There’s no denying the massive success of old-school consoles, and now that Nintendo realises they can resell us consoles we’ve already owned, there’s no stopping them. With the hugely popular NES Classic and SNES Classic already out in the wild, it’s only a short time until Nintendo announces the N64 Classic – much to the joy of ‘90s (and probably some ‘80s) kids everywhere. But the question we all have is, “What games would be included on the Nintendo 64 Classic?”
The NES Classic had 30 games installed on it, while the SNES Classic slashed that number down to a mere 21, so it’s safe to assume the inevitable N64 Classic will have between 20 and 30 titles. However, the obvious problem is cultivating a list of games. Though there weren’t as many games released on the N64 compared to either the NES or SNES, there was a higher quantity of quality games on the Nintendo 64. There, I said it. I’ll see you in the comments.
But in all seriousness, below is a list of titles I, personally, hope to see on the N64 Classic. I’ve avoided listing any games that are highly unlikely to appear on the console givien licencing issues, but there is an Honorable Mentions section at the end. Make sure to let me know in the comments why I’m dumb for including game x and not including game y.
Super Mario 64
There are few games I need to get out of the way first. I feel like these are such obvious choices, that there’s almost no need to mention them, but here goes. Super Mario 64 is, without a doubt, probably the sole reason so many consoles were sold on day one.
Super Mario 64 contained graphics, and gameplay, that were unprecedented advancements over the old-school side-scrolling Mario titles. While those who grew up with 2D Mario probably didn’t connect with this new fandangled 3D world, it propelled the series into a brand new direction.
The worlds of Super Mario 64 were huge, extremely well-detailed, and offered countless opportunities to explore. Instead of purely linear gameplay, Mario 64 essentially allowed gamers to enter any world they wanted, as long as they’d collected enough stars to do so. Countless hours were spent trying to collect 100 coins for that extra star or trying to read what the plaque said in the fountain out the back near all the Boos. Super Mario 64 had so much mystery and charm that it would be the greatest misstep if Nintendo did not include it on the N64 Classic.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. For anyone who had never played a Zelda game before, this was undoubtedly where their passion for the series first began. In a similar fashion to Super Mario 64, this was the first time Link would be experiencing a 3D world, and what a world it was!
Stepping out onto Hyrule field and seeing the world open up before you was a breath-taking experience. Hyrule Castle was in the distance, Death Mountain speared into the sky to your right, a little farm sat atop the hill to your left – you were given the opportunity to go wherever you wanted and the music hammered home the sense of exploration.
As gamers fought across Hyrule in a desperate attempt to save the world, they were met with all manner of unique and eccentric characters. But there was the underlying sense of darkness, of something evil lurking below the surface that was woven deep into the story. You can’t bring up Ocarina of Time without someone talking about the way the game made them feel, and if it’s not included on the N64 Classic, there will be some unfortunate feelings flying around.
Mario Kart 64
What self-respecting list of Nintendo 64 games wouldn’t include the beloved Mario Kart 64? Racing games aren’t everyone’s forte, but Mario Kart 64 is beyond that. Even the worst racers among us enjoy a few rounds of intense Mario Kart action. Though it doesn’t have the same lustre of the current versions, Mario Kart 64 offers some of the most iconic courses and tunes, while also offering fantastic gameplay.
Being able to jump into a kart and play as one of the many iconic Nintendo characters was a joy to do on the Nintendo 64. Everything looked brilliant, from the tracks, to the environment, and even the items and effects. And now that we're all older, we can attempt some of the many Mario Kart drinking games.
The Nintendo 64 Classic needs to have a snowboarding game, and luckily it has one of the best ever released. 1080 Snowboarding had it all, from a kickass soundtrack to tight controls and gameplay. 1080 Snowboarding also managed to exploit the Nintendo 64 for as much of its graphical processing power as possible, and the results show. Whether you were taking it easy looking at boards or shredding down the various tracks, all the visuals were crisp and clean.
I’ve spoken before about my deep love of Bomberman 64, so it comes as no surprise that I think this has to be included on the N64 Classic. As far as Bomberman games though, Bomberman 64 threw away the formula and the experience is better because of it. I could go on about why this game is the best Bomberman in existence, but I've already done that in the above link. The short of it is that the worlds were beautifully designed, the gameplay and puzzles engaging, and the multiplayer was intense fun.
Some might prefer to see Bomberman 64: The Second Attack included on this list, and while it was a solid experience, it didn’t have the same charm as the original. The same applies for Bomberman Hero, a worthy title but it lacks multiplayer.
There’s not been a radically well-received Bomberman title in a long time, so it would be great to see one included on the N64 Classic.
