The Best N64 Games That Still Matter Today

bestn64

Note from racketboy: Special thanks goes to andymol21
for putting the majority of this guide together!

It’s pretty easy to find a list of “The Top Nintendo 64 Games” or some similar ranking, but most of them were written back when the system was cutting edge and almost all of them only compare the games against other N64 games. This is all fine if the N64 is the only console you own and ever plan to own.  Because of this, I thought it would be a good idea to develop a list of games that are still relevant in today’s market because of their unique gameplay that has not been improved upon on other systems.

Digg!

Our basic rule of thumb for this list is to determine which games are still worth playing today, even if you have a Gamecube and/or a Wii with its more modern game library at your fingertips. (But other consoles are considered as well)  I thought this was an especially good metric to use as Nintendo has a habit of upgrading their biggest games each generation.  Even if you don’t plan on getting an actual N64, this could also serve as a list of ones to look out for on the Virtual Console (although not all of them are available for the service)

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

zeldaoot-1It should come as no surprise that the highest-ranked games of all time is the number one reason that the N64 is still relevant. The Ocarina of Time tells the story of a young boy, Link, whose destiny leads him on an adventure that crosses two time periods and the entire land of Hyrule, in order to become the Hero of Time. The defining game of the N64, OOT was Shigeru Miyamoto’s masterpiece, and is praised by many as being the best game ever made.

Whether you enjoy western RPGs, action packed combat, fiendish puzzle solving, or just a damn good story, this game has it all, and would still be regarded as one of greatest games of all time even if it was released tomorrow for the PS3.  As the story develops, and the game progresses, you are drawn into the world of Hyrule and care about its inhabitants and future, you form a strong sentimental attachments to you horse Epona, and you dive deep into a world full of secrets and treasures to be discovered.

Never is the games direction linear; If you ever feel like you’ve had enough dungeon crawling then you can come out and search for Gold Skultula’s, or play some of the games in Hyrule Town Market, or just watch the sun set across Hyrule Lake as you ride Epona to the fishing gallery for a go at catching the Hylian Loach.   On the other hand you always know what is expected of you, and what needs to be done next. Never in my life have I played a game that is so utterly engrossing, that offers so many diversions and distractions to the main quest, and that tells a story so brilliant, that I would happily pay money to go and see it at the cinema. If there is just one N64 game that you must own today, it is The Ocarina of Time.
Full Review of Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time
Find Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: (eBay / Amazon)

Super Mario 64

mario64-1Even after 12 years (yes, it’s been that long!) Shigeru Miyamoto’s portly plumber is still used as the yardstick by which all 3D platformers are measured against.  The reason for that is simple; it is still one of the best, if not the best, examples of its genre in gaming.

On Nintendo’s first strike, they hit the ball out of the park! Every level in the game is a masterpiece, from the simple  opening stage of Bob-omb Battlefield, to the magical cloud journey of Rainbow Ride, all 15 levels are distinct, challenging and interesting, and are a joy to play on.   The simple graphical style means that the graphics have not aged much over the years, the music and sound effects are spot on for the actions on screen, and the mechanics are nigh on perfect.

Every jump of Mario can be judged to pinpoint precision, every shot from the cannon angled perfectly to get you to the place you want to be. This, I feel, is the main reason it is still relevant. The physics engine used in Mario 64 is so predictable that you never feel out of control, and that is something that a lot of platformers, even to this day, lack.
Full Review of Super Mario 64
Find Legend of Super Mario 64: (eBay / Amazon)

Conker’s Bad Fur Day

conker-1 Ah Rare…. I remember when I was a lad, reading N64 Magazine, being so excited about the new Conker game that was to come out. With gameplay that would rival their own great Banjo Kazooie, it was going to be the pinnacle of N64 platformers. How things changed!

Conker’s Bad Fur Day is an adult oriented game involving a hung-over squirrel, a good looking bunny, and a giant poo. The brilliance of Conker comes from its writing and voice acting. The wit and charm that can be put into such despicable creatures is amazing, and a testament to Rare during their glory years.

You have to sympathize with Conker, who, after a heavy night of drinking, wakes up the next morning in a field, just wanting to go home.  The game is hilarious the whole way through, though it does sink quite low with its toilet humor (see giant poo). The reason that it is worth playing today is the same reason that it was a good buy when it was new, it’s a one of a kind game, and the humor, unlike the graphics (which are still some of the best on the N64), have not succumbed to age.

On a side note, in 2005, after Rare was acquired by Microsoft, an XBox remake was made of this game featuring update graphics and sound, and an improved multiplayer. In my opinion, do not bother with this remake. Microsoft brutally censored the game, removing many of the jokes (The Great Mighty Poo Song being a notable absence) and leaving just the core Conker platforming mechanics. The N64 version is getting harder to find, and sells for high prices on eBay, but don’t go for the semi-skimmed version.
Full Review of Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Find Conker’s Bad Fur Day: (eBay / Amazon)

Sin & Punishment

sinandpuniushmentThis gem from Treasure may be one of the best N64 games of all time, but most gamers outside of Japan never got a change to play it. Until now Sin and Punishment was a rare import that was only known to the hardcore gamers that either imported the expensive cartridge or emulated the game.  Now its significantly easier to obtain now that its on the Virtual Console.

Much like the rest of Treasure’s well-known shooters (such as Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier) Sin and Punishment is filled frenetic, high-energy action that keeps pulling you further into the game. Armed with a gun and a sword, you character continues along a path while you jump, double jump and roll to avoid obstacles and enemy attacks. Much like other on-rails shooters like Rez or Panzer Dragoon, you can manually shoot your weapon in different places or set it to lock on to enemies. The sword is primarily to be used for defense and deflection for those pesky missiles that can be bounced back with a well-timed melee strike.

Sin and Punishment is one of Treasure’s few 3D games, but as usual, the skilled development house pushed the N64 hardware to the max with some impressive visuals, massively detailed levels, intricate character and enemy models and, of course, action that will make you dizzy with excitement.
Full Review of Sin and Punishment
Find Sin & Punishment on eBay

StarFox 64

starfox64-1 I have not been the biggest StarFox fan in the past. I admit it wholeheartedly, but I recently took it upon myself to have a go and see what StarFox 64 was like. I can now admit that I have been wrong about this series for many years. Starfox sees you, Fox McCloud, fight off the evil Andross in your trusty Arwing, and is an on-rails shooter at its core.  In fact, it is the last StarFox game so far that is a pure air-based combat besides StarFox Command for the DS, which has ackward stylus-based controls.

The game does not follow a linear path, meaning that any mistakes or achievements you make through a level, such as letting one of your wingmen be hit too much, directly affect the order you go through the levels. This means that you have to play through the game multiple times in order to even see all the levels the designers included.

What surprised me most about the game, is how similar the mechanics and gameplay are to some of the best vertical shooters that I have played. You find yourself using the same techniques that you use in games such as Radient Silvergun and 1942. The N64 never had a proper shump released in the west, so for anyone who wants their fix of methodical bullet dodging and mindless shooting, Starfox is a great new twist on a simple genre.    The graphics actually aren’t too bad for the N64 and complement the game quite nicely.  Of course it doesn’t have quite the polish that the Gamecube installments have, but it is a definate step up from the original StarFox on the SNES.  So when it comes down to it, if you want the best pure-on rails shooting in the StarFox universe, StarFox 64 is still your best bet.
Full Review of Star Fox 64
Find Star Fox 64: (eBay / Amazon)

Blast Corps

blastcorps-1

Who doesn’t love blowing stuff up and causing massive damage to the world around them? While open-ended destructive abilities may show up in a number of more modern games, very few, if any have destruction as such a large percentage of their focus as Blast Corps.

In Blast Corps you control around ten different vehicles and machines in order to clear out buildings and landscapes to make way for an out-of-control truck carrying nuclear missiles.  The equipment you use to take care of business range from a speedy bulldozer to a robot with a jet-pack and “ground-pound” capabilities to take out large buildings.

Since you don’t always know exactly what you need to do at the beginning of each level, there is a bit of puzzle solving and experimentation involved.  Even for experienced players, it will test your efficiency in accomplishing your goals.  Even if you take care of the required damage, you can always cause extra destruction to rack up extra points.

You might think that a game like this would get boring after a while, but Rareware did an excellent job of increasing the difficulty as you go along and the diversity of the equipment you use (each of which takes some learning) keep things interesting.  If you want a fast and furious game that is unique enough to keep your attention, Blast Corps should definitely be in your library.
Full Review of Blast Corps
Find Legend of Blast Corps: (eBay / Amazon)

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

zeldamajora11 Initially, I had Majora’s Mask on the Honorable Mentions list, but after reconsidering, I’ve added it to the main list.  While it isn’t on my list of favorites in the series, there are quite a few Zelda fans that adore it due to its originality and involving storyline.

The main turn-off with Majora’s Mask with most gamers is the three-day cycle that the game revolves around. Many people found it annoying and hard to get used to.  However, as reddit commenter, satertek mentioned “I guess it comes down to whether or not you liked the 3-day aspect. That was the game. Having all these people that would go about their schedules whether you were there or not made the game feel alive, and then getting to relive those 3 days over and over so that you get to meet and help every one of them.”

In the end, there are many other Zelda games I enjoy playing more than Majora’s Mask, but considering you can find it affordably, there isn’t a a good reason you should skip it if you are a Zelda fan.
Full Review of Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask
Find Legend of Zelda: Majora’ Mask: (eBay / Amazon)

Mario Kart 64

mariokart64 Due to popular demand, I’ve also included Mario Kart 64 on the main list.  Personally, I have more fun with Mario Kart DS, but there are many die-hard Mario Kart fans that swear by the first 3D installment.  While Mario Kart Double Dash and Mario Kart Wii have more refined graphics, Nintendo added new gimmicks that focused on teamwork instead of the flat-out competition and multiplayer moded.

I think a comment on Reddit from “ickingfudiot” was what convinced me most to include it in the main list, “Sadly, he (and Nintendo in releasing Mario Kart Wii) completely missed out on the utter glory of FFA Balloon Battle on Block Fort or Skyscraper. We still bust that out on Virtual Console. Sadly, MK Wii turned it into a team-based snorefest, particularly because of the removal of permadeath. RIP Balloon Battle ”

Also just recently, racketboy member, Ack shared his fond memories of Mario Kart 64′s Battle Mode, “I used to go to all-night parties where all we played was Mario Kart 64′s Battle Mode. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had at parties, to be honest. It was a feature that I don’t think ever got enough attention, and to this day I still say Mario Kart 64 was one of the two best in the series, if not the best(I can’t in good faith say that something was better than the original…I love them both). ”

Even though some of the graphics might be a little rough around the edges, Mario Kart 64 still puts up a mean fight against its newer siblings and it a cornerstone of N64-based gaming parties.
Full Review of Mario Kart 64
Find Mario Kart 64: (eBay / Amazon)

Ogre Battle 64

ogrebattle64-1 Ever since Squaresoft transitioned the bulk of their development from the Super Nintendo to Sony’s Playstation, Nintendo has never had a very strong RPG lineup.   However, the Japanese development house, Quest, took it upon themselves to create a wonderful RPG that makes the most of its cartridge-based limitations.

