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Nintendo 64 FAQ
Topic Started: Oct 4 2006, 04:30 PM (5,329 Views)
Deleted User
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Hi all,

This is a very rough and unfinished draft of my N64 FAQ. I'm posting it here to get feedback but please bear in mind that it's by no means finished and there's a number of sections still under construction.

By the way, the text here is Copyright © Alxbly 2006 and I'll expect to be given credit if you use it. :angry:

Thanks.
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[size=14]PART ONE: TROUBLESHOOTING[/size]

Thereís very little that can seriously hurt a Nintendo 64. Most problems are quickly and easily identified and solved, so if your Nintendo 64 has stopped working thereís no need to panic. Should it be the worst-case scenario and your console is broken beyond repair, a second hand Nintendo 64 console is still relatively cheap to pick up, and boxed consoles are still quite common on eBay.

[size=7]CONTROLLER[/size]

Symptom: Loss of sensitivity in the control stick/movement feels rough or is difficult.

Solution: There is unfortunately no complete solution to this problem, short of purchasing a new controller or control stick. However, there are steps you can take to minimize wear and/or bring a worn stick back to life. To do so you will need following:

2x Philips screwdrivers (the tip looks like this + )
1x tube Ceramic Grease/Plastic Lubricant

The procedure to repair the workings of the stick is well documented at:

www.mmmonkey.co.uk

The loss of sensitivity is because the plastic at the base of the control stick has worn down due to friction. If the stick movement feels rough this is due to a build up of plastic powder within the housing and opening and cleaning the internal workings can improve the overall feel. If the stick is well worn it is likely that the damage will be permanent and, although cleaning may improve the feel, there isnít a known solution that can make the stick feel as good as new.

In this instance the best course of action is to buy a replacement stick. These are available from eBay and from import stores such as www.liksang.com, www.play-asia.com, etc. Be aware that a replacement control stick may cost about the same as a second hand controller, so itís wise to shop around before you buy. New controllers can be bought from the Nintendo.com online store, from eBay and from some videogames retailers and importers (itís best to do a search to find out which stores have stocks available).

If you do purchase a new controller or control stick you can greatly extend its lifespan by applying plastic lubricant. By doing so you can indefinitely delay the wear problems that plague a non-lubricated stick, and the procedure should take no longer than about twenty minutes.

Symptom: Buttons are stuck, or do not work.

Solution: Clean the affected controllers parts, as itís likely that itís a build up of dust or dirt that is affecting the buttons performance. Open up the controller casing (sometimes referred to as the controller shell) by unscrewing the screws located on the underside using a Philips screwdriver. There are two smaller screws in the controller pak/rumble pak slot within the controller; you may need a smaller sized screwdriver to remove these. Now remove the lower half of the controller shell. When the casing has been opened you will need remove the three small screws holding the control stick housing in place. There will also be a diferent colored screw in the control stick housing which you can ignore just now.

Now you can separate the circuit boards from upper part of the casing. There are rubber moulds under the buttons, donít worry if these fall off but be careful when removing the small circuit boards under the L and R shoulder buttons as these are attached to the main circuit board. Iíve found them easier to move if you take out the rubber mould on top of them. Once you have removed the circuit boards you can clean both halves of the controllerís casing, the various buttons and the rubber moulds that sit underneath the buttons in warm soapy water (NOTE: Do not use water on the circuit boards). Use an old toothbrush to clean the spaces in the controller casing where the buttons are placed, and around the edge of the casing. Use a dry q-tip or toothbrush to carefully dust the circuit board. When all the other parts have dried you can re-assemble the controller.

[size=7]CONSOLE[/size]

Symptoms: The power light does not light up when switched on, blank screen on televison.

Solution: Look for the obvious first; is the console plugged into the socket correctly? Test the socket with other appliances to ensure it works. Could the fuse in the plug have blown? Try replacing it.

Try disconnecting then reconnecting the power pak at the rear of the Nintendo 64. If you have or can obtain another Nintendo 64, try swapping the power paks to see if it makes any difference. If you console works with another power pak the best solution is to either use this, or purchase another one. Power paks can be found on eBay, but itís worthwhile to check local pawn or thrift stores to see if they have any (or any cheap Nintendo 64ís).

