The Real Reason The Nintendo 64 Wasn’t Perfect

I always thought the same thing most gamers probably do, that it was the expensive and limited cartridge format that held the N64 back. Some might have thought it was the bizarre 3-handed controller layout, and on retrospect it might have been a big factor.

I was just so hopelessly enamored by it all that I didn’t even realize it essentially had 5 buttons that were almost never used. I wasn’t a fanboy for long though, by about 99-2000 I also had a PSX like any other pagan.

About two decades after its release I was shocked to read that the real problem with N64 was the development kits. The guys in charge at Nintendo wanted developers to be and/or to become as skilled as possible, so they didn’t do everything for them, at least not right away. What they got were very skilled developers, and who knows how many projects that we either didn’t hear about, or played on PSX or PC instead.

Knowing about that has given me more reason to want to give out anything I come up with, and eventually make the whole project open source. Things that I would never have wanted to part with back in 2000. I know the feeling of wanting to keep something clever and extremely valuable to yourself, but not so much nowadays.

After leaving game development behind for so many years, I’m not so attached to it. There’s so much free code out there anyway, and so much of what I learned came from snippets of code that other people have freely shared on forums, so I feel I have to give something back.

The way I see it, everything that contributes to helping people learn to code makes every game better. Working on a team just doesn’t feel natural for me, so this is the closest I can get. Indie developers working together, while working on their own separate projects.

I’m reminded of this new phenomenon of playing single player games “alone together”, which isn’t much different than couples who watch movies together over the phone. Even to me, it sounds kinda silly, but especially because it makes perfect sense, so it’s really not weird at all.

But back to my point, you can expect a lot of good, free code and ideas from this project, and hopefully some good advice. To me that’s less pressure than expecting a finished game under a deadline, and I am no fan of pressure.

Which shows you how much I love Christmas, because despite hating deadlines, I still treated it like one. But I am willing to treat next Christmas as a deadline, because I might be ready to release a solid game by April. Or I might not, who knows. It’ll be done when it’s fun.

So if you’re more interested in reading my tutorials and random musings than playing a completed game, feel free to say so. I’ve seen a lot of genuinely excited reactions when anyone writes about the process of game development, so I can tell there’s still an audience for purely Indie game development outside of commercial engines.

It’s hard for me to believe something as simple as blogging about this could be valuable to people, but it’s time I found out. Even just explaining things my own way might be more valuable than I realize. I’ve been trying to code since before I was a teenager, so I’ve forgotten how long it takes to grasp concepts that are second nature to me now.

Writing this blog is helping me with the engine, but I can put my focus in either direction, and I’ll leave that up to the community. Maintaining a blog and forum will take away time for the engine, but contribute to it in a different as well, and give people more reason support the project now rather than trying to finish and sell a game.

Finishing the game takes time, but an article is a finished product once it’s fully edited. I look at each blog post as a program within itself, and as long as it accomplishes what it’s supposed to teach, it’s done and ready to be released.

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