As you could expect from the Ogre Battle series, the N64 sequel is a wonderful blend of both RPG and Tactical elements.   And of course, instead of only focusing on the strategy, experience points, and item management, Ogre Battle also is blessed with an engaging story and plot that will keep you coming back for more.  Ogre Battle 64 also bucks the trend of many of the games on the N64 in that it doesn’t use 3D just because it can.  Instead, this sequel actually stays true to the original game with sprite-based graphics being the focus and using  3D elements in places that they are suitable such as the overworld map and as subtle accents.  It’s actually quite refreshing to see such beautiful 2D graphics on a console that had such a focus on 3D.

Strategy RPG fans seem to fall in love with just about any installment in the series (on both the SNES and Playstation), but the N64 version still falls right in line with the level of quality and enjoyment. And when you look at the Gamecube and Wii lineup, the only other games that really match up would be the Fire Emblem series.  The Fire Emblem series gets very high marks, but I don’t think it should disqualify Ogre Battle 64 from this list.
Full Review of Ogre Battle 64
Find Legend of Ogre Battle 64: (eBay / Amazon)

Wetrix

wetrix-1 The best way to describe Wetrix is by imaging a 3D Tetris that has been drowned underwater…  with rubber ducks thrown in. The objective of the game is to build lakes on a flat playing board step by step, raising the ground level with “uppers” to form lakes, lowering it with “downers” and filling these lakes with water. As more pieces fall, you have to constantly adapt your lakes to accommodate the extra water, or divert the water away from a hole in your land created by a bomb.

As water leaks off the side, it is collected into a tank on the right hand side of the screen, and once this tank is full, it’s game over. You can lower the amount of water in the tank by dropping a fireball into one of your lakes, evaporating it and allowing you to fill it again.

Wetrix is a novel twist on the simple block-based puzzle genre established by Tetris and is one of the few games of this type that works in 3D. It’s an addictive, but challenging game which rewards solid playing hours with the sight of rainbows and the aforementioned rubber ducks sprouting up across your lovingly crafted lakes.   The multiplayer in Wetrix is one of the best of its kind, with a game between two good players being a highly enjoyable frantic dash to get ducks and evaporate water, while throwing earthquakes and ice at the other player to hamper them.  A sequel, Aqua Aqua, was released for the PS2 but failed to capture the magic of the original. All in all, a very good original puzzle game, and by far the best on the N64.
Full Review of Wetrix
Find Wetrix: (eBay / Amazon)

Pilotwings 64

pilotwings64-1 Pilotwings 64 is the sequel to the popular SNES game, Pilotwings. In it, you take to the skies in an assortment of flying contraptions, ranging from Gyrocopters to Rocket Belts, in order to complete a series of predefined tasks, such as flying through floating rings or taking pictures of the pretty scenery. You are judged after each event on several factors and given an overall score.

The goal of the game is to achieve as high as possible score in each event, unlocking new challenges and vehicles. What separates Pilotwings from most other flight sims is the sense of freedom, of exploration, of flying! Like most of Nintendo’s greatest games, a lot of the fun of Pilotwings comes from jumping into the assortment of vehicles and taking to the skies with no aims in mind, just to see what you can do.

Personally, the joy of Pilotwings didn’t really display itself to me until I unlocked the Birdman stage.  There are no objectives in this stage, no stress of fuel supplies or ground rushing towards you. Just you, the sky, and a pair of feathery wings attached to your arms.  This stage really captures the freedom of flight.  Flying through the well constructed islands, exploring each crevice, then soaring high above the skyline of a city, makes for a relaxed gaming experience and one that just can’t be found on modern games consoles (well, until Pilotwings Wii comes out)
Full Review of Pilotwings 64
Find Pilotwings 64: (eBay / Amazon)

Body Harvest

bodyharvest-1 Around the time of the N64 launch, a small company by the name of DMA Designs Limited started work on two projects: A top down racer codenamed Race’n’Chase for the PC, and a free roaming shooter for the then under development N64. The PC game morphed several times and eventually became the original Grand Theft Auto, which, of course, propelled DMA (now known as Rockstar North) into the limelight and made them a lot of money in the process.

However, their other game, Body Harvest, came out to a muted fan fare. It was given very positive reviews at the time of its launch, but was generally forgotten as the N64 progressed. Body Harvest is a 3rd person shooter in which your character is a genetically enhanced soldier sent back in time to defeat a human devouring race of aliens that landed on Earth, killing most of the population. You travel through 5 different areas at 5 different times of the invasion: Greece 1916, Java 1941, America 1966, Siberia 1991 and finally the Alien Homeworld 2046.

You might say that Body Harvest is a pretty standard 3rd person shooter, but the thing that makes Body Harvest stand out from other shooters of its time is the interactivity of the world and the ability to hop into any vehicle on the map. Essentially, Body Harvest was the foundation blocks for GTA3, where the developers were first trying out the designs and techniques that would later go into their prime franchise.   Although the graphics have dated a bit, the manic gameplay and free roaming elements make this an enjoyable and overlooked game. If you are interested in the heritage of GTA, or are just looking for a fun way to kill a few bugs, Body Harvest is well worth your time.
Full Review of Body Harvest
Find Body Harvest: (eBay / Amazon)

Space Station Silicon Valley

sssv-1 Space Station Silicon Valley is gem by DMA Designs, and is still a classic to this day. To be honest, I can’t quite put my finger on what makes this 3D action platformer so good. The level design is superb, ranging from pathetically easy in the opening stages to joypad-crushingly-difficult as you reach the games climax.

The animal switching mechanism (another nod to future GTA projects) works wonderfully, meaning that each new level usually has you playing as an entirely new character, with different abilities and stats. This also means that any enemy that you kill within the game can be “possessed” and you can use all of their own abilities against other animals, leading to a leap frog effect as you climb the food chain up to the top.

The game plays for the most part like a puzzle game, with challenges being presented to you through the environment and the tools to solve them given by the animals you can inhabit, but has some hardcore platforming stages too, which rival some of the best in the business.  The most striking thing about the game though, is its style. Diesel-powered foxes chase electric mice with sharp tails and turbo boost, while buoyant penguins throw snowballs at steam powered polar bears, who are laying mines in order to kill the wolves on skies, as they fire missiles launched from their back. The wackiness and brilliance of the character design meant that there is always something to come back to, always some new and inventive way of killing that damn Rocket Dog! Needless to say, Space Station Silicon Valley absolutely floored me when it came out, and has continued to impress me every time I plug the cartridge in.
Full Review of Space Station Silicon Valley
Find Space Station Silicon Valley: (eBay / Amazon)

Honorable Mentions:

You may be wondering why one of your all-time favorites are not included on the list above. There are many games that were ground-breaking in their day and are still very fun, but have either been much improved upon or are in a genre that has experienced a great leap in quality since the N64 era.  Here are a few of the most popular N64 games that aren’t quite as good as their newer counterparts.

  • Goldeneye 007/Perfect Dark – When these games came out, they were the best console shooters ever made. I cannot recommend them highly enough, they are easily two of the best games for the N64, BUT (and it’s a big but!), the console FPS market has moved on leaps and bounds in the past 10 years. These days, brilliant FPSs are 10 a penny on home consoles. Halo, Team Fortress 2, Bioshock, Half Life 2, Timesplitters Future Perfect or even Metroid Prime! All of these games are just better than the Rare duo, and they cannot stand up against the quality of games with nostalgia alone.
  • Super Smash Bros – An absolute classic, but really very outdated now, especially with the two sequels out. Good fun when it came out, but just has dated extremely badly with time. Try it on an emulator; you’ll see what I mean.  However, some experienced Smash Bros players claim that each installment has its own unique flair to it.  So it would be understandable if some prefer the original.  To each his own.
  • The Mario Party Series – I’m not a huge fan of the games, but they can be fun if you are in the mood.  Many fans of the series claim that the earlier N64 version are actually the best in the series.  (Personally, I’m been more of a fan of the minigames on New Super Mario Bros on the DS.)
  • Rayman 2 – Still an excellent 3D platformer, but you could find better one a newer console or you could even play the higher-quality Dreamcast or PS2 versions as well.
  • Banjo Kazooie/Tooie – Another duo of Rare games, and another honorable mention. The Banjo Kazooie games are so much fun to play, but don’t quite hold up as well Super Mario 64. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t highly recommend them to anyone who is looking for quality N64 titles, it’s just that they didn’t do anything that Mario hadn’t done before, and do not have quite as much sparkle to them now. They are old games, and I think you can see that when you play them.   If you enjoyed them back in the day, they are great for nostalgia  but aren’t first recommendations for people discovering the N64 for the first time.
  • Bakuretsu Muteki Bangaioh – This insane import shooter from Treasure is definitely worth trying out, but the Dreamcast version (known simply as Bangai-O) is has enhancements and will be much more affordable.
  • Paper Mario – The original Paper Mario is still and excellent RPG adventure, but I would probably still recommend the newer installments first and then maybe come back to this one if you still want more of the same.
  • Jet Force Gemini – One of the later N64 games, I remember it being hyped for months leading up to its release. Like every game in this list, it was very good new, but just like the Perfect Dark/Goldeneye duo, 3rd person shooters are very common on consoles now, and Jet Force Gemini doesn’t have any unusual or different features to make it stand out from the prettier games of today.
  • Wave Race 64 – Yes it was quite groundbreaking at the time with its amazing water effects, but Wave Race Blue Storm on the Cube nailed that as well.
  • Star Wars Episode I Racer – Great fun, but there were superior ports on the Dreamcast, PC, and Mac

193 Comments

  1. Mr Old Skool says:

    Nice write up, I was suprised to see Wetrix in there but on the whole I couldn’t disagree!!

  2. racketboy says:

    Yeah, puzzle games are usually ones that hold up quite well — especially when they are that unique.

    I’m definitely interested to see what the overall reaction to this list is as I’m sure it will upset some people that all their nostalgic favorites aren’t featured. (You can’t make everyone happy)

  3. Mr Old Skool says:

    Well if you want me to have a moan you didn’t include any of the Mario Party series which in my opnion are superior to the Cube and Wii versions which makes them still relevent thus eligible for your list!!

  4. racketboy says:

    Ah yes. I guess my displeasure in them caused me to forget about them. I don’t think they are worth my time of writing a full entry, but I’ll go ahead and add them to the honorable mentions — thanks!

  5. Mr Old Skool says:

    You’ve made the right desicion :)

  6. Neoclasic says:

    What about Turok? Sin and Punishment? StarWar Racer? Bangai-o? do they not matter anymore?

  7. racketboy says:

    Ah I forgot about the imports :)
    Not much of a fan of the Turok series, and Star Wars Racer was on just about every other platform at the time, so it’s a little harder to include it.

  8. racketboy says:

    I just added Sin and Punishment to the main list and Bangai-O to the honorable mentions. If Bangai-O was an exclusive it would be a lock, but the Dreamcast version is better and is much more accessible.

  9. gavin says:

    i totally disagree that the original super smash bros is outdated. it is still the best and simplest of the three. id rather play it than the newer ones because of the amazing gameplay. graphix don’t matter for anything here, its the gameplay that makes the game amazing

  10. racketboy says:

    Pardon my lack of experience with the Smash Bros series (I didn’t write that part of the article), but what part of the gameplay is better?

    Just the simplicity? or is there something more?

  11. Pile says:

    How could you leave out WAVE RACE 64? You have no credibility when you’ve left out what many consider to be one of the most brilliant games ever created for any platform? This is the first game to truly create realistic water physics and is superbly designed.

