Editor’s note (6/23/21): This piece was originally published to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Nintendo 64. The sentiment behind it, however, is timeless. We continue to look back at the system for all the amazing games and memories it’s brought us throughout the years.
Welcome to Collectors Corner! Each week I’ll be bringing you a special article on the special editions of consoles and other Nintendo merchandise that I love. Ever since I was a kid Nintendo’s special editions have stood out to me, and I’m excited to share that passion with you all.
Today is a very special day for video games, for today is the 20th anniversary of the day that platformers, and video games in general, were changed forever. 20 years ago today, the N64 launched in Japan, alongside Super Mario 64, Pilotwings 64 and Saikyō Habu Shōgi. The N64 was the first home console that I could truly call my own, thanks to loving parents and a certain gift-centric holiday. I spent many, many hours playing Super Mario 64 after that day. Because of those hours that I spent working to collect Power Stars in order to take back Peach’s Castle, I was forever set on a path that would lead to a life full of gaming and a deep love of a little company that calls itself Nintendo.
The N64 was truly a staple of my childhood, providing my friends and I access to exciting titles like Diddy Kong Racing, Super Smash Bros., Banjo Kazooie, Star Fox 64 and Pokémon Stadium. I’ve owned two N64s in my life, and I hope to someday own some of the special editions that I’m covering in this special N64 20th anniversary edition of Collectors Corner.
This glorious, golden N64 was released to celebrate the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and was only available at Toys”R”Us stores in the U.S. The console came packaged with not one, but two matching gold controllers. These controllers were also available separately, but again, only at Toys”R”Us. I had one of these gold controllers, and growing up it was always my go-to controller. Even to this day, my brother and I refer to it as “my controller” when we break out the N64 to play with. Want to own this shiny piece of Nintendo history? Most listings on eBay will only set you back around $70.
N64 Funtastic Colors
The N64 also received an entire line of special colors, dubbed the “Funtastic Color Series.” This series was released worldwide, and featured six different colored consoles, along with matching controllers. The colors all had special, marketing-friendly names, rather than bland names like gray, green, orange, etc. The names of all six colors are Smoke, Jungle, Fire, Grape, Ice and Watermelon. Now, those colors sound exciting on their own, but they also had a fun, distinctly ‘90s twist; all of them were also translucent, meaning you could actually see inside of your console and controllers! These different editions are definitely hot items for collectors these days, especially when paired with the matching controllers. Each color can go for varying prices above $100, and you can get an entire set with the matching controllers for around $750.
Pokémon Pikachu editions
Out of all of Nintendo’s successful franchises that had games on the N64, the only one that received the special edition console treatment was Pokémon. The international mega-hit received not one, not two, but three special edition N64 consoles. Today I’ll only be showing you two of them, and the two that I’m focusing on both feature the world’s most famous electric rodent, Pikachu. The consoles themselves are actually exactly the same, apart from the color of the top half of the casing. These consoles featured a Poké Ball on/off switch, Pikachu’s foot as a reset button, and had Pikachu’s cheeks light up as a power indicator; as a result, these consoles are nothing short of adorable. One is blue and yellow, the other is orange and yellow, complete with matching controllers.
I’m particularly partial to the orange edition; however, it was only released in Japan, and I’ve never seen one in person. The blue edition, on the other hand, was released worldwide, and was a Toys”R”Us exclusive, both standalone and in a bundle with Hey You, Pikachu! in the United States. I own one of the blue editions, which is currently at my mom’s house. Growing up, the blue and yellow Pokémon controller was always “my brother’s” controller, and he’ll still use it to this day when we play games together. I hope to grab an imported orange edition set soon, and I’m in luck, since they start on eBay for around $100. Want a blue edition? It’ll run you just a little more, starting around $130.
Daiei Hawks edition
Yet another entry in the surprising Nintendo + Baseball set of special editions, this translucent orange and black N64 is the coolest looking N64 to be released. From 1988 to 2004, the Japanese supermarket chain Daiei owned the Fukuoka Hawks, a baseball team based in Fukuoka, Japan. As a result, this console, which featured the Hawks’ colors, was only sold in Daiei stores, starting in 1999. The console, like every other edition listed here, has a matching controller. When buying this particular edition online, you’ll need to watch out for fakes, which feature a darker orange top, and a lighter black bottom with English text on the stickers, rather than Japanese. These fakes are often made up of separate parts from the Smoke and Fire Funtastic consoles. If you’d like this console in a complete set, you’d better prepare your wallet, since it’s gonna cost you at least $350, plus the cost of shipping and importing.
There it is, folks! My own special way of wishing the N64 a very happy 20th anniversary. As a console that changed the course of my life, I cannot thank Nintendo enough for releasing it. I would like to point out that I didn’t cover every single edition of the N64 in this post, and who knows? Maybe we’ll come back to them in honor of the N64’s U.S. release in September. If you have a specific special edition you want to see featured, or even just a console in general, we’re always taking suggestions over on Twitter, Facebook, and in the comments section right here on Nintendo Inquirer! If you’ve missed any of our entries, please take a look back at past Collectors Corners. See you next week!Leave a Comment