It finally happened: Nintendo announced the release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) Classic Edition. This has left fans with two burning questions: will we actually be able to get our hands on this prized collector’s item, and, secondly, will they ever release a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition?
The heated debate concerning the latter question has continued to rage across the web, but we thought that, rather than comment on the likelihood (or lack thereof) that N64 receives a celebratory re-release, we would focus on the one aspect that fans care about: the games.
The N64 is a quirky, albeit loveable console that has given gamers more than a handful of classic titles. Franchises like Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda were forever transformed on this platform. New and beloved series, such as Super Smash Bros., were created, and the Japanese gaming giant was giving chances to weird, off-the-wall ideas like Pokémon Snap and Paper Mario.
Sure, the controller was oddly obtrusive and early polygonal graphics do not hold up nearly as well as the 8-bit or 16-bit aesthetic, but, nevertheless, some of these games deserve to be revisited.
So, in order to get the hype train rolling, we decided to throw out some of our picks for the N64 Classic library. We have compiled a countdown of over two dozen of the console’s best titles, spanning a wide range of genres and play styles.
Here are the 25 Games We NEED On The Nintendo 64 Classic.
25. Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2 might be thought of as more of a PlayStation title, but the Nintendo 64 port of this survival horror classic is remembered by its fans just as fondly. On a console that was largely bolstered by its first-party lineup, Capcom offered the N64 a proven title in a genre that the platform was particularly lacking: horror.
Known as more of a family-friendly gaming company, it is unlikely that Nintendo would include a Mature-rated title preinstalled on its re-released N64 Classic, but stranger things have happened.
With the release of Street Fighter 2 on both the Nintendo Switch as well as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) Classic Edition, it would appear as though the two are currently working well together.
24. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
Star Wars and Nintendo would appear, at first glance, to be a match made in heaven, but, with the rise of the first-person shooter genre and the Japanese company’s previously mentioned family-friendly stance, titles such as Battlefront are unfortunately skipping Nintendo consoles altogether.
Additionally, there are questions as to whether or not the gaming giant’s latest system – the handheld/home console hybrid, the Nintendo Switch – could even run the latest Star Wars titles, but we digress.
December of 1998 saw the release of Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, an arcade-style dogfighting action game on the Nintendo 64. This critical and commercial success spawned several sequels and spiritual successors, but arguably none as revered as the original.
23. Jet Force Gemini
Those who claim that the N64’s gaming library is thin are likely forgetting about cult classics such as Rare’s Jet Force Gemini. This ‘80s arcade, Super Metroid-inspired title is a true sci-fi shooter gem.
It may not be as talked about today as some of Rare’s other celebrated titles, like Banjo-Kazooie or Donkey Kong Country, but make no mistake, Get Force Gemini is every bit as fun, thoughtful, and well-crafted as other titles in the developer’s catalog.
This third-person shooter is one of the platform’s more unique titles, and it would certainly stand out in a re-release of the N64 as well. Additionally, as more of a cult favorite, the inclusion of Jet Force Gemini on the N64 Classic could be incentive enough for gamers to pick this title up for the very first time.
22. Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Another Rare title cracks our list in the form of Conker’s Bad Fur Day. This N64 title is not only one of the more memorable gaming experiences on the console, but is arguably one of the best.
Originally designed as a cutesy 3D platformer, Conker’s Quest, as it was first referred to in development, was criticized for being largely similar to countless other games already available on the N64. Influenced by critical reception early on, however, a massive overhaul of the game took place and the project received a new moniker: Conker’s Bad Fur Day.
The story of Conker’s Bad Fur Day follows the titular red squirrel as he attempts to return home to his girlfriend after a long night of drinking with friends. With crude humor reminiscent of South Park, the game received a Mature rating and thusly falls into the same “not likely to happen” category as Resident Evil 2. But hey, we can dream, can’t we?
You might have started to notice a pattern as Banjo-Kazooie marks this countdown’s third consecutive Rare-developed title. Unlike the previous two games, however, Banjo-Kazooie was originally published by Nintendo.
Making its debut stateside in June of 1998, Banjo-Kazooie was one of the first Rare-developed titles on the N64, and was the only game from the developer to receive a sequel on the console (Banjo-Tooie).
Like Donkey Kong 64 and Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie is a 3D-platformer, but it is one of the best, and a title that deserves a spot on the N64 Classic, should such a product ever exist. If Rare was not on the map as one of the industry’s most talented developers prior to the game’s release, it certainly was afterward.