  12. andymol21 says:

    I left out Wave Race 64 because I didn’t feel that it compared with racers today. It may well have had the best water physics back then, but the whole point of the article is to compare retro games to todays games to see how they stack up now. Racers, like FPS, have moved on leaps and bounds since the 64 era, meaning it takes more than just water physics to make it stand out nowadays. If you compare the original Wave Race to the Gamecube version, the gameplay is very similar but the graphics are in another league. So why choose the older one apart for nostalgia value? I know there will be several favourites that are left off this list, but imagine paying £50 for any of these now, which ones do you think are worth it?

  13. Luke says:

    Why does everyone always slack off on Mace: The Dark Age? It was the “Soul Calibur” of the N64! A fantastic 3D fighting game

  14. SpearXXI says:

    Hmm, I would of hoped that Donkey Kong 64 would get an honorable mention, because it is still an enjoyable experience. Granted it is not Super Mario 64, but I liked it better than Banjo Kazooie.

  15. Ender says:

    Star Wars Racer stills rocks today.
    Long circuits (ever saw a recent game with such long races?) great sense of speed, etc.
    I think it should be at least on “Honourable Mentions” at least :)

    Still, superb job as usual and a great read.
    Keep the good job.

  16. Yeah a pretty good list, nothing worth complaining about. The Turok games while being great games, I don’t think that they have held up particularly well over the years.

  17. racketboy says:

    I finally added Pod Racer to the Honorables, but the Dreamcast version is still better :)

  18. Mr Old Skool says:

    God, these kind of lists do cause a lot of arguments :)

  19. NFan says:

    Waverace64 is a very different game to its GC sequel, and much better, IMO. It’s not just a matter of upgraded graphics – the game mechanics were superior on the earlier game. This goes for 1080 and Starfox64 too. Their GC sequels were pretty dire.

    I’m a little confused by your selection criteria. If you’re talking about unique games as your preamble suggests then you should think about removing Ocarina of Time (arguably better by its Wii sequel) and OgreBattle64 (bettered by Fire Emblem).

  20. Alecs says:

    Shadows of the Empire!!! The mix of driving (swoop bike), flying (snow speeder, outrider), shooting (outrider turret), and 3rd person shoot em up is just awesome! That huge droid in the 2nd to last level is very very hard.

    The emulated version has some graphical glitches that ruins the experience. The only downside is the limitation of the one joystick controller. I would love to have an updated ported version for 360! The force unleashed and kotor 3 have promised a lot.

  21. jeffx says:

    a bit off-topic, but you dated yourself when you said you were a lad during the N64 days. Always thought you’d be older than me!

    Not that it matters. Excellent list, except for the fact that it increased my lust for Ogre Battle 64. Gotta own it someday! And Mischief Makers is on my top 3 N64 games list, even though it was sort of poorly received.

  22. racketboy says:

    Well, the most frequently mentioned ones (on various sites) that should have been included are Mario Kart 64 and Majora’s Mask. Since I can see the arguments, so I have added them to the main list and cited some of the insightful comments as quotes.

    I still don’t think that Wave Race 64 is quite at the level of being in the top list. I can see how you might think that the 64 version is better in certain ways, but I think Blue Storm did a good job. And I also agree with what andymol21 mentioned in the comments above.

    Mario Kart 64 can get away with it more since it’s a cartoony kart racer, but I think Wave Race needs more to make it “worthy”

  23. racketboy says:

    jeffx, keep in mind, I didn’t write most of this piece.
    I’ll be 28 in a couple of months :)

    I will have to give Mischief Makers another try — I’ve only played it briefly. I’ve heard mixed reviews on it — not sure if its quite as good as many of Treasure’s other classics.

    BTW, I want to thank everyone for their suggestions. I’m not opposed to revising these guides as long as their is a good reason. I may revises these in years to come as well.
    (there are a few other older guides that I’m planning on updating soon)

  24. Kataztrophy says:

    No mention of No Mercy? One of the best Wrestling games of all time wasn’t good enough to make a list that included the likes of Body Harvest? Wow…

    …Harvest Moon 64 should have made this list instead of Body Harvest.

  25. sir jorge says:

    I would throw in some wwe/wcw games. Those are still favorites amongst the majority of wrestling fans out there. The new THQ games just don’t match up to the n64 classics.

  26. Toby says:

    some of the best games ever made. mario 64, mario kart, zelda oot, lylat wars, conker were amazing and had more playability and lifespan than anything today.

    goldeneye and PD should be in there as they were some of the best fps ever and had great multiplayer
    banjo and dk 64 were also great platformers too

    long live N64!

  27. Thingstuff says:

    I really think Shadows of the Empire ought to be on the list. It’s arguably the best star wars-related game ever produced by Lucas Arts, and it was one of the most fun games on the system.

  28. dddddd says:

    any N64 list that doesn’t mention F-zero X is borderline sacreligious. it’s the purist’s racing game :P
    plus SSB should be in there, the sequels were more pretty but don’t pick graphics over gameplay.

  29. Lachlan says:

    I realise this your post is purely subjective, but I must completely disagree with your statement regarding Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark.

    GoldenEye practically carried the 64 into the mature market. The fact that you compare its impact on console FPS’s by measuring its technical worth against more recent titles just shows me that you are not one those gamers who still pulls out their 64 every fortnight to play GoldenEye or Perfect Dark with friends. It might just be me, but for all those who played these games regularly, its still as relevant now as it was a decade ago.

    I think Rare made a big statement at the time by creating such titles and its impact and nostalgic worth will always help it stand against its modern counterparts.

    Shame about Rare though…

  30. Bob Dobbs says:

    Star Wars Racer was a piece of junk. Got it when it was grand new. The only reason I enjoyed playing it was to hear Watto sing.

  31. Taylor says:

    How could Goldeneye not make the list, that is a tragedy. Still my favorite FPS.

  32. Taylor says:

    oh ya I forgot to mention – proximity mines on complex – nothing better.

  33. dddddd says:

    “what part of the gameplay is better?

    Just the simplicity? or is there something more?”

    yes the game was simpler as were the controls (the GameCube’s controls were harder to master than the 64′s).
    SSBB on the wii is evidently better visually, and has more power-ups etc. if that’s your bag, but personally, for the purist SSB player, the simpler and more intuitive original is the version which “matters more” to own at today.

    imo anyway…

  34. infinitysend says:

    obligatory “Where’s Rocket: Robot on Wheels” post

  35. Blake says:

    Wow, Wetrix! I completely forgot about how addicting this game was – one of my favorites behind Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64.

  36. Sean says:

    Regarding Goldeneye/Perfect Dark:

    “All of these games are just better than the Rare duo, and they cannot stand up against the quality of games with nostalgia alone.”

    Define “better”. To this day, anybody I know (gamer or not) can pick up a controller in Goldeneye and start playing it… and have FUN. Especially with the four-player split-screen mode.

    I can’t say the same about any FPS today. They’ve become so geared towards the hardcore gamer that they’ve lost the broad-based appeal that the “Rare duo” has.

    For that reason alone, I feel that at least Goldeneye still matters.

  37. R. says:

    I agree with the above commenter about Harvest Moon 64 — it should’ve been on this list, and was the last good Harvest Moon game, and it still remains the best in the series.

  38. Sean Mauger says:

    I think its worth mentioning that Goldeneye was one of the first true 3D FPS’s, remember that it took what duke nukem tried to do and then did it properly, I think what made this and Perfect Dark so playable was the speed, it was just right, when compared to unreal that is way too fast and ghost recon that is way too slow, GE and PD had the speed just right.. oh.. and Mario Kart 64 rocked!!

    PS. you know the people who worked at Rare and then left to form Free Radicals, the ones behind timesplitters, have just released Haze on the PS3, now this truely is the best FPS, go buy it, its so good!

  39. chad says:

    I think the game “Shadowman” should be added to this list. I really enjoyed the aspects of a dual world, living and dead. This game was very creepy and deranged compared to all the other games on N64 at the time and although there have been other great 3rd person horror shooters, (resident evil etc) none of them had the same effect on me as this non-linear game. Check it out on emulator if you get a chance.

  40. andymol21 says:

    Jeffx, I’m 19 so I was a lad in the 64 era.

    The way that I wrote this list is by thinking that if any of these games were released brand new for the Playstation 3, XBOX 360 or Wii, then how they would stack up against similar titles today. There is a similar post for most consoles (I think there is a N64 one) for games that defined a system. That is where all the classics go, all the games that got 100% when thy were released in 199X. These games are ones that have stood the test of time, that will still be enjoyable now even if you have never played them before.

    To field some of the comments made here, the Goldeneye/Perfect Dark one was a tough choice, I actually wrote the entire paragraph with them in the main list, then deleted it! As I said in the article, the FPS genre has moved on. There are still amazing moments in both games, and I beg you to go out and buy both of them for the experience, but don’t expect anything ground breaking in reference to the FPS’s of today.

    I was never a fan of wrestling games, so I must admit I am under qualified to talk about them, although I do have some fond memories of WCW vs. NWO Revenge. I think they are a pretty niche game compared to the rest of the list (and will get flamed for saying so!)

    Mischif Makers, like the Rare shooters, was removed from the list in the final cut, along with Yoshi Story. 2D gameplay wasn’t the 64s forte, I felt that compared to the wealth of 2D games on the 16-bit consoles, these two didn’t really stack up.

    Finally, do remember that I was only 12ish during the N64 days, so my budget for games was tight. I missed out on many games and this list is purely based on my experience (along with the help of Racketboy, who pointed out some glaring omissions). Discussion is good, and already the list has grown with additions from some of these comments.

  41. Adam says:

    I’d have to add the Aki/THQ series of WCW and then WWF wrestling games. Even after nearly a decade those are still the best wrestling games I’ve ever played.

  42. Justin says:

    I have to get this out, more criticism of 007/PD as honorable mentions. I understand you have your opinion and I have mine, but here goes:

    I get together with friends and play Halo all the time. But, with only 1 TV, Halo is useless to me. The beauty is hooking up 4 XBOXes and going nuts.

    With Goldeneye, no one cares about screen peeking, just grab 4 Bond characters and kill each other. Remote Mines are a must! 2 on 2 Proxy with full screen peeking is even better. Everyone tries to concentrate so much on watching everyone putting mines down that they’re liable to make a mistake. BOOM! Hilarious fun.

    With Perfect Dark, you have the best Bot system I’ve ever experienced (granted I don’t play as much as I used to). Where Goldeneye forced players to play against each other, PD allows friends to team up on equally as good computer players. Make a game with 4 friends against 4 computers, all explosive weapons and tell me it’s not more fun than Halo. You’re lying. Even better, 4 friends, no bots, woozy weapons (weapons that blur your vision: tranquilizers, poison knives, crossbow – secondary function not allowed, etc…)!

    To sum it up, yeah, we get together and play Halo sometimes. But nothing beats a Goldeneye/PD party!

    Edit your article and move them back to the “main list”…

  43. Jimbogogo says:

    You forgot to mention Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. It was one of the greatest games back in the day and there hasn’t been anything as compelling since.

  44. Rob says:

    Donkey Kong 64 desperately needs to be added to this list.

    I agree with your assessment of Goldeneye. It was cutting edge for its time, but it has not aged gracefully.

  45. Adam says:

    1080 Snowboarding was not even on the honorable mention? That game had input control down perfectly, and is still a very fun game to play!

