It's certainly an oddity, visually. While some games—mostly Nintendo's, and Rare's—are vibrant, and crisp, most are muddy, fuzzy, foggy, and/or bland. The system has a unique set of hardware features for its generation, and probably because of their newness, don't quite support each other. It can do some nice things with textures like trilinear filtering, and mipmapping, but the thing doesn't really have the RAM to take advantage of this. Pop-up, or pop-in, a common problem of the generation is often 'hidden' by using a fog effect, instead of just trying to draw less polygons.
The analogue stick made the system a good target for 3-D platformers, though Nintendo and Rare managed to flood that genre themselves there are some curiosities that didn't get so much attention like Glover, and the Chameleon Twist series. Many people bought the system because of it's easy four-player support, and the system became the system of choice for console first-person shooting.
Just as notable is the N64's lack of fighters and RPGs.
The Capture Cartridge (probable Capture Cassette, in Japan) works with games in the Mario Artist series and allows users to import video and audio into the programs. The back feature standard composite inputs (yellow video, and left and right white and red audio), as well as a 3.5mm 'mic.' input, facilitating importation from VHS, digital cameras, maybe other consoles, CD players, and so on.
A device that interfaces between a N64 controller pak, and a computer, via a serial port. Allowing the user to transfer and swap saves. Can be useful to avoid the hassle of unlocking things (like the secret world in Bomberman 64), and swapping Dezaemon 3D creations.
A version was also made for the PlayStation.
A flashcart that loads games via USB.
Nintendo 64 emulation is a bit of a mess. While it's possible to run most games, none of the emulators are focused on accurately emulating the hardware; rather, they're big mish-mashes of hacks and fixes for individual games. It's not even possible to display games in their original resolutions. If you want games to look 'nicer' there are upscaling options, and higher resolution texture packs for popular games.
Project64 is the most popular, and may as well be your first port-of-call. It's undergoing a pretty big overhaul at the moment, so may have a much better future. 1964 may help fill any gaps in compatibility.
Last updated: October 22nd, 2011