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Happy Birthday Nintendo Ultra 64!


On May 5th, 1995, the Nintendo 64 was born. Back in 1995 the Nintendo 64's official name was the Ultra 64. Nintendo worked on the Ultra 64 for 19 months and was able to reach two main goals: to develop a chipset capable of rendering the world's best video game graphics and to do it at an affordable price - below $250 retail.

Nintendo Ultra 64

Here's the original Nintendo Ultra 64 press release:

May 5, 1995--Nintendo of America Inc. today announced that the final chipset for its revolutionary Nintendo Ultra 64(TM) home video game system has been completed by Silicon Graphics Inc. (NYSE: SGI) and Nintendo Co. Ltd.

The company also announced that it will launch the industry's only true 64-bit platform in April of 1996, in both North America and Europe, with a number of revolutionary games, all exclusive to Nintendo Ultra 64.

Nintendo will officially unveil Nintendo Ultra 64 at its annual Video Game Exhibition on November 24, 25 and 26, 1995 in Makuhari, Japan and at the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 5, 1996 in Las Vegas.

"After 19 months of intense development, we have attained our two main goals for Nintendo Ultra 64: to develop a chipset capable of delivering the world's best video game experience, and to do it at a price that can deliver a hardware set below $ 250 retail," said Howard Lincoln, chairman of Nintendo of America. "However, we have made a conscious decision not to rush Nintendo Ultra 64 to market. Instead, we've decided to give our software developers additional time to maximize the power of this system in their game creation."

"We're dedicated to delivering games which are a quantum leap beyond any that have preceded them. In fact, we believe that at the E3 trade show next week in Los Angeles, the world will discover once again that the best new software for any video game system this year will again be available exclusively for play on Nintendo's 16-bit Super NES -- just as it was last Christmas with Donkey Kong Country," Lincoln added.

Tom Jermoluk, president and COO of Silicon Graphics Inc., said, "From the start, Silicon Graphics has had a vision of what we could do if we dedicated the power of our technology and our experience creating computer graphics solely to the purpose of making video games. With the graphics and audio generated by the final chipset, I'd say that even we're amazed. Now this breakthrough 3D graphics technology needs to be translated into video games which take full advantage of the power of the Silicon Graphics(R)/MIPS(R) chipset." Nintendo Ultra 64 will set new standards in power, efficiency and elegance. At its heart is the industry's only true 64-bit processor coupled with a single custom graphics chip which will manage all visual and audio functions. Supplemented by the technology of Rambus Inc., the central processor will communicate with memory at an unprecedented 500 MHz, meaning an order of magnitude increase in graphics realism.

"The story of our industry is the never-ending search for better and better game play and game graphics," said Peter Main, Nintendo of America vice president, marketing. "Once a masterpiece is created, like last year's Donkey Kong Country, the bar is raised for all game developers. We think Nintendo will move that bar even higher by the end of this year with surprises we'll unveil next week. And by April of next year game players will see what true 64-bit processing really means -- with a number of games from the world's top software developers that will set the bar far higher than most people thought possible -- with games that will be available only for Nintendo Ultra 64."

Last Christmas the world's game players made the Super NES game Donkey Kong Country the fastest-selling game of all time. During the second half of this year, two new Super NES games and two new Game Boy titles -- to be unveiled next week at E3 -- will debut, featuring the same Advanced Computer Modeling (ACM) of Donkey Kong Country. In addition, Nintendo will launch Virtual Boy this summer with the first true three-dimensional games ever developed for any home video game system.

"As the developer perhaps most experienced with Nintendo Ultra 64, we fully support this new release schedule," said Tim Stamper, managing director of Rare Ltd., and creator of worldwide hits Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct. "We have again clearly raised the software standard with new 16-bit games to be unveiled at E3. But, I can assure you that once the world's video game developers spend time exploring the power of this incredible Nintendo Ultra 64 chipset, you'll see gaming jump far beyond anything that currently exists on any platform."

Nintendo Co. Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, is the leader in the worldwide $ 15 billion retail video game industry. As a wholly-owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere, where more than 40 percent of American homes own a Nintendo system.

Silicon Graphics is a registered trademark of Silicon Graphics Inc. MIPS is a registered trademark of MIPS Technologies Inc.

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