If you have read my work on this page for the past 20 years, you will know that I love the Nintendo 64. “Love” is actually a bit of an understatement. The Nintendo 64 is the home console that I can’t live without…even today in 2024.
Given the statement above, you can imagine my suffering after a year ago, while moving to a new house, I lost my Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast. Of the two systems, I missed the Nintendo 64 the most.
Ordering a Console From Amazon
Thus, this past Christmas I ordered a “renewed” system from Amazon. Things looked well on the Amazon’s description of the product. I would get a “renewed” Nintendo 64 console complete with the original controller, and original AV and Power cables. All of this for just $130. Honestly, I would have paid $500 for a Nintendo 64 console, that’s how much I wanted the system back.
The system arrived within 2 weeks, and I was pleased with the condition of the console. Now, “renewed” is a….less than honest term. The fact is that no one really makes any Nintendo 64 circuitry anymore, so I suspect that “renewed” only means “cleaned” and in working condition.
Alas, my system was clean, but not in “working order”. At least not at first.
A Japanese Nintendo 64
Being that I live in a United States territory (and the seller was located the United States), I expected a North American system. Instead, I got a modded Japanese Nintendo 64 console. Not only that, but the power brick was a brand new ‘generic’ take on the original Nintendo 64 one, and the AV cables were generic as well. This was disappointing, and I questioned whether I should have sent the system back to the seller demanding a refund. Still, I kept the faith and hooked the system to the TV.
The red power light under the Nintendo 64 logo turned on, as it should have. However, the system failed to read any of my Nintendo 64 games. Luckily, I had an old 1996 Jumper Pack stowed away in my Nintendo 64 game’s case (it had been sitting there since I upgraded to the 8MB RAM PAK more than 2 decades ago). With the older jumper pack the system ran flawlessly. I was relieved that I finally had a working Nintendo 64.
I still had two original Nintendo 64 controllers laying around so I wasn’t completely disappointed by the generic Nintendo 64 controller that I received from Amazon.
The generic controller has been working fine, but the Original Nintendo 64 one has a particular analog stick that is unique, and (at least in my experience) nearly impervious to drift issues, thought it could lose its rigidity (and usability) rather easily by playing the original Mario Party game.
So, with games requiring precision from the analog stick, the generic controller from Amazon falters a bit because its analog stick cannot replicate the precision offered by the original.
Without My Spare OG Jumper Pack The System Wouldn’t Have Worked
It is likely that if I hadn’t found my original jumper pack I would have returned the system because I wouldn’t have pin pointed the issue with it. I did suspect upon witnessing the ‘mint’ physical condition of Amazon’s jumper pack that it was a “clone” like every other accessory that came with the system.
Based on that assessment, it is difficult for me to blindly recommend this system (from Amazon) to other consumers. I have read reviews on the page of costumers being sent a un-modded Japanese console, or worse: A PAL (European) N64 machine.
Generic Components Began to Fail…Rather Quickly
Once I got the system working, I ordered an original Memory Pack, and an original 8MB RAM Pak from a different seller. Things worked well for a few weeks…until the system turned on (red light went on), but all I got was a “no signal” screen. I thought the culprit were the generic AV cables, but none of my HDMI converters for the system worked either.
It would be by random luck that I decided to check some old tool boxes that I had under a tool table, and to my surprise – and great joy – I found both: My lost Nintendo 64, and Sega Dreamcast under it. Thus, I was able to swap power bricks, and the Japanese Amazon console worked again when powered by the original Nintendo 64 power brick.
It seems that the generic Amazon power brick lost its ability to fully power the system after 3 weeks of use. Disappointing, to say the least.
The Nintendo 64 power brick is robust, and much heavier than the Chinese made clone that Amazon shipped with my console. Nearly 28 years of use vs 3 weeks…the disparity in build quality is quite remarkable. Nintendo built consoles that lasted a lifetime.
Should You Buy a Renewed System From Amazon?
No. If you can find the system elsewhere. If hadn’t found my original jumper pack the system would have never worked despite the fact that there was nothing wrong with the actual console itself. Finally, if I hadn’t found my original home console and its power brick…the system wouldn’t have worked again after 3 weeks of use.
However, I do understand that the system is 28 years old, and it could be hard to find it in physical used game outlets. Amazon has plenty of positive reviews, and different sellers. It is possible that you will receive a proper NA console with original components. But I suspect that the company or its sellers delete some of the negative reviews because I can’t find the review of my own experience on their site.
Nintendo in the 1990s built indestructible home consoles. The Nintendo 64 is such a system, but my issues with Amazon’s system (apart from it being a Japanese console) were due to the new, but generic accessories that came packed in with their “renewed” console. It is hard for me to recommend the system unless you can get the official power brick, and jumper pack to go along with it.
Because the seller blatantly lies in the description of the product, my guess is as good as yours as to whether or not, you will receive the original cables and controller. In my case, I didn’t and I suffered greatly for it. Again, I had the original components of the console laying around, and that’s how I made it work, but for someone completely new to the Nintendo 64 system, my Amazon experience could be a deal breaker.
Proceed with caution.
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