Nintendo 64 - Watermelon Red

 Home > Browse Our Collection > Games Consoles > Nintendo > Nintendo 64 - Watermelon Red

The Nintendo 64, or N64,  is a home video game console released by Nintendo in Japan in June 1996, North America in September 1996, and in Europe in March 1997. It is the successor to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

The Nintendo 64 was developed between Nintendo and Silicon Graphics, under the codename Project Reality. It was Nintendo's first 3D console, and the world's first true 64-bit console, powered by the NEC VR4300 CPU, jumping from the 16-bit SNES.

The N64 was the last Nintendo console to feature games cartridges until the Switch in 2017. The N64's competition, the PlayStation and Sega Saturn were both disk-based systems. As a result of it being a cartridge-based system some third-party software suppliers did not produce any games for the system.

After a series of lengthy delays the machine launched in Japan first in June 1996, where the machine did not sell well and failed to take on Sony and even fell behind the Saturn. A major blow was losing their long time software collaborator Square, who took their Final Fantasy series on to the PlayStation, citing the lack of space and expense of producing a cartridge.

Sales were much better in the US. For the first year it outsold all of its competition, with 3.6 million consoles being sold in the first year. In the first year Nintendo also had seven out of the top ten selling video games. 

In Europe the machine had a very shaky start. The console cost much more than in other territories, retailing for £249.99, and the games were very expensive. The cheapest titles such as Pilotwings cost £49.99, already much higher than the CD games from Sony and Sega, but third party games such as Turok Dinosaur Hunter were as much as £69.99.

A price cut to £149.99 in May 1997, three months after its release, revitalised sales, but apart from the very top titles such as Super Mario 64 and Wave Race 64, software sales remained sluggish. In the second year, sales and software releases diminished, as third party companies moved away from Nintendo’s strict licensing.

The N64's controller featured a new design. It was three-pronged, very large and was held differently depending on which game was played. For platform games the player would hold the two outer prongs, for 1st person or driving games, the middle and left, and for some of the more obscure fishing type games would be held with the middle and right. It featured an analog stick and a trigger button behind the controller. It was the first Nintendo controller that allowed for expansion, with memory cards and rumble paks available. The console allowed for four controllers to be attached at once.

Over time, Nintendo gained ground on its competitors, overtaking the sales of the Saturn. As cartridge manufacturing costs came down, the software library was bolstered by more classic output from Nintendo. One notable game was GoldenEye 007, which was developed by Rare and published by Nintendo. The game, which followed the film closely, proved that consoles could do first person shooters very well, once the preserve of the PC.

Although a well loved retro console nowadays, the machine sold considerably less than the SNES, and left Nintendo with a considerable market share loss to Sony.

As of March 31, 2005, the N64 had sold 5.54 million units in Japan, 20.63 million in the Americas, and 6.75 million in other regions, for a total of 32.93 million units.

This example in our collection is the transparent red model, and has a matching controller and 8MB Expansion card. 

Manufacturer: Nintendo
Date: 1997

Magazines RELATED to Nintendo 64 - Watermelon Red in our Library

Item Manufacturer Date
64 extreme - April 1997 Quay Magazine Publishing Apr 1997
N64 Pro - December 1997 IDG Media Dec 1997
N64 Pro - Christmas 1997 IDG Media Dec 1997
N64 Pro - March 1998 IDG Media Mar 1998
N64 Pro - August 1998 IDG Media Mar 1998
Total 64 - April 1998 Rapide Publishing Apr 1998
N64 Magazine - April 1998 Future Publishing Apr 1998
Total 64 - May 1998 Rapide Publishing May 1998
N64 Pro - June 1998 IDG Media Jun 1998
Total 64 - June 1998 Rapide Publishing Jun 1998
N64 Pro - July 1998 IDG Media Jul 1998
Total 64 - July 1998 Rapide Publishing Jul 1998
Total 64 - August 1998 Rapide Publishing Aug 1998
N64 Magazine - September 1998 Future Publishing Sep 1998
Total 64 - September 1998 Rapide Publishing Sep 1998
Total 64 - October 1998 Rapide Publishing Sep 1998
N64 Magazine - October 1998 Future Publishing Oct 1998
N64 Magazine - November 1998 Future Publishing Nov 1998
N64 Pro - December 1998 IDG Media Dec 1998
N64 Magazine - Christmas 1998 Future Publishing Dec 1998
N64 Pro - Christmas 1998 IDG Media Dec 1998
Total 64 - December 1998 Rapide Publishing Dec 1998
N64 Magazine - January 1999 Future Publishing Jan 1999
N64 Magazine - February 1999 Future Publishing Feb 1999
N64 Magazine - March 1999 Future Publishing Mar 1999
N64 Magazine - May 1999 Future Publishing May 1999
N64 Magazine - June 1999 Future Publishing Jun 1999
N64 Magazine - April 1999 Future Publishing Jun 1999
N64 Magazine - July 1999 Future Publishing Jul 1999
N64 Magazine - August 1999 Future Publishing Aug 1999
N64 Magazine - September 1999 Future Publishing Sep 1999
N64 Magazine - October 1999 Future Publishing Oct 1999
N64 Magazine - November 1999 Future Publishing Nov 1999
N64 Magazine - December 1999 Future Publishing Dec 1999
N64 Magazine - Christmas 1999 Future Publishing Dec 1999
N64 Magazine - January 2000 Future Publishing 1 Jan 2000
N64 Magazine - February 2000 Future Publishing 1 Feb 2000
N64 Magazine - March 2000 Future Publishing 1 Mar 2000
N64 Magazine - April 2000 Future Publishing 1 Apr 2000
N64 Magazine - May 2000 Future Publishing 1 May 2000
N64 Magazine - June 2000 Future Publishing 1 Jun 2000
N64 Magazine - July 2000 Future Publishing 1 Jul 2000
N64 Magazine - August 2000 Future Publishing 1 Aug 2000
N64 Magazine - September 2000 Future Publishing 1 Sep 2000
N64 Magazine - October 2000 Future Publishing 1 Oct 2000
N64 Magazine - November 2000 Future Publishing 1 Nov 2000
N64 Magazine - December 2000 Future Publishing 1 Dec 2000
N64 Magazine - Christmas 2000 Future Publishing 1 Dec 2000
N64 Magazine - January 2001 Future Publishing 2 Jan 2001
N64 Magazine - February 2001 Future Publishing 1 Feb 2001
N64 Magazine - March 2001 Future Publishing 1 Mar 2001
N64 Magazine - April 2001 Future Publishing 1 Apr 2001
N64 Magazine - May 2001 Future Publishing 1 May 2001
N64 Magazine - June 2001 Future Publishing 1 Jun 2001
N64 Magazine - July 2001 Future Publishing 1 Jul 2001
N64 Magazine - August 2001 Future Publishing 1 Aug 2001
N64 Magazine - September 2001 Future Publishing 1 Sep 2001
N64 Magazine - October 2001 Future Publishing 1 Oct 2001

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH55657. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

Nintendo 64 - Watermelon Red

  Games Archive   [103]

Click on the Image(s) For Detail

User Submitted Articles

Add Your Article >>>

Help support the museum by buying from the museum shop

View all items

Founding Sponsors
redgate Google ARM Real VNC Microsoft Research
Heritage Lottery Funded
Heritage Lottery Fund
Accredited Museum