Top 50 All-time Nintendo 64 (N64) Games That You Must Play


Nintendo made a massive leap between their 2nd and 3rd home game consoles- the SNES and Nintendo 64. They skipped the 32-bit era completely and went straight to 64-bit in 1996. This was nearly a year after Sony’s wildly successful PlayStation launch, and the N64 was still using cartridges instead of CDs.

But Nintendo had their own way of doing things. And the N64 did end up 2nd in sales numbers for 5th gen consoles despite having a shorter production run than the PS1. In terms of sheer muscle, the N64 beat PS1 with its NEC VR4300 64-bit chip and 4MB of RAM (8MB with the expansion).

Nintendo was adamant about sticking with cartridges over CD-ROMs because cartridges provided faster loading times and were more physically resilient. This meant you missed out on CD-quality cutscenes and soundtracks since N64 cartridges had less than a 10th of the capacity compared to CDs. Cartridges are also much harder to pirate than CDs.

Technology aside, the N64 was a revolutionary console for its time because it showed how 3D games should control with an analog stick. Games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64 paved the path for modern 3D RPGs, platformers, adventure games, etc. To celebrate the Nintendo 64’s exceptional legacy, I have compiled a list of the top 50 all-time Nintendo 64 games that you must play.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: November 23, 1998

Every Zelda game feels like an event, one that’s celebrated not just by Nintendo fans but gamers worldwide. And when Ocarina of Time came out in 1998, it brought The Legend of Zelda into the 3D realm. Ocarina of Time managed to blend graphics, gameplay, sound design, and story in a way that no other JRPG had done before.

Ocarina of Time was to the Nintendo 64 what Final Fantasy VII was to the PlayStation. Like previous Zelda games, you’re on a quest to rescue the princess while battling countless demons within labyrinthian dungeons. The world itself is absolutely mesmerizing, with new and unique areas to explore on each  

Super Mario 64

  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: September 29, 1996

Whenever you google a list of the best video games to ever be released, Super Mario 64 is guaranteed to be included. And for good reason- it revolutionized 3D platforming in the same way that Super Mario Bros. changed 2D platformers. Nintendo designed this game around their new controller which had an analog stick.

It let you control Mario in new and unique ways that just wouldn’t be possible with a simple D-pad. And now, you had an open-world design with plenty of areas to explore and random stuff to interact with. You could just chill back and explore the surroundings instead of rushing towards some immediate objective on a timer. 

Related Post
If you love retro games and are interested in SNES Games as well then you must check out my other list Top 50 All-Time SNES (Super Nintendo) Games That You Must Play

Banjo-Kazooie

  • Developer: Rare
  • Release Date: June 29, 1998

Looking back at the Nintendo 64, two things become abundantly clear. First, the console was a giant leap forward for Nintendo. Second, Rare was the top N64 developer with groundbreaking titles such as Banjo Kazooie and GoldenEye 007.

Rare’s “Project Dream” started out when they wanted to create a fantasy adventure game. It was centered around a young boy in a massive world filled with magic, wizards, and all sorts of unique creatures. Unfortunately, there were a lot of developmental hiccups before the game was finally released.

But what a spectacle it was when all the stars finally aligned for Rare. This game single-handedly put them on the map for the entire world to see. Banjo-Kazooie shared a lot of its story themes and controls with Super Mario 64 but offered a lot of gameplay elements that Mario didn’t. 

GoldenEye 007

  • Developer: Rare
  • Release Date: August 25, 1997

This isn’t just a great Nintendo 64 game, but the standard by which all console shooters would be judged in the coming future. Thanks to the analog stick on Nintendo 64’s controller, you could finally control a gun within a 3D environment. And it wasn’t just the James Bond branding that sold this game, it was genuinely well-made.

Each level was inspired by the Pierce Brosnan movie of the same name, and there was plenty of detail put into the environments. You had iconic James Bond pistols and rifles within the game, plus Bond himself was modeled to look exactly like Brosnan. Unlike modern shooters, selecting higher difficulties didn’t just mean enemies with higher health and extra damage.

Instead, you got new mission objectives on higher difficulties and had to complete them in specific ways. The game also has small stealth sections scattered in between levels, and you have an arsenal of cool gadgets. Weapons do more or less damage depending on where you hit the enemy. 