If the power light does not come on when using a power pak that works with another Nintendo 64 system, then it seems likely that the system will need internal components repaired or replaced. The easiest solution in this case is to purchase another N64 console.

Symptoms: The power light is on but I donít get a signal to my television.

Solution: Firstly, check that your Nintendo 64 is set up correctly. The instruction manual explains how the system can be set up with RF, composite and s-video cables.

Note that although US and Japanese consoles will work with S-video cables, European consoles do not have this ability. Some US consoles can be modified to produce a RGB output and these can use the RGB scart, although results can vary.

There are two games that will not work without an expansion pak installed in the console, and these are Donkey Kong 64 and legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask. If you are trying these games in a Nintendo 64 console without the expansion pak then you will simply get a blank screen.

Dust or dirt can build up on games cartridges and in the console, so itís wise to clean both the games and the system if you are experiencing problems.
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[size=7]CARTRIDGE CARE[/size]

Dirt and dust can prevent a cartridge from playing properly or, in extreme cases, the console might not recognize that a cartridge has been inserted into the system. In order to keep your cartridges clean do not touch the connectors, do not blow into them and donít let them come it contact with anything other than the Nintendo 64 console.

To clean the cartridge connectors dip a q-tip in some rubbing alcohol, wipe off any excess liquid (you want to use as little as possible), then rub the q-tip along the copper connectors on the bottom. Use the other side of the q-tip to dry off any excess moisture left behind. Make sure to not get solution near the label on the cart, as it could make the ink run. There are different solutions that may also work, including nail polish remover and window cleaner, although I wouldnít recommend any of these because itís unclear if there are any long term effects on the cartridge. If in doubt then just use water, but be sure to dry the connectors thoroughly.

[size=7]SYSTEM CLEANING[/size]

The best way is with a cleaning kit, which you can usually find on ebay. Failing that, you can use compressed air and/or a clean (preferably new) toothbrush, rubbing alcohol (surgical spirit for anyone in the UK), a strong thin cloth and a credit card or something of a similar size.

First, make sure that your Nintendo 64 is unplugged. If you have compressed air use it to blow any dust out of the contacts. Be careful not to point the can downwards as you might end up getting the liquid from the can in your N64, which is not good at all. Itís wise to experiment first.

Secondly, use the toothbrush on the connectors. Dry will work, but you can also dip the bristles in rubbing alcohol for better effect. If you do use an alcohol solution remember to remove any excess liquid by wiping the toothbrush on a sheet of clean paper (DONT use water on the N64 contacts, as they are very difficult to dry properly). Carefully scrub away at the metal contacts. If they are dirty then it will be visible on the toothbrush.

Lastly, wrap the cloth around the credit card. Youíre going to insert the credit card and cloth into the slot where the game would normally connect, so make sure the cloth is strong enough not to tear, but thin enough to actually fit in. Dab a little rubbing alcohol on the base of the cloth, wipe off any extra liquid on a piece of paper, then careful insert and remove the cloth and card. Dirt or dust still inside your N64 will transfer to the cloth and should be visible when you pull it out.
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[size=14]PART TWO: GENERAL INFO[/size]

On November 24th 1995 the Nintendo 64 was shown to the public for the first time at the 7th Annual Shoshinkai Software Exhibition in Japan. Preview photos of the console had been circulating since 1993, when details of ďProject RealityĒ (the Nintendo 64ís codename) were first leaked. Project Reality later became known as the Nintendo Ultra 64. Had Konami not trademarked the word ĎUltraí just prior to the consoles launch then ĎNintendo Ultra 64í would have been the official title of the console that we now know as the Nintendo 64.

Nintendo launched the console first in Japan, on the 23 June 1996. The US launch followed on 29th September 1996 and the European/Australian launch was on 1st March 1997. Nintendo called it "the fastest, most powerful games console on earth".

EDITIONS AND BUNDLES

There have been a number of different versions of the console, in various colors. The shape of the console and controller stayed the same throughout the N64ís life, with the only revision being that of the Pikachu Editions*. These had the Pokemon character ĎPikachuí sculpted onto the right hand side of the console, and the power switch was redesigned to resemble a Poke-ball. The console is slightly wider to accommodate the sculpted Pikachu, but the controller that came with these editions is the same standard controller shape.

