn't happy with it. But he did that to himself.
 

Eiolon

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Most people don't understand that Nintendo WANTED to go with CD-ROM even after the Sony and Phillips debacle. The problem is they pissed everyone that manufactured the technology and were forced to go with cartridge. With the fallout of the Sony and Phillips backstabbing, those companies also convinced Matsushita (Panasonic) to avoid making a deal with Nintendo.
 

MrCunningham

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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.
Yup, it was a showpiece for Siggraph 95' and nothing more. It was never running on N64 hardware.

Though, I would imagine that Square did invest in a few SGI workstations because they were exploring the possibility of making N64 titles at some point. It wasn't uncommon for N64 games to be developed on SGI workstations. Goldeneye was built using SGI Onyx systems, from what I understand.


I dunno. Ocarina of Time loads the entirety of Hyrule Field at once without loading. I doubt that would have been possible on CD
using N64 cartridges still had its upsides and downs. Some N64 games actually had equal or worse loading than PS1/ Saturn games because of the compression methods used to to fit more data in a limited cartridge space. There are N64 games that have to stop and decompress data off the cartridge and load it into RAM, which is pretty much just like data loading off of a CD.

They definitely saved a lot of money by not using a CD ROM drive in the system, the N64 launched at $200.00usd in NA, which was incredibly cheap in comparison to the Playstation and Saturn. But the cartridges did cost more money to produce and sell, this really must have turned off a lot of publishers to the console.


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.
I have my doubts about that too. But you have to give the Mario 64 dev team credit for making this game with the limited storage at their disposal. It was one of the biggest games of 1996 in terms of size and scope, and yet it was only 8MB's in size. That is kind of impressive.
 

Loofy

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So all post N64 Nintendo games are unplayable for you?
Many yes, but I never said unplayable. Mario Kart, Mario64, OoT would be signicantly worse with loadtimes between rooms and races. Imagine mario 64 with RE style door opening sequences.

Loadtimes even ruined the psx port of chrono trigger. A freaken snes game.
 

jblank83

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1) N64 used cartridges instead of CDs

Forbes (9/19/1997)
-“Sony is very attractive to the third-party developers, because of the medium the company uses–CD-ROMs.” says IDC analyst William Zinsmeister.

- CDs are preferred by developers for a variety of reasons. For starters, a CD can hold up to 650 megabytes of data, while a cartridge’s storage capacity is only 16 megabytes.

- Nintendo makes these cartridges in Japan and it takes about three months for developers to lay their hands on the blanks, which means the game developers have to second-guess the demand and run the risk of making a costly mistake. Blank cartridges sell for around $35, while blank CDs sell for about $6.

- Wrong forecasts may leave developers with either huge excess inventories or not enough copies of a hot title. In comparison, CDs have a turnaround time of less than two weeks. “CDs give higher margins to third-party developers, one of the main reasons they are attracted to the Sony PlayStation platform,” adds IDC’s Zinsmeister.

-a cheaper medium, gives Sony a price advantage. The company can sell PlayStation games for about $35 in retail outlets, while Nintendo games are in the $75 price range thus limiting sales.

-Result: there are about 300 games available for the PlayStation, Nintendo will be lucky to have 45.
Thanks for finding these. I knew the information but couldn't recall the source and didn't have time to find one.


Many yes, but I never said unplayable. Mario Kart, Mario64, OoT would be signicantly worse with loadtimes between rooms and races. Imagine mario 64 with RE style door opening sequences.
The load times on Playstation 1 were pretty ridiculous.
 

Alchemy

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Texture memory would have still sucked, and it would prevent developers from being able to stream assets effectively off the cartridge which would further reduce visual fidelity for a good number of games.
 

Phreakuency

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Working directly for Nintendo when the N64 launched, part of my training focused on how to communicate the lack of a cd drive to our customers.

The key fact I had to highlight, was telling parents they wouldn't need to worry about their kids scratching discs.
 

Raonak

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N64 would've done a lot better, but sony might have still come up on top since part of the reason for PS1's success was how it targetted the older demographic while Nintendo would have still stuck to the kids demographic mainly.
 

jroc74

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While I agree with those saying it wouldnt have changed much....maybe Nintendo would have tried to be a multi media machine earlier.

The GC and Wii would probably be different. The Wii might have been the Wii U in 2006 as far as specs. And who knows what the console for 2013 would be.

This Wii might be still going strong like the 360 and PS3 are.
 

iidesuyo

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Loadtimes even ruined the psx port of chrono trigger. A freaken snes game.
Chrono Trigger wasn't ported, it was emulated, that's a huge difference. Squaresoft was just lazy.

