Nintendo's 64 began life as the Ultra 64, and had it's familiar black shape. However, apart from that, nothing really was known about the system - the controllers especially was shrouded in secrecy. It was first shown working in November 1995, when the name was changed to "Nintendo 64", the controller with 3 prongs and an analogue stick was shown, and a game was shown that changed platform games forever - Super Mario 64.
The Nintendo 64 - even with it's processing power - suffered due to the fact that most games were on CD's instead of cartridges now. However, there were truly stunning games released for the system, usually by Nintendo's in house developers. Now a whole generation of gamers who missed out on these classics can enjoy them fully on the Nintendo Wii.