In hindsight, the Nintendo 64 was a reasonably bizarre system. The controller was bizarre, the choice to go together with costly cartridges was bizarre, and the inner {hardware} was in a bizarre place the place early texture filtering was doable although storing and displaying detailed textures was not. It hasn’t aged nicely, precisely, but it surely’s aged apparently — you possibly can acknowledge an N64 recreation a mile away.

Out of all of Nintendo’s residence consoles, then, the N64 is arguably the one the place it makes most sense to play on authentic {hardware}, notably as lots of its finest video games aren’t accessible on fashionable platforms (GoldenEye 007) or simply don’t really feel the identical with out the unique controller (Tremendous Mario 64). And when you might hook up 4 knockoff joypads to a PC to run an emulated model of Mario Kart 64, it wouldn’t be fairly the identical expertise as the actual console.

The issue is learn how to play one on a contemporary TV. The N64’s notoriously poor video output exacerbated the characteristically blurry graphics even at a time when you possibly can simply hook one as much as a TV, which isn’t the case as we speak. The system outputs S-Video, which is discovered on barely any up to date TVs and appears fairly dangerous, or composite, which is discovered on a number of extra TVs however appears to be like even worse. (I’m not even going to get into RF.)

That is the issue purportedly solved by a brand new third-party adapter known as the Eon Tremendous 64. I’ve been testing it for some time, and though it’s an costly answer, it really works nicely and is way simpler to make use of than different choices on the market.


Picture by Sam Byford / The Verge

The Tremendous 64 plugs proper into the N64’s video-out port, changing it with HDMI. It feels well-built and customarily matches the N64’s aesthetic, with a chunky pink Eon emblem LED that lights up when the system is switched on. All you want to do is hook up an HDMI cable from the Tremendous 64 to your TV and also you’re away. (One caveat: it doesn’t work with PAL consoles, so N64 homeowners in Europe, Australia, and sure different areas are out of luck.)

The Tremendous 64 takes the N64’s 240p or 480i S-Video sign and makes use of {hardware} to upscale it to 480p whereas tuning the colours and brightness. There’s additionally a devoted button on the highest of the unit to activate “Slick Mode,” which smoothes out the ultimate picture.

Whereas I wouldn’t name the Tremendous 64’s 480p video output pin-sharp, when considered on my 4K TV from sofa vary it’s surprisingly clear. There’s solely a lot you are able to do with upscaled S-Video, and I used to be completely satisfied sufficient to have the ability to make out precise pixel edges somewhat than the blurred mess I’ve seen each different time I’ve performed an N64 on a flat display. Colours look nice, there’s no discernible lag, and video games profit from crunchy, genuine output.

If precise pixel edges and crunchy output aren’t your factor, then Slick Mode does a reasonably good job of approximating anti-aliasing. It really works nicely with textual content specifically, making issues a bit of extra readable, however general I most well-liked to go away it switched off. The one factor the N64 doesn’t want is blurrier graphics — the sharpness of the Tremendous 64’s rendering is, to me, its essential promoting level.

Right here’s a press picture from Eon that I’d say does an correct job of demonstrating the Tremendous 64’s output:


This costly adapter makes the Nintendo 64 look good on fashionable TVs 1

The Tremendous 64 isn’t the one strategy to get your N64 engaged on a contemporary TV. You could possibly decide up a Nintendo S-Video cable, although you’d seemingly additionally should get an S-Video-to-HDMI converter relying in your TV, and the outcomes most likely wouldn’t be pretty much as good — you’d be more likely to run into enter lag and dimmer colours.

There are simpler choices, however they largely contain modding the system itself. RetroRGB is a good useful resource for this type of factor, in addition to retro {hardware} data typically. Principally, in case you crack the console open you possibly can unlock RGB output with a bit of little bit of soldering, which lets you get better-than-S-Video picture high quality via a SCART cable (and once more, most likely a SCART-to-HDMI adapter.) The subsequent degree of hardcore is a full-on improve board known as the UltraHDMI that captures a digital video sign as much as 1080p earlier than it’s transformed to analog, ensuing within the sharpest picture doable.

None of those choices are notably simple or low cost, however whereas the Tremendous 64 is simple, it positively isn’t low cost at $149.99. That’s about 5 occasions as a lot as I just lately paid for an N64 itself together with three video games. It’s lots to swallow for one thing that isn’t essentially the very best high quality possibility.

However hey, time is cash. The Tremendous 64 is unabashedly a premium product that does precisely what it claims to do, and it’ll save a ton of trouble for anybody who simply needs their Nintendo 64 to show something on their fashionable TV with minimal fuss. For those who’re in that area of interest, I can suggest it.

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