Released in March 1997 in the United Kingdom, the Nintendo 64 is named after it’s CPU (being 64 bit architecture). The machine was initially released in Japan in June 1996, although the design was mostly complete by mid-1995, codenamed “Project Reality”.
The N64 at the time, was in direct competition with the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn. On release, Time magazine named the N64 as ‘Machine of the Year’.
Being the third console from Nintendo and also their last major console to use cartridge for it’s primary storage format. Following the release of the next generation Gamecube in 2001, a Mini-DVD based system, the Nintendo 64 continued to sell well and was commercially available until 2003.