Related Post
If you love retro games and intrested in NES as well than you must check out my other list Top 50 All-time NES Games That You Must Play

Perfect Dark

  • Developer: Rare
  • Release Date: May 22, 2000

Another shooter developed by Rare, this one came out 3 years after GoldenEye. And it was every bit as good, perhaps even better. While Perfect Dark is a new IP and not based on the Bond franchise, it borrows a lot of stuff from GoldenEye.

The protagonist is female, one of the first female main characters in a 3D shooter game. There are more levels than GoldenEye, and the storyline is an absolute thriller. There is less spying and more sci-fi action in this game, plus the universe is thematically darker compared to the more light-hearted Bond movies of that time. 

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: October 26, 2000

Majora’s Mask arrived towards the tail-end of the Nintendo 64’s lifespan, but it left a lasting mark on the legacy of this exceptional console. The world design and exploration were drastically changed from Ocarina of Time. It used the same engine as Nintendo’s first 3D Zelda game, but with some extra goodies loaded on top.

For starters, there was a brand new kingdom called Termina that you could explore in addition to Hyrule. Day/ night cycles were now a thing, and they happened in real-time. You also had these mysterious, eerie temples you could explore and masks that could change the form of your character. 

Related Post
If you love retro games and are interested in GBA Games as well then you must check out my other list Top 50 All-Time GBA (Gameboy Advance) Games That You Must Play

Wave Race 64

  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: November 4, 1996

This is a racing game featuring jet-skis ripping through scenic waterbodies. You’ve got ocean courses, lakes, water parks, and more to play around in. This game is unique in the sense that all racing takes place on the water, which is rendered beautifully.

For a game made in the mid-late 90s, you won’t find better water effects than Wave Racer 64. Water was difficult to animate back then, and the limited graphics processing abilities of early console processors didn’t help. Wave Race 64 stands out from normal racing games featuring cars on road courses that were being released back then. 

Rayman 2: The Great Escape

  • Developer: Ubi Pictures
  • Release Date: November 6, 1999

A 3D platformer with 3rd person camera view, Rayman 2 feels a lot more linear than games like Ocarina of Time or Super Mario 64. Level design is decent, with plenty of variety from one stage to another. You fight enemies called Robo-Pirates and collect little shards of energy called “lums” which come in different colors.

To unlock new sections of the map, you need to collect a specific number of lums. Some parts of the map have hidden areas with prisoners trapped in cages that you can free. Rayman also gains new abilities as he progresses in the game.

Related Post
If you love retro games and are interested in Sega Genesis Games as well then you must check out my other list Top 50 All-time Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) Games That You Must Play

Star Fox 64

  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: June 30, 1997

The original Star Fox came out on Nintendo’s SNES, this one was designed to take full advantage of the N64’s 3D graphics. It also supports the Rumble Pak accessory that attaches to the N64 controller for force feedback via rumble motors. Star Fox 64 is an on-rail shooter, meaning Fox McCloud pilots a spaceship (usually an Arwing) on a predetermined path. 

Mario Kart 64

  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: February 10, 1997

So, it’s Mario Kart- the game that has broken many a friendship. You know how it goes; you’ve got some of the most popular characters from the Mario universe duking it out on racetracks while driving ridiculous-looking vehicles. Mario Kart 64 is more of the same stuff, but with 3D graphics and some extra goodies.

You’ve got new race tracks, more characters to choose from, and 4-player local multiplayer. There are new power sliding systems and weapons like lightning to help you spin out your foes on the track. Certain tracks are insanely gorgeous as they travel through buildings and tunnels, plus there are plenty of slopes and hills to keep you on your toes. 

Related Post
If you love retro games and intrested in PlayStation 1 as well than you must check out my other list Top 50 All-time PlayStation 1(PS1) Games That You Must Play

F-Zero X

  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: October 26, 1998

A futuristic racer in which you drive plasma-powered hover cars across intergalactic race circuits. A mixture of rock and techno soundtracks will play in the background while you drive your car through tight corners at breakneck speeds.

Cars have energy meters and will explode if their energy level drops to zero. There are plates located on the racetrack which give you a temporary speed boost without using up energy. You can also bump into cars to drop their energy meter and knock them out. 

Paper Mario

  • Developer: Intelligent Systems
  • Release Date: February 5, 2001

During the end of the SNES lifecycle, Nintendo released Super Mario RPG which basically a 2D Mario RPG game. It didn’t do so well in sales because it wasn’t released in Europe and Australia. On top of that, people had already moved on to 3D consoles.

