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Saourya Marivada

Carl Anderson
March 26, 2014
Components and Game play of the Nintendo 64

Background and Audience
Dating back as early as 1947, video games have been an important and active part of the US and
global economy. Released on June 1996, the Nintendo 64 game system, named for its 64-bit
central processing unit, revolutionized the video game industry and launched Nintendo as a
globally recognized brand. This product description is aimed at those who have had experience
in the video game field and are interested in learning more about the technical components and
standard game play of one of the premiere video game consoles.
Technical components
The components of the Nintendo 64 game system can be broken down into five different parts:
the console, the controller, 64 AC power supply, AV cables, and the game itself

List of parts
1: 64 AC Power Supply
2: Nintendo 64 game console
3: Nintendo 64 Game Cartridge
4: AV Cables
5: Nintendo 64 Controller
The Nintendo 64 console is made up of a processor, reality coprocessor, and memory board


The N64 console has a 64-bit R4300i Reality Engine central processor for which N64 derives
its name from as previously mentioned. The central processing unit (CPU) is the main
component of the N64, receiving input from the controllers via the buttons pressed by the user
and sending it to the reality co-processor to display certain graphics and audio.
Reality Co-processor

Both the audio and video parts of the N64 are controlled by the 64 bit SGI co-processor also
known as the reality co-processor. The reality co-processor is a 62.5 MHZ chip split into two
integral components: RDP (reality drawing professor) and RSP (reality signaling processor) that
work separately to put together the audio and video components of games making them
playable. This single chip has revolutionized the video game industry by doing something that
had previously required two or more chips in other video game systems such as the NES.
Memory board

The final component of the N64 console is the memory board also known as the RAM (Random
access memory). The N64 console is one of the first consoles to implement a unified memory
system unlike previous consoles that had separate banks for different kinds of memory.
The Controller
The N64 controller is the most distinguishing feature of this game system with its unique trident
shape. The 14 different buttons along with the analog stick allows for the user to experience a
new level of game play that was unparalleled by previous systems. The 14 buttons work together
to complete circuit which conducts electricity to send data to the N64 CPU in order to reply to
the user with a proper response.
The Cables
There are two important cables that work together to make sure the N64 is properly functional:
the 64 AC power supply and AV component cables. The AC power supply connects from the
back of the N64 to a wall socket in order to properly supply all parts of the N64 with adequate
power to carry out all its functions. The AV component cables run from the back of the N64 to a
television for audio and video output from the television. Both cables are required for the
Nintendo console to properly function.

The Game

The N64 is the only video game system to utilize cartridges for its games instead of the
traditional CD-ROM approach taken by most video game systems. Although there are several
advantages to cartridges over CDs such as faster loading times, better durability, and better
performance there are a lot of disadvantages as well. Video game cartridges have a smaller
memory capacity, are more expensive, and poor audio quality when compared to CDs.
All of the components mentioned above work together to provide the user with proper gameplay
1. Starting with the Nintendo game console being connected to the wall socket via the
power supply adapter and the TV with the AV cables, the user must then put in a game
cartridge of their choice.
2. The user then switches on the console to allow portions of the ROM (found in the game
cartridges) to load into RAM (memory board)
3. The game sequence is loaded into the RAM and is displayed through the interactions of
the reality co-processor through the AV cables connected to the television.
4. The user then interacts with the game via the 14 buttons and analog stick on the
5. The CPU receives the input from the electrical signals in the closed circuit of the
controller and pulls the corresponding data from RAM to direct the appropriate
graphic/audio information controlled by the reality co-processor.

The Nintendo 64 is an exceptional combination of all its parts. With its innovative uses of game
cartridges, unique controllers, and tech savvy components, the Nintendo 64 game console
became the new standard for all other video games systems to live up to. The Nintendo 64s
launch in 1996 started a boom in the video game industry which still reverberates to this day.