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It Took 25 Years And $10,000 To Fix GoldenEye

"GoldenEye 007" came out back in 1997. It was one of the most popular titles on the N64 at the time of its release and is still considered one of the most influential shooters in gaming history. Franchises like "Halo" and "Call of Duty" can all trace their roots back to the free-exploration-based movement that was established in the Pierce Brosnan Bond game. This opened the floor for players to navigate the game stealthily and hunt for hidden secrets. The single-player campaign had plenty to keep fans engaged as Bond attempted to thwart a criminal syndicate from using a satellite to melt down the world's financial centers. It was just the right amount of camp, blended with challenging level design and plenty of action.

There was also a split-screen multiplayer mode which allowed up to four players to compete in deathmatches. The only problem with this was that the nature of split-screen multiplayer would allow players to look at their opponent's screens. Those who were familiar with the maps could then pinpoint their enemy's location at any given time, rendering the exploration and stealth that made the game unique redundant. Now, 25 years later, it seems a UK museum in Cambridge called the Centre for Computing History recently showcased a special version of the game — one that finally fixes the multiplayer problem.

How GoldenEye 007 ditched split-screen

The exhibition took place on May 7-8 in celebration of the 25-year anniversary of "GoldenEye." The museum had a display dedicated to materials from the iconic game's development, donated by Rare's team leader for "GoldenEye 007," Martin Hollis. It also had concept art, several promotional materials, and three versions of the game itself.

The museum had the full-scale Xbox remake fans had been looking forward to before licensing rights forced development to a halt. It also featured the original Japanese release, and a special, modified version of the original game. An announcement prior to the event stated that the Center would have, "a unique 4 screen / 4 Player version of GoldenEye running on original hardware that has never been seen before!" 

The Centre for Computing History's CEO and trustee Jason Fitzpatrick explained in an interview with ars Technica that they achieved this by hooking up the original N64 to an exceptionally expensive piece of equipment called a TV One C2-7210 HD-SDI video scaler. The team used two of these to focus on specific portions of the screen, upscaling each of them to a fullscreen image, and routing them to four separate televisions. The museum posted a video featuring its "GoldenEye" setup on Twitter, where they described the scalers as being worth about £8,000 pounds ($9,869.23 USD). It might not be the most cost-effective solution for the average gamer, but it's nice to know a few people got to play some "GoldenEye" without the looming fear of screen watching.