Below is a list of all the different Nintendo 64 editions and bundles released. Bracketed region abbreviations are used if that edition was region exclusive.

* Standard (charcoal grey console, light grey controller)
* Atomic Purple (charcoal grey console, light grey controller and clear light purple controller) (US)
* Goldeneye Ltd Edition (charcoal grey console, gold controller, Goldeneye game) (EUR)
* Toys R Us Gold Controller (charcoal grey console, gold controller) (US)
* Extreme Green (charcoal grey console, clear fluorescent green controller) (US)
* Star Wars Episode 1 Racer (charcoal grey console, light grey controller, Star Wars Racer game)
* Gold Toys R Us Edition (gold console and two gold controllers) (US)
* Gold Model (gold console and controller) (JPN)
* DK bundle (clear green console and controller, Donkey Kong 64 game, Expansion Pak)
* Funtastic/Color range: Watermelon (clear red console and controller)
* Funtastic/Color range: Jungle (clear green console and controller)
* Funtastic/Color range: Smoke (clear grey console and controller)
* Funtastic/Color range: Grape (clear dark purple console and controller)
* Funtastic/Color range: Ice (clear light blue console and controller)
* Funtastic/Color range: Fire (clear orange console and controller)
* Clear Black Randnet (clear grey console and controller, N64DD, Expansion Pak) (JPN)
* Pokemon Stadium (blue & yellow console, yellow & blue controller, Pokemon Stadium game?)
* Pokemon Pikachu Blue (blue & yellow Pikachu console*, blue & yellow controller)
* Pokemon Pikachu Orange (orange & yellow Pikachu console*, orange & yellow controller)
* Midnight Blue (clear dark blue console and controller) (JPN)
* Clear Orange Black (clear orange & black console and controller) (JPN)
* Super Mario 64 (Clear light blue & clear white console and controller, Super Mario 64 game) (EUR)
* Clear Blue (Clear light blue & clear white console and controller) (JPN)
* Clear Red (Clear red & clear white console and controller) (JPN)
* Clear Grey (Clear grey & clear white console and controller) (JPN)
* Clear Orange (Clear orange & clear white console and controller) (unconfirmed availability)

iQue

The iQue was released in China in 2003, and it is a substantially different console from the Nintendo 64. Nintendo were wary of entering the Chinese games market because of the high levels of piracy that is rife throughout China. However, Nintendo did not want to miss out on a substantial games market so they designed a new console, roughly based on the Nintendo 64 CPU. The central console of the iQue is housed within a controller, and this plugs directly into the television set. Additional controller can be plugged into a multitap-style converter. Nintendo 64 games cartridges arenít used, instead games are downloaded from special vending machines to a flashcard. Most of the best selling first party games are available: Mario 64, Mario Kart, OoT, etc.

Pirate Nintendo 64-Style Consoles

There are quite a few of these on the market, most are made in China and are NES-based. These can be split into two separate groups: controller only plug and play systems, and full systems that include a console and controller (often with other accessories such as a Genesis-style second controller or a light gun). The full systems usually play NES cartridges, but this can vary.

One of the more commonly found pirate systems is the Mega Joy. This is a plug and play system that looks a lot like a Nintendo 64 controller. Most versions of the Mega Joy do not have a control stick but there is at least one versions that does.

INCOMPLETE SECTION - TO BE EXPANDED
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NINTENDO 64 ACCESSORIES

Controller

The unique three-pronged shape of the Nintendo 64 controller makes it instantly recognizable. The introduction of an analogue control stick set a new industry standard, and every major home console since has featured at least one control stick.

As well as a control stick and D-pad there are also A, B, C-up, C-down, C-left, C-right, Z trigger, L and R shoulder buttons. The button layout is often criticized because the d-pad and control stick are difficult to use in tandem (unless you have big hands). Nintendoís vision was that players would use either the control stick or the d-pad, and this is the reason behind the three-pronged shape. Grasping the centre and right-hand prongs controls the majority of games, and this provides easy access to the control stick and all buttons except for the d-pad and L-button.