However, there was a spiritual successor to this 2D Mario RPG that arrived 3 years later. It’s called Paper Mario and was released during a time when people had grown accustomed to Super Mario 64 and its 3D world. Despite releasing in the midst of a 3D platformer craze, Paper Mario performed extremely well.

Compared to Super Mario RPG, the battle system has been changed a bit. Instead of 3 members in the party, you now have one companion. The partner you have is low on HP but has access to some pretty sweet special moves. 

Related Post
If you love retro games and intrested in PS2 as well than you must check out my other list Top 50 All-Time Playstation 2 (PS2) Games That You Must Play

Super Smash Bros

  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Date: April 26, 1999

It’s a fighting game in which Nintendo’s most famous characters duke it out against each other. You have Mario fighting Luigi, Donkey Kong vs Kirby, etc. And the stages are set in worlds of famous Nintendo games such as Zelda or Metroid.

The actual fighting mechanics aren’t super deep, you don’t need to learn a ton of combinations or timings. Instead, it’s a fun brawler with 3D models that uses 2D fighting game mechanics. The camera viewpoint is fixed, and each character has their own unique abilities.

WWF WrestleMania 2000

  • Developer: Asmik Ace Entertainment
  • Release Date: October 31, 1999

A game that arrived during the peak of the 90s wrestling craze. It merged the grappling system of previous WWF games with some new tweaks to create a masterpiece. You’ve got all the headline names such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Undertaker, etc.

On top of that, there are some pretty interesting mid-card entries, and even a few jobbers to keep things exciting for everyone. There are various stages including Raw, WrestleMania, Sunday Night Heat, and Summer Slam. Hidden weapons, improved entrance scenes, and better crowds make this one of the best wrestling games for Nintendo 64 fans. 

Related Post
If you love retro games and intrested in MS-DOS Games as well than you must check out my other list Top 20 MS-DOS Games That You Must Play

Ridge Racer 64

  • Developer: Nintendo Software Technology
  • Release Date: February 14, 2000

Initially launched on PlayStation, Ridge Racer finally found a new home in the Nintendo 64. Ridge Racer 64 combines elements from both the original Ridge Racer and its successor, Ridge Racer Revolution. You get tracks from the first two games, as well as some new tracks exclusive to the Nintendo 64 version.

There are 25 cars to choose from. And the drifting/ power sliding mechanic has been tweaked so taking corners looks cooler than ever before. You won’t lose control though; it almost feels as if the car is moving around on rails while sliding. 

Resident Evil 2

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: October 31, 1999

A masterpiece in survival horror, Resident Evil 2 keeps you on your toes at all times since you never know what’s around the corner. There are some action set pieces, but they don’t interrupt the otherwise slow and methodical pacing of this game. You can play as either Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield.

Leon is a newly appointed police officer whose first day at work involves him running into a giant mob of zombies. He meets Claire after the infected driver of an 18-wheeler crashes into him. Both these characters make their way through a police station, underground parking lot, and various other creepy places that are filled to the gills with zombies. 

Related Post
If you love retro games and intrested in Game Boy as well than you must check out my other list Top 50 All-time Game Boy Games That You Must Play

NHL 99

  • Developer: EA Canada
  • Release Date: October 1, 1998

While there were a whole lot of video game options for football fans in the 90s, hockey fans didn’t enjoy the same variety of choices. However, when the few games you do get are of this good quality who cares? NHL 99 is a prime example of that, with excellent animations and character models that still look decent today.

It even had ice reflections which was a technological marvel back in the day. Body checks feel brutal, thanks to the sound effects and animation. The AI has been improved drastically compared to previous NHL games so now the computer actually provides a challenge and feels more unpredictable.  

Conker’s Bad Fur Day

  • Developer: Rare
  • Release Date: March 5, 2001

So, I’m going to come out and say that you shouldn’t play this game in front of kids. Yeah, the name makes it sound like a kiddy game with cute furry creatures who go on adventures with their friends. But the reality is completely different from what the box art suggests.

This is a game designed for mature audiences since it features gratuitous amounts of violence and edgy jokes. There’s smoking, drinking, and all sorts of other activities you’ll engage in that make it feel closer to Duke Nukem than Mario. You fight bosses, solve puzzles, race, and gather collectibles to generate cash which unlocks new levels. 

