Home

 › 

Articles

 › 

The 30 Best Games on Nintendo 64

Nintendo 64 console

The 30 Best Games on Nintendo 64

Always one to do its own thing and buck industry trends, Nintendo’s decision to stick with the cartridge format while all of its competitors made the switch to CD-ROM was a bold choice. The unexpected entry of Sony into the 5th-generation hardware race, and its ability to entice third-party publishers over to its side thanks to its impressive hardware and the affordances offered by the PlayStation’s embrace of the CD-ROM format left Nintendo in a bit of a precarious position following the runaway success of both the NES and SNES. Nintendo had definitively won the 3rd and 4th generation “console wars”, but its victory in the 5th generation was anything but certain. Thanks to a slew of groundbreaking first and third-party titles that could squeeze every trick out of the company’s new hardware, the best Nintendo 64 games are some of the most important titles of the generation.

30. Pilotwings 64

Pilotwings 64 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — September 29, 1996
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Nintendo EAD
  • Review Aggregate Score — 80% (Generally Favorable)

The SNES would launch with the original Pilotwings acting as a showpiece for the console’s power, so it makes perfect sense that Nintendo would follow it up with a 3D rendition on its next hardware. Pilotwings 64 is similar to its predecessor in that the gameplay is fairly straightforward as far as flight sims go. However, its embracing of full 3D at a time when the technology was still in its infancy is incredibly impressive. As far as launch titles for the Nintendo 64 are concerned, Pilotwings 64 is one of the three games (along with Super Mario 64 and Wave Race 64) to showcase how adept Nintendo was at creating captivating experiences on its new console.

29. Jet Force Gemini

Jet Force Gemini box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — October 11, 1999
  • Publisher/Developer — Rare/Rare
  • Review Aggregate Score — 80% (Generally Favorable)

One of Nintendo’s most valuable partners during the 5th console generation would end up being Rare, whose incredible lineup of software on the Nintendo 64 is the only catalog that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Nintendo’s first-party offerings. While it’s not quite as popular or well-remembered as some of its other titles on the console, Rare’s Jet Force Gemini is an interesting third-person shooter with impressive visuals and audio and an interesting gameplay mechanic. Rather than play as one character, players regularly switch between the Gemini Twins and their dog, each of whom plays differently and is better suited to certain levels over others. It has some odd difficulty spikes and some pacing issues, but Jet Force Gemini is still an important game in both Rare’s catalog and the Nintendo 64 library.

28. Pokémon Puzzle League

Pokemon Puzzle League box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — September 1, 2000
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Nintendo Software Technology
  • Review Aggregate Score — 81% (Generally Favorable)

Though it’s not all that different from your standard falling-block puzzlers, Pokémon Puzzle League‘s inclusion of Ash Ketchum and other characters from the Pokémon animated series at the height of its popularity made it a must-have game on the Nintendo 64. That, and it also happens to be one of the rare games in the puzzle genre on the console that’s not just a straight-up port or “64”-ized version of a classic title (looking at you, Dr. Mario 64). Surprisingly, the various difficulty modes in the game can provide a challenge for even the most grizzled puzzle game veterans, and the multiplayer mode made Pokémon Puzzle League an essential in the Nintendo 64 library for Pokémon fans and fans of puzzle games.

27. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter

Turok box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — March 4, 1997
  • Publisher/Developer — Acclaim Entertainment/Iguana Entertainment
  • Review Aggregate Score — 85% (Generally Favorable)

Just a few short months before the release of GoldenEye 007, the Nintendo 64 would get its initial great first-person shooter in Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. Loosely based on the Valiant Comics character of the same name, Turok places players into the shoes of the titular hero, one of many Turoks throughout history charged with protecting humanity from extra-dimensional invaders with a dinosaur army at their disposal. Turok ends up being one of the first titles on the Nintendo 64 to showcase how well-suited the strange N64 controller is for FPS gameplay, with its (at the time) unique analog stick. Turok is also a fairly long game in comparison to other contemporary FPS titles, and it’s not unreasonable to spend upwards of 10 hours hunting down all the level keys and finding the hidden pieces of the Chronoscepter.