The controller is available in a vast array of colors, as well as there being a number of limited edition designs and color schemes. The list of Nintendo 64 editions (above) covers many of the different styles available. Red, Yellow, Green, Blue and Black controllers were released shortly after consoles launch, and limited editions included the Donkey Kong 64 banana controller (yellow and brown the end of the left and right prongs), the Extreme Green controller (luminous green) and the Nintendo Power 2000 edition controller (silver/dark blue?) which is the rarest edition by far.

Controller Pak

Released the same day as the Nintendo 64 console, the controller pak is a memory card with 123 blocks of storage space. The Controller Pak was an effort by Nintendo to reduce third party publisher costs, as being able to save progress on a cartridge means additional expense in cart production. Most first and second party Nintendo 64 games do not utilize this accessory, but there are exceptions (such as Perfect Dark and Mario Kart 64). The name ĎController Pakí came about because the memory card is inserted into the underneath of the controller. The ĎPakí spelling was continued in other official Nintendo accessories such as the Rumble Pak, Expansion Pak and Transfer Pak.

Rumble Pak INCOMPLETE SECTION: TO BE EXPANDED

The rumble pak is a force feedback accessory, and was first packaged with the game Star Fox 64 (US)/Lylat Wars (EUR). Official Nintendo Rumble Pakís require two AAA batteries. Some third party pakís do not require any batteries and may feature a combined memory card function.

Expansion Pak

A RAM expansion accessory that could be fitted into the Nintendo 64 consoles expansion bay and came packaged with a Jumper Pak removal tool which made installation easier. This accessory, which was originally designed to work alongside the 64DD, replaces the standard Jumper Pak which was fitted to all Nintendo 64ís. Only two titles require the Expansion Pak to be playable; Donkey Kong 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Majoraís Mask. Perfect Dark needs the expansion pak if you want to play the single player story missions, but 40% of the game is playable without an expansion pak. All the other games that are compatible with the expansion pak use it to enable a high resolution display mode or, in rare cases, to unlock extra levels in rare cases.

The Expansion Pak came packaged with the game Donkey Kong 64, or could be bought separately.

Jumper Pak

See Expansion Pak, above.

Transfer pak INCOMPLETE SECTION: TO BE EXPANDED

Attaches to the controller in the same way that a controller pak/memory card does, and allows the transfer of data between Game Boy and Nintendo 64 cartridges. This was mainly used for unlocking extra content or cheats in games. Pokemon Stadium came packaged with the transfer pak and when connected allowed the game boy Pokemon titles to be played on a TV screen. Titles compatible with this accessory include Pokemon Stadium, Pokemon Stadium 2, Perfect Dark, Mario Golf and Mario Tennis.
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That's all for now. The FAQ is still very incomplete, but you can get an idea of the detail that's going into it. Now... must rest...

:wacko:
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Rapueda (retired)
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Looks GREAT, alxbly!! :)

The only thing I can think of to add would be a little reminder at the start of the "System Cleaning" section that says to unplug the system before you get started. I know it's implied but, well, you know how some people are... :unsure:
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niniendowarrior
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I can at least add something for the Bung systems...

Bung Doctor V64 - Is a system for developers. It inserts from the bottom expansion port of the N64 and is CD-based. It also has a parallel port allowing you to connect to a PC and with the right software, dump N64 roms or transfer from your PC. It may *NOT SURE* allow roms to be burnt into CD and use the V64 to read the roms from there. The Bung V64 has a cartridge slot where you insert an authentic N64 cartridge so as to allow the N64 to authenticate the game. It comes built-in with 128 mbit of memory (?) and can be expanded for 256 mbit to support other games. It can also play VCD movies...

There are at least two releases of such, differentiated by the white and black buttons. White buttons is the first release (I reckon) and has a manufacturing error because the pins to be connected to the bottom port were too short. This is fixed with the next release.