20. Perfect Dark
Perfect Dark marks yet another great title in the Rare-developed N64 catalog. So, if you were not aware of the relationship between these two celebrated developers prior to reading this article, you certainly are now.
As the spiritual successor to another Rare game on the Nintendo 64, Golden Eye 007 (a fan-favorite shooter), Perfect Dark shares a lot of the same gameplay mechanics, but without the James Bond characters and license.
Unfortunately for fans hoping that the previous four games might arrive on the N64 Classic, Microsoft now maintains rights to each of these titles, so that might be a little tricky. Fortunately, however, Microsoft already re-released each of them, in addition to several other fan-favorites, all in a single package, The Rare Collection exclusive to the Xbox One.
19. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
Like Resident Evil 2, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is often thought of as more of a PlayStation title rather than a N64 game. This is likely due to the fact that the game first debuted on the PlayStation console in September of 2000, and did not see a release on the N64 until nearly a year after.
The N64 port was, in fact, graphically smoother in comparison to the version on its rival console, and it did feature an additional level that wasn’t featured on PlayStation copies. That being said, the song library was reduced and edited, so mark that as a win for Sony.
The sequel to the critically acclaimed Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is arguably better than its predecessor, as it stands as one of the best critically reviewed video games of all time. Come on, Nintendo, please bring this one back.
18. 1080˚ Snowboarding
Each of the previous titles on this list could fall into the “not likely to happen” category, but nearly all of the games on the countdown moving forward are certainly within the realm of possibility – 1080˚ Snowboarding included, seeing as how it was both developed and published by Nintendo.
Featuring memorable single-player and multiplayer gaming experiences, 1080˚ Snowboarding is arguably the best fan-favorite extreme sports racing title for the console.
The game’s legacy was not merely cemented on the N64, as a sequel later released on the GameCube under the name “1080˚ Avalanche.”
Additionally, the original saw new life on the Wii’s Virtual Console, so do not be surprised to see this title on the N64 Classic if we are, in fact, lucky enough to see this item come to store shelves in the relatively near future.
17. Harvest Moon 64
Harvest Moon 64 is a retro farming (and dating) simulator with a ticking clock. Now, this may not sound like a game for everyone, but those who gave the quirky title a chance found it to be one of the most rewarding and most replayable video games on the Nintendo 64.
Despite the aforementioned “ticking clock,” this game offers players a fairly relaxing experience. Harvest Moon 64 is truly one of the N64’s more unique titles (a comment that should not be taken lightly), and is a beloved entry in the Harvest Moon franchise.
16. Mario Tennis
When gamers discuss some of their favorite multiplayer experiences from the N64 era, titles like Mario Kart 64, Golden Eye 007, and Super Smash Bros. are usually (and rightfully) brought up first. Despite this, Mario Tennis definitely deserves to be in the conversation, as it is one of the console’s more addictively fun titles.
Mario Tennis spawned several sequels across various Nintendo platforms, but none of them were as critically well-received as the original.
Mario Golf is another critical success for Nintendo that could easily make its way to the N64 Classic library, but, given the fact that the sales numbers for Mario Tennis were notably better, it seems more likely that Nintendo would opt for the latter if they were to choose a single Mario-themed sports title.
15. Mario Party 2
Mario Party is one of those quintessential Nintendo multiplayer series– at least for most gamers, anyways. However, the franchise has failed to evolve over the years, and its declining critical ratings and sales numbers certainly reflect this fact. That being said, if you were to venture out and play just one title from the series, then Mario Party 2 is probably your best bet.
Building off of the success of its predecessor, Mario Party 2 provided moderate improvements and some fan-favorite mini games, making the franchise’s second attempt (arguably) the definitive version.
The knock against the Mario Party series is that it is not as much fun as a single player experience, and it relies a lot on blind luck rather than skill. If you can get passed these gripes, however, Mario Party 2 is an insanely fun multiplayer experience that absolutely deserves a spot on the Nintendo 64 Classic’s roster of games.
14. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is not generally considered to be the best of the long-running series, but it is a well-rounded and well-received 2D platforming adventure nonetheless.
On retro consoles, Nintendo would probably like to have each of their major franchises featured, but to say that this Kirby title would only be included to fill a quota is certainly not true either, as the video game has received generally positive reviews from nearly every major gaming trade.
Nintendo has made sure to include Crystal Shards on virtual consoles for both the Wii as well as its successor, the Wii U. Not to mention that Kirby 64 was a commercial success to boot, especially in Japan where which sold over one million copies.