  46. King says:

    I really think you should listen to me,,,,the reason is because I never had N64 when I was younger, and I played 360 games before playing 64 games…so most of these games I only played in 2007 and later. So this is an opinion of a guy who has standards of games in 2007 and judging older games…
    I also play these games on the original system, so full experience with the controller…

    I first have to disagree on Banjo Kazooie. Yes I do not have banjo tooie, but i am NOW playing kazooie and about to finish it. this game is amazing. Yes the graphics are outdated, but they are still fine and beautiful to me, if you consider this console was released when I was in elementary school and was developed even earlier than that…I finished university now so, KUDOS TO THAT SYSTEM!

    The game is amazing and I do not think its any less than conker and mario. Yes mario was ground breaking, conker was very funny and fun, and banjo is one of the best games I played. Its a fun platformer with unique experience, and most I loved about it the creativity about the last level(no spoilers to those wish to play it). It doesnt get boring or repetitive even though u have to do same thing in all levels, collect stuff. this is one of the best games I played…i am surprised this didnt have its own cult following. I think banjo and kazooie should be symbol characters of gaming just like mario,sonic, and others.

    I have to say that i was hoping more for 007 and zelda. The problem is they were amazing in their era, maybe like how original king kong was the most amazing special effect movie ever…IN THAT TIME! I found zelda to be fun and enjoyable experience, what i do not understand was why is it considered the best game ever made, again it was the matching of its time. 007 i would say is worth playing, the graphics hardly holds up, i found it a lot bothersome and controls a bit awkward with no dual analogue sticks, but the setting and experience of story is beautiful and fun.

    smash is classic, but brawl or even melee is probably better because its the asme game just improved on about everything, plus i found smash bros to be slow fighter, but i do agree its more challenging than brawl. As for wrestling games, I havent played them enough to tell u but they seem fun, except for outdated graphics.

    The rule with 64 is , if it is supposed to be realistic then the graphics is outdated (wrestling, 007) if it is cartoony and supposed to be not real the graphics hold well (mario, zelda) ….

    I would say play these, i played them only now never before and i found them very interesting and worthy my time even more than recent games like far cry:
    Banjo-kazooie, conker, mario, zelda ocarina of time, and i will also say 007 for the experience.

    I checked out wave racer and cruisin usa, they just dont seem fun and graphics of wave racer are not pleasing any more, more like bothersome. again rule of reality on the 64. I played only a level in starfox it was in japanese but even then it seemed interesting.

    I just want to point out that i see screenshots of VC n64 games online and the pictures seems a lot better, clearer and sharper with better colors. I play 64 on crt, and it look fine just not that good. I wonder why Wii has like every add on possible in the world, even a weight board , just no N64 controller.

  47. ben says:

    The microsoft remake definitely has the mighty poo song. They “fart” out some of the words, but it’s there.

    Also, wave race for N64 deserves to be on the list, it’s more than good for it’s time, it’s significantly better than most racers today.

    -ben

  48. Lawtonfogle says:

    Even if it isn’t your cup of tea, Harvest Moon deserves a spot. Here’s why.

    Harvest moon is part RPG part Sim, a genre which I think has a lot more potential than what I see today. Even fake simulation like Secret of the Stars (SNES) (I call it fake because, as long as you go though the game, your town will build the same) have something special. To those who played SotS, who wasn’t saddened (or decimated) when they found the town destroyed?

    Anyways, back on track here, Harvest Moon 64 is the standard by which I measure all other Harvest Moon games by (not counting Rune Factory). I don’t think it was the last good one, as one mentioned, I think it was/is the best one (as long as you are a guy, being a girl playing a guy trying to date other girls may come across as weird, but then again, I’m a guy, so I can’t speak for the, to quote one Ph.D. I know, “better half.” While it’s descendants have had some good features, I still think that HM64 is part of a semi unique gaming experience, and it is one of the best representations of it. As such, I think it deserves a place on the list.

  49. Ezra Dulis says:

    The Konami RPG Hybrid Heaven is also an extremely underrated masterpiece. That game told an incredible story with mature, impressive cinematics (especially for the N64). Also, no RPG since has come up with a more amazing and intuitive battle system, a mostly-real-time hand-to-hand-based system where your leveling was based entirely on which body parts you used to hit and block. Where is the credit for Hybrid Heaven? Was I the only one that played it?

  50. Deekman says:

    What are you talking about with the conker remake? Having just recently played both I can tell you that while the 64 one is still better all that’s removed from the xbox version is the frying pan. They give you a bat, better controls, and censor the swearing usually just by beaping out the middle 2 letters. Most notibly the remake when you go to the transylvania world you get a Van Helsing costume (as that movie came out around the same time as the remake)

  51. racketboy says:

    Thanks to those that have left insightful comments! Even if they are critical, if you give your detailed thoughts, that definately helps! I will be doing further revisions to this article based on your input.

    To those that mentioned Hybrid Heaven and Rocket Robot on Wheels — I didn’t forget about them. I actually mentioned them on my N64 Hidden Gems post
    http://www.racketboy.com/retro/2007/01/best-undiscovered-nintendo-64-n64.html

    As for F-Zero X, have you not played F-Zero GX on the Gamecube? Possibly the best racing game ever :)
    Sega and Nintendo teamed up on it, and it is incredibly fast, addictive, and beautiful.

  52. Corion says:

    Jet Force Gemini had *co-op*, an open world, game-wide puzzle elements, collectibles, characters which played vastly different from each other and as a result could access different areas of each level, and cute little bears you could shoot the heads off of.

    This is one of my top favorite games of all time.

    The coop seen in JFG is very similar to this “new” coop people are touting in Super Mario Galaxy, where one player controls the main character and the other can assist in killing opponenets.

    I think it deserves to be on this list. It was ahead of its time.

  53. Julian says:

    There are a few good choices here, but otherwise I think this is a strange list. Banjo and Donkey Kong 64 are both soooo much better than Mario 64 in every way. I’ve never understood the appeal of Mario 64…I love the Mario games but Mario 64 is awful…I know it’s old but it just looks and plays like a crappy 3d tech demo compared to a game like Banjo or Conker. I’d also say that *both* Goldeneye and Perfect Dark should be on this list – both are excellent FPS games and absolute standout titles for the system – both ahead of their time. Don’t know what the deal is with the last 4 choices on this list…yuck

  54. Zach says:

    I think you would be missing out if you didn’t get your hands on tetrisphere for the n64. Like Wetrix it is utterly addicting and visually stimulating!

  55. Harrison says:

    Golden Eye and Perfect Dark should have gotten bumped up methinks

  56. Andy says:

    Sorry man but 007 is honestly the best game ever made to date. I didnt enjoy perfect dark too futuristic and not my type but are you seriously only giving goldeneye honorable mention its one of the highest rated games of all time and I still think its the best first person shooter ive ever played. Notice how every single other 007 game that came out after it sucked….. wonder why… nothing compares.

  57. Joe says:

    I realize this is an editorial more than a definitive list backed up by sales numbers and such.. BUT

    I really think you should mention F-Zero X. F-Zero for the SNES defined that system, more so than perhaps any other game. It was fast, fun, and everyone loved playing it.

    F-Zero X was a great sequel to F-Zero. While it lost some of it’s uniqueness when it came to the ability to navigate hairpin turns with precision, it gained a lot with the new 3D capabilities; allowing for loops, corkscrews, drops, and other mayhem. It was easy enough for anyone to play and have fun, and challenging enough to make even the most seasoned player work at it.

    I really wish they’d make a new F-Zero for the Xbox 360 or PS3. I bet they could so some really awesome things with that game. There’s not enough sci-fi style racing games for the new consoles (at least not yet.)

  58. jdsteffen says:

    I still think that rouge squadron should of been mentioned. Aside from graphics, there hasn’t been much to improve upon the gameplay of that series.

  59. Charlie says:

    I dissagree with leaving out Smash Bros. There’s more to a great game than just its graphics, the sheer playability of that first installment means it should be put in the list. You say that later versions outclass the original, however having played Melee on the GC I found it to be less than exiting. It just wasn’t as well… good. Mario Kart is the same. I know its in there but it seems only grudgingly so, citing the reason as above for Double Dash being better. No it was not. At all. There was too much extra bits and weapons that wernt very good. The whole switching thing was a bit annoying and the control of the vehicle was irritating. I know too well that the first was too easy and had limited levels, but I must have played that game a thousand times and had many a drunken tourney with more exitement than ive seen with any other game. Its these that will last. Only today me and me bro picked out perfect dark and had a bash. I dont think any FPS has the multiplayer that does.

  60. Charlie says:

    I agree with the rest though! Silicone vally was awesome!

  61. Rich says:

    “There are a few good choices here, but otherwise I think this is a strange list. Banjo and Donkey Kong 64 are both soooo much better than Mario 64 in every way. I’ve never understood the appeal of Mario 64…I love the Mario games but Mario 64 is awful…I know it’s old but it just looks and plays like a crappy 3d tech demo compared to a game like Banjo or Conker.”

    I just puked all over myself

  62. Rich says:

    I agree that Goldeneye should not be on the list. The console scene is flooded with first person shooters that would be more fun to play.

    It takes a rare and original game like Blast Corps to make this list. Good mention!

    Majora’s mask… sorry, take that one out. You already have Ocarina in there.

    Super Mario 64 – Obviously. Most revolutionary game of all time. I still play it to this day.

    Did you think of mentioning Diddy Kong Racing? – fun game, some would say more fun that MK64.

    Love the comment about Birdman in Pilotwings 64. I feel the exact same way; I loved to just chill out and fly around during the night sky.

  63. Ian says:

    I’m actually surprised you mentioned Body Harvest in this article! I was a tester on the game back in the day and really enjoyed working on the project. It always seemed that the title would get lost in all the other better looking bigger budgeted titles.

    Sure the graphic were very dated, but also take into consideration that the game was supposed to be a launch title and was dropped my many publishers over the years until Midway picked it up.

    I still enjoy it to this day!

  64. GamerX says:

    No doubt the list had some good games, but at least keep consistent with your other choices;

    Golden Eye/Perfect Dark (not on list)–reason: too many FPS out there to care about Golden Eye/Perfect Dark

    Mario Kart 64 (on list)–there’s Mario Kart: DS, Mario Kart: Double Dash, and Mario Kart: Wii (? on name)

    If you include Mario Kart 64, then you have to include all the honorable mentions that were left out for similar reasons (Jet Force Gemini, Banjo Kazooie, Golden Eye/Perfect Dark, Paper Mario, Mario Party)

    Or just plain make new lists: Ground Breaking N64 Games, N64 Games Still Worth Playing, N64 Games That Led to Great Sequels…

    And no mention of Donkey Kong 64?

  65. SH007 says:

    IMO Diddy Kong Racing was a much better game than MK64. It was a perfect mix between racing and adventure; it had a wonderful overworld to explore full of secrets, great track designs, and a solid racing/weapons engine. It also featured planes and hovercrafts, and the ability to play the track with whichever you chose. The boss races were great, but one of the best parts was the multiplayer battle mode. This game rocked!

  66. Ebisumaru says:

    Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon is better than all of these games. Except most of the Nintendo ones, perhaps.

  67. Akari says:

    This list seems contradictory. You left out some for the same reason you left others in.

    Most specifically, you left out Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, both of which are still very valid games (and for being a game based on a movie, Goldeneye did incredibly well), because you said there are better FPS games out there.

    Yet, you left in Mario Kart 64 (Awesome game, and I agree with it being in the list), without mentioning Mario Kart Double Dash which was a HUGE improvement over the 64 game. There are also other great racing games, yet this one remains on the list.