Another released iteration is the Bung Doctor V64 Jr. This is a device that is inserted on the cartridge slot bay and holds 512 mbit capacity. I'm not sure how this one works though. Had to dig up a lot of info on the original V64 during the day...
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Thanks for the feedback, guys. :)

niniendowarrior: I might just cut and paste what you've typed, tidy it up a bit, etc. You'll get credited in the start of that section though... if that's okay?
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niniendowarrior
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No problem alxbly. Just wanted to help.
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Cool, thanks mate. :D
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Mop it up
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Well, I don't have time to read it thoroughly right now, but it looks pretty lengthy. This is only a draft? I can't even imagine what the completed guide will be like. Good show alxbly, can't wait to read it!
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Rapueda
Oct 5 2006, 12:09 AM
Looks GREAT, alxbly!! :)

The only thing I can think of to add would be a little reminder at the start of the "System Cleaning" section that says to unplug the system before you get started. I know it's implied but, well, you know how some people are... :unsure:

Good idea Rapueda. I don't wanna be sued by some moron who's left it switched on... :lol:

Quote:
 
Good show alxbly, can't wait to read it!


Thanks Mop. I'd really appreciate any feedback, as I want it to be as complete and correct as I can make it. :)
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Mop it up
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Good read. Once it's finished, it'll likely be the page I refer all N64 questions to. "The Ultimate N64 Database" indeed.

Now for some suggestions (don't scream).

First, you say you need two different screwdrivers to open the controller. An 0 X 3 in. screwdriver can remove all screws within the controller, even the ones holding the control stick in place.

Secondly, perhaps you should give a suggestion on how to put those screws in the controller pak slot back in, because I haven't been able to figure out how to do it. I can't get my fingers in there.

I like everything you say about cleaning, but do you have any experience with Nintendo's own cleaning kit? I'd like to know how effective it is.

As for consoles, I didn't see mention of the Japan-only clear black console. I don't know the name of the colour, but it was a clear black system and one controller. Here's a photo of the box:

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j82/Mop_...-ClearBlack.jpg

And the edition you have listed as the Pokemon Stadium edition is likely the Pokemon Battle Set:

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j82/Mop_...ce/Phot0073.jpg

If you'd like a list of every game that uses the Expansion Pak in some way, you can find one here.

That's all for now, keep the good work up.
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Quote:
 
An 0 X 3 in. screwdriver can remove all screws within the controller, even the ones holding the control stick in place.


I'll add that in and credit you, if that's okay?

Quote:
 
Secondly, perhaps you should give a suggestion on how to put those screws in the controller pak slot back in, because I haven't been able to figure out how to do it. I can't get my fingers in there.


I'll add this in later, but for now: Use a magnetic screwdriver. Hold the controller up, so that you can work from underneath it, but maybe at a slight tilt so that you can clearly see the holes where the screws go (artificial light can help a lot, so have a torch/adjustable lamp/mirror to reflect light up). Use the rim of the controller pak slot to balance the screwdriver and minimise shake from your hand. It'll still be fiddly, but also a lot easier. :)

Quote:
 
I like everything you say about cleaning, but do you have any experience with Nintendo's own cleaning kit? I'd like to know how effective it is.


Never used one, so I can't measure on how effective it is. I assume it's the best solution as it's the only one Nintendo recommend. If anyone has used one then some feedback would be appreciated.

Quote:
 
As for consoles, I didn't see mention of the Japan-only clear black console.


I'm aware of the clear black console, but I thought it only came packaged with the Randnet N64DD. A lot of them are sold seperately on eBay because both are rare items and fetch higher prices if sold individually. If anyone knows otherwise please let me know as my Japanese is sorely lacking.

*hint* :lol:

Quote:
 
And the edition you have listed as the Pokemon Stadium edition is likely the Pokemon Battle Set


The name seems to vary in different regions (as most editions do) but thanks, I didn't know it was called the Battle Set in the US. I'll also add in the expansion pak games list. The Wikipedia list has omissions, though: no Top Gear Overdrive and no mention of Rush 2049 using the expansion pak to open up a new track (to name two). Anyone fancy compliling a complete list...?
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Quote:
 
I'll add that in and credit you, if that's okay?


Like I'm going to pass up an oppertunity to get credited. :D

I was thinking about buying Nintendo's N64 cleaning kit. If I get one, I'll be sure to tell you what I think of it.

Wiki's list of Expansion Pak-compatible games is the only list I could find. I thought it might be missing a few. Once I collect every US release, I'd be happy to create a list of the games that use the Pak and what features it enables... if you can wait that long, that is. ^_^

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I didn't know it was called the Battle Set in the US.


