Students get a preview of Nintendo 64

Will Bourne

University students were given a technology fix as the 1996 Nintendo 64 Holiday Van Tour arrived in front of Coffman Union for its Minneapolis visit.
When students entered the unmarked van on Wednesday afternoon, they were assaulted with 64 bits of power. Minneapolis is just one stop along the van’s 21-city tour as it unveils new games for the Nintendo 64 game system.
Ryan Holdorf, a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts, described the games as being “a step forward towards a new video medium.”
Since its American debut on Sept. 29, the Nintendo 64 has broken all sales records for a gaming system. Although there are only two compatible games for the system, the unit quickly sold out at many locations.
Howard Lincoln, chairman of Nintendo of America, said that the system’s sales could create a “potential Cabbage Patch doll situation for the holiday season.”
In 1986, children waited weeks, if not months, to get soft pudgy-faced Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. Hopefully, the Nintendo system will not bring back the days of Christmas past, when parents would resort to fistfights in order to obtain the dolls for their children. However, the quality of this system may justify its demand: Many gaming experts have already labeled the game “Super Mario 64” as “the best video game ever”.
In the van, students sampled “Wayne Gretzky’s 3-D Hockey”, in which they controlled the actions of the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Rangers.
The game featured slapshots and checking, as well as computer-generated color commentary comparable to that found on ESPN. The graphics were defined, and the sound of players hitting the boards caused the entire van to shake.
Another game sampled was “Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire”, in which students controlled the movie’s Rebel Alliance in its fight against the dark forces of the Empire.
After a sampling, CLA junior Sarah Thomas praised the game’s “intense sound” and “realistic graphics.”
The van tour made many converts with this visit to campus, and the general consensus among students who visited the van was that the unit is by far the best gaming system ever.
But students might have to wait for Santa to stuff it in their stocking, since the suggested retail price of $199.95 is difficult for a college budget to handle.
The 1996 Nintendo 64 Holiday Van Tour is hoping to stimulate sales further by touring the country and allowing people to sample new games that will be available in December. The van’s odyssey began in Seattle and will go as far Washington D.C. before returning to the West Coast to complete its journey in Los Angeles.