There's a good reason why these kids freaked out when they got a Nintendo 64 on Christmas day in 1996

It’s been nearly 20 years, but there isn’t a better Christmas gift unwrapping video than this:

Those two kids are freaking out over the Nintendo 64, Nintendo’s third major console released in 1996.

And their reaction was justified at the time. The Nintendo 64 was a major leap forward in the world of video game consoles. 3D gaming wasn’t new (the original PlayStation had 3D graphics), but Nintendo 64 was the first console to pioneer the genre in new ways.

It was the first console to include a controller with an analogue thumbstick that gave players precise levels of controls in 3D games. Until then, everyone was using simple directional pads that belonged in the 2D gaming era. Later on, Nintendo introduced the Rumble Pack for the Nintendo 64, which added vibration feedback for certain actions in games. Today, both of those features are standard in all video game controllers.

But it wasn’t just the controller, the console itself enabled 64-bit graphics so developers could make some incredible 3D games. (They look dated today, but this was revolutionary in 1996.)

MarioArtificialraven on YouTube‘Super Mario 64’.

“Super Mario 64” was the best, early example of this. After years of playing side-scrolling Mario games, fans got to explore full 3D environments for the first time. It was nothing short of revolutionary. 

Simply put, the Nintendo 64 set the stage for the next 20+ years or so of console gaming. 

And that’s worth freaking out over.

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