Actually, I don't think what's shown in my picture was a US release. If you look at the game label, there's no ESRB rating, which all US games have. I have no idea what region it was released in; guess I should have written that down! :(
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Quote:
 
If you look at the game label, there's no ESRB rating, which all US games have.


Hmmm. Might be an AUS release?

And I'll hold you to that promise of a complete expansion pak list... :D
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floorcat
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Hey alxbly... this FAQ is lookin'... pretty sweet!!

Haven't perused it yet, but after a quick gloss, it's looking like it'll be THE definitive FAQ for all things N64... or at least it puts everything else I've seen to shame. ;)

From the little I've read, the one suggestion I'd have is a very minor clarification under "System Cleaning"... "... credit card or something of a similar size and thickness."

Reading through the first bit of the general section reminded me of a pic I ganked off the net a while back (maybe eBay?). Totally forgot about it until just now (wasn't sure if I even downloaded it to my comp!), but it's a decent picture of 2 (unused) tickets to the "Famicom Spaceworld '95" (not the "7th Annual Shoshinkai") exhibition... dated Nov. 25-26 1995, where apparently the Nintendo 64 was revealed. Pretty trivial, but I'll email it to you incase you'd like to use it. B)
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Cool, thanks floorcat. Are you still super busy at work these days? :(
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Rapueda (retired)
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alxbly
Oct 7 2006, 04:03 PM
Are you still super busy at work these days?† :(

It's kinda slow here without floorcat! :(
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Rapueda
Oct 7 2006, 04:53 PM
alxbly
Oct 7 2006, 04:03 PM
Are you still super busy at work these days?  :(

It's kinda slow here without floorcat! :(

Oh c'mon... there's plenty of traffic here without me!! And with :o nearly 40 members now, you guys shouldn't have any problem keeping a steady flow of posts!!

No need to pretend to miss my pointless ramblings now... :P
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Mop it up
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I think you should also add in somewhere your US/JPN-compatible N64 mod guide, so that all of the information is in one place.
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Rapueda (retired)
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floorcat
Oct 9 2006, 07:39 PM
No need to pretend to miss my pointless ramblings now... :P

You better be careful or my post count will reach yours!!!! ;)
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floorcat
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Rapueda
Oct 11 2006, 09:11 AM
floorcat
Oct 9 2006, 07:39 PM
No need to pretend to miss my pointless ramblings now... :P

You better be careful or my post count will reach yours!!!! ;)

Yeah... which is just as likely as mine reaching that of alxbly's!! :P
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BetaWolf
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Don't know whether I should as this here or not...

Is there a way to find out which version of a multiple version game you have, like Banjo-Kazooie?
JadeYoshi from GameFAQs.
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niniendowarrior
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Alxbly,

This link has discussions from backup devices for a lot of consoles... N64 is also covered here.
http://www.robwebb.clara.co.uk/backup/

Many info on V64 and V64 Jr.
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Thanks niniendowarrior, I've not seen that site before. Looks like there's a lot of useful stuff. :)
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floorcat
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So here's an interesting item... never heard of it before, yet it seems to be similar in function to the DexDrive, yet it also apparently works for PS & GameBoy as well. I guess it's just one of MANY obscure 3rd party N64-related peripherals...

*continues to wait for more info on that whatever-the-hell-it-was item alxbly showed us*
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Cool, I've never seen one of those either. Man, just when you think you've got the N64 all figured out there a few more things that pop up:

*Japanese two tone Mario Kart Controller (dark grey/lght grey). Anyone know if there was a Mario Kart edition N64 in Japan?
*A very limited Gold anniversary N64 console, with a graphic on the top, again JPN only. I need some confirmation of this.

And no doubt other stuff that's not yet in the FAQ.

Nintendo sixty-floorcat
 
*continues to wait for more info on that whatever-the-hell-it-was item alxbly showed us*


What???
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floorcat
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alxbly
Oct 25 2006, 11:25 AM
Nintendo sixty-floorcat
 
*continues to wait for more info on that whatever-the-hell-it-was item alxbly showed us*


What???

alxbly in "Another 3rd Party Controller Review"
Oct 20 2006, 11:04 PM
^ Since Shenanigans has been declared, I will provide further information. 

I ain't won it yet, but....

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