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

  • Developer: Factor 5
  • Release Date: December 7, 1998

It’s a Star Wars game in which you fly as a Rebel pilot, going up against the evil Empire and their legion of spaceships. There are air-to-air missions, air-to-ground missions, dogfights, bombing runs, and more to keep you entertained. You’ll even do some rescue and reconnaissance missions with your airplane.

There are X-wings, Y-wings, A-wings, V-wings, Snowspeeders, and many other Rebel aircraft in your arsenal. You’ll go up against AT-AT walkers, TIE-fighters, AT-STs, and many other Empire machines over the course of 15 story missions. 

Diddy Kong Racing

  • Developer: Rare
  • Release Date: November 24, 1997

One of the best-selling games for Nintendo’s N64. Diddy Kong Racing captured the heart of every gamer with its excellent visuals and sound quality back in the 90s. It has a story that serves no purpose other than to provide an excuse for racing on multiple tracks across different planets.

Basically, Diddy Kong and friends are out to stop an evil space wizard pig. Apparently, the best way to do so is by winning a bunch of races while driving cars, hovercrafts, and airplanes.

Mario Party 2

  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Release Date: January 24, 2000

As the name indicates, it’s one big party involving Mario and the Mushroom Kingdom gang. You and up to 3 other players will pick their choice of character and sit down to roll dice for an interactive board game. You move spaces on the board depending on how high or low you roll.

The player with the most stars at the end will win, and you win these stars by moving around the board. You can also purchase stars with coins that are obtained from playing minigames at the end of each round. There are all sorts of minigames- 2 vs 2, 3 vs 1, free for all, etc. 

WWF No Mercy

  • Developer: Asmik Ace Entertainment, AKI Corporation
  • Release Date: November 17, 2000

This is the successor to THQ’s wildly successful WWF WrestleMania 2000. And because of that, WWF No Mercy had some really big shoes to fill. So did it succeed?

You bet it did, thanks to a gigantic roster of over 65 legendary characters- some of them were even hidden. The ladder matches in this game are bonkers, and double-team moves look insanely good too.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

  • Developer: Neversoft
  • Release Date: August 21, 2001

Simply put, the best skateboarding game for Nintendo 64. It takes everything that was good about the first Pro Skater and cranks it all up to 11. You’ve got memorable new locations that all feel and look unique.

There’s The Big Apple, The Bullring, Mexico, Philadelphia, and more. New features like Create-A-Park significantly improve replayability value, while maneuvers like the manual give you a true sense of accomplishment. There is graffiti mode, trick attack, horse mode, etc. and you can play as Tony Hawk himself (as well as other legendary pro skaters). 

Banjo-Tooie

  • Developer: Rare
  • Release Date: November 20, 2000

Banjo-Kazooie was a smash hit, and Rare developed a successor to capitalize on its insane popularity. That successor is Banjo-Tooie, a game in which you control the two protagonists from the first game. You’re tasked with stopping the evil witch Gruntilda and her sisters who are trying to turn the people of your island nation into toast.

Much like the previous game, this one’s an action platformer filled with all sorts of enemies and obstacles. But the world itself is much larger with more areas to explore and collectibles to find. Plus, there’s a multiplayer mode with minigames that are repurposed from the main story campaign. 

Rocket: Robot on Wheels

  • Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
  • Release Date: October 31, 1999

At this point, you’ve seen it all when it comes to 3D platformers with games such as Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. But Sucker Punch felt there was more to explore within this genre, and they proved it with Rocket: Robot on Wheels in 1999.

This too is a platformer, but instead of running around collecting stuff you solve puzzles involving mass and inertia. Rocket: Robot on Wheels is the first major home console platformer with an advanced physics engine, and its gameplay was centered around this aspect. 

Mario Party 3

  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Release Date: May 7, 2001

Another party game for you and up to 3 friends who can hook up their controllers and have some good old-fashioned fun. Mario Party 3 doesn’t break new ground, it does much of what the previous 2 games in this series did. But there is more of everything.

More minigames, more characters to unlock in solo mode, more action, etc. There are new adventure boards as well. Hudson Soft also threw in a new 1 v 1 duel mode. 

