Controller Pak


Controller Pak

The Controller Pak was the Nintendo 64's memory card, comparable to those seen in the PlayStation and other CD-ROM-based video game consoles.

Certain games allowed saving of game files to the Controller Pak, which plugged into the back of the Nintendo 64 controller (as did the Rumble and Transfer Paks). The Controller Pak was marketed as a way to exchange data with other Nintendo 64 owners, since information saved on the game cartridge could not be transferred to another cartridge.

Although the Nintendo 64 used a cartridge game format that can write data on the cartridges themselves, few first party and second party games used the Controller Pak. The vast majority were from third-party developers, likely because of cost expenses: including self-contained data on the cartridge would have increased production and retail costs. Some games used it to save optional data that was too large for the cartridge, such as "Mario Kart 64", which used 121 pages for storing ghost data. Another game is "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater", which uses 11 pages. "Quest 64" and "Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon" used the Controller Pak exclusively for saved data.

While the Nintendo 64 itself does not have a Controller Pak management screen, holding the start button while powering on most Controller Pak-compatible games opens a management screen programmed into the cartridge by the game developer that can be used to manage records from any game.

The standard Controller Pak contains 256 KB memory, which is divided into 123 "pages". [Cite web | url=http://ign64.ign.com/mail/1999-02-23.html | title=Nintendo 64 Mailbag | publisher=IGN | date=1999-02-23 | last=Casamassina | first=Matt | authorlink=Matt Casamassina | accessdate=2007-10-03] Larger off-brand paks range from around 1–4 MB in size, many of which also used corruption-prone data compression schemes. Some later 3rd-party controller paks include a built-in rumble pak to eliminate the need to plug controller paks into an additional, unused controller.

References


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