Website: IGN 64
Back in the day, IGN 64 was an online bastion of Nintendo 64 related news, previews, reviews, and interviews for the western world. (They even had a sit-down interview with the King of game design himself.) Originally N64.com until being brought under the Imagine Games Network umbrella, IGN 64 was the premier online resource for Nintendo fans, whether they wanted to praise the gameplay-over-graphics mantra of F-Zero X, grieve the endless cycle of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time postponements, share the many exploitable glitches of GoldenEye (explode remote mines on all eight of the computers suspended from the ceiling in the Complex in multiplayer mode to activate a bug which causes non-bullet projectiles such as mines and rockets to sit motionless in the air until being shot at or otherwise detonated), rage against the lack of FMVs and voice-acting in Nintendo games, rejoice later in the advanced compression methods which made FMVs and voice-acting a reality, or finally lend voice to an echo chamber of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time versus Metal Gear Solid debate.The site was run by two men, Matt Casamassina and Peer Schneider. The site-reader interplay was so dynamic that Peer, a German-American acquired from Nintendojo, graciously posted and responded to reader e-mails five days per week, all of which opened with the same iconic phrasing: "Hey Peer". In spite of the editors' frequent responses to e-mails, many site readers sent them numerous e-mails, never to see their letters posted, such was their readership volume. At one point the site experimented with print and released a magazine, planned to be the first in a bimonthly or semi-annual series of print companions to the web site, but in spite of positive response from readers, the print embarkment never went anywhere after the publication of the first volume. The reviews on IGN 64 were always quite memorable in their level of detail and insight. For large titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the review is quite long, comprising opinions from both Matt and Peer; in the course of previewing and reviewing the title they amassed nearly 500 screenshots and 30 videos, all in the days before YouTube, when a 30-megabyte video file was a serious draw on site resources. The site was also known for its sharp sense of humor, often writing particularly funny reviews for games that were really, really bad. Peer and Matt were also quite snarky, both to each other and to their readers.Unfortunately, with the replacement of the Nintendo 64 with the Nintendo GameCube, the writers went elsewhere within the IGN community, as a site devoted to Nintendo 64 news has little viability when there is, well, no news to report on.
This site provides examples of:
- April Fools' Day: In 1998, they ran possibly the greatest prank of any video game news site ever. The whole page was full of clearly fabricated news articles (from Nintendo announcing a floppy disk based add on for the N64 called "Floppy 64" to Nintendo censoring and retooling Shadowman into a cute and cuddly platformer called "Shade Kid"), along with a fake "Release Dates" page and even a fake "Mailbag" section. At the end of each "news article," Matt and Peer assured the reader that "okay, so maybe this story wasn't completely true. But we swear the next one is!" (no doubt to avoid possible instances of Poe's Law). The next year, however, they decided their 1998 prank was enough. And so they ran only one joke article, saying that the N64 version of Resident Evil 2 would be censored to use green slime rather than blood and zombie cohorts rather than humans (amazingly, their mailbag got a ton of angry letters the next morning, believing this story to be real). Afterwards, the editors did not run anymore April Fools' Day joke articles. And, for many months following Electronic Gaming Monthly's notorious fabricated "cheat" for unlocking the classic Bonds in Golden Eye 1997, they would often state their annoyance with reader questions on the "cheat."
- Console Wars: Fifth generation, and things got ugly. Christmas of 1998 was an especially fierce period, due to the dueling releases of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Metal Gear Solid. More generally speaking, reading the site, one becomes easily tied up in pro-Nintendo, anti-Sony rhetoric. It also didn't help that Nintendo and Squaresoft were on the down-and-out. Much discussion on IGN64 was devoted to decrying the complete and utter paucity of Role Playing Games for the Nintendo 64 (Quest 64, why must you disappoint so severely), developing schemes to bring Squaresoft back on board for development (if enough of us e-mail them...), and convincing one another that there was some rationale behind using ROM Cartridges instead of CD-ROMs.
- Despite this, IGN64 actually did sometimes post articles giving thoughtful analyses of why the Playstation was beating the Nintendo 64 in the console wars, as well as describing what they believed Nintendo should do to catch up to Sony. Quite a few such articles were posted in the timeframe between the 1997 Holiday Season (during which the Nintendo 64 sold rather poorly compared to the Playstation) and the release of Banjo-Kazooie in mid-1998 (often credited as the game that finally brought the Nintendo 64 out of the "game drought" it had been in since launch).
- Super Title 64 Advance: It was originally named "IGN 64", because it's purpose was solely for information related to the Nintendo64.