EON Super 64 Review — What’s Old is New Again
Even though the price of entry is pretty steep, the Super 64 is a spectacular device that makes your old Nintendo 64 games look incredible on modern TVs.
My original Nintendo 64 and all the games I used to play as a kid have been sitting in my parents’ attic for a few years now. Some of my personal favorite games of all-time like Banjo-Kazooie and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time were on that system. Even though many of those games have since been ported to other current platforms, I’ve still often found myself wanting to dig out my N64 from storage and play these games on the device they first debuted upon, claw controller and all. The only problem is that N64 consoles really aren’t compatible with modern TV sets whatsoever nowadays.
If you want to get old consoles like the N64 working on modern HD TVs, you have a few options at hand. You could buy a Composite to HDMI converter for the most baseline experience, but the resulting quality is more often than not going to be pretty terrible. The video is going to look extremely rough and you’ll likely experience a fair amount of lag. You could also go down the route of purchasing third-party devices or outright modding your old console so that it is compatible with HDMI.
Luckily, EON Gaming has now entered the fray with a new solution in the Super 64, and it’s likely the simplest, and perhaps the best, option on the market to finally give new life to your Nintendo 64.
The Super 64 is essentially a little device that you plug directly into the video output slot of your N64. You then just plug an HDMI cable into the back of the contraption, run it to your modern TV and boom — you’re playing your N64 just like it’s 1998 all over again. The Super 64 utilizes the highest possible video output signal (S-video) that the N64 has at its disposal and converts it to 480p upon appearing on your TV. 480p might sound rough on paper, but it actually looks really great once you see it in action.
One of the Super 64’s best qualities is its ease of use. As mentioned before, to get this same experience out of your N64 with other methods, you’d have to potentially do drastic modifications to your console. The Super 64 allows you to simply plug and play in no time whatsoever. Within minutes of getting the Super 64 for myself, I was already booting up Ocarina of Time and watching the iconic opening menu play on repeat in the background. It might not sound like a high point of praise, but there’s something to be said about a product that requires no effort on your part whatsoever.
Not only is the Super 64 easy to use though, but playing games through it feels great. Coming into this review, I was a bit hesitant that the device would truly cut down on input lag altogether, but there really was no lag to be found in my time with the product. In a game like Super Mario 64 that is so dependent on the timing of your moves, I found it to be a seamless experience.
By far the best aspect of the Super 64 would have to be the Slick Mode that it offers. When you first boot up an N64 game on your modern TV, you’ll notice that it looks pretty darn pixelated even if the clarity of the video is good. Luckily, a button on the side of the Super 64 will enable this previously mentioned Slick Mode, which helps smooth things out.
It may sound ridiculous, but the Slick Mode functionality is really what sets the Super 64 apart and makes you actually say, “Wow.” Yes, it’s just a filter at the end of the day, but it is astounding just how good Nintendo 64 games look once you activate this feature. I really wasn’t sold on the device until I started to play a variety of different games from my past with Slick Mode in action and it was unreal how good they looked by modern standards. Even the comparison images attached below don’t do the real thing justice once you see it in action.
If there is anything left to be desired with the Super 64 though, it would be that it doesn’t offer a ton of different options outside of what I’ve already mentioned. We reviewed the GCHD MK-II from EON last year and that device had a lot more features such as dual video output and surround sound functionality. Still, those features were only made possible thanks to what the GameCube offers by comparison to the N64. Since the N64 is an older console, it can’t do as much, which makes sense.
Everything about the Super 64 is excellent and I honestly have no qualms with the product itself. It works precisely as EON Gaming says it does. My only sticking point is that the cost of entry here is pretty lofty. The Super 64 retails for $149.99, which is quite a lot. Heck, it’s nearly a comparable price with modern gaming systems like the Nintendo Switch, as the upcoming Lite model of the system will cost $199.99 when it releases. The price you’re paying for the Super 64 is costly, but if you’re dead set on giving new life to your N64, it’s probably your best option.
I think the saving grace of the Super 64’s price though is that it’s still cheaper than a lot of other comparable options that would give you this same experience. If you want to order a pre-modded console, it can cost over double of what the Super 64 retails for. And even if you do buy just the materials to give your N64 HD functionality and mod it yourself, the internals needed to make this work still retail for more than the Super 64.
You’re also not forced to, you know, crack open your old Nintendo 64 and play around with the internals of the system in order to get it working for your modern TV. So yes, while the Super 64 is pricey, it’s still undercutting a fair share of the market in this space while being simultaneously just easier to use. It’s a premium product but is also one that might save you a headache or two.
If you’re still very much into retro gaming and have been wanting to dig your N64 out of your mom’s attic like me, you really can’t do better than the Super 64. It’s easy to set up, works just as you’d hope, and really makes those games from (in my case) your childhood look like they’ve been touched up with a fresh coat of paint. If you’ve already been looking into options that would allow you to bring your Nintendo 64 into the modern age, do yourself a favor and save some time, and potentially some money, and just opt to grab the Super 64 instead. You’ll be glad that you did.