Look at Suikoden, that's how things can be done, and that was a 1st gen game.
 

Zee-Row

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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.
64DD version of Mario 64 that was recently discovered kind of disproves that.
 

Zee-Row

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Many yes, but I never said unplayable. Mario Kart, Mario64, OoT would be signicantly worse with loadtimes between rooms and races. Imagine mario 64 with RE style door opening sequences.

Loadtimes even ruined the psx port of chrono trigger. A freaken snes game.
It was a lazy port IMO. Chrono Trigger could of fit in its entirety in the PS1's RAM alone. TOSE just did a crappy port job along with the other PS1 16-bit final fantasy games.
 

Chemo

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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.
This is an overwhelmingly unfair thing to say, in that it implies that Sony has merely been lucky the times it's been market leader (which has been far more often than not since they got into the gaming industry). Yes, other companies fucked up sometimes, but it really cheapens the amount of correct things Sony has done with their consoles to imply that Sony is only where they are because a couple of other companies made mistakes.
 

DonMigs85

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It was a lazy port IMO. Chrono Trigger could of fit in its entirety in the PS1's RAM alone. TOSE just did a crappy port job along with the other PS1 16-bit final fantasy games.
Not quite. It was a 4MB game and the PS1 only had 2MB of main RAM.
Also, Mario 64 didn't have a ton of textures and used a lot of gouraud-shaded polygons so it didn't require tons of space.
 
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If Driver 2 could stream a whole city including moving cars and pedestrians,
http://i4.minus.com/i7q08yXbTt1Id.png

I don't see why it couldn't stream Hyrule/Mario. The problems would be tied to hardware (i.e draw distance. PS1 was weaker at this).[/QUOTE]
Well, people keep mentioning the Driver games over and over when talking about streaming PS1 games because few PS1 games have that kind of large, complex world; the scarcity shows how challenging it was back then to stream stuff off a CD effectively. You can't expect that most N64 games would have matched that either, just like how most PS1 games are not. For most games, the N64 allows for larger and more complex environments.

The PS1 could occasionally manage to create a large environment, as you see in the Driver games or also Spyro perhaps (not that that game uses streaming, but the levels are big for a PS1 3d platformer), but the N64 can do more, and the cartridge format is a big help for area scale. Yeah, with great streaming tech you could try to match it, but carts have an inherent advantage.

Also, how well streaming will help would also depend on the game, I would think... can streaming work as well in a 3d platformer or Zelda-style game as it does a racing game?
 

MrCunningham

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It was a lazy port IMO. Chrono Trigger could of fit in its entirety in the PS1's RAM alone. TOSE just did a crappy port job along with the other PS1 16-bit final fantasy games.
No, it definitely would have not been able to fit in the Playstations memory and still have additional room left to run the game and emulator. It was a 4MB ROM and the Playstation has like 2MBs of Memory. Though, from what I understand, if you actually look in the game files on the Playstation Chrono Trigger disc, there is an actual SNES ROM there. But I would imagine that they had to build a custom emulator exclusive just for this game that would load bits and pieces from the ROM into RAM without loading the entire game into RAM. Which is why there's loading before battles and when the player enters a new area.

But that is my guess, I could be wrong on that. Somebody will probably prove me wrong. :p

Partially beaten by DonMigs
 
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Nintendo has made two critical mistakes :

1) N64 used cartridges instead of CDs
I can't help but feel like this just sped up something that was going to happen eventually anyway. Nintendos awful treatment of 3rd parties was inevitably going to lead to them going elsewhere when the opportunity arrived. They may have been more competitive with the 64 if not for this mistake but it was a matter of time until we got to where we are now.

2) Nintendo grossly overestimated the Wii sales potential --> Iwata: Wii could beat PS2's sales record (Feb 2009) (coincidentally, Xbox 360 will overtake the Wii in the US over the coming weeks)
I don't think they were wrong here at all. Wii sales ended up tanking because nintendo stopped giving it the support it deserved, it was basically left to die. They either needed to continue to support the wii fully or they should have actually brought the successor to the wii out in a timely manner. Instead they basically let the wii brand die off before releasing the wii U incredibly late to the market and yet still completely underwhelming as a product.
 

linko9

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Three of the greatest games of all time (2 zeldas and Mario 64) would be hampered by load times. I'm glad that the PSX and N64 were so different; made for a wider range of games and experiences that exist from that era. Overall the 64 was a pretty poor console, there really aren't more than 10 games that I can unreservedly recommend to people. But some of those ten remain some of the best ever. I don't know exactly what effect going with CDs would have had on the history of that generation; probably would have been better for Nintendo's pocketbook, but I'm personally glad things went the way they did.
 

