Somehow, The N64 Can Do Portal
Valve’s Portal, released in 2007 (!), is one of the last games you’d expect to see the humble little N64 being able to manage, and yet here we are in 2022, seeing it manage it quite nicely.
Programmer James Lambert has been working on a Portal demake for Nintendo’s system for a little while now, but in his latest development video he reveals that not only has he made some “huge strides behind the scene on the game engine”, but that he’s got the single most important thing working: the portal gun.
The video below shows a rough demonstration of Lambert’s progress, but even in this stage, it looks incredible. The portals attach to the walls—with some smart detection stuff in place to get around corners—and when you walk up to them you can look right into them and everything reflected inside them moves exactly as it should.
To give you an idea of how far this is pushing the hardware—remember, this isn’t something made to look like the N64, it’s actually being developed for the N64 and this video was captured on N64 hardware—Lambert says in the video that he would normally have some sound effects in the game by now, but that he wanted to “verify that the Nintendo 64 could even do portals” before doing it here.
In terms of how many views through a portal the N64 can actually support—so, like, how many times the room you’re in will be repeated by looking through a portal—in this video you can see him achieve a maximum of four, though Lambert says the final game will probably have to do a smaller number in order to keep things running smoothly.
If any of this looks vaguely familiar, it’s because Portal was also recreated—at least in part—by fans for the Nintendo DS a long time ago, which was also an impressive feat.