I couldn’t very well include 1080 Snowboarding without also adding Snowboard Kids onto this list. While they’re both racing games, Snowboard Kids offers a more “arcadey” experience. The characters were all kids, but that didn’t stop them from shooting each other with missiles, dropping rocks on the course, and turning one another into snowmen.
Snowboard Kids took the Mario Kart 64 experience and fused it together with 1080 Snowboarding, and what we’re left with is an action-packed racing game. Even the singleplayer offered a lot of fun, as you could work your way through the story, unlocking races, buying new snowboards, and even unlocking a secret character.
Earthworm Jim 3D
This is my list. Don’t tell me what to do. Earthworm Jim 3D was a disaster, missing the mark for a lot of long-time Jim fans. However, as a young impressionable kid, I fell in love with the zany world of Earthworm Jim through this game, and if it wasn’t for this title, I wouldn’t have decided to go back and play the older ones.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this title, with even the original creator of Earthworm Jim unimpressed with the direction the title took. In saying that, the 3D platforming and adventure gameplay, while not as well done as Super Mario 64, was quirky and fun.
There could end up being a lot of racing games on the Nintendo 64, but we couldn’t very well have all the others mentioned and not include F-Zero X. It had it all, fast moving vehicles, mind-melting level design, and a killer soundtrack. Nothing gets your heart racing faster than F-Zero X.
Star Fox 64
Star Fox 64, also known as Lylat Wars for those of us playing in Europe and Australia, is an epic on-rails flying shooter where you take on the role of Fox McCloud and pilot an Arwing through dozens of levels.
Boss battles break up the corridor sections and took place in huge open fields or out in the depths of space, where you could employ every trick in the book to take down your enemies. The levels contained hidden collectibles and alternate paths, all of which created an experience that encouraged you to play through again to find everything.
I would be very surprised if the Nintendo 64 Classic doesn’t include Star Fox 64, especially after the impressive inclusion of Star Fox 2 on the SNES Classic.
Mario Party 2
Mario Party started on the Nintendo 64, and from then on, it’s been a staple for every single Nintendo product to date. I can’t wait to see what they do with the Switch and Mario Party. Right now though, Mario Party 2 needs to be on the N64 Classic.
It’s a tough choice to make, as the first Mario Party is more iconic and is the reason the entire franchise exists, but the sequel offers so many more modes as well as players. Mario Party 3 would also be a worthy alternative, despite scoring lower in the reviews when compared to Mario Party 2.
The Nintendo 64 Classic needs a fighting game, and considering Microsoft have Killer Instinct, and there are enough Mortal Kombats to last a lifetime, Fighter’s Destiny is the perfect choice. It's a hidden gem too often overlooked.
Fighter’s Destiny had it all, from tournaments and survival modes to a sparring arena and even a rodeo-esque mode where you had to survive as long as you could. The roster of characters could be expanded by playing the game and finishing modes under certain parameters, all of which added a lot more challenge to the title.
In terms of combat, Fighter’s Destiny had an impressively deep combat system with hundreds of moves. Winning rounds was more than just knocking your enemy out, as finishing them off in unique ways earned you more points toward your victory. As far as fighting games go, Fighter’s Destiny is one of the best.
Wave Race 64
There are not enough ocean-based sports games. Wave Race 64 was released in 1996 to extremely positive reviews, all of which praised the games visuals and controls. Though they might look dated by today’s standards, 20 years ago, these visuals were cutting edge. It was incredible to see such detailed water physics in all manner of courses. The dynamic waves meant that every time you played a course, it could be slightly different, requiring you to make snap decisions on your movement.
Some of the most memorable moments were when you blasted over a ramp and managed to pull off a sweet mid-air trick while maintaining your lead. The announcer was always positive, congratulating you on your cornering and skills, and all the characters had their own quirks. The soundtrack alone makes Wave Race 64 worthy of a spot on the N64 Classic.
Paper Mario, with its cute little paper graphics, was an immediate hit. Reviewers praised it for its use of RPG elements, even going so far as to compare it to Super Mario RPG. Considering the huge success of Super Mario 64, it was surprising for Nintendo to revert to a 2D style. Despite this, Paper Mario utilized 3D environments as well as perspective-shifting in order to solve some of the puzzles.
It would be amazing to see Paper Mario included on the N64 Classic, as those who missed out on playing it back in the day would have a tough time tracking down a copy today.
Donkey Kong 64
Despite the fact that this was a Rareware title, Nintendo still own the Donkey Kong IP, so there’s a chance we could see this outrageous collect-a-thon title swing onto the Nintendo 64. The game took full advantage of the Nintendo 64’s memory expansion, with highly detailed environments and huge levels.