    Either remain consistent or refrain from making such a subjective list.

    In addition, don’t judge ‘The Best N64 Games’ on your own experience if you intend for it to be useful to people looking to pick up N64 games.

    Look at the general consensus, and the make your list.

  68. Craig says:

    SSB deserves to be on the regular list. The game is timeless, and there are still tournaments held at my college for the general public to go to.

  69. Scott McCarthy says:

    Great list, but with one MAJOR title missing, WWF No Mercy. Wrestling fans to this day would rather play No Mercy then the newest Smackdown vs. Raw title.

  70. Razakius says:

    Kudos on choosing Silicon Valley. I loved that game, it never sold well and it is no surprise that people don’t really remember it, but it was a great game and I am looking forward to it coming on the VC at some point.

  71. yotan says:

    ha ha, i called ocarina of time and super mario before i even scrolled down.

  72. discoalucard says:

    Yeah I agree with Deekman. The Conker remake for the Xbox is pretty good, it looks, sounds, and controls much better than the N64 version. The censorship is annoying, but ultimately rather mild. The Poo song is still in there, it just bloops out the curses.

  73. sam says:

    I also agree goemon “Mystical Ninja” is probably the most enjoyable game that you left off the entire list, though I think it may have aged badly, the bossfights are great fun !
    someone make one of these topics for best bossfights on nintendo perhaps ? Mario party 2 is my favourite of the lot, ive tried all up to 5 I think. Goldeneye is still great and dont forget TWINE, they are both greatly superior to any other bond games ive tried, especially the playstation ones from the same time… dire. I remember asking my parents to buy the nintendo just for super smash bros.
    I also agree that banjo kazooie should be up there, if i had to recommend 4 platformers today, it would be m64,banjo kazooie (animal transformations ftw), super mario world (i dont know which version, I played it on the gameboy adv,) and an old gamegear mickey mouse game.
    And i love Conkers bad fur day, cos of its distinct british humour, mostly in the great dialouge, dont forget to mention multiplayer, in what other game can you pit yourself as a dinosaur as your friend tries to kill you as a caveman? heres a link of a cutscene, i was searching for the one where the giant poo eats the scouse dungebeetle as he eats his lunch but nevermind.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04WSFPSswRE

  74. dallas says:

    This is so cool, simply because you included wetrix. This game is so cool and often overlooked.

  75. alex says:

    i agree on everything except for that the Rare duo (Goldeneye and Perfect Dark) and the original smash brothers should have been on the main list.

  76. iamtonedef says:

    I agree with the birdman free-flight in Pilot Wings. I would regularly just calmly fly around, completely relaxed.

  77. marurun says:

    Well, you can’t make a list without stepping on a few toes. I don’t think this list is supposed to be 100% exhaustive. Racketboy is the editor and gets editorial mandate here, so be polite. Feel free to disagree, but it’s inappropriate to attempt to dictate to him. There are no facts in this kind of article, only opinions. And the best opinions aren’t the right ones so much as the best articulated ones.

  78. racketboy says:

    Well, said marurun.
    And as I mentioned above, I will take the best comments into consideration when revising this post.

  79. I’d have to go with the rest of the people who commented and say Shadows of the Empire and Goldeneye/Perfect Dark needs to be better than honorable mention. Also, Body Harvest anybody :b

  80. Although GoldenEye received and honorable mention, it should be in the list.

    Sure, all of those FPS games listed are much more realistic than 007, but those games OWE it to GoldenEye. FPS games on the console were a laughing matter until this game. This was the first game to make this genre decent enough to be played on console. Not to mention the massive addiction factor that came into play from multiplayer!

    GoldenEye is perhaps one of my favorite games of all time, and although BioShock, Halo, Half-Life, etc. are better in many departments, I still enjoy playing this game for the sheer nostalgic value and its fun value. Nothing can top this monumental FPS console title.

  81. racketboy says:

    Well let me remind you this isn’t a history lesson or influenced by nostolgia. It’s all about the here and now. That’s the whole point.

    If you want to read about Goldeneye, I recommend this piece by fastbilly1
    http://www.racketboy.com/retro/nintendo/n64/2007/11/goldeneye-007-ten-years-later.html

  82. I didn’t read all the posts, but I have to agree with Justin.

    The sheer value of getting someone (or a team) of players trapped outside the Bunker level with mines plastered on the steps back inside is hilarious fun! Everyone knows someone’s gonna die!

    Or memorizing the locations of the spawn spots and throwing proxy mines there…BOOM when they respawn!

    Or the classic “put proxy mines on the mine and weapons crates and see what happens” trick…

    Ahhh, too many memories from GoldenEye as a kid…

  83. Frita says:

    I really enjoyed your article. I agree with your picks but I have not played all of them. I do own most of them though. I wonder if you’d be interested in creating a similar list for the Dreamcast. It still holds a special place with me. I’m curious to see what games other people still enjoy playing on it. Great list.

  84. cowgod says:

    this is a great list. i have many fond memories of many of these games. i played through ocarina of time twice (at least 150 hours total) and super mario 64 more times than i can remember (i’d guess i’ve collected about 1000 stars or so). i also remember spending hours upon hours working on getting platinum medals in all the levels of blast corps. i think i got all but two.

    one game i was sad not to see on the list is tetrisphere. that game took the original tetris to a whole new level. i’ve had the game for, what, 10 years now and i still can’t beat the damn puzzle level (i think it was somewhere around level 40)? it is still fun to this day and playing multiplayer with a friend is a blast.

  85. Eugê says:

    Nice list, there are some titles that I want to check out now. :-)

    But I would have included Turok in the honorable mentions list, partly because I mostly play PC games. Turok was one of the first titles that I have seen with 3dfx support. There were filtered textures and really amazing animations. Also, the platforming part is the best that I have seen in first person shooters, the controls work extraordinarily well so that the platforming parts are hard but never frustrating.

    Still, very nice and nicely illustrated list. :-)

  86. Dan_Himself says:

    Mystical Ninja was recommended by a few people and I happily fall into that group. The first N64 game starring Goemon was a gem. It’s an adventure with some platforming, giant robot battles, on-rails time sensitive platforming mini-games, excellent boss fights, and some of the best pun based humor I’ve seen in a video game. No other game has quite the same charm to it. Finally, it’s still fun to play.

  87. Dan_Himself says:

    Forgot to mention it has a laughtrack, which, to my knowledge is completely unique in gaming.

  88. Mr.Ross says:

    Try WWF No Mercy or Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 (Japanese only).

    Still the best wrestling games considered by many due to its awesome gameplay. People are still looking for the new No Mercy/Virtual Pro Wrestling 2. And the way THQ is making the WWE games, it’s not coming any time soon.

  89. Julian says:

    “Super Mario 64 – Obviously. Most revolutionary game of all time. I still play it to this day.”

    Ugh, sorry to hear that.

    “…a list of games that are still relevant in today’s market because of their unique gameplay that has not been improved upon on other systems.”

    Sure, it *was* awesome when it first came out, and I don’t disagree that it’s a very important game – but still relevant? Not improved upon on other systems? It was improved upon several times on the N64 by Rare, most notably by the original Banjo Kazooie – which I *would* say is still relevant now and has not been substantially improved upon.

    Others agree… http://ign64.ign.com/articles/151/151922p1.html

  90. Ali says:

    God, this takes me back! I remember being a young boy, reading all the magazines and getting really excited that a sequel to Zelda OOT was coming out, or looking in the back at the sheer volume of games and wondering how many of them were worth playing… ah…nostalgia!

    It’s been too long since I’ve cracked out the ole N64, must go hunting for it now, to relive these golden moments in gaming. Now… it must be around here somewhere….

  91. Alex Campbell says:

    Nice article! Might I recommend that you do this for other consoles as well. For example, spyro for the playstation was a great game for its time, but going back to it today has made me realize it has not aged well.

  92. Josh Miller says:

    I’d like to chime in for Mischief Makers as well. It’s my second favorite N64 game behind Star Fox 64.

  93. Sandata says:

    You forgot about Mischief Makers. Theres not many games that require you to attack in a diffrent way. Jet Force Gemini should be kept higher on the list.

    Goldeneye 007/Perfect Dark hits the fun of fighting and fun of missions hands down. Goldeneye tops in mission/fun ratio. You don’t feel presured or worried about the missions too much to not have fun. How many new games have done that lately? Perfect Dark I kind of agree on…but its a sweet multiplayer. The best the simulators that you get in multiplayer just rock.

    Add that and move this the list is almost done. Truely when it comes to video games it depends on the gamer. I bet someone who plays video games will hate every one on the list is somewhere out there. But its not me.

  94. minilith says:

    Thanks for the great article. I think I’ll go home and plug in my old N64 for a session after work.
    P.S. Goldeneye should have been on your list.

  95. SonataNo8 says:

    Do not ever misspell Radiant Silvergun again, I take it personally.

  96. Rich says:

    “Sure, it *was* awesome when it first came out, and I don’t disagree that it’s a very important game – but still relevant? Not improved upon on other systems? It was improved upon several times on the N64 by Rare, most notably by the original Banjo Kazooie – which I *would* say is still relevant now and has not been substantially improved upon.”

    None of the so-called “improvements” on Mario 64 ever lived up to the epic polish and simple fun of Miyamoto’s greatest accomplishment. There’s just something pure about Mario 64 that can’t be felt by other games. The game is just incredibly soothing to play. For its time in 1996 it was revolutionary. Now in 2008 it’s still a sound, fun game that can put a smile on your face.

  97. Julian says:

    “None of the so-called “improvements” on Mario 64 ever lived up to the epic polish and simple fun of Miyamoto’s greatest accomplishment. There’s just something pure about Mario 64 that can’t be felt by other games. The game is just incredibly soothing to play. For its time in 1996 it was revolutionary. Now in 2008 it’s still a sound, fun game that can put a smile on your face.”

    You just puked all over yourself

  98. Alec says:

    I was going to argue that JFG should be higher on the list, but I’m having second thoughts after busting it the other day. Obviously, I wouldn’t play my old saved game, so I started a new one. So far, I’ve been pretty bored. Nothing really fantastic about so far, but I know it will get better. I don’t even remember the beginning of the game, so it’s all new to me. Will it get better!?

    Banjo Kazooie is a different game than SM64, I’m not sure if you have noticed. Personally, I don’t think the platforming plumber gets any better than his performance in Super Mario World (SNES), but upon making my way through SM64 a few months ago, I really do understand why people regard it as being amazing (once again, it was a game I hadn’t played since elementary school). The game was a LAUNCH TITLE. Nintendo’s first game of it’s kind. Oddly, the graphics don’t seem that bad, besides the obvious 2D sprites used very regularly (coins, trees, etc). The gameplay, is spot-on. Triple jump, crawling, backflip, long jump, dive, swimming, flying, quicksand, climbing… They nailed everything, except maybe camera angles (which, might I add, are still annoying in Sunshine and every other adventure game). I don’t know, it’s just an amazing feat.

  99. Pulstar says:

    Whoa this is the 100th comment! Nice list btw

    I don’t have a Wii and I’m having trouble emulating Sin & Punishment without graphic glitching. Is there a specific config for either 1964 or Project64 (using that Rice plugin preferably) to emulate it as close as possible to the original cart? I’d appreciate any help on this matter :)

  100. d says:

    F-Zero should be in.
    Sin and Punishment is the best game of N64.
    I played the wii vc version and I was blown away.
    It also has the best music on the N64. Even though it doesn’t fit the game it’s the best music(, the best Jerry!)