ConceptX

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- 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.
The interesting part of that is, that who is to say FF7 on Nintendo would of had a $100 million marketing budget, which vastly influenced sales, It would of still been a hit, but numbers would surely be very different.

Which knocks onto future developments, that could of/would've been.

Ahhh the past.
 

JJD

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Ahhh the N64!

The last truly unmissable Nintendo console. The Gamecube, Wii and WiiU all have amazing and classic games and I bought then all, but frankly...I could have lived without then. But not without a N64. Ocarina, Majora, Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64 are among my favorite games ever.

I still have my N64 and a lot of it's games in the original packaging. I've been offered a lot of money for my collection. Thank God I don't need money.
 

RedSwirl

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Nintendo would still have had shitty third party relations, but the N64's third party support would probably have been significantly better. The PlayStatoin would probably still have had a shitload more exclusive games, but the gap probably wouldn't have been as wide.
 

JordanN

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Well, people keep mentioning the Driver games over and over when talking about streaming PS1 games because few PS1 games have that kind of large, complex world; the scarcity shows how challenging it was back then to stream stuff off a CD effectively. You can't expect that most N64 games would have matched that either, just like how most PS1 games are not. For most games, the N64 allows for larger and more complex environments.

The PS1 could occasionally manage to create a large environment, as you see in the Driver games or also Spyro perhaps (not that that game uses streaming, but the levels are big for a PS1 3d platformer), but the N64 can do more, and the cartridge format is a big help for area scale. Yeah, with great streaming tech you could try to match it, but carts have an inherent advantage.

Also, how well streaming will help would also depend on the game, I would think... can streaming work as well in a 3d platformer or Zelda-style game as it does a racing game?
I honestly don't think CD's got in the way of streaming levels. It wasn't just Driver. Mega Man Legends also offered open world maps that let you explore and fight enemies too. The game only suffered frame rate drops and pop in (which is only natural since it's PS1 hardware). Same goes for Gex 3.

But I didn't come here to discuss CPU specs since that's a completely different issue.
 

RayMaker

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Nintendo should of made the WiiU capable of X1/ps4 ports as well,

even if it cost $50 more the WiiU would be in a better situation as it is now.
 

RoombaDance

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Let's go off into silly fun land shall we?

-Square releases Final Fantasy VII on the Nintendo64, creating spin-off series for the Playstation
-publishers invest in crossplatform tools allowing for many Playstation titles to be ported to the N64
-Mario64 is criticized for long loading times and camera issues due to small cramped stages. After this commercial failure the 3D platforming genre is considered untenable.
-Rare begins to focus primarily on FPS games and is seen as the pivotal studio in Nintendo's bid against Sony for the older demographics.
-Nintendo supports the squad based shooter Conker's Bad Fur day, but it is still proving difficult to rid the company of it's kiddy image.
-Zelda: OoT is seen as an excellent game, but the quality of the voice acting is called into question
-Due to an early lead, Sony finishes #1 in the generation, but not overwhelmingly so.
-The Dreamcast is launched. With no clear winners in the console wars, most publishers including EA continue to invest in tools to allow them to more easily release games on multiple systems.
-The original purple Dolphin prototype tests poorly amongst older demographics in NA. Nintendo decides to initially release the Gamecube only in black and silver.
-The licensing deal with Phillips for the production of the Gamecube optical discs results in production of Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon 2, which receives mixed reviews, but is generally considered to have better cutscenes than its predecessor.
-Following the ports of Metal Gear Solid to the N64, Snake is featured in Super Smash Bros Melee.
-Nintendo buys 100% share of Rare Ltd, considered key to Nintendo's North American strategy, they release Metroid Prime, a third person shooter collectathon.
-Miyamoto leads development of PikMob, a bloody RTS game. This is considered a return to form for the once great creator.
-The Dreamcast acrues a decent user base, but it is not enough to help Sega's financial issues. Microsoft buys Sega, fleshing out the Dreamcast Live online infrastructure and finding success with the title Halo.
-Final Fantasy X is announced as exclusive to PS2.
-Rare's budget-busting online "Halo-killer" bombs
-Due to increased budgets and competition neither Sony nor Nintendo is eager to launch their next console yet. The generation drags on.
-Duke Nukem Forever released - moms criticize its availability on a Nintendo console.
-Microsoft is first to the market with their XDreamBox console.
-Nintendo launches HD Revolution console with gyroscopes inside a traditional controller. Target market for somewhat pricy console unclear. Motion controls are largely dismissed as a gimmick.
-Sony launches $399 P3S console with awkward boomerang controller.
-Huge jump in development costs for all 3 consoles causes many studios to go bankrupt or shift entirely to handheld and mobile.
-Publishers exert pressure on console makers, preventing them from opening up their machines to indie developers.
-Sony releases new Sixaxis controller a few months after launch.
-Crash Bandicoot Galaxy revolutionizes the 3D platformer with spherical worlds.
-Retro Studios tasked with reviving long-dormant DK franchise in 3D.
-After successful reboot of Donkey Kong, Retro Studios given control of high priority Metroid franchise.
-Rare tasked with creating tilt control games on Revolution.
-Difficulty in expanding gamer audience splinters small gaming population between 3 consoles. Almost all games go cross-platform with little differentiation between platforms.
-Super Smash Bros Brawl is considered too fast and difficult. Project M aims to make it more accessible like Melee.
-The success of the PS3 in Japan isn't enough to keep Japanese gamers from shifting towards mobile.
-Sony continues to have best 3rd party relations, while Microsoft eats away at Nintendo's dominance of the FPS genre.
-Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony all run budgets in the red due to battle to increase market share.
-After poor initial performance of the 3DS, Nintendo is unable to afford a major price cut. The system fails to gain steam.
-Nintendo merges with Apple. The handheld division is merged with the iPhone and iPad product lines.
-Microsoft's Kinect proves a breakaway hit.
-Apple releases the iWii to counter the Kinect. It's expensive, it's white, it's online only, and it sells like hotcakes.
-Majority of indie gaming now occurs on PC and Apple brands. Microsoft reaches deal with Valve to enable access to Steam library on next generation XDreamBox branded consoles and tablets.
-Nintendo/Apple theme park opens
-PS4 is critically acclaimed console that no one buys.
 
