Friends, the moment has arrived: the most influential first-person shooter in gaming history* has transcended the limitations of a single screen. Yes, GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 can now be played without screen cheating because a British museum rigged up $10,000 worth of hardware to give each player their very own screen. It’s all in honor of the game’s 25th anniversary.
4 screen GoldenEye on the original N64 hardware! No screencheating here! …but how?— Computing History (@computermuseum) May 4, 2022
Come and experience this at our GoldenEye evening, celebrating 25 years of GoldenEye for Nintendo 64: https://t.co/F918hEQ20v pic.twitter.com/05jA82upb8
As my former colleague Andrew Liszewski at Gizmodo points out, this would radically change the experience of one of the greatest multiplayer games of all time, one that required you and three friends to huddle around a boxy television when the game debuted 25 years ago.
On that, we agree. But this?
Multiplayer on a console before everything was connected to the internet wasn’t perfect, however. Four players had to share the same screen, which eliminated some FPS strategies like finding a secret place to camp and snipe at opponents.
Yes, GoldenEye’s screen cheating eliminated camping and sniping — but that was a damn good thing in a single-joystick shooter where you can barely turn around and can’t freely aim while moving. Not to mention those situations when a sniper armed with a scoped AR33 is zoomed in on a sticky mine placed somewhere you can’t possibly see it when you round the corner, and you get instantly blown to kingdom come.
Screen cheating made so many GoldenEye tricks tolerable because even if you weren’t actively peeking at the other corners of the TV to see exactly what your opponents were doing, you’d know they were setting up a trap when those corners stopped moving. I’ve played GoldenEye’s unofficial PC multiplayer remake, and it’s just not the same, with all the camping and sniping that the OG developers didn’t have to consider when they were building a game for Nintendo.
Admittedly, part of this is sour grapes! I would jump at the chance to try it if I could magically teleport to the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge this weekend; it’s part of what sounds like an incredible exhibition, which may also feature a fully playable version of the canceled GoldenEye Remastered for the Xbox 360.
Hopefully, the museum will also be preserving what it was like to actually play GoldenEye on a Nintendo 64, too.
BTW if you’re nostalgic for screen cheating, I would also highly recommend trying Screencheat the PC game, where you have to screen cheat because every player is invisible.
*you know, beside Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, Half-Life and Counter-Strike.