  101. Amy Gray says:

    I still have my old N64 – My Dad got it for me for Xmas the year it came out.

    I wouldn’t trade it for a Game Cube or even a Wii.

    I’ve got almost all the cartridges on your list except the two Zelda carts. My dad would probably like them, he’s big on Role-Playing with a little fighting and puzzles built in, so I’m getting both for Father’s Day from a local Pawn Shop that never got rid of their old stock.

    N64 still rules at my house. I play it almost as much as my Playstation 2.

  102. Brian says:

    How the hell did you miss Rampage?
    That game was amazing.

  103. The way you discounted Episode 1 Racer is kinda suspect. To me there is still no game that has replaced the niche it filled. That was just a hella fun game, even if there were better versions for other platforms. It is one of the games I love to revisit periodically just because it’s such a unique racing game.

  104. MR says:

    Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64 were the party games.

  105. Adonis says:

    Goldeneye and Super Smash Bros totally kicked arse! Two of the best multi-player games ever.

    Wicked Post!

  106. AngrySquirrel says:

    Racketboy, your “still matter today” series up until now have been fascinating reads for retro heads. But you seriously jeopardize your credibility by omitting Perfect Dark from the main list. Perfect Dark, in terms of game modes, creative guns, bot intelligence, and level design, has not been surpassed by any modern fps. Just because modern FPS are prettier and faster than the n64 classic does not mean that they play any better. If you insist on leaving PD on the honorable mention list, you should definitely provide a better explanation than what you’ve said so far. Otherwise, this list is laughable – PD is one of the top 3 games on the system, even in 2008.

  107. Placentasaurus says:

    Shadow of the Empire should be in there, even if only for the junkyard train level. It’s still the very best train related moment in any videogame.
    Perfect Dark should also be on the list because it has so many amazing features that FPS games since don’t have. That game would have been completely perfect if it weren’t for the lag.

  108. BeerRun says:

    As a few others have mentioned, Mischief Makers deserves to be on the list. It really is an incredible game. I can’t stand 2D platformers, but it really is in league of its own. Shake shake!

  109. AngrySquirrel says:

    Looking back at this list, there’s another problem besides the grievous omission of Perfect Dark. Pilotwings 64 is an essential game? Really? The pilotwings games always struck me as slow, boring tech-demos. Polygonal 3-D games were pretty groundbreaking stuff back in 1996, but in 2008 I think we’re over the novelty of it all.

    I’m only half-kidding, but seriously, I don’t think a game with such limited appeal should be listed as something that still matters today. Just because there hasn’t been a sequel to a game doesn’t mean that it stands up in 2008 as one of the best n64 games. And have you played sky odyssey on ps2? That game updates the concept of pilotwings well.

  110. racketboy says:

    I haven’t heard of Sky Odyssey — I’ll have to look into that.
    BTW, I didn’t write most of this article. It was a guest post.

    Thanks for your input though — I’ll be revising this in the future.

  111. AngrySquirrel says:

    You’re welcome. It’s refreshing to see that you take the time to read comments, and value getting the lists right over stubbornly defending your picks. Good site!

  112. racketboy says:

    Thanks :)
    My goal with all of my lists is to provide the best guide for other gamers that I can. That’s how I really got into retro gaming is reading other people’s lists, but I always wanted something more comprehensive :)

  113. Pete says:

    Great article. As a Sega fanboy I didn’t even consider getting a 64 at the time, sticking with my PSX and Saturn. I picked one up last year though and I’m enjoying picking through the back catalogue.

    Quite a few posters seem to think this is a list of the 64′s greatest games as opposed to a list of games that if played today for the first time, would hold their own against other new releases. I know loads of you played OOT and GoldenEye to death while the rest of us were playing FFVII, VIII, MGS, GTA, Alundra, etc.

    Personally, although I did give OOT a blast back in the day, I thought it was a little boring. For me it lacked depth and had an uninspiring, shallow main character. I’ve tried to get into it numerous times since then (Collector’s Disc, emulation and more recently the original cart.) It just doesn’t grab my attention and suck me in like I know it should. Maybe my expectations are too high. That said, I can still lose myself in FFVII and I’ve played that game to death many, many times. If OOT had been released on the PSX, with its plethora of RPGs. Would it have received the same praise? I can see that it’s a quality game and it stands out in the N64′s library, but would it stand out as much if Suikoden, Lunar, Tactics, Star Ocean etc were released on the same console? Would you chose to buy it over Shenmue II if it was released for the Dreamcast on November 23 2001?

    When I was 14/15 I had a lot of fun playing GoldenEye with the couple of mates I know who owned 64′s. The atmosphere of the game is still great even today but the rest of it hasn’t aged well at all, controls are clunky, levels are sparse and bland. That said, it comes out every now and then if I have people over for a few beers, that’s mostly for the nostalgia factor though.

    All that said, obviously I do respect all your opinions so please don’t flame me :)

  114. bob watford says:

    I’ve been playing Turok 3 Shadow of Oblivion with the Project 64 emulator and I can’t believe how good it is. I didn’t realize FSP were that good back in 2000. Runs great on my laptop too.

  115. Link says:

    An alternate thought on Zelda OOT: I am currently watching my 5 year old boy play OOT as his very first long-form video game experience. It has been an absolute joy seeing him encounter the story, characters, suspense, humor, and power of this medium – all for the first time. I can’t think of a better first kids game, anywhere. I haven’t got the heart to tell him it’s all down hill from here!

  116. racketboy says:

    Haha — that’s awesome :)
    I look forward to having kids for those little moments — enjoy!

  117. Miles Jacob says:

    The N64 is actually my favorite console, and not just because Mario 64 and Majora’s Mask are my favorite Mario and Zelda games. You did cover most of the great games for the system, but [b]Tetrisphere[/b] and [b]Rocket Robot on Wheels[/b] absolutely need to be on the list since nothing like them has been made since and they should be completely playable and addictive for most anyone.

    Furthermore, [b]Beetle Adventure Racing[/b] and [b]Diddy Kong Racing[/b] are at least as good as Mario Kart 64 to me. The three of them are my favorite multiplayer “battle” kart games but Beetle Adventure Racing in particular had some very creative track designs as well (and by the way the DS port of Diddy Kong Kong racing was a travesty).

    [b]F-Zero X[/b] and [b]Wave Race 64[/b] got good updates on the Cube, but if Super Smash Brothers gets an N64 mention, they should as well.

    I also would give an honorable mention to [b]Castlevania 64[/b], to me it is a lot more authentic to the Castlevania 1-4 atmosphere and spirit than those endless portable anime action games.

    And it must be said that [b]The New Tetris[/b] on the N64 is still the best version of tetris on any platformer, period.

    But two of my favorite games on the system I recognize are more acquired tastes, the dark fantasy first-person 3D atmospheric adventure game with lots of dying called [b]Shadowgate 64[/b] (yes, the sequel to the one on the Mac/NES/etc.) and the very slow-paced and glitchy RPG [b]Aidyn Chronicles[/b] which has still got to be one of my favorite RPGs. Excellent level design, crazy atmospheric music, and a brilliant overall gameplay system from the creator of the pen-and-paper RPG system “DragonQuest” from the early 80s. It is not quite a D&D clone nor quite like a JRPG, absolutely a unique game.

  118. hum says:

    Wave Race 64 is an amazing game and should be on the main list!

    i havent played any newer versions, so i dont have any thing to compare it to… however, even with its dated graphics i find it very fun to play and unique, a nice escape from our modern graphical master pieces that typically lack good gameplay.

    just my 2 cents.

  119. kurt says:

    road rash 64 was a great game. the graphics werent so good but id say the game was one of the better racing games for any nintendo system.

  120. aer says:

    Goldeneye and Perfect Dark are certainly out of date because their control system is god-awful, but perfect dark especially is still fun, especially emulated with mouselook which is pretty simple to do… the variety of weapons and secondary fires, the ability to customize EVERY little detail in multiplayer, the farsight xr20, and of course the laptop gun! there’s just so much more depth than any modern fps games, which content themselves with 10 or so weapons and maybe a cover mechanic
    its the stereotypical complaint, but I’ll say it anyway- they don’t put nearly enough effort into gameplay these days, because games are so expensive to make thanks to the insane graphics

  121. Adam says:

    Ocarina of Time is the best game ever… that’s just it. The music, the graphics, the amount of stuff you can do… it’s just the best game ever…

  122. Alex says:

    Just a heads up: The Review link for Pilotwings goes to the review on IGN for Zelda ;)

  123. racketboy says:

    Thanks! I can’t believe it took someone that long to notice it :)

  124. Crasss says:

    I liked the list, however I disagree about jet force gemini, to this day I havn’t played a shooter quite like it. It balanced platforming as well as shooting elements very well. And it’s an extremely long and difficult game, something you just don’t see in today’s game market.

  125. Chad says:

    I asl disagree about jet force gemini i remember when i was a little kid staying up all night playing that long game. There is just nothing else like it

  126. Birn says:

    What the fudge? No Kirby: The Crystal Shards? I have yet to play a Kirby game that was as good as K:TCS.

  127. Clayton says:

    I’m going to have to agree with Birn… Kirby was one of my favorite games. It might have been because it was one of the first games I played so that was just always what I thought of when I thought N64, but it was also loads of fun to just try and figure out how many different powers you can give Kirby.

    But that’s beside the point…

    I was shocked when I read Paper Mario in the honorable mentions. That game still remains (other than the Ocarina of Time) my absolute favorite game that I’ve ever played. It may be just because I’m such a traditionalist, but the Thousand Year Door and Super Paper Mario just didn’t quite do as well as the original. It has a great story and the fighting is amazing (Super Paper Mario can barely be considered an RPG). It also had the greatest characters (Watt and Bow and Kooper and the Koopa Bros. and Huff n’ Puff and the Crystal King and everyone else) and by far the best settings (The Koopa Bros’ fortress and Tubba Blubba’s castle and Flower Feilds and Shy Guy’s Toybox and the Crystal Palace, …). I highly suggest this game be moved to the featured games.

  128. Matt says:

    To Clayton: i agree 100% that Paper mario be moved to the main list. also if you havnt played it yet go get super mario superstar saga for the gameboy advance. not quite the same as paper mario but definitely on the same par of playability/storyline. you wont regret it beleive me.

  129. Vampiricus says:

    If i had any say so, i would i have to say that Quest 64 should be somewhere on this list, if anyone has played it you know it should too, it had the highest replay value to me right next to mario 64 and Blast Corps.

  130. Sid says:

    Why the hell isn’t donkey kong 64 up there? it’s one of my all time favorite n64 titles. it has a fun multiplayer, great gameplay, great fun for both the casual and hardcore gamer, and not to mention the graphics are amazing. Please include this on the list.

  131. Jay says:

    I agree with some of the people that mentioned and requested that Donkey Kong 64 be up there. I’m 27 years old, and still go back and play this game when I’m bored. I have a Gamecube, and a Wii I play also, and I think Donkey Kong 64 stands the test of time. I played this when I was younger, but didn’t own it, therefore didn’t have a good chance to really get into it. As far as I’m concerned it’s better then Banjo Kazooie (and I own both of these games).

