N64 release dates and launch prices by region

by Martin Watts, 1 May 2018

An original black Nintendo 64 console with controller

It feels just like yesterday for us. But in reality the N64 launched over 20 years ago.

To jog your memory of how long ago it actually was, I’ve compiled a list of N64 release date, price and launch game information.

Japanese N64 release date and price

The N64 launched on 23 June 1996 in Japan. The suggested retail price was ¥25,000 excluding tax.

Being Nintendo’s homeland, Japan was the first region to receive the N64.

Japanese N64 console box art - this version was available from the N64 release date of 23 June 1996

Japanese N64 launch games

Three games launched alongside the N64 in Japan:

Saikyō Habu Shōgi released exclusively in Japan. It is a video game version of Shogi, otherwise known as Japanese Chess.

North American N64 release date and price

The N64 officially released in the United States and Canada on 29 September 1996. However, some retailers broke the release date and started selling it from 26 September.

The console, which came with one controller, went on sale at $199.95. Nintendo originally intended to sell it at $249.95, but dropped the price to compete with the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn.

North American N64 launch games

Only two games were available to buy for the N64’s North American launch:

  • Super Mario 64
  • Pilotwings 64.

Launch day adopters had to wait over a month until new games released. These were Mortal Kombat Trilogy (31 October 1996) and Wave Race 64 (1 November 1996).

Super Mario 64 NTSC box art - one of two games available on the N64 release date

European and Australian (PAL) N64 release dates and prices

Europe and Australia had to wait until 1 March 1997 for the N64. The console was released with just one controller, and games were sold separately.

Launch price by PAL country

Nintendo France’s N64 launch delay

France didn’t officially receive the N64 until 1 September 1997.

According to Mathieu Manent’s Nintendo 64 Anthology, the delay was due to an undisclosed legal issue with Nintendo France. For a while, Nintendo considered closing its French subsidiary, which in turn delayed the N64’s release in the country.

However, French retailers didn’t let this blip get in the way of making money. They imported N64 hardware and software from other European countries, and sold them at a hefty markup.

European and Australian (PAL) N64 launch games

Despite the N64 launching much later in Europe and Australia, it only received three launch games in total. These were:

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is often listed as an N64 launch game. However, it officially released three days later on 4 March 1997.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, which came out 3 days after the N64 release date in Europe

Due to how close these dates were, it wouldn’t surprise me if some retailers started selling Turok: Dinosaur Hunter on the N64’s launch day. I can’t be sure, but I’ve received a few anecdotes supporting this on Twitter.

Do you remember the launch of the N64?

I would love to hear your memories of it. Share them with me on Twitter or Facebook.

Martin Watts

Martin has been running N64 Today since it began in 2017. He has also written for Nintendo Life and Time Extension, and appeared in the 2022 documentary GoldenEra. He got the Nintendo 64 as a Christmas present back in 1997 and it's been his favourite console ever since. His favourite N64 game is Goemon's Great Adventure.