Harvest Moon 64

  • Developer: Victor Interactive Software
  • Release Date: December 22, 1999

Basically, Farming Simulator before that game was even a concept in the mind of its creator. In the original Harvest Moon for SNES, you were a boy who inherited an entire farm from his grandfather. You would plant seeds, water them, add fertilizer, etc.

This is the same game but in 3D. With a few new mechanics added in. You can do various activities like checking the weather report, removing weeds, participating in town festivals, etc.  

Mario Golf

  • Developer: Camelot Software Planning
  • Release Date: July 26, 1999

Normally if you wanted to play golf, you’d have to spend a small fortune. All that gear and a membership at the local golf course aren’t cheap. However, Nintendo’s got you covered with Mario Golf- a fun way to spend the time at home without spending thousands of dollars.

Is it like real golf? Not really, but the simulation aspects aren’t bad. Wind physics, ball trajectories, and the effect of different golf club types are all done very well. 

Space Station: Silicon Valley

  • Developer: DMA Design
  • Release Date: October 21, 1998

In the future, we create this gigantic amusement park that’s supposed to be the most advanced piece of tech ever. It’s a giant floating island that gets launched into space but disappears mysteriously. Some years later, it’s back and traveling really fast on a trajectory that leads it straight into Earth.

To stop this oncoming disaster, you have to beat 30 levels of 3D platforming action set in beautiful environments covered with greenery. You play as a robot who was reduced to a microchip during a crash and has the power to control animals. Each animal you control has different abilities and endurance numbers.

Doom 64

  • Developer: Midway Studios San Diego
  • Release Date: April 4, 1997

Doom might have single-handedly invented the first-person shooter craze that took over in the 90s. Every platform was scrambling to get a piece of the pie, but the N64 excelled at FPS gaming thanks to its controller. However, Doom 64 is not a simple copy and paste job.

It features a storyline that takes place after the events of Doom 2. Not that story means a lot in these early Doom games, but that’s how you know Doom 64 isn’t just an N64 port of Doom. Doom 64 often feels more like a survival horror game than an action shooter, thanks to all the puzzles and jump scares.

Mischief Makers

  • Developer: Treasure
  • Release Date: October 1, 1997

Mischief Makers feels different because it’s one of the few 2D side-scrolling platformers to release on the Nintendo 64. During an era when 3D platformers and action games were taking over, this game stands out from the crowd with its unique aesthetic. The most interesting thing about Mischief Makers is its diverse gameplay segments.

Some sections feel like a puzzle game while others feel like action-adventure. The core gameplay involves 2D platforming but unlike old Mario games, you have an actual story with deep characters and complex themes. Grabbing and throwing are a huge part of gameplay, similar to Gunstar Heroes. 

Mario Party

  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Release Date: February 8, 1999

When this game initially came out, it was quite controversial. Primarily due to some of the minigames which required you to rapidly rotate the analog stick on the N64 controller. This motion broke many analog sticks and injured the fingers of kids since the stick had these sharp, circular ridges on the top.

Nowadays, Mario Party 2 and 3 are much more popular than the first game. But that’s also the reason why cartridges for the first Mario Party are so rare (and expensive). Despite being mechanically similar to subsequent Mario Party titles, this one is a collector’s item thanks to its rarity. 

Pokémon Stadium 2

  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: March 26, 2001

It’s a Pokémon game, and you know what that means. Capturing and raising pocket monsters so you can beat other pocket monsters owned by your rivals. However, Pokémon Stadium 2 involves a lot more strategy than older games from this franchise.

You’ve got 4 Stadium cups, two of which have four 8-trainer battles. There’s a Pokémon academy as well, where you can learn about various Pokémon and participate in classes (it even has tests). With 251 Pokémon, various mini-games, and 3D battles, you’ll never get bored of playing this game. 

WCW/nWo Revenge

  • Developer: Asmik Ace Entertainment
  • Release Date: October 26, 1998

This game is exclusive to Nintendo 64 and was released during the height of the WWF-WCW Monday Night War. It features some of the biggest heavyweights from the WCW stable at their peaks. You’ve got Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Sting, Scott Hall, Lex Luger, Bret Hart, and many others.

Some like Rowdy Roddy Piper are locked so you’ll have to play through some tournaments before you can access them. The gameplay is pretty simple- you’ve got grapple along with light and heavy attacks. All attacks build spirit and when the gauge is filled, you can unleash a finisher unique to each wrestler. 

