N64 Recompiled is what makes me love PC gaming so much

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read
N64 Recompiled is what makes me love PC gaming so much

Over the past 4 years I’ve really come around on PC being my favorite gaming platform. Part of that is the ability to play at higher visual fidelity than is possible on any console, part of it is more flexibility with playing older games, and a third critical part is how good emulation is on the platform.

The Nintendo Switch is great, but I’m at Nintendo’s mercy on which of their published games I can play on it. Whether I bought the game or not, I need to wait for them to make it work on the Switch and I need to hope that if they do bring it to Switch, that it is technically improved for the new hardware. None of this is an issue on PC.

A great example of this is the recently released N64 Recompiled which promises to make it trivially easy to port Nintendo 64 games to Windows binaries that run natively on Windows and Linux. This means not only will these games run great on modern PC hardware, but they will be enhanced with no need for the original developers to do anything.

And not only does this allow these old games to run on modern PCs, it also unlocks enhancements that you wouldn’t get from running the games on original hardware or on Nintendo’s Switch Online service. At a basic level, you get unlocked frame rates and dynamic resolution, but you also open the door for modding of all sorts.

Currently, there is only one game that has been ported with this tool, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and it is serving as the proof of concept for how N64 Recompiled can be used. Ocarina of Time is supposed to be coming soon and if history is any indication, things are going to get wild once people figure out how to use this.

For an idea of how this performs, here’s me playing the first 20 minutes of Majora’s Mask. For reference, this game ran at 240p and 20 frames per second on the Nintendo 64. Using this new version of the game, I am playing at 4K 144fps and at a 16x9 aspect ratio, all things impossible with Nintendo hardware. It’s just magical.