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Any insight into this?
About Nintendo having trouble to finalize the specs, i don't really know the details, but as I remember the Nintendo 64 was expected to be close to the arcades Killer instinct and Crusin USA, but Nintendo had trouble making that cheap enough, so i'm guessing that's why it was delayed so much.
 

Dremark

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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.
That's true but it also discounts the correct steps they made. The Playstation was a successful console for a number of reasons, I feel the key factors are the CD format, focus on hardware designed for 3D games and focusing on an older market as the audience for games had aged.

The CD format gave them an edge over Nintendo, the 3D focus on hardware gave them a leg up on Sega, but focusing on older gamers I think was their biggest factor and it grew the entire market.

Overall I don't think it's so much that the competitors screwed up as Sony had a firm grasp of the market's landscape and planned accordingly.

Currently gen PS4 is doing well because it has a similar market understanding, but in this case it's more that Nintendo and MS were out of touch.
 

petran79

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a CD-rom based system would mean degraded 3d graphics to keep up with loading times. for 3d even high end PCs and arcades used hard disks to load game data. CDs were mainly for music and fmv.

so N64 would have to opt for a higher speed cd-rom or a hdd, which would raise costs a lot.
consoles untill the dreamcast hadnt the processing power to load from discs.

also...piracy
 

Log4Girlz

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The wholesale destruction of their once mighty console business was totally worth it for the quicker load times in first party titles.
 

EctoPrime

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If Mario 64 was uncompressed the level filesize must be tiny somewhere in the 300KB range since the cart was 8MB. The game needing a cartridge seems to be just marketing hype.
 

TGO

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They could have gone multiplat.
And Sony wouldn't have published it worldwide.
Sony would still come to market with Ridge Racer, Toshinden, Wipeout, and destruction derby.
CD would still be cheaper to produce and devs would still would have flocked to the PSX.
 
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Psone load times where like 10 - 15 seconds tops... Mario 64 would have worked. This is Nintendo ead we are talking about
 

Dictator93

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Doom64 would not only be the best console doom, but it would probably be the best doom release ever.

They had to remove animation sprites and monsters due to N64 cart sizes.
 

TVC 15

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Lol so much fud about CD-ROM drives in this thread. B..b..b..b but Mario 64 would have loading!

The N64 had a good chunk of ram and would no doubt have had a decent CD-ROM cache, probably bigger than the PS1. Go look at Mario64 on the N64DD, minimal loading.

But this is all such hypothetical bullshit, I'm sure a CD-ROM equipped N64 would have been completely different internally anyway. Having carts to stream textures data in because you built a pathetic manually managed 4KB texture cache is not a strength of Cartridges, its a terrible engineering oversight the Cartridges helped marginally alleviate.