13. Yoshi’s Story
In the same spirit as the previous entry, Yoshi’s Story for the N64 is not generally considered the best game starring the beloved green dinosaur. That being said, the title did garner generally positive reviews at the time of its release, and sold quite admirably as well.
Like Kirby 64, Yoshi’s Story was re-released on both the Wii and Wii U Virtual Consoles, so it would appear that Nintendo has some reverence for the title. The game was widely praised for its unique art direction and its rewarding hidden secrets that Nintendo has become known for.
However, Yoshi’s Story was criticized a bit for its short playthrough time, as well for being too easy. However, with a collection of games such as this, an easy title with a quick narrative might be a nice change of pace.
12. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is the favorite franchise entry of many of its fans. If there is a cult entry among the Zelda franchise, it is probably Majora’s Mask. Building on the success of one of the greatest titles of all time, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask is a narrative step forward for the franchise, serving fans one of the series’ darkest stories.
The mechanics in Majora’s Mask are largely the same as its predecessor, but this title failed to garner the historical, critical acclaim that Ocarina of Time had amassed some years earlier. Majora’s Mask is certainly worthy of a spot on this list, and is arguably better than a number of games that will go ahead of it.
However, seeing as how another Legend of Zelda title is virtually guaranteed a spot, there are a few games that we would rather see in the N64 Classic instead of a second experience from the same franchise.
11. F-Zero X
Before this year’s E3, fans everywhere were clamoring for a new Metroid game as well as a new Metroid Prime sequel. To nearly everyone’s surprise, it was announced that both of these games are actually on their way, so now the collective attention of the Nintendo fanbase has shifted to another long-forgotten property: F-Zero.
With little mention of the F-Zero franchise outside of Captain Falcon’s presence in the Super Smash Bros. series, it would appear as though a re-release of F-Zero X is the closest we will come to a revival in the foreseeable future.
10. Paper Mario
Paper Mario is one of the N64’s most beloved surprises. The concept– a Mario role-playing video game in which the company’s greatest mascot becomes a paper character– was a bit foreign at first, but with great gameplay mechanics and a fun story came solid word of mouth, and the title went on to be a major success.
It would honestly be quite shocking to see a N64 Classic Edition without Paper Mario. As a lengthy RPG experience, this title would diversify the gaming library of this system, and it would be a major selling point for countless gamers who have both been with this fan-favorite series since the beginning as well as those who have more recently jumped on board.
9. Diddy Kong Racing
While the N64 is mostly remembered for its various 3D platforming titles, it certainly offered gamers a number of quality racing titles, with Diddy Kong Racing easily being one of the best.
Diddy Kong Racing is yet another Rare-developed game making its way on our list, but, let’s be honest, the N64 would not be the same without this adventurous title.
Having sold just south of 5 million copies, Diddy Kong Racing stands as the N64’s eighth-best-selling video game, behind behemoths such as Super Mario 64, Super Smash Bros., and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, among others.
Being able to drive a hovercraft, a plane, or a kart really distinguished this title from other racers on the platform, and its unique exploration-style story mode was also quite the refreshing take on this, at times, formulaic genre.
8. Pokémon Snap
Pokémon Snap is a short gaming experience in which players take photographs of various Pokémon. Now, to those who are not fans of the series, this may sound like an odd, perhaps even boring concept for a game, but its following is fully aware that there is something special here. In fact, the faithful Pokémon fans have been clamoring for a sequel to this unique title for over a decade.
Despite its short run time, Pokémon Snap is oozing with hidden secrets and fun reveals. Simply put, Pokémon Snap is one of Nintendo’s more insanely magical titles that has no business being nearly as good as it is.
It is a far departure from the mainline series (previously) found on the gaming giant’s handheld devices, and even other spin-off titles that have made it to home consoles. Needless to say, Pokémon Snap is an absolute must for the N64 Classic Edition.
7. Donkey Kong 64
Speaking of games that have fans begging for a sequel, Donkey Kong 64 is the next title on our list. Primarily known as a 2D side-scrolling franchise, DK got the top-down 3D treatment in Donkey Kong 64, and Nintendo never looked back. Seriously, they never made another one of these, and for the life of us, we cannot understand why.
Donkey Kong 64 was one of the console’s best-selling titles as well as one of its most well-received. It was nominated for numerous Game of the Year awards and, for better or worse, introduced the world to the notorious tune “Donkey Kong Rap”.
