This week, the Nintendo 64 turns 12. In many respects, it remains one of the most controversial consoles in gaming history -- and not controversial in the sense of something being ribald, but in just how divisive it was for the entire industry. Nintendo's decision to keep cartridges as the rest of the industry shifted to discs offered a competitor an opening to pull off an unprecedented leadership reversal. But this was also the same machine that hosted the revolutionary Super Mario 64, which defined 3D games in a way no other game has paralleled in the last decade.
This week, IGN Retro is featuring a series of articles about the debut of the Nintendo 64 and its industry legacy, such as the ramifications of choosing cartridges over discs and the lasting influence of Super Mario 64.