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

  • Developer: Neversoft
  • Release Date: February 29, 2000

This is the original Pro Skater, a game that revolutionized skateboarding titles on home consoles. Suddenly, it was cool to play skateboarding games instead of football or hockey games. And the first Pro Skater still holds up to this day.

While Mario collects stars, you collect videotapes. These tapes are scattered across each level and you collect them by running into them or smashing up objects. Tapes unlock new levels and skateboards, plus you have a collection of 10 real-life pro skaters to choose from.

Pokémon Snap

  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Date: June 30, 1999

I’ll let you take a guess as to what type of game this is. Hint- it’s not an adventure game like on the handheld consoles. Nor is it a fighting game like on the home consoles.

Ok, Pokémon Snap is a game in which… you take pictures of Pokémon. And it all plays out as an on-rails shooter in which Todd from the anime takes photos of Pokémon for Professor Oak. 

San Francisco Rush 2049

  • Developer: Midway Games West
  • Release Date: September 5, 2000

A futuristic racing game set within the urban streets of a cyberpunk San Francisco. You drive cars that handle like jet aircraft, partly because they have wings on each side and can glide around. Half of the game is about making cool jumps and sticking the landing to score bonus points.

There are 19 tracks and 13 upgradeable cars, along with various game modes. You have got a stunt mode, a battle mode, and more. Vehicle physics is extremely advanced for the time, and the visuals are decent even by today’s standards. 

Donkey Kong 64

  • Developer: Rare
  • Release Date: November 22, 1999

Possibly the most ambitious game designed for Nintendo 64, Donkey Kong 64 marks a huge leap forward. Gone are the 2D days, now you’ve got a giant open world rendered in 3 dimensions. And you aren’t limited to basic platforming either, there are a bunch of side activities and quests.

There are tons of collectible, hidden areas, and 8 worlds to explore. You can play as 5 different characters, each with their own unique objectives per level. Tiny has the ponytail whirl to fly around, Diddy has a jetpack.

Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber

  • Developer: Quest Corporation
  • Release Date: October 5, 2000

The name is kind of funky, but the gameplay is an entirely different story. Ogre Battle 64 has some of the most immersive and tactical combat sequences you’ll see in any RPG. You can control and assign commands to 50 units at the same time, which makes this feel like an RTS instead of an RPG.

Instead of picking attach options, it’s more about placing your units in the right spot at the right time. The AI handles most of the micro stuff, so you only need to concern yourself with the strategy aspect. There are various unit types- swordsmen, mages, archers, etc. 

Snowboard Kids

  • Developer: Racdym
  • Release Date: February 1998

Think of this game like Mario Kart, but with snowboards. And it’s a ton of fun, thanks to all the stunts you can pull off. There are environmental hazards and powerups too, just like Mario Kart.

You can crouch, jump, and turn which form your basic snowboarding maneuvers. There are 5 playable characters to select from, each with its own unique quirks. 

Goemon’s Great Adventure

  • Developer: Konami 
  • Release Date: September 15, 1999

A simple yet thoroughly engaging 2.5D action side-scroller game in which you play as one of the characters from the previous game. Your goal is to defeat the demon Dochuki who rules the underworld. This guy has been resurrected and is trying to take over the mortal realm with monsters lifted straight out of Japanese folklore. 

Pilotwings 64

  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: September 29, 1996

One of the earliest 3D flight simulation games for home consoles, Pilotwings 64 was a launch title for Nintendo 64. It’s extremely easy to pick up, and the controls are fairly simplistic. Simulation isn’t the priority of this game, although it does a fairly decent job with flight physics.

The aircraft you fly is a hang glider, and there are a total of 6 selectable characters. On each level, you’re presented with different challenges. You will have to fly through rings, hit targets, take pictures, etc. while dodging various environmental hazards. 

Blast Corps

  • Developer: Rare
  • Release Date: March 24, 1997

This was a time when the AAA gaming industry was still finding its footing, and sequels/ unnecessarily gigantic developmental budgets weren’t a thing. It was also a time of innovation and experimentation since 3D technology was so new to home consoles. As a result, you got many middle-market games that were built from entirely new concepts with the singular goal of being fun.

One of those games is Blast Corps, a simple game in which you guide a nuclear missile carrier through maze-like puzzles. You are part of the Blast Corps, an expert demolition team capable of destroying every obstacle in your way. And if you don’t get this nuclear missile carrier to its base on time… well the entire place will get reduced to rubble from a nuclear explosion.

