GoldenEye 007 gets quite the 21st-birthday present: An oral history

The Nintendo 64, known before launch as the “Ultra 64.” (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Many monumental video games have reached their 20th, 30th, and even 40th anniversaries at this point, and fans can be forgiven for missing a milestone or two. But in the case of GoldenEye 007‘s 21st birthday, the N64 classic received quite the treat this week: an oral history starring a few of the game’s original developers.

This feature comes from an unexpected source: MEL Magazine, an online-only outlet operated by Dollar Shave Club with only one other gaming oral history under its belt. But MEL picked up where 2015’s Rare Replay dropped off. That Microsoft-published collection of classic Rare games, complete with detail-loaded mini-documentaries, had to skip GoldenEye for licensing reasons.

MEL’s feature sums up quite a few details that have appeared in various behind-the-scenes stories over the years, though it does so with the assistance of three of that game’s artists and programmers: Karl Hilton, Mark Edmonds, and David Doak. As a result, the game’s history is retold in appreciably chronological order, and fans get one of the deepest looks yet at details including: Rare’s visits to the original MGM sets while the source film was being made; Rare’s use of a “hacked-together” Sega Saturn controller to test pre-release code, since the N64 controller wasn’t yet finalized; the “cheaty” holes tucked into the popular Complex multiplayer map, which its designer added just so he could beat his colleagues in matches; and the exact reasons that the game didn’t include certain famous Bond actors or real-life gun names.

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