  132. Connor says:

    Hey i agree with all of these games but i like hexon, bomberman 64, mischeif makers, diddy kong racing,bust a move 2 arcaade editions these are also good games and i am pretty young but i have the system

  133. Matt says:

    What the hell man!! no Duke Nukem or Doom ??? WOW!!

  134. racketboy says:

    That’s what the PC is for ;)

  135. compbear says:

    5th for harvest moon 64

  136. Miller says:

    You CAN NOT beat Perfect Dark! It’s called PERFECT for a reason! I would still prefer it literally over some shooters today!

  137. Zep says:

    Phew I read all the comments.. I think I was 3 when n64 first came out. Thats when I got it along with Super Mario 64. I’m not sure if it was the first game I played, I remember playing Lion King on Sega Genesis too. My favorite game of all time is OoT.. I remember playing it with my mother. Because I was so young then she had to help me with where to go and what to do. Sometimes even she didn’t know what to do and I remember her calling someone asking for help… o.o I wonder where that was. The final boss in starfox scared me.. It makes me laugh when I look at it now. As a random add to my comment: I remember a nightmare I once had when I was little. It was a really high tower where you could see nothing but a blue sky and a lot of white clouds. The wind was blowing a lot and what it was blowing was.. my family. Off the tower. I think it came from super mario, the tower looked like straight from it too hahaha..

    So yeah my favorite game is OoT, and I pretty much agree with your list even though I haven’t played half of them (I have played pretty much all the games for “kids”)

  138. JD says:

    I’m still playing Super Mario 64 on my emulattor, I can get enough of that game. Anyway great job with the list, I have played most of these games yet, so thank to you I know now what game ROMs to get, thanks.

  139. stevo says:

    FZero X, 1080 and Waverace 64 have superior and more interactive control mechanics than their updates on GC or Wii console. Yes FZeroGX looks better, but for long periods you’re just watching the scenery zoom by or making small adjustments to your control stick. Same with 1080. Waverace on GC has a steep learning curve, which borders on frustration rather than challenge. Oh, Excitebike anyone?

  140. Dylan says:

    I think many gamers myself include have a greater fealing of respect and enjoyment from these old time games than peopel who haven’t actually played them around when they came out. I myself am absolutly inlove with zelda the Ocarina of Time and Majoras Mask. I completed it when I was 6 and just again last week. I can’t wait to play Turok either I can remember part completng it when I was younger. Basically I have a greater sense of enjoyment because I can see past the fact that the graphics are bad etc and relate to them enjoyment I used to have killing friends with the golden gun on 007 etc or trying to verse insanely skilled bots on perfect dark. I actually don’t like modern games that much because MANY (not all) don’t really engage my commitment and there is not really that enjoyment of completing missions with friends or trying to get top scores.
    Anyway just a look into some of the many views that spin round my head…

  141. Dylan says:

    Oh, sorry for double posting but the Ocarina of Time Rocks my socks! and i will beat you on Super Smash Broe’s any day

  142. sir rolland says:

    shadows of the empire! i’m so disappointed the rom is messed up. i had planned on beating that game several times through. so many good things about that game, especially if you are a star wars fan. great storyline from the first trilogy, the music was epic, awesome levels and gameplay, great replay value. feel like taking down som at-ats? go for it! OoT is obvious, this game should at least be honorable mention! good list though

  143. Brandon says:

    I have yet to see a game come close to the original
    Paper Mario!

    Though I have to admit the Cube upgrade TYD was Loads of good times, and it kicks the shit outta the new Wii version.

    But back to the point.
    If I had to choose one game to play, it would be Paper Mario.
    The pure originality, the look, the characters, the storyline.

    I can’t help but get really nostalgic when thinking about the release of this game.

    And again, Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door,
    held it’s own as the newer generation of the game.
    [I loved the wrestling level]

    But yeah I definitly suggest throwing Paper Mario on the main list.

    As well as Kirby crystal shards.
    And the Mario Party games…The original 3 are the best party games ever!

  144. Ramszilla says:

    You have Zelda Majora’s Mask on the list but not Goldeneye? Sorry but that is just wrong. There wouldn’t be games like Halo and the such if it weren’t for ground breaking games like Goldeneye. Not only was it just a all around fun movie based game (which is a rare find in itself) but it still to this day is the ONLY fun 007 based game made. Graphics nothing. You can’t put that horrible Zelda 2 game above this game. Its just wrong for many reasons. I have both games. Give me 007 any day. It deserves much more credit than Majora’s mask which was very annoying to play with the do this in a certain time limit nonsense. You have Wetrix and Silicon Valley, some Japanese only game and Blast Corps on the list and Paper Mario (which is the only really good RPG on N64) and Super Smash Bros. (which I’m not a fan of myself but credit where its due) ? I mean come on. This is not a good list.

    It has the mainstays but to keep Goldeneye off any N64 list is just not getting it. That is still to this day one of the most fun games ever. The multiplayer itself was revolutionary and also lead the way for a lot of the games you see today. Most are right but again its just your opinion and nothing else here. I don’t agree with some of your reasoning but everyone has their own preferences. My list would be quite different and I grew up with and still use the N64 to this day. But good attempt at any rate.

  145. jacob says:

    Tetrisphere!
    it was probably the greatest version of tetris ever
    and deffinatly holds its own today as it is unrivalled in style

  146. John says:

    lol loved conkers bad fur day was introduced to it at a friends party when i was in 6th grade and my mom bought it for be thought it was a “cute” game lmao he he he i was born into the end of the NES era and the start of snes era so i thought the n64 could never be topped. but now im into pc games and was suprised when i learned of virtual console as you call it and that like all nintendo games from nes to n64 and GBA fit into 21 gigs of memory. i still thing that the Army Men:sarges heros seris should of got honorable mention at least. My all time favorite game for n64 was Zelda Oracle of Time, majoras mask was ok but didnt draw my attention to much.

  147. `Game24 says:

    Nice list but to be honest most of the games for N64 werent ” great” or just ” good “. They were classic. N64 is the best console to ever come out. I mean think abt it mario 64, LOZ OOT, Banjo kazooie, Banjo tooie, Conker, DK 64, SSBM, RE2, Pokemon Snap, Starfox 64, Kirby 64, Rocket, and so much many others. N64 introduced the best controls and is the pioneer of 3d graphics. Also what makes it the best is that it was in the golden age of gaming. Also, for example, Super mario 64, no 2 player, no online and still one of the funnest and best games to play. I can see why ppl fight over the list, its just too much and you propbably need to make a top 50 just to get started.

  148. j0n117 says:

    you had me at ocarina of time…….best game ever period

  149. Kelly says:

    Wow, I would have thought Paper Mario and Harvest Moon 64 would have been in this list. They were pretty great, addicting fun games. To me they were two of the best RPG games ever made. They did a lot for the genre.

  150. Tony says:

    I can’t belive you forgot about Turok: Dinosaur hunter.
    Also, about you thinking Mario 64 is better then Banjo kazooie series, does not mean it is a better game…
    I think it is all about witch game you grew up with.
    I personally didn’t like the outlay of Mario 64, lack of feeling compared too the old ones. My 50 cents.

    / Tony

  151. john douglas says:

    The banjo kazooie was better than DK64 because there was too much to collect in DK. As for Perfect Dark & GoldenEye they were good because there are loads of secrets. i agree with you on mario party because lets face it its lame. I wasn’t surprised that Ocarina of time came first because of thats what it says on most websites.

  152. john douglas says:

    Also have you tried experiencing levels in star fox with annoying teammates such as slippy. if you kill slippy before going to sector X he comes back just before the boss, talk about shit

  153. john douglas says:

    my last comment was supposed to say without Slippy.

  154. james barlow says:

    In Goldeneye isn’t Natalya a bit ugly. Why are all the faces so poorly made?

  155. dan says:

    can anyone answer this, how come in conkers BFD, FUCK is always beeped out and is written @&%$#. and how come they have signs near the bank saying Feck off instead of fuck off?

  156. Lily says:

    i remember when i still lived in england before i became a singer and twittered, i had an Nintendo 64. if you want to know what inspired me to swear in songs it was Conkers Bad Fur Day. I wish they allowed words like fuck to be said and written. From Lily Allen

  157. George says:

    Phew! Lots of comments, glad I read them all though: I now have a comprehensive list of ROMS to get. Thanks everyone.
    MY favourite so far would have to be… Mario Kart 64. Closely followed by Super Smash Bros. Love the multiplayer. And the sense of speed in Racer is good too. not to mention OOT… I’ll leave it there.
    Well, better get downloading :)

  158. HIromu656 says:

    You said that this list was made to compare these N64 games to games of today, so why did you post Body Harvest? You even said how it created GTA, so who would be playing it if GTA is out now?

  159. FredDibnah says:

    If you’re going to exclude Goldeneye from the list because it’s technically dated compared to the modern FPS market, then why put any of these games up here? They’re all dated compared to their contemporary counterparts. They may have better puzzle design or more spot-on control, but some element(s) will still be dated.

    Just like many others who have posted, I too still bust out Goldeneye from time to time with my brothers or friends for a multiplayer battle. There hasn’t been an FPS multiplayer that has captured the fun and ease of a 007 match since. “Proximity Mines in Facility” …that’s all I gotta say to convince someone to play. :P

    This game is going to be played for years to come, while Halo will be lost behind its numerous sequels.

  160. Peter Gilligan says:

    this is a fairly good list. But it does feel like your leaving out some games. most of these games i have not played but i do love the super smash bros series.

  161. Poppy says:

    Your logic is counter-intuitive. You don’t include some games on the list because “superior” games had later been released of them, yet you include Body Harvest because it was a GTA predecessor. As a shooter fan, Goldeneye is the reason I bought an N64 and why I love FPS games more than an other genre today. My friends and I still dust out the 64 for three games- Mario Kart, Goldeneye, and Ogre Battle. There’s still nothing quite like taking your friend out with an Oddjob hat and hearing the curse-storm that ensues.

  162. PHatDriver says:

    PERFECT DARK, comon!

  163. Brian says:

    So Goldeneye/Perfect Dark are honorable mention but Wetrix and Pilotwings 64 made it on the list lol . Your right they are easily two of the best games for the N64 that is why they deserve to be on there . I would still rather play those games then any other FPS that you listed or didn’t list .

  164. Chris says:

    Agree with everything but, Majora’s Mask. Felt like that was a horrible game. One thing though, what about Diddy Kong Racing!? I spent many hours playing that game. I personally liked it better then Mario Kart.

  165. madgunner says:

    WTF???? where is turok 2 ???

  166. mike says:

    am i the only one who loved glover as a kid? and diddy kong racing is for sure one of my favorites up there with ssb and super mario 64. yoshi’s story is another great one

  167. mayhem says:

    No Castlevannia games? :(

  168. tb'sd says:

    Majora’s Mask was brilliant. Easily better than OoT in my books, but I can accept that some people preferred OoT… your review of it was entirely apathetic Very strange. Are you are a gamer or what?

  169. Luke says:

    Wetrix matters more than Goleneye hmm? That’s funnny. I’m pretty sure Goleneye helped popularize first-person shooters on home consoles.

    I’ve never even HEARD of Wetrix until now!

  170. Mattdlt says:

    this is one of the most ridiculous best n64 games listings I have ever seen, I am in shock that the person who wrote this would dare to put some of the games in the top spots rather than in the honorable mentions and vice versa. I mean seriously, goldeneye and perfect dark in the honorable mentions spot?