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

  • Developer: Iguana Entertainment
  • Release Date: December 10, 1998

Another excellent FPS, Turok 2 paved the way for FPS games on home consoles alongside GoldenEye and Doom 64. Turok 2 has a wide variety of enemies who are all armed with different weapons such as claws, tentacles, giant jaws, etc. You start out with a pretty tame selection of weapons, but subsequent levels unlock new and more destructive firearms.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3

  • Developer: Neversoft
  • Release Date: August 20, 2002

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 had a pretty rocky reception on the Nintendo 64. It added some features absent from other versions of the game, but also removed a few classics. For instance, you now have access to the revert which is a neat landing trick.

But you miss out on several handplants and grinds. The N64 version of Pro Skater 3 also lacks destructible environments and pedestrian/ vehicle traffic. But thanks to the revert, you can chain multiple vert tricks and construct an exceptional combo maneuver.

Star Wars Episode I: Racer

  • Developer: LucasArts
  • Release Date: May 18, 1999

While the first prequel for Star Wars didn’t strike it big in the minds of critics or fans, it spawned a pretty cool racing game. Star Wars Episode I: Racer is one of the best-selling racing games for Nintendo’s N64 console.

And why was this game so successful? Well, it’s got excellent controls and visuals combined with pod racer car models lifted straight from the movie. The levels are based on various planets from the Star Wars universe and look marvelous.

Jet Force Gemini

  • Developer: Rare
  • Release Date: October 11, 1999

You’ve seen first-person shooters on the Nintendo 64, but what about 3rd person shooters? Jet Force Gemini is exactly that- a 3rd person action shooter with some platforming elements thrown in.

It has 3 playable characters, two of which you unlock in later sections of the game. And depending on which character you’re playing; you can approach environmental hazards and puzzles in completely different ways. Each character has its own unique special ability.

Snowboard Kids 2

  • Developer: Racjin
  • Release Date: March 2, 1999

While the original Snowboard Kids was often referred to as “Mario Kart on ice”, the truth is that it involved a lot more strategy. For starters, you need coins for power-ups. And coin could only be accrued through tricks as you went downhill on your snowboard.

Snowboard Kids 2 develops on the same basic premise established by the first game and adds some additional features. There are more levels than before, with some underwater and jungle stages thrown into the mix. There are new characters and snowboards as well.

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Date: June 26, 2000

It’s another Kirby platformer, but this time in 3D. Just like before, you play as everyone’s favorite pink ball of fluff Kirby who has the ability to suck his enemy’s powers and use it for himself. In this game, you have a total of 6 different worlds, each with 4 sub-levels and there’s a boss battle at the end of each level.

World Driver Championship

  • Developer: Boss Game Studios
  • Release Date: June 1999

Think of it as Nintendo’s version of Gran Turismo, for the N64. Minus the attention to detail, accurate simulation, and a huge selection of cars. Nevertheless, World Driver Championship is a fun little racing game.

It even apes some features like replay straight from Gran Turismo. Cars have different statistics in drifting, acceleration, and speed that decide which one is the best for any given track. 

Conclusion

Nintendo 64’s main advantage over PS1 isn’t processing power, but the unique controller design. No other console at the time used analog sticks which we take for granted these days. The N64’s trident-shaped controller was the first to use an analog stick, and games like Super Mario 64 took full advantage of it.

So influential was the N64 controller, that Sony released their own updated controller just 1 year after the N64. The Sony Dual Analog Controller had 2 sticks, one for each thumb. And it was clearly inspired by the success of the N64 controller.

And talking of controllers, the N64 had 4 controller slots. This is why in the 90s if your friend owned a Nintendo 64, you could play games with them. If they owned a PlayStation instead, you would watch them play games (since PS1 only had 2 slots for controllers).

Nintendo 64 gamers got a taste of what it feels like to play a first-person shooter when Rare made Goldeneye. Previously, this genre of games had remained exclusive to PC because of mouse + keyboard controls and superior hardware. The N64 controller also revolutionized player control design for 3D games, inspiring visionaries like Gabe Newell.

If you found this article useful, you may want to save this pin below to your Gaming board.

Jacob

As long as I can remember myself I always enjoyed video games. I had amazing moments playing them and that's why I became a game developer, to create amazing experiences for the players. Read More About Me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts