GoldenEye 007 is one of the greatest multiplayer video games of all-time, but there is one minor issue with the N64 classic – screen cheating. A museum invested $10,000 to enable GoldenEye 007 to be played on four separate screens to thwart screen cheaters.
GoldenEye 007 was released for the N64 video game console on August 25, 1997. To celebrate the upcoming 25th anniversary of one of the most beloved video games, the Centre for Computing History – which bills itself as the “U.K.’s largest computer and video games museum” – launched the “25 Years of GoldenEye Exhibition.” The exhibition will feature “development documents from the game, promotional items, and obviously the game itself for you to play and enjoy!” Three of the game’s developers – Martin Hollis, Dr. David Doak, and Brett Jones – will make guest appearances to discuss how the classic game came to be.
Also, the sold-out event includes “a unique four-screen, four-player version of GoldenEye 007 running on original hardware that has never been seen before!”
The impressive setup will stop screen cheaters by utilizing four different screens instead of the traditional split screens on original N64 hardware. That means you can’t take a peek at your competitor’s screen to see their location or pinpoint campers.
Chief Executive Officer and Curator Jason Fitzpatrick explained, “We’ve got a setup here of the original GoldenEye 007 running on an original Nintendo 64 cartridge, but on four screens.”
“It’s a bit of a kludge to do it. We’ve got these scalers and bits of equipment there, video distribution,” Fitzpatrick said. “There’s about eight grand worth of kit there just to make this work. But it’s a bit of fun and it stops anybody from screen cheating.”
Ars Technica explained how the Cambridge museum pulled off the separate screen gameplay:
In this case, the key “bit of equipment” is a C2-7210 video scaler, a defunct piece of video production tech that lets professionals process a live video signal in a wide variety of ways. That includes the ability to zoom in on a specific portion of up to two input signals and then upscale the result to a full-screen output on another monitor or TV.
For multi-screen GoldenEye, Fitzpatrick said he simply split the standard PAL N64 signal into four identical copies, then fed two inputs each into two scaler units. After that, you point each scaler at a different quadrant of the input signal and send the resulting output to different TVs. A second input on one of those TVs also receives the unmodified full-screen signal directly from the N64 to make it easier to navigate menus.
With each gamer having their own screen, it eliminates screen cheating. Looks like you’ll have to locate your enemy without screen cheating.
4 screen GoldenEye on the original N64 hardware! No screencheating here! …but how?
Come and experience this at our GoldenEye evening, celebrating 25 years of GoldenEye for Nintendo 64: https://t.co/F918hEQ20v pic.twitter.com/05jA82upb8
— Computing History (@computermuseum) May 4, 2022