  171. Nick says:

    I don’t see how Super Smash Bros. has dated badly at all. It’s just as fun now as when I first played it. I’ll admit the graphics aren’t top notch, but playing fighting games for the graphics misses the point entirely.

  172. Brandon says:

    OMG so many games that I forgot about! lol I mean I have always remembered The Legend Zelda Ocarina of Time and 007 Goldeneye and The Legend of Zelda Majora’s mask but I mean stuff like Starfox 64 and Body Harvest I completely forgot about. I remember when I was like 11 playing Goldeneye and Starfox for HOURS lol.. Guess what ROMS I’m gonna go download XPPP

  173. jason says:

    Those games are good but smash brothers should be very high up simply because just recently I was playing that game with my son ,next thing i knew three hours went by didnt even feel it.

  174. YoshiEgg25 says:

    Racket, Donkey Kong 64 SCREAMS to be on this list, at least next to Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie. The stuff Rare was able to do with the extra RAM built in was incredible; the graphics, the lighting in levels such as Crystal Caves…incredible. Some reviewers complained about the frame rate, but I never noticed it. It’s beautiful and still holds up well today.

  175. de Silentio says:

    Second the Turok 2 recommendation.

  176. grrmuffins says:

    Great list. I just bought sin and punishment, never even heard of this awesome game! I agree with a few others here: No list is complete without Shadows of the Empire. Just as playable today.

  177. chrisnintendo says:

    very good list. i believe goldeneye should rank higher as most people of today still rate it as the best shooter ever created next to Doom. i agree about the banjo kazooie series, all bases had been covered in mario 64.
    body harvest was a brilliant game. definately one of the most underrated games ever made. a personal favourite. a few of those games you had i must track down and play.

    conker…..well, funniest game i have ever played.

  178. Matt says:

    Ahhhhhhh…..starfox……found my n64 a few weeks ago….game never gets old but that my be my nostalgia speaking…also,most of the games have been upgraded….also…no offense to goldeneye fans(I also loved that game) but most of the stories are usually having a nostalgia attack and playing multiplayer with friends. And to protect starfox(my all time favorite game) I don’t think I have ever seen a rail shooter like it and after 64 starfox went DOWNHILL….and strayed from rail shooting (adventures)

  179. daoldman says:

    I have just read all the comments and I have a few things to say:

    For all you people who disagree with Majora’s Mask’s placement, I urge you to give it a try. It is much better than the original OoT and the entire point of the plot has yet to be duplicated. You get three days to do as much as you can before you need to repeat the cycle, learning new things each time and keeping only the non-replenishable items. You learn deep character backstories (Kafei’s story and the guy in the music box house’s story left me in tears) which cannot be said about OoT. (although Zelda’s reveal was a classic and very unexpected plot twist). The whole “Groundog day” concept was one I loved. Compared to OoT it was improved upon in every aspect.

    On the contrary, I agree wholeheartedly with the comment made very far up along the line (and there were alot of comments) about how if you liked the three-day cycle, the game would entrance you; but if you didn’t, OoT was better. It’s because of this that both are on the list.

    To answer the Goldeneye and Paper Mario concerns, I must say that both are amazing but the list is created with the intension of including games which hold through the years as the best ones of their genre. Goldeneye was a great game that excelled in multiplayer, but honourable mentions is good enough in my opinion, as there are too many games nowadays that are decent fps’s. Paper Mario was my third-favorite game on the system, but everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, was copied in TYD right down to the race of each party member. And although story-wise the original was better, in gameplay and replay value (not to mention graphics) the sequel surpassed it. I have spent a combined time of over 300 hours into these two games, so I know what I’m talking about. Paper Mario dosn’t make the list because of TYD (not SPM which was the worst of the three).

    Also, N64 and Playstation were my first two gaming consoles (but now I play all sorts of NES and SNES games through VC- but N64 I prefer on the original system) and my favorite playstation game was Banjo-Kazooie. From this, I make my assumptions about the N64 version. (although maybe I shouldn’t…) I loved the game, and it surpassed all of those in my limited playstation library by far. Honorable mentions are good enough for me (same with Goldeneye) because it did not make as much of an impact on me as my N64 collection.

    To Yoshi Story fans: Great game, but not extraordinary. Yoshi’s Island was better. (I say was even though I played it after on VC because it came out sooner)

    Starfox 64 had amazing and unique level progression that increased its replayability tenfold. Don’t anybody let anyone complain about it, it is not the same as goldeneye at all and should not be compared.

    MK64 was a great game and the best one of the series. (In my opinion.) Feel is very hard to get used to once you play the later instalments (and vice versa) but is the superior. No other multiplayer racing game delivers quite like MK64 and it has held up well.

    Diddy Kong Racing may just deserve an honorable mention. I loved it for its originality (compared to other racing games) and it was more difficult than the MK series. Hovercrafts and planes were fun to race in and grabbing the silver coins while still placing first was a huge challenge. Not to mention finding the elusive key somewhere in each “world”. The overworld was fun to explore, but perhaps wasn’t big enough. The DS port was not the same as the original. Overall, a fun game.

    Super Smash Bros. had a less-than-perfect single player mode but the multi-player was fantastic. I held tournaments with ten of my friends often and thought it was only surpassed by melee. (brawl was… getting too complex to make an enjoyable pick-up-and-play fighter and lacked the feel of the other two). It is because of this that it’s on the honourable mentions list. It brings back memories though… I wonder if any of my old friends will want to come over and have a tournament like we used too…

    I havn’t played or heard of Wetrix. I’ll have to see if my local retro games dealer has a copy.

    I can see the appeal of Pilotwings even though I havn’t played it, as I loved flying around with the wingcap in SM64. I can see it getting in the top spots.

    I agree with the placing in pretty much everything here. My other comments about misc. honourable mentions games:

    Mario Party (1,2,3): played and liked them all, but only rented. 3 was the best of any MP on any console only because of the extra modes and I personnally liked the minigames the most of them all. Minigames are quite common in games now and board games can be just as fun (don’t flame me for this last comment, but essentially MP is a board game/minigame compilation) so I agree with its position.

    Star Wars Racer: loved the PC version; the different styles of the racers and the good track layout were sweet. Recently discovered a copy for N64 from my retro games dealer and bought it immediately because of low price (can’t beat 5 bucks!). Ultimately, I liked the PC version better because of the customizable keyboard controls. (and I was used to it).

    Wave Racer: Fun and addictive, I also played this on the PlayStation. Thinking back, there’s not too much I remember besides enjoying it. It’s because of this that I can’t fairly say anything about its placement.

    Hopefully people will look at this comment and use it as reference. I am a nintendo fan through-and-through although I have games from other systems, so please don’t think I am biased. Wii trying to appeal to young audiences was a mistake… the Wii U is one console that I think will fix that. So far, the N64 is my favourite console and seeing this topic has motivated me to try some of the older games I have almost forgotten about.

  180. Martin says:

    yes an excellent round up of the games that still matter on the N64. Spot on really. You are right about the honourable mentions which have not aged well or have been upgraded on later consoles.

    It takes more than nostalgia to truly carry a game. I think some have missed the point that Goldeneye for example isnt the best thing going anymore. Its a list of games that stand up now.

    The n64 was the first console I bought new was I seriously into it. I have played most of the notable games and all of the games on your list. Even though the SNES and Cube were great the N64 always has a special place in my heart.

    I regret selling a few lower down on your list but have been buying them again at great prices. I think the newer consoles grabbed my attention but I now realise that I didnt give some N64 games a fair chance and they are a great classic retro play.

    Wetrix for example deserves a fair chance to get into it.even though lining up the isometric view isnt always easy.

    Blast Corps can be highly frustrating with the controls/camera but youve got to love it and its great retro fun. its crying out for a sequel.

    Im not sure I would pay £70 to get Conker again as the prices are going sky high on the net. Its a fun game though.

    So cheers for an informed roundup.

  181. Martin says:

    I may have been a little hasty in saying everything on your list stands the test of time.

    I have been playing Body Harvest again and although it has a certain charm, to have a save point at the end of a long level was certainly unforgiveable then and now.

    It is clunky and slow.The technical limitations of the camera and controls make it tedious much of the time. It may be a piece of history, but its not much fun to play through now. I only paid a pound for it and will probably see it through to the end. As a game does it matter now? Not enough to enjoy playing it!

    There are better games like Rocket Robot on wheels and Donkey kong 64 which deserve a place before this. Even Beetle Adventure Racing has fared better than this. Many of your also rans are better than this.

    The n64 is a difficult one because nearly all its games have not stood the time test due to the fact that things have moved on so much. The rest of your list is pretty good even if there are a few surprising omissions

  182. rakkkkkka says:

    ZELDA!!! <3 <3 <3

  183. Martin says:

    last comment :) No you were right…Body harvest is good and gets better as the levels progress. Its just some frustrations with the save point being at the end or you have to backtrack to the last save.

    Its still good fun even though the draw distance is low with fogging and the handling dated. As one reviewer pointed out the harder against the clock levels can happen at the end of a long level before a save point which can be frustrating at times.

    No worries though and a great list.

  184. luoluo123 says:

    Wow! I cant think I’ve discovered your blog. Extremely useful information.

  185. Haliebery says:

    you’re on crack if you don’t think that the original paper mario is the best without question.

  186. josh says:

    i had forgotten 1080 snowboarding but i bet blitz would have made the list if i had ever let anyone else win.. blitz2000, and cruis’n WORLD deserved mentioned with the classics

  187. Quicksilver says:

    Not a single mention of Gauntlet Legends? Or Bomberman 64? Next to FPS’s, these are the best multiplayer experiences ever.

  188. Thomas says:

    No best of N64 list without Pokemon Puzzle League. It was out-of-this-world good. Even if you don’t care about Pokemon at all.

  189. yupyup says:

    I think what a lot of people love about Super Smash Bros 64 is that it’s almost akin to a chess match. The simplicity of the physics and gameplay make decision-making and strategy almost more important than execution while playing against a worthy opponent. I played SSB64 all through high school, and then in college, a ton of my friends still played. On a visit to another school, the first thing we would do is fire up the 64 and play for a solid couple of hours to see which school was the best. If someone ever finds a way to make Smash 64 available online for ranked multiplayer, you’ll see a lot more people playing it again. I think the fact that I still occasionally play SSB (as well as Mario Kart) with college buddies before heading out to the bar says a lot about its staying power. And also, I’ve played Melee and Brawl and don’t like them one bit.

  190. Chewie says:

    Don’t know if its been said yet, but Star Wars Shadows of the Empire was an awesome game. Great level design like train hopping through a junk yard or blasting asteroids in space, awesome boss fights like having to take on an AT-ST or the Slave 1 on foot, and good story to go with it. Remember the first time you saw the creeping death that is a Wampa trudging menacingly at you as you unload your laser pistol helplessly into it? This game deserves to be mentioned.

  191. Tasha says:

    I need your help! There’s a Nintendo game my cousin used to play, but I can’t remember the name of it and it’s really bothering me! >.>
    I think it was some adventure game. The main character had one of those scarves pe something around his head and I think he was blonde… I may just not know what I’m talking about, but I drew this little “traveller” like guy for an assignment and my cousin said it reminded him of that old game, and it reminds me of it too but I can’t remember the game! ARGH!

  192. luuk2305 says:

    Hey, why wasn’t Paper Mario on the main list? Some, no, MOST of the things in Paper Mario still get used in todays Super Paper Mario, Paper Mario: TTYD, and even Paper Mario: Sticker Star.