VR powered by N64
Image: James Lambert

James Lambert — the developer behind the fanmade Portal 64 project (which was sadly shut down in January) — has just released a new video on his YouTube channel demonstrating VR working on real N64 hardware.

In the past, we've seen a bunch of people emulating and playing Nintendo 64 games in VR (with things like EmuVR), but this is the first time we've ever seen someone try to create a VR-specific experience on the actual console itself (we're happy to be proven wrong!).

To make the project a reality, Lambert took advantage of an old Oculus SDK he had lying around as well as an N64 which he had fitted with a USB and HDMI port. This arrangement allowed him to send the video out to the Oculus from the console and send it back through USB, albeit with a little bit of extra work involved to get the sensor data to read off the headset and get the head tracking to work properly.

In the video, he explains his reasoning for picking the project:

“I’ve always been interested in virtual reality, which is why when the Oculus released the developer kit 1 I got one. It’s been collecting dust. So I was thinking I added a USB port to my N64, so why not connect the two? And I can’t think of a better time to do it now that the high-fidelity Apple Vision Pro has come out — why not create a low-fidelity N64 VR?”

To show off the experiment, Lambert collaborated with a 3D artist named Pyroxene (who he was planning to work with on Portal 64 and is now working with on an original project) to create a quick test environment for a demo. As Lambert notes, the result is better than he expected for the N64, though the resolution is admittedly extremely low and there is a noticeable bit of lag between moving the head and getting a response due to the amount of steps between the Oculus and the N64.

You can watch the full video below for more details. Be sure to subscribe to Lambert for more N64-themed experiments! He also has a Patreon if you want to support him more directly.

[source youtu.be]