Rumble functionality is something that we gamers take for granted nowadays, but back in the N64’s heyday it felt like a revolution.
While the thought of a separate battery-powered rumble peripheral may seem archaic (and expensive), it was a worthy trade-off to add a whole new level of immersion to your gaming.
To celebrate the official Nintendo 64 Rumble Pak’s 20th anniversary, we’ve put together a list of our favourite Rumble Pak memories below.
Do you have a favourite Rumble Pak moment in an N64 game? Let us know on Twitter.
The Stone of Agony in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
While most games used the Rumble Pak to add a nice, yet superficial layer of force feedback, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time used it as an actual game mechanic.
The Stone of Agony, an in-game item you acquire from the House of Skulltula, bears a striking resemblance to a real-world N64 Rumble Pak, and is used by Link to find hidden secrets. It acts as a tracking device: the closer you are to a secret area, the more your Rumble Pak will vibrate.
Thankfully, it’s not integral to your adventure: you only use it to find optional, albeit helpful items. Nevertheless, it’s fun to go on a treasure hunt, and much better than if you had to rely on sound (which might get annoying) or visual markers (which you can often easily miss).
The feature also appears in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, but there are no longer any references to the Stone of Agony: you just have the ability right from the start. Including this feature in both games probably helped Nintendo flog a few more Rumble Paks back during the day.
Getting walloped in Super Smash Bros.
With four players duking it out at once, it can sometimes be hard to keep track of what’s happening on screen in Nintendo’s frantic N64 brawler.
Thankfully, the Rumble Pak has your back: if you take a massive hit and get launched, it’ll go into a vibrating frenzy, letting you know that you’re jetting off to a side of the screen. While many hits will likely bring about your demise no matter what you do, there’s always a chance that with good reactions – and a bit of directional influence on the joystick – you may just survive.
It’s certainly worth having some spare AAA batteries lying around for when you go to play this smashing game.
Unloading an RC-P90 in GoldenEye 007
With a whopping 80 rounds per clip, the RC-P90 is the ultimate spray ‘n’ pray gun for hosing down waves of enemy guards in GoldenEye 007. It’ll also send your Rumble Pak into overtime: even with its impressive rate of fire, the RC-P90 takes a surprisingly amount of time before it empties.
Did you know?
During GoldenEye 007’s development, the team wanted to incorporate a manual reload feature using the Rumble Pak. The concept would have involved removing the Rumble Pak from the bottom of the controller and clicking it back in – similar to putting a magazine into a gun. However, the idea was eventually scrapped after Nintendo rightly noted that repeatedly removing the Rumble Pak would probably damage either it or the controller’s connectors.
Train + Depot = BOOM! In Star Fox 64
As the first N64 game to support the Rumble Pak, Star Fox 64 features a number of great force feedback moments. The most epic, however, comes during the Star Fox team’s mission to Macbeth.
Utilising the Landmaster tank, you’re in pursuit of a train carrying enemy supplies and a hidden enemy boss. Upon catching up to the front of the train (after having wiped out the majority of the rest of it), you must face this boss. You don’t have to defeat it the old-fashioned way though; by successfully activating eight switches, you can force the train onto a separate track that runs straight into an enemy depot.
If the poor driver of that train wasn’t already having a bad day, it only gets worse at this point: his vehicle smashes into the depot and the entire place erupts. But you don’t really mind, because he was a jerk and your Rumble Pak is going too crazy for you to think about anything else.
What’s your favourite Rumble Pak moment?
Share your favourite Rumble Pak memory with us on Twitter.