Thursday, November 30, 2023

Analogue 3D announced, the dream of N64 fans: you can play with the original cartridges and in 4K

Analogue he has something very important on his hands with the Analog 3D, his new project. The company behind other popular – and acclaimed – products, such as the Analogue Pocket, now aims its guns at a new device that promises to be the delight of fans of classic video games and retro consoles: a “reinvention” of the Nintendo 64.

The Analogue 3D will arrive in 2024 and will bring very interesting new features. Although the developers have not shown the complete characteristics, nor the final appearance of the equipment, they have mentioned some key points to take into account. The most important, without a doubt, is that the console will not use software emulation.

This is because the Analogue 3D is based on a field-programmable logic gate array (FPGA). We are basically talking about an integrated circuit that can be customized or programmed to perform specific tasks. In this case, imitate the operation of the Nintendo 64 at the hardware level.

The main benefit of this implementation is that Analogue 3D will be compatible with all cartridges that were released for the 1996 console, regardless of the original region or availability limitations. This means that users will be able to play any title that has arrived on the Japanese, North American or European versions of the N64.

The Analogue 3D, the next big bet to seduce the gamers nostalgic

Analogue already has experience working on reinventions of super popular consoles worldwide. In addition to the aforementioned Analogue Pocket, the company has launched its own versions of the Super Nintendo, called Super NTand the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive, known as Mega Sg. Likewise, it is working on a dual version that pays tribute to the PC Engine and PC Engine Duo, with support for both CD-ROM games and HuCard cartridges.

With all this experience, it is logical to be excited that the Analogue 3D does a great job of emulating the Nintendo 64 experience via hardware. Let’s keep in mind that, in addition to being compatible with all the cartridges of the Japanese console, It will include 4 ports to connect the original controls.

However, if you think your thumbs can no longer handle extended gaming sessions with the awkward center stick, Analogue is launching a more modern 8BitDo wireless controller. Of course, it is not yet clear if it will arrive with the console or if it will be sold separately.

The Analogue 3D will include an HDMI port with video output up to 4K. But those who seek to replicate the Nintendo 64 experience in the smallest detail will have two screen modes that will automatically transport them to the second half of the nineties and early 2000s. We are talking, specifically, about the possibility of recreating the image quality as if they were playing on an old CRT TV or PVM monitor.

“64 bits of pleasure”

Photo by Pat Moin on Unsplash

Analogue has defined the project of reviving the Nintendo 64 as “64 bits of pleasure.” However, there are some additional elements to take into account:

  • The Analogue 3D will not be compatible with illegally downloaded ROMs, such as those used in PC emulators. The only way to play will be using the original cartridges.
  • It will also not be compatible with openFPGA, the program created by Analogue to open the hardware of its devices to third parties. This has allowed, for example, to revive Spacewar!, a 1962 video game, on the Analogue Pocket. However, the company does not plan to pursue this option through the Analogue 3D. Although the reason has not been explained, it would not be strange that it is to avoid unauthorized emulation of games and the potential judicial consequences that this could entail.

Beyond this Analogue project, it is evident that nostalgia for retro games and consoles is at its highest point. Shortly ago, Atari announced the launch of the Atari 2600+, a new version of its historic device, also compatible with the original cartridges. Which has also allowed the launch of games that were originally cut short due to the crisis in the sector between 1983 and 1985.

The Analogue 3D will arrive sometime in 2024, but there is still no confirmed date. Its developers have promised more news, including full features, images and price, in the coming months. You can still sign up on their website to receive notifications when the equipment becomes available.

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