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Pad Happy: Death of a Console?

Vol. 2, Issue 9
January 27, 1999 


The N64 was never the "cool" console to own, but I think it always had more soul than the PlayStation. I remain highly suspicious of people who dismiss the machine out-of-hand as a piece of junk - it's a barometer I use to gauge gaming taste and (dare I say it) sophistication. I mean, if you want an example that elegantly distills the difference in philosophy between the two systems, just look at their respective launch titles (Super Mario 64 and Ridge Racer) - it says a lot about the mentality behind the two machines' very different kind of success.

Sure, the popularity of PlayStation has accurately reflected the growth of the games industry in more ways than one, but as our favorite pastime becomes a mass-market phenomenon, we've seen the effects of mass-market demographic tastes ooze their way into many bland, generic titles (to the chagrin of the increasingly outnumbered and irrelevant "hardcore" gamer). Drawing a comparison with the film industry, perhaps Nintendo is destined to go the way of art-house movies (critics' favorites but largely shunned by the mainstream) while Sony creates a Lucas-like empire based on simply rehashing existing genres?

I like to think of the N64 as a victim of the increasing mass-consumerization of the games industry. After all, we now have an industry where Tomorrow Never Dies on PlayStation can make its way into the UK all-format top 3 for 1999 (despite being a piece of crap) whereas a crafted piece of genius like Jet Force Gemini gets nowhere near it. Smoke 'em while you got 'em, N64 owners...


- Nick Ferguson wants to know what happened to Metroid 64.




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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. Pad Happy is © 2000 Niick Ferguson. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, so watch it - we know kung fu, gaijin.