The large levels, puzzle solving, and general adventure gameplay made Donkey Kong 64 an instant-success back when it first launched in 1999. Since it has appeared in the Wii U Virtual Console library, and not on any Microsoft platforms, there’s a good chance we could see this title included on a N64 Classic.
Pokemon Snap was a surprisingly brilliant title on the Nintendo 64. For the most part, fans of Pokemon were expecting a game similar to what had been available on the GameBoy, but this on-rails photography game charmed the pants off of everyone.
The main premise was simple: you had to take photos of Pokemon for Professor Oak. Levels would play out in a linear fashion, with Pokemon appearing and running around as you scooted along the track. You would have to take photos of the Pokemon, which were in turn graded – the higher the grade, the more you progressed.
However, the real fun was when you revisited a level with a new item. The sleeping Snorlax you couldn’t get a good photo of? Well now that you’ve got a little flute, it’ll wake right up! Figuring out how to take the best photos of Pokemon was some of the most ridiculously enjoyable gameplay available on the Nintendo 64.
Rampage 2: Universal Tour
While it was simple at its core, Rampage was a heck of a lot of fun. Taking on the role of a giant monster, you had a single goal: tear the world to pieces. Each level was chock full of buildings that needed to be punched, kicked, and jumped on in order to be destroyed. Once enough buildings were taken down, it was on to the next level to do it again. Rampage was never going to win any awards or be someone’s Game of the Year, but it would be a fun addition to the line-up.
Star Wars Shadows of the Empire
Forget Rogue Squadron and Pod Racer, Shadows of the Empire was the best Star Wars game to release on the Nintendo 64, and quite possibly ever – until of course Battlefront blasted onto our consoles back in 2004.
Playing as Dash Rendar, Shadows of the Empire takes you through several pivotal moments of the Star Wars trilogy as you attempt to help the Rebels wherever possible. Levels include references to the films at every turn, making it feel as if you’re directly involved in the outcome of the movies.
While it does suffer from some frustrating controls, Shadows of the Empire offers rich gameplay experiences. You’ll be fighting in the Battle of Hoth in a Snowspeeder, using a jetpack to navigate the canyons of Gall, and even destroying a ship in a similar fashion to Luke taking down the Death Star.
As one of the top-selling titles on the N64, it would be unforgivable not to include it on the Nintendo 64 Classic.
Vehicles with guns strapped to them, set in an arena where the one with the most kills wins. Vigilante 8’s premise is astoundingly simple, and yet it does it so well. It included an interesting storyline where all the character’s lives intertwined and met at certain points. You would play through their various stories, killing other vehicles, and watch as the cutscene told you what happened.
The combat in Vigilante 8 was intense and chaotic. You could collect weapons off the ground, each attaching to your vehicle, and use them at your own leisure. They would all have different attack patterns, one would lay landmines while another shot homing rockets in the air.
Levels were large and required exploration, and even had some degree of environmental destruction. However the real explosions came once you earned enough to use your vehicle’s super move. The beekeeper would send out a swarm of bees to attack another player while another vehicle would send shockwaves through the world, warping the surrounding area. After enough playtime, you would surely find your favorite vehicle and stick with it through each of the extremely unique levels.
It's a pity the series didn't continue after the Nintendo 64, as it was a game you could easily kick back and play on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Here's hoping it finds its way onto the N64 Classic Edition.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
“So here I am, doing everything I can, holding on to what I am, pretending I'm a superman.” Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (also known as Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding), is the first skateboarding game in the series and for many, the best – not only because of the gameplay, but because of the unforgettable soundtrack.
THPS somehow managed to combine collect-a-thon style gameplay with an in-depth and intensely rewarding skateboarding combo system. Levels had multiple tasks to complete outside of acquiring an impressive high score. With a myriad of skaters to unlock and boards to customize, THPS offered us countless hours of fun back in 1999. But seriously, that soundtrack perfectly matched the gameplay. I’ll see you all in the comments section of the Superman – Goldfinger video.
I can hear the annoyingly high-pitched intro song right now, though it doesn’t stop me from wanting to dive back into this difficult and charming title. There aren’t enough Yoshi games out there, so when one rocks up, people tend to gravitate towards it, no matter the quality.
Unfortunately for Yoshi’s Story, it received a lot of negative reviews when it first launched, most commenting on its length, as the game offered a mere 24 courses. Despite this, Yoshi’s Story garnered a cult following, with gamers returning to it to unlock every last secret in the game.
Beetle Adventure Racing
Another racing game to add to the list. Beetle Adventure Racing is an astonishingly enjoyable racing game, despite only offering a single model of vehicle. Part of this success is due to the tracks, which contained some gorgeously detailed scenery. The variety of tracks was also impressive, ranging from forests and volcanos, to sunny beaches, deserts, and even winter locations.