Nintendo has continuously gone back to the well of side-scrolling Donkey Kong Country games, but it has never returned to the more open-world 3D style. We assume they will one day, but, until then, replaying Donkey Kong 64 on a N64 Classic could be just what we need to tide us over.
6. Star Fox 64
Everything that has come before on this list are titles that come with devoted fanbases that would love to experience these games again. However, every title moving forward is undeniably cemented as part of the quintessential N64 experience, beginning with Star Fox 64.
Star Fox 64 is not only seen as one of the best entries in this beloved franchise, but it is also one of the best titles available on the Nintendo 64.
It even saw a full remake on the company’s handheld Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. The franchise’s quirky characters arguably never felt quite as engaging as in Star Fox 64, and the gameplay was as tight and compelling as anything else available on the console.
5. Mario Kart 64
The Mario Kart franchise has no shortage of great titles. Arguments over which entry is the best continuously rage on through message boards across the web, and, honestly, there is no true consensus. However, Mario Kart 64 is continuously mentioned in the conversation, and for good reason.
The courses are iconic and the gameplay was great in its time. It is a title that is easy enough to pick up, but difficult to truly master. Mario Kart 64 is the first entry in the franchise that felt like the modern version of the series as we know it today.
With the amazing reception of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch, it would appear as though the Japanese gaming company has this series down to a science at this point, but its roots are still tied to the N64 iteration– a game released over 20 years ago.
4. Super Smash Bros
There is arguably no game series with a more devoted fan base than that of Super Smash Bros. Its sequel on the Nintendo GameCube– Super Smash Bros. Melee– is still played at a competitive level and is still being streamed across the web to this day.
That being said, the original is certainly no slouch, standing tall as one of the best multiplayer experience on the N64– a piece of gaming history as it is the inception of one of the greatest gaming franchises ever created.
The idea is simple: Nintendo characters, both current and past, gather together and fight it out. Like Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros. has its share of copycats, but none have come close to recreating the magic of this beloved series.
3. Golden Eye 007
As far as multiplayer experiences on the N64 go, there is arguably none as quintessential as Golden Eye 007. Licensed games are, as a rule of thumb, not generally known for their quality, but this James Bond-infused shooter certainly bucks that trend.
Not only was this game received extremely well by both fans and critics alike, but it was also a commercial smash hit, as it stands as the console’s third-best-selling game.
The title has also greatly influenced the first-person shooter genre – currently the most popular genre in video games. Golden Eye 007 is often cited as one of the greatest video games ever made, and thus absolutely deserves a spot on this classic console re-release.
Again, Golden Eye marks yet another Rare-developed title for the N64, which would mean some negotiation on Nintendo’s part in order to get rights to this fan-favorite shooter, in addition to several other titles. It would certainly be worth it, however, to have Golden Eye 007 back in our hands once again.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Until Ocarina of Time, the Legend of Zelda franchise was known strictly as a 2D adventure, puzzle-solving series. However, everything changed once the series debuted on the Nintendo 64.
Like Golden Eye 007, Ocarina of Time has been greatly influential for generations of titles within its respective genre, and it still stands today as one of the greatest games ever made.
Two-dimensional Zelda games are still being released on modern consoles, but the franchise is mainly thought of as a 3D series now– thanks mostly to the success of Ocarina of Time.
If you were to look at a list of the greatest video games ever made (on any console – not just the N64), this Legend of Zelda title is almost guaranteed to be near the top, if not in the number one spot itself.
1. Super Mario 64
The N64 has a few crowning jewels, but arguably its greatest achievement was moving its longtime 2D side-scrolling plumber to a 3D platforming world.
At the time of the console’s release, Super Mario 64 was one of two titles available for purchase, but gamers did not seem to mind too much, as they were able to play one of the greatest video games ever made.
Super Mario 64 is perhaps the first game that would be installed onto a N64 Classic, as it is the first and arguably most iconic entry on the console. Between the soundtrack, level design, and feel of Mario himself, this N64 launch title has easily cemented itself as one of the all-time greats.
If a N64 Classic ever ends up getting made, this will end up being one of the console’s greatest selling points in addition to being one of its best titles.
Some other honorable mentions include: Blast Corps, Bomberman 64, Excitebike 64, Mario Golf, NBA Showtime, NFL Blitz, Pilotwings 64, Pokémon Stadium, Rayman 2: The Great Escape, Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, and Wave Race 64.
What are some games you would like to see on the Nintendo 64 Classic if the system is ever made? Let us know in the comments section.
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