I'm sorry but as great as Ninendos output was at this time on the N64, their entire attitude reeked of recklessness and avarice and like Sega they were punished in the market.
 

Log4Girlz

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Lol so much fud about CD-ROM drives in this thread. B..b..b..b but Mario 64 would have loading!

The N64 had a good chunk of ram and would no doubt have had a decent CD-ROM cache, probably bigger than the PS1. Go look at Mario64 on the N64DD, minimal loading.

But this is all such hypothetical bullshit, I'm sure a CD-ROM equipped N64 would have been completely different internally anyway. Having carts to stream textures data in because you built a pathetic manually managed 4KB texture cache is not a strength of Cartridges, its a terrible engineering oversight the Cartridges helped marginally alleviate.

I'm sorry but as great as Ninendos output was at this time on the N64, their entire attitude reeked of recklessness and avarice and like Sega they were punished in the market.
The third party exodus was worth the shorter load times.
 

nkarafo

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It would have terrible loading times and the feeling of a "seamless" adventure than many of it's games have would be lost.

If you think about it, carts are better than slow-ass CDs, its just that their size wasn't good enough in the late 90s.
 

kswiston

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CD vs cart is not what turned the tide for Sony. Sega had CD-based games and was a much stronger name in the world of video games, but that didn't matter at all.

Sony put more money into marketing, more money into securing exclusives, and spun their system as something that was for adults as well as the traditional 6-17 market.

Sure Squaresoft and others spun some BS about only being able to realize their visions via CD Rom. What were they supposed to say? "Sony offered us a $100M co-marketing deal and reduced per unit royalties. We like money."?
 

MrCunningham

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CD vs cart is not what turned the tide for Sony. Sega had CD-based games and was a much stronger name in the world of video games, but that didn't matter at all.
The PlayStation's success did have a lot to do with their hardware though. It was a developer friendly console that was much less convoluted and easier to maximize performance out of than the Sega Saturn and had a cheaper storage medium to produce than the N64 did.

When you look at it, Sega did shoot themselves in the foot with the Saturn hardware, it was costly for them to produce and they solid units under a loss, they revised the hardware rather quickly after seeing the PlayStation and it was rather complicated for third parties to use. Very feel developers ever took full advantage of the Saturn.

You could also arguably say that Nintendo shot themselves in the foot too with cartridges, the drop off of third party support on the consoles really shows this.

The PlayStation hardware had the easy to develop for architecture that Sega lacked and has a cheap storage medium to produce, which was something that Nintendo lacked with the N64. They landed into a really nice sweet spot that pleased both developers and publishers. This really gave them a huge advantage with the PlaySatation.
 

PumpkinSpice

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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.
This is my assessment as well. It would have been similar to the PS3 "$599 US DOLLARS" except in 1996 bucks with similar problems afterward. They probably would not have bled as much 3rd party support at first but they would have had very poor sales as a result on top of already being 2 years late to the party.
 

Zee-Row

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This is my assessment as well. It would have been similar to the PS3 "$599 US DOLLARS" except in 1996 bucks with similar problems afterward. They probably would not have bled as much 3rd party support at first but they would have had very poor sales as a result on top of already being 2 years late to the party.
But the PS1 launched 2 years before the N64 did at $299 , CD had to had gotten cheaper by the N64's launch.
 

iidesuyo

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Apr 20, 2006
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I don't get why Mario 64 would only have been possible on a cartridge. The N64 had 4MB RAM, with the expansion 8MB. The entire game was only 8 MegaByte large.

There would have been been a small time of loading before the level, but that's it.

And also, no way CD-ROM drives were so super expensive. Even as an end consumer, one could get 4x drives for little money in late 1995. I bought one for my 386 PC...


Don't forget Nintendo invested a lot of money in its flop 64DD too...
Yup, IIRC that thing could only handle 64MB, about as much as the last cartridges offered. Completely useless.
 

Phediuk

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Sep 10, 2013
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Sticking with cartridges was just one of the many problems Nintendo had going into the N64 era. I don't think it would have made much of a difference at all.

Also, Sony's success was due in large part to expanding the market beyond the kids/tweens demographic.
 

Phediuk

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What's up with the gross exaggerations of PS1 load times in this thread? Generally, the only load times worth mentioning were upon booting the game. I can't think of a single game that took more than 5 seconds to load between levels.

I mean, okay, you guess you have to convince yourself that the cartridge format gave some massive advantage to Nintendo, rather than being a crippling drawback, but for God's sake, stop the misinformation about the PS1.
 
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