The region-specific info about the Nintendo 64 isn’t very plainly released. Some of these details have been lost to the ages (i.e. dead or outdated websites); likewise, the original console released was before what the majority of people consider the “Web Age”.
I will be very clear my details for the United States, and Japan are both from research study and hands-on experience. My European/Australian experience, i.e. PAL is limited to research knowledge.
N64 parts, Region Locked?
1 .Console & Cartridges
The US and Japanese versions of the console are almost interchangeable; the only “region” locking is a physical notch in the cartridge with a matching peg in the console.
2. Game Cartridges
US video games in Japanese consoles and Japanese video games in US Consoles should work just fine after either the console or cartridges are modified to fit.
PAL Cartridges utilize the very same notch position as the Japanese cartridges. When using a modified US/Japanese console with a PAL game cartridge may cause problems. These issues should not trigger any permanent damage, but possible side effects include.
- PAL Video game in US/Japanese console simply does not startup. (Probably).
- Copyright protection uses a CIC chip which is various between NTSC and BUDDY.
- Inaccurate video gameplay speed. Choppy or otherwise bad framerates.
- BUDDY frame rates are lower for an offered screen resolution.
3. Memory Expansion PAK
This is the 4 MB (Megabyte) RAM Memory Expansion PAK that some video games required, and others may use if offered. This is a highly suggested device for any N64 console!
This product has no recognized area/ language/ technical limitations. It’s either 1 or 2 Memory IC’s there is no logic to restrict how it works. The port and installation method are identical throughout all areas.
Also Read: PS2 Laser Compatibility Guide
4. Regular Controller
The basic controller presumes either a Nintendo or 3rd celebration Tri-Wing controller. These controllers react to the basic console request with the same reaction information.
Nintendo branded controllers had some problems with the Joysticks breaking to the point they would not “self-center”. While 3rd party controllers might use a different joystick that does not have that problem, it could still be poor quality or an incorrect joystick.
KEEP IN MIND: Some 3rd Party controllers DON’T support the accessory port in the controller, to the point of completely obstructing it! This applies especially to those planned for PC usage with USB.
5. Rumble PAK
The Rumble PAK request and action data are not region-specific.
Nintendo branded Rumble PAK’s always utilized 2 AAA batteries. The amount of power that is offered to each controller is restricted, so this is a safe technique.
Third-party Rumble PAK’s might try to utilize the power available from the console. This might work for one gamer, but multiple players with these Rumble PAK’s might trigger issues for instance console might hang or reset while playing.
6. Controller PAK (Memory PAK)
Nintendo always referred to this accessory as the Controller PAK, many users acknowledge it for what it is and refer to it as the Memory PAK. The Controller PAK has some considerations for use across regions. This is simpler to describe in actions:
- Play a Japanese video game and conserve to Controller PAK.
- Usage United States video game Controller, PAK management feature, to see Saved Games.
- US game doesn’t have a font style that will reveal the proper name of the Japanese game.
This very same problem would use to any European video games where the video game name includes non-ASCII characters.
These memory units are little with a maximum of 16 save games. I would suggest acquiring several Controller PAKs for each area. For instance, one for Japanese video games, one for Europe, another for Australia, and one for North America.
7. Transfer PAK
There is at least one website that mentions that the Transfer PAK is not region locked (i.e. Japan Transfer PAK can be utilized with a United States game/console combination.
I have tested the following mixes:
|Console||N64 Game||Transfer PAK||Gameboy Game||Result||Notes|
|US||Mario Golf||Japan||Mario Golf GBC||Good||Imported Character from GB Color successfully. Note Gameboy version of game not supported.|
|US||Pokemon Stadium 2||Japan||Pokemon Yellow||Good||Played Pokemon Yellow with the built in Emulator, worked great.|
|US||Perfect Dark||Japan||Perfect Dark||Good||Unlocked “All Weapons” as expected.|
Note: The GameBoy/ GameBoy Color games were not region locked.
Any N64 video games that utilize the Transfer PAK to read Gameboy games could make their own decision of what Gameboy video games they would support. For example a United States N64 game designer might decide to support all regional versions of their Gameboy game and determine which features in their video game would be enabled, maybe unlocking different characters for each local variation of the Gameboy video game.
8. Voice Recognition
The Voice Recognition system is a language locked device, the US VRU only deals with the English language, and the Japanese VRS only works with Japanese.
The basic answer here is that the console area doesn’t matter. Cartridge and Voice Recognition system should match.
Good: Japan Video Game Cartridge, North American Console, Japanese VRS.
Great: North American Cartridge, Japan Console, North American VRU.
” Hey you, Pikachu” – Family Pet/ Life Simulation.
” Densha de Go!” – Train Simulator.
North America VRU.
” Hey you, Pikachu” – Animal/ Life Simulation.
I don’t believe a Voice Recognition system was launched for Europe or Australia.
The 64DD had sales of 34,962 * (or higher) which is quite restricted for a Nintendo product; even the Virtual Young boy offered approximately 500,000. There were only 11 games/programs released for the 64DD all in Japan. I have confirmed a 64DD with a The United States and Canada Console works completely, although whatever I’ve seen remains in Japanese. I make sure it would not work with a FRIEND console; however, that would most likely be a software application and CIC compatibility issue.
Regular habits 64DD Attached to console (i.e. 64DD Troubleshooting):
|Disk||Game PAK||N64 Logo sequence||Light||Disk Access|
|Yes||None||No||Blinks on disk access||Very quiet|
- Disk Insert/Eject are mechanical and don’t need power to the 64DD.
- Not region-locked, but has limited usage beyond its primary market of Japan.
The Mouse is probably among the more intriguing devices. It was meant for usage with the Mario Artist series that was only launched on the 64DD in Japan and utilized to good impact in all (Paint, Talent, Communication, Polygon Studio) of those titles. It has been reported to deal with numerous North America launched video games consisting of Starcraft, Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. The players that have tried this use don’t claim it’s good, but the fact that it works is quite cool.
Not region-locked, however not extremely usable in any region. It supports the standard ASCII character set along with Japanese characters. Only the Japan RandNET web access 64DD cartridge supported it.
11. Train Controller
Not region-locked, however just functional with one Japanese video game.
This controller isn’t usable as a regular controller; it’s technically really different.