Even the way the vehicles handled was stellar, with the controls feeling tight and responsive. Interestingly, in Australia, the Beetles were replaced with HSV Commodores with the name changing accordingly. That’s a lot of effort to go to for a racing game. It would be pretty incredible to see this given some more love by being included on the N64 Classic.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Don’t worry, Majora’s Mask makes the cut. I just hope Nintendo decide to bless us with not one, but two Zelda games. Majora’s Mask is the creepy and dark cousin of Ocarina of Time, which is saying a lot considering Ocarina of Time had its own dark moments.
The real selling point of Majora’s Mask was how the world reset, and in order to complete all the tasks, you would need to do things at specific times of the day. Part of the challenge was figuring out what you needed to do, and when you needed to do it, while also ensuring you actually, you know, saved the world – again.
Super Smash Bros.
This is where it all began. Super Smash Bros was the game you had to own, and if you didn’t, you’d visit the friend who did. For the first game in the series, Super Smash Bros got the formula perfect. Playing as one of a dozen or so Nintendo characters, players would take to one of many character-themed stages to belt the ever-living daylight out of other characters, with the last one standing the victor.
It wasn’t just senseless fighting either, as the game also offered a rich singleplayer experience consisting of a survival-style format culminating in an epic boss fight. Alternatively, every character had its own challenge arenas where you had to break all the targets or land on all the platforms in order to clear the level. If you were able to complete these activities perfectly, you could unlock bonus characters. However, some of the truly powerful characters were locked behind some near-impossible challenges.
The real joy came from plugging in four controllers and fighting your friends in the multiplayer. Tweaking the settings so that only specific weapons could spawn, restricting the spawning options, 1-versus-3 scenarios – the options were unlimited. I couldn’t see a situation in which Nintendo would choose to omit Super Smash Bros. from the N64 Classic. It needs to be on it.
Now we get to the part that’s probably more difficult to accept. While the above games have a good chance of appearing on the N64 Classic Edition, these games just missed the cut. That’s not to say these titles aren’t good, and in a perfect world, Nintendo would just give us every single game ever released. But we can only choose so many games.
Literally any Rareware title
Goldeneye 64, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Jet Force Gemini, and more. Rareware (now simply known as Rare) games were what many people considered to be the Nintendo 64’s strongest line-up of titles.
Everyone immediately knows what I’m talking about when I say, “Oddjob is banned,” or “the poop song”. These are games that have gone down as the greatest titles ever released, and while we’d love to see them on the Nintendo 64 Classic, there’s just not a very high chance of that happening. The reason for this is that Rare is now owned by Microsoft, which means all their IP has been shifted over to the Xbox One. Most of these titles have been included in Rare Replay, a collection of Rare’s most iconic games.
However, as for Goldeneye, it didn’t appear in Rare Replay, this is because it exists in limbo. Nintendo and Microsoft have some complex licencing issues here, not to mention that the James Bond franchise is a film franchise whose distribution rights are held by MGM. It’s a messy situation, and while I think the N64 Classic desperately needs Goldeneye, I just don’t see it happening.
Here’s looking at you, Harvest Moon. This title was only released in NA regions, making it unlikely to be included on the N64 Classic, which is a shame, given how iconic this series has become. It would also be nice to have a top-notch RPG included on the list. Looks like we’ll just have to be happy with the Zelda titles.
Sure, Mission Impossible was uncomfortably difficult to play, but it was an incredible stealth and espionage title that mirrored parts of the movie extremely well. Every level had set objectives you needed to clear, with more objectives being added the higher the difficulty. There was something fun about using the face-cloning machine and walking around the KGB office as the head honcho.
Just so we understand and appreciate what was so bad about this game. I would only want this included on the N64 Classic if it meant we didn’t miss out on another title. Superman 64 is often cited as one of the worst games ever made, so including it on the N64 Classic would be a sick joke.
Clay Fighter 63 1/3
Clay-mation meets a fighting game – what a brilliant idea. The zany characters were enough to make you want to play it, and that’s before you realized Blockbuster had its own special version with four bonus characters. It would be pretty amazing to have the Sculptor’s Cut version included on the N64 Classic, but we can only dream.
There you have it, the games we want on the Nintendo 64 Classic. The Nintendo 64 had a lot of quality games released on it during its lifetime, despite only having a small library. Though we want to have every single game we ever played included on the N64 Classic Edition, there's just no way Nintendo would be that generous. What games do you think absolutely have to be included in the N64 Classic, keeping in mind licencing nonsense.