26. Banjo-Tooie

Banjo-Tooie box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — November 20, 2000
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Rare
  • Review Aggregate Score — 90% (Universal Acclaim)

If there’s one knock that can be levied against Banjo-Tooie, it’s that it doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from its amazing predecessor. That said, with the 3D platforming and collectible-hunting gameplay of Banjo-Kazooie being as great as it is, it makes sense for Rare to not stray too far from a successful formula. Banjo-Tooie has some truly incredible worlds to get lost in whose inventiveness in their design and challenges rivals the greatest 3D platformers ever made, and its excellent visuals and soundtrack only add to the title’s enduring charm. However, the size and scope of the game’s worlds (as well as the improvements to the title’s presentation over its predecessor) result in it having an inconsistent framerate. Otherwise, Banjo-Tooie would rank much higher on a list of the best Nintendo 64 games.

25. Mario Tennis

Mario Tennis box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — August 28, 2000
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Camelot Software Planning
  • Review Aggregate Score — 91% (Universal Acclaim)

Truthfully, Mario Tennis and Mario Golf are both excellent and accessible simulations of their respective sports, regardless of their inclusion of the Mario license and characters. Both titles feature development from Camelot Software Planning, whose excellence in crafting fun and compelling sports titles for players of all ages has resulted in the studio continuing to have the reins on most Mario sports titles. While Mario Tennis on Nintendo 64 is not the first Mario Tennis game (an honor belonging to the Virtual Boy incarnation), it is the first game to introduce the fan-favorite character Waluigi.

24. Diddy Kong Racing

Diddy Kong Racing box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — November 24, 1997
  • Publisher/Developer — Rare/Rare
  • Review Aggregate Score — 88% (Generally Favorable)

Another of Rare’s standout titles on the Nintendo 64 and many players’ favorite racing game on the console, Diddy Kong Racing is one of the few kart racers that can even begin to compare with Mario Kart 64. What Diddy Kong Racing has going for it over Nintendo’s first-party kart racer, though, is its excellent adventure mode (complete with unique bosses) and the ability for each racer’s kart to transform mid-stage to accommodate changes in the tracks’ environment. It’s a trick that later kart racers (even including future Mario Kart games) would pull from, making Diddy Kong Racing an important innovator in the kid-friendly and multiplayer-centric kart racing subgenre.

23. Excitebike 64

Excitebike 64 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — April 30, 2000
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Left Field Productions
  • Review Aggregate Score — 88% (Generally Favorable)

Making its return to a Nintendo console for the first time since the excellent 8-bit entry on the NES, Excitebike 64 feels like a modern update and a homecoming for one of Nintendo’s unspoken heroes. The original Excitebike is one of many titles on the NES developed and spearheaded by legendary Nintendo luminary Shigeru Miyamoto, and Excitebike 64 somehow captures the spirit of the arcade original while updating it for modern audiences. Unlike the original Excitebike, Excitebike 64 is a much more realistic interpretation of the sport of motocross, but its embracing of the fun and arcade feel the series is known for results in it being much more fun than a typical simulation racer. And of course, the Nintendo 64’s 4 controller ports facilitate Excitebike 64 being one of many excellent multiplayer titles on the console.

22. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

Turok 2 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — December 10, 1998
  • Publisher/Developer — Acclaim Entertainment/Iguana Entertainment
  • Review Aggregate Score — 86% (Generally Favorable)

Iguana Entertainment’s second crack at the now-iconic Turok franchise would end up being a slam dunk in comparison to its predecessor, building off the already strong foundation of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and adding in one of the console’s best FPS multiplayer modes. The 4 controller ports of the Nintendo 64 made split-screen local multiplayer matches one of the console’s highlights, with titles like GoldenEye 007 and Turok 2 leading the charge as some of the best deathmatch options on the hardware. Turok 2 earns a special place in the Nintendo 64 thanks to its inventive and off-the-wall arsenal of weapons, which happens to include the notorious Cerebral Bore. Turok 2‘s excellent single-player campaign is better than the original Turok‘s by every metric, but it’s the phenomenal multiplayer mode that will keep players coming back.

21. Donkey Kong 64

Donkey Kong 64 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — November 24, 1999
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Rare
  • Review Aggregate Score — 90% (Universal Acclaim)

Releasing between both of the excellent Banjo games is Rare’s third 3D platformer on the Nintendo 64, Donkey Kong 64. After a trilogy of critically and commercially successful 2D platformers on the SNES, Rare would take the foundation of the Donkey Kong Country series and translate it into a semi-open 3D platformer reminiscent of Super Mario 64. While the sheer amount of collectibles and character-specific challenges across Donkey Kong 64‘s many, many worlds can make parts of the game feel needlessly tedious, the actual gameplay and presentation of the title are second to none as far as Nintendo 64 platformers go. If you can look past its absurd collect-a-thon, Donkey Kong 64 is an incredible game in the platforming genre.

20. Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — October 31, 1999
  • Publisher/Developer — Capcom/Capcom, Angel Studios, Factor 5
  • Review Aggregate Score — 89% (Generally Favorable)

The PlayStation would end up being home to several of the most important and groundbreaking franchises during the 5th generation, with Resident Evil being right near the top of that pile. With Sony’s PlayStation acting as the de facto home for Resident Evil, the arrival of the excellent second game in the series on the Nintendo 64 was quite a surprise. Even more surprising is the small miracle that Angel Studios (with assistance from Factor 5 and Capcom) was able to pull off in porting the game to Nintendo’s hardware. Famously, Resident Evil 2 is the only game on the Nintendo 64 to feature full-motion video cutscenes, and the fact that both Leon and Claire’s campaigns fit on one cartridge versus the PlayStation’s two discs is an impressive feat of engineering.

19. Blast Corps

Blast Corps box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — February 28, 1997
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Rare
  • Review Aggregate Score — 90% (Universal Acclaim)

The premise of Blast Corps is simple but ridiculous – a runaway vehicle transporting nuclear weapons is heading straight for a major metropolitan area, and it’s up to the members of the Blast Corps to destroy everything in its path and prevent nuclear annihilation. From that hilariously weird premise though, Rare delivers one of the more unique and entertaining games on the Nintendo 64. Each of the many vehicles at the player’s disposal as a member of the Blast Corps is suited to specific types of demolition, making each level a mini-puzzle that players must solve while also racing against the clock. Blast Corps is one of the many games that would’ve only been possible on the Nintendo 64, and that we’re starting to see indie titles use it as inspiration is a testament to its lasting brilliance.

18. Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Conker's Bad Fur Day box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — March 4, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Rare/Rare
  • Review Aggregate Score — 92% (Universal Acclaim)

One of Rare’s best games on the Nintendo 64 also happens to be one of the crudest and ludest games ever created. Conker’s Bad Fur Day may have initially turned heads thanks to its crass, sophomoric humor and juxtaposition of adult themes with cute, cartoonish visuals, but its gameplay is no laughing matter. Hidden behind the game’s “shock factor” presentation is a surprisingly competent blend of 3D platformer and third-person shooter that sees Rare pull out all the tricks in its book to deliver one of the Nintendo 64’s most unique titles. The Nintendo 64 had a reputation for being a console for kids, but Conker’s Bad Fur Day works overtime to dispel that myth.

17. WWF No Mercy

WWF No Mercy box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — November 17, 2000
  • Publisher/Developer — THQ/Asmik Ace Entertainment, AKI Corporation
  • Review Aggregate Score — 89% (Generally Favorable)

The Nintendo 64 was home to so many excellent wrestling games that it’s hard to pinpoint just one for a list of the best games on the console. But, if you’re going to choose one wrestling game to reign as king of the ring, no other title comes close to WWF No Mercy. Asmik Ace and AKI Corporation would work on several other professional wrestling games for the Nintendo 64, making No Mercy the culmination of years of work and a “best of the best” wrestling game that utilizes every trick up the developers’ sleeve. Not only that, WWF No Mercy is peak “Attitude-era” professional wrestling, featuring one of the most iconic rosters in any wrestling game and both single and multiplayer modes that can’t be beaten.

16. Mario Party 3

Mario Party 3 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — May 6, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Hudson Soft
  • Review Aggregate Score — 74% (Mixed or Average)

There are so many Mario Party games at this point that it can be hard to distinguish between them, but anyone who has spent plenty of quality time with the series will tell you it all comes down to the minigames each entry includes. The Nintendo 64 would be the starting point of the Mario Party series as well as the home of its first two sequels before the arrival of the GameCube, and the third entry in the series (and final entry on the N64) is far and away the best of the bunch. The highlight of Mario Party 3 is its iconic roster of minigames, with several of the best minigames in the entire series housed in one cartridge. Having at least one game in the Mario Party series is essential to owning a Nintendo 64, and Mario Party 3 undoubtedly provides the most multiplayer laughs and thrills.

15. Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber

Ogre Battle 64 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — October 7, 2000
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Quest Corporation
  • Review Aggregate Score — 82% (Generally Favorable)

Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber is a semi-sequel and follow-up to one of the SNES’ hidden gems, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. Like that legendary title, Ogre Battle 64 is a compelling mix of real-time strategy, tactical battling, and RPG mechanics and storytelling, differentiating itself from most of its contemporaries by blending the best bits of everything they do into one game. The Nintendo 64 would end up missing out on the greatest RPGs of the generation thanks to Square’s focus on delivering titles to the PlayStation, but Ogre Battle is one of the few JRPGs on the system and happens to be one of the best games in the genre.

14. Mario Golf

Mario Golf box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — June 30, 1999
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Camelot Software Planning
  • Review Aggregate Score — 91% (Universal Acclaim)

PlayStation might have had Hot Shots Golf/Everybody’s Golf, but the Nintendo 64 had it beat in terms of accessible golf simulations with Mario Golf. As the first Mario sports game on the console and the first golf game to tie in with the Mario license, Mario Golf is one of the best and most important titles in the Nintendo 64 library. The actual mechanics of swinging, lining up shots, putting spin on the ball, and putting on the green are all friendly to newcomers while also challenging enough even for golf game regulars, making Mario Golf a perfect middle ground in terms of golf simulation. Beyond its mechanics, though, Mario Golf features everyone’s favorite Italian plumber and all of his friends swinging and slicing across some truly inventive tracks taking inspiration from the Mushroom Kingdom.

13. Wave Race 64

Wave Race 64 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — November 1, 1996
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Nintendo EAD
  • Review Aggregate Score — 92% (Universal Acclaim)

Even though it didn’t arrive on the Nintendo 64 on launch day, most players consider Wave Race 64 one of many now-iconic first-party titles that launched with the system. A compelling jet ski racing game with some incredibly impressive water physics and visuals, Wave Race 64 is one of two games in Nintendo’s erstwhile Wave Race series and is still the better of the two despite the GameCube’s Wave Race: Blue Storm having some excellent presentation. Truthfully, it boils down to the timing and the context of Wave Race 64‘s release, with the title arriving as a showpiece for the Nintendo 64 and immediately separating itself as an experience that would be impossible on the PlayStation or Saturn. Were it not for Mario Kart 64 and F-Zero X, Wave Race 64 might be the best racing game on the system.

12. GoldenEye 007

GoldenEye 007 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — August 25, 1997
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Rare
  • Review Aggregate Score — 96% (Universal Acclaim)

Far from just being one of the best games on the Nintendo 64, GoldenEye 007 is one of the most important titles in the development and popularization of the FPS genre. At a time when FPS titles wouldn’t stray far from PC, GoldenEye 007 would arrive and deliver an at-home local multiplayer deathmatch that converted entire generations of gamers into competitive shooter fans. Aside from its iconic multiplayer, though, GoldenEye 007 has an excellent single-player campaign that puts Rare’s skill at designing levels and creating compelling mission objectives to use. Few games before or since have so perfectly captured the feeling of being a secret agent.

11. F-Zero X

F-Zero X box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — September 30, 1998
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Nintendo EAD
  • Review Aggregate Score — 85% (Generally Favorable)

High-speed futuristic racer F-Zero would end up being one of the most impressive games in the SNES launch library, so it’s surprising that it took as long as it did to get a follow-up on the Nintendo 64. The wait between entries would end up being totally worth it, though, as F-Zero X is still the best entry in the series to be developed by Nintendo (with the GameCube’s F-Zero GX developed by Sega). What sets F-Zero X apart from other futuristic racers of the era (particularly, Psygnosis’ Wipeout) is its blinding sense of speed, with the Nintendo 64 somehow able to maintain a solid 60FPS during races even with up to 30 other cars on screen. Between its velocity and its amazing, gravity-defying track designs, F-Zero X is one of the greatest futuristic racing games of all time.

10. Paper Mario

Paper Mario box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — February 5, 2001
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Intelligent Systems
  • Review Aggregate Score — 93% (Universal Acclaim)

Of course the greatest RPG on the Nintendo 64 would come from none other than Nintendo itself. Paper Mario is the charming and visually distinctive follow-up to the excellent Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, taking many of the mechanics from its SNES predecessor (as well as its charm and offbeat humor) to deliver an RPG like no other. The 2D aesthetic of Paper Mario would give its designers free rein to go wild with enemies, environments, and animations, and almost 25 years later Paper Mario is still just as visually impressive. It may be slightly overshadowed by its legendary GameCube-era sequel (Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door) but the original Paper Mario is one of the few great RPGs on the Nintendo 64.

9. Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — February 10, 1997
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Nintendo EAD
  • Review Aggregate Score — 83% (Generally Favorable)

The original Super Mario Kart on SNES would write the rulebook for the kart racing genre, but its Nintendo 64 sequel would develop some new rules of its own and then set them in stone. Years after Mario Kart 64‘s release, other kart racing games would arrive to attempt to steal its thunder to very mixed results. Ultimately, what makes Mario Kart 64 such an incredible game and an essential title in the Nintendo 64’s library is its perfect balance, approachable mechanics, and emphasis on multiplayer. The Nintendo 64’s 4 controller ports would make the console the de facto home for 5th gen multiplayer, and games like GoldenEye 007 and Mario Kart 64 only drove that point home further.

8. Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — April 26, 1999
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/HAL Laboratory
  • Review Aggregate Score — 79% (Generally Favorable)

While it might not reach the same highs that the series would later ascend to, the originalSuper Smash Bros. is still an incredibly important game in both the Nintendo 64 library and in establishing Nintendo and Masahiro Sakurai’s legendary franchise. Like many other games in the Nintendo 64 library, Super Smash Bros. shines as a multiplayer title, allowing up to 4 friends to battle one another as superstar Nintendo characters across some iconic stages from each of their games. The rosters and levels of the Smash Bros. series would eventually expand to include even third-party video game icons, but the first Super Smash Bros. is still an excellent proof-of-concept that starts the franchise off strong.

7. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

Star Wars Rogue Squadron box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — November 17, 1998
  • Publisher/Developer — LucasArts/Factor 5
  • Review Aggregate Score — 85% (Generally Favorable)

Both one of the Nintendo 64’s best flight sim games and the best Star Wars game on the console, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron is a dream come true for Star Wars fans who saw PC owners get the legendary X-Wing and Tie Fighter games while console players were largely passed by. Factor 5 would knock the ball out of the park on its first attempt with a Star Wars flight combat game, and the original Rogue Squadron is only surpassed by its incredible GameCube sequel Rogue Leader. With an iconic selection of Rebellion and Empire vehicles and several memorable locations to visit and battles to play through, Rogue Squadron is peak Star Wars gaming.

6. Banjo-Kazooie

Banjo-Kazooie box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — June 29, 1998
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Rare
  • Review Aggregate Score — 92% (Universal Acclaim)

One of the only 3D platformers on the Nintendo 64 to almost beat Nintendo and Super Mario 64 at their own game is Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie. While it obviously borrows heavily from Super Mario 64‘s template, Banjo-Kazooie features some of the most inventive worlds and challenges for players to complete, and it also has a much greater focus on combat to set it apart from other 3D platformers of the era. The game would be so successful as to immediately spawn a sequel, but the original Banjo-Kazooie still reigns supreme as Rare’s best platformer on the Nintendo 64.

5. Perfect Dark

Perfect Dark box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — May 22, 2000
  • Publisher/Developer — Rare/Rare
  • Review Aggregate Score — 97% (Universal Acclaim)

Without a doubt, Perfect Dark is Rare’s greatest game on the Nintendo 64 and a strong contender for being one of the best first-person shooters of all time. Like GoldenEye 007 before it, Perfect Dark mixes excellent single-player missions with multiple branching objectives alongside a full competitive multiplayer suite that delivers some of the best local deathmatches on the console. And, like Turok 2, the suite of futuristic weaponry at players’ disposal in the multiplayer modes (including a sniper rifle that can see through walls) makes each match a nail-biting experience. The visuals and audio are also a significant step up from GoldenEye, aided in no small part by Perfect Dark‘s utilization of the Nintendo 64 Expansion Pak.

4. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — October 25, 2000
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Nintendo EAD
  • Review Aggregate Score — 95% (Universal Acclaim)

One of the last first-party games to arrive on the Nintendo 64 would be the semi-sequel and follow-up to Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. This darker take on the Legend of Zelda franchise utilizes most of the assets and design philosophy of Ocarina of Time but transports Link into the strange world of Termina to prevent an impending apocalypse. Though Majora’s Mask has fewer dungeons and is generally a shorter game, its unique story and atmosphere, as well as a compelling time-loop mechanic, make it equally as important to the Nintendo 64 library as its groundbreaking predecessