Remembering the N64

Barry Threw on Twitter: "The N64 logo has 64 sides and 64 vertices." / Twitter

In the nearly 20 years I’ve been running this website, I’ve rarely mentioned the Nintendo 64, or N64, except in passing. That is understandable to a degree, since I had already moved on to the N64’s successor, the Nintendo GameCube, by the time I started Andy’s Random Stuff back in 2023. At the time, I was trying to focus on the latest and greatest things that I was interested in. I was focusing on the current and not the past, in other words. However, as I’ve started to get more into retro gaming, I’ve started to take a second look at several N64 games that I haven’t played in years. That has gotten me thinking more about that era of gaming. And so, I now turn to the blog here at ARS to discuss some of those thoughts!

Late to the N64

To begin with, I got into the N64 era a bit late. When the system launched in 1996,  I was still playing mostly on the SNES my sister and I had received as a Christmas present from our Mom & Dad years before. However, by my Sophomore year in high school, I started hearing more and more about the games coming out for the N64, and then I started playing them myself when visiting friends. The major leap from 2D to 3D gaming was too great for me to ignore, and that led me to purchasing one for myself in 1998. That N64 was a bit of a watershed moment, as it was the very first gaming console that I ever purchased with my own money. Jumping into the system a couple of years after it had launched got me over a major hurdle that many early adopters of the N64 faced; a slow trickle of games coming out for the system. By the time I jumped in, a significant number of the system’s best games had already been released, including Ocarina of Time and Goldeneye. 

The Game Library: Feast or Famine

r/n64 - What is your favourite N64 game of all time?

The N64’s library is an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, there are many genre-defining classics that pioneered the way that 3D console gaming is done. On the other, once you get past those classics there is a steep drop-off in quality, and there are overall far fewer games for the N64 than you would find for the contemporary Play Station or for previous Nintendo consoles. A combination of the system relying on cartridges for its games (vice CD-ROMs) and the notorious difficulty with programming for the system led to this paucity of selection. However, there is no arguing that the N64 was powerful enough to provide some impressive experiences.

The Party System

File:Nintendo-64-Controller-Gray-Flat.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Another area that the N64 excelled in was it’s ability to serve as a focal point for a social gathering. The fact that the system had four controller ports and could therefore support 4 players at a time meant it had great potential for social gaming. Developers were quick to take notice, and it’s no surprise that a significant number of the N64’s best selling titles were multiplayer experiences that capitalized on that potential in new and exciting ways. The Super Smash Bros and Mario Party franchises got their start on the N64, for example. There were many a Friday night where I sat shoulder to shoulder with three friends playing a split-screen Goldeneye deathmatch on a 13″ TV With that said, it is probably no surprise that I have a great fondness for the N64. And it wasn’t just the multiplayer fun; there were plenty of great single-player games for the system as well. My favorite games included the aforementioned Ocarina of Time (the first Zelda game I really played, to be honest), Rogue Squadron, Harvest Moon, and Pokemon Stadium.

Revisiting the Old Classics

However, despite my fondness for the system and it’s games, I’ve rarely revisited them in the years since I moved on to the Gamecube and beyond. Truth be told, many N64 games feel almost unplayable today, thanks to their low resolution textures, slow-downs, and other technical issues. In a few cases, some N64 games have been given a fresh coat of paint and re-released on newer Nintendo systems, such as the 3DS. In addition, a number of N64 games are now available to be played via Switch Online, assuming you have a subscription to the service. I’ve found they are a good way to enjoy those games again, although only a small portion of the N64’s library has gotten that treatment. My developing interest in retro gaming has opened up another avenue for me to explore, one that remedies the issue of only having a few remasterd titles to play by giving me far greater access to the system’s library. As such, I’m looking forward to re-playing several games for the first time in 20+years! I’ll do my best to document my experiences here on the blog.

Until next time!

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So, I started A Substack…

Greetings! Over the last couple of years, I’ve found myself increasingly using Substack. Essentially, Substack is a combination of a blogging platform and an email newsletter service. Creators write posts, publish them to their Substack page, and people who have subscribed to them also get a copy in their email. One of the things that makes Substack different from other blogging platforms is that it can be monetized. It is possible to put up free posts, but it is also possible to set up subscription plans and limit access to some or all of your posts to those paying subscribers. Substack also has a comment section, and access to the ability to leave comments can also be limited to just subscribers.

So, why have I been reading more and more Substacks lately? Well, part of it is that it makes it easier for me to access content when I’m underway. What I have discovered over time is that it is often difficult if not impossible to access various news and commentary websites from shipboard networks, either due to bandwidth limitations or an outright block being placed on the URL. However, I can fairly reliably access my personal email, especially if I use the low-bandwidth version of Gmail. Having Substack deliver content to me there instead of going to a website directly is a big advantage in those situations.

Another advantage is that since all of my Substacks come to my email, it make it easy to keep up with the latest posts from the pages I’ve subscribed to. Instead of having to comb through five or six different websites, I can just check my email like I normally do. As such, Substack acts as a kind of content aggregator, allowing me to get posts “where I live” instead of needing to track them down. 

I’ve been very happy with my Substack subscriptions so far, and I have no plans to cancel any of them anytime soon. Going forward, I’m thinking of branching out to find some more hobby-related newsletters. This has led me down the road of starting this, my very own Substack newsletter, which you are now reading.

In the near-term, my plan is to mirror whatever I post here on Andy

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Deployment 2022

Hello once again!

TRUMAN at anchor off of Palma de Mallorca

I recently returned from a deployment as part of the Commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight (CCSG-8) staff, embarked on the USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75). What that means is that I was on the TRUMAN, but I wasn’t technically a member of her crew. Instead, I was a part of the staff that directly supported the Rear Admiral who was in charge of the entire Carrier Strike Group (CSG). Since the CVN is also the largest ship in the CSG, it also has the most room for office space, and the best communications capabilites of any ship in the group. That makes it a natural choice for the Admiral’s Flag Ship.

Preparing for Deployment

When I selected my orders for CCSG-8, I was expecting to show up in April 2022, be underway for about a month and a half, and then return with the rest of the CSG at the regularly scheduled end of their deployment in May 2022. Howver, between the time I selected my orders and the time I actually arrived on board, Comrade Putin decided to initiate his “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine. As tends to happen, the commander of the United States European Command (EUCOM) decided that they absolutely needed to have a carrier on station in European waters, which then meant that TRUMAN and her CSG were extended by 4 months. That meant that my month and half of underway time jumped to four and a half months!

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Journaling and Time Management

Hello once again!

Okay, I admit it, time management is not my strong suit. However, thanks to a lot of hard work and solid mentorship, my time management skills have gone from

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Well, Hello there!

Here we are, years since my last update, and I

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Wait, what YEAR is it?!?!

Well, this has been a long time in coming. To all those who shall see this post…Greetings! I now find myself in the awkward position of having to explain why it’s been the next best thing to a year and a half since I’ve posted here. I don’t really have a single solid answer that I can point to. I’ve been busy with life, sure, but not so busy that I couldn’t have found a few minutes here or there to get a quick post put up. Rather, my lack of motivation to post here at ARS seems to have been driven by a number of factors, my motivation dying by a “death of a thousand cuts.” But no more. I’m finally ready to get back on the blogging horse here at ARS, and what better way to start off than one of my famous, patent-pending Massive Update on Things that Have Happened Since I Last Posted posts! I contemplated doing this update in a strict chronological order, going month by month from July 2017 until now.

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2017 Trip to Strasburg

This past weekend, Gwen and I took the twins up to Strasburg, PA for a weekend getaway, accompanied by both my Mom and Dad and Gwen

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Wait…what month is it?!

Obviously, I’ve been blowing off my blogging for some time now. This hasn’t been out of a conscious decision so much as it has been a classic case of procrastination combined with legitimately being very busy with work, the boys, and my other hobbies. And so, no updates since the end of February…until now. It’s gotten so bad, I can’t stand it any longer, so here we are! Lots have happened over the last 4 months, so this post will be more of a short summary than anything else.


Adepticon was the biggest thing that happened for me in March. I had a great time, as always! I had planned to participated in a Dystopian Wars tournament, a Firestorm Armada tournament, and a Battlefleet Gothic tournament. I did pretty well in the Dystopian Wars event, taking 3rd place! I didn’t do as well in Firestorm Armada, but that’s to be expected. Unfortunately, I got hit with some kind of bug and wound up missing the BFG tournament to stay in bed. Yikes! I did take lots of pictures, though, which I posted over on Man Battlestations.


This was a busy month! Easter, Gwen’s Birthday, and the Submarine Ball were all packed into April. As a result, the month seemed to fly by in a blur of activity. We tried a little Easter egg hunt for the boys this year, and it went…sort of ok.

The problem we had is that they didn’t want to give up the egg they had to pick up another!

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Charging Ahead

Greetings! A lot has been happening since the last time I posted, and I wanted to get this one up before the calendar ticked over to March.

The Twins

William and James are doing great! William is really into rolling toy cars and balls around the floor at the moment, and James is big into throwing and spinning things. They are both getting closer to walking, with James in the lead. He is actually starting to take a few tentative steps between pieces of furniture, so we are definitely in trouble! Both of them have been going to regular physical therapy sessions to improve their motor skills and get them caught up with their developmental milestones. It is amazing watching them explore and start to understand their world. I just wish they would stop eating the dropped (and now slightly fuzzy!) snacks that they find under the couch.

The Navy

I have a big turning point coming up in my career this year; I did not get selected to be a Submarine XO last year, which means that the time has come to investigate other opportunities. For now, I

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Gaming Retrospective: The Wild West Shootout

The year 2012 was very memorable for me. My wife and I moved twice that year, and I went through one of the more challenging phases of my career as I prepared to assume the duties of a submarine department head and return to sea. In addition to all of that upheaval, this year was also a big one for me as a gamer. It was in 2012 that I went to my first convention (and, incidentally my first Geek Nation Tours), played in my first 40k tournaments, met tons of great folks who I am friends with to this day, and in general greatly expanded the horizons of my hobby. This post is a little bit of a retrospective on the first of the two conventions I went to in 2012: The Wild West Shoot-out (WWSO) 2, held in Mesa, Arizona five years ago this month.

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