What was the first golden N64 controller?

Written by Consolevariations - Dec 11, 2017

The first gold N64 Controller

Now for the real geeky stuff, Let's find out about the origin of every gold N64 Controller. The first one might be a surprise!

These are all the N64 gold controller box variations we know today in one picture. The USA got a Toys "R" Us exclusive in blister packaging and Japan got 2 different box variations, one in white and one in gold.

Every N64 sold separately (retail)

N64 Gold Controller Bundle

Not to forget the gold controller available in Europe. The only way to actually get this one was through a bundle from the UK, so all other European countries never got to see a gold controller. To this day they are still very popular there since they are actually rare.

N64 Gold Controller Bundle UK

NP 100 Gold Controller

Now some more exotic stuff. Here we have the Nintendo Power 100 Controller that was available to purchase from Nintendo Power to commemorate the 100th issue of the magazine. These are pretty rare today but as far as we can tell not limited since they just slapped a sticker on a gold controller (A pretty solid and nice one though. Shiny!) and anyone could buy one although not many did.

Nintendo Power 100 Controller


E3 Starfox Competition Controller

This one will get its own blog post one day. It could be won at E3 1997 in Atlanta and less than 20 are known. To obtain it participants had to fight off in Starfox 64 4-player mode and the winner of each round received a god Controller with this golden "N" on it.

E3 Starfox Competition Controller

So far so known

Though a while ago we stumbled across some old magazine news about the "Mario Kart 64 Nintendo Power Cup". A contest that was held in Japan and USA. Participants had to compete in time runs and the player with the fastest time of each round won a gold controller. It was quite a big event so 1000 gold controllers were handed out in total. This is one of these winning controllers from Japan!

Mario Kart 64 Nintendo Power Cup Controller

Got a license?

It also came with a contest winning letter and several credit card style Mario Kart licenses. We would be thankful if any of our readers could translate that leaflet!

Mario Kart 64 Nintendo Power Cup license

Made in Japan

One detail is also pretty amazing: It was made in Japan! All other gold N64 controllers that were bundled or available separately, even the NP100 were “Made in China” (except the E3 – but this one actually has a black bottom so it doesn't really count).

So only 2000 gold controllers exist that were "Made in Japan" - 1000 from the Japanese contest and 1000 from the USA contest. Actually the only way to distinguish if a controller is one of the first 2000 gold ones is to check if it was "Made in Japan" This one is it and makes it a truly unique item and a piece of video game history.

Made in Japan (bottom right in the text)

Prototype Box

The contest controller came with a plain cardboard box that has the same exact shape as most of the other Japanese controllers we know today but with out any print on it. At the time the only controllers on the market were the solid colored ones. So we are assuming that they took unfinished boxes from the production line for the upcoming series of controllers you can see in the first image of this blog post.

So we are not only talking about a gold N64 Controller that came out before all the others, we are also talking about the first controller released in the "later style" boxes!

Prototype N64 box
Prototype N64 packaging

We know...

This post was very specific but when we say console variations, we mean exactly that :). Why not drop by our database and see how many gold and shiny things you can find there?