Remembering N64HQ - the fan perspective

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by: Hairball

One of the joys of my childhood was going online and reading about video games. More specifically, Nintendo video games, and the upcoming Nintendo 64 console.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web, let's take a look back at an early pioneer for Nintendo websites.

The Unofficial Nintendo 64 Headquarters (better known as N64HQ) was founded by Scott McCall ("Cap Scott") and Mike Hrusecky in 1995. It was quite frankly the biggest and best N64 website on the Internet at the time, and it was run by teenagers. Despite this, the website was actually fair and balanced, they were not Nintendo apologists nor were they fanboys.

N64 HQ logo

N64HQ had the latest N64 news stories, reviews, cheats, accurate release dates (this was something that was more challenging in the 90s), excellent editorials, and more. Oh and they also had an E-Mailbag that influenced the one you see on SM128C as well. The website was updated daily, and was essentially a one stop shop for all N64 news. There was nothing like it.

N64 HQ homepage
For 1997, N64HQ was a pretty good looking website

This website was arguably better than the corporate-backed N64.com which morphed into what is now IGN.

In present day in 2019, you can get a lot of this information from social media, but at the time video games were far more of a niche topic and it was harder to find information, which made a website like N64HQ so valuable. It's hard to believe I'm writing about another website that has closed nearly 22 years ago. That's how influential it was to me.

It was awesome to read daily news and updates on the N64, and these guys were the pioneers of it. In the past, gaming news would have to come from magazines such as Nintendo Power and these only came on a monthly basis.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot of archived pages on N64HQ on the Wayback Machine. There's a lot of junk on the Internet but this is a relic that definitely deserves some preservation!

There were various tributes to this iconic website, Scott had posted a N64HQ tribute himself, and he's had a few successor websites to N64HQ in smaller form which were great websites in their own right.

Since I decided to start updating SM128C again, it brought back a lot of old memories of simpler times. The 90s/2000s style video game fan sites - like the one you are reading right now, are a dying breed. I have to be honest, it's hard to be relevant when the masses are impatient on social media, and anyone can post their opinions anywhere.

However, fan sites were great at being micro-communities when they are not a ginormous cluster of people like on places like Reddit. I'll talk more about video game fan sites in a future article.

It was a sad day when N64HQ shut down, although it only had a two year run, but in that short period of time it set the benchmark for how a video game website was to be run.

There were a couple of spiritual successors such as 64 Source and Planet GameCube (now known as Nintendo World Report) which were run by former N64HQ staffers. Those websites were good, but they weren't the same thing, at least in my mind, there's no doubt that N64HQ was the best N64 website, ever.

Did you have any memories of N64HQ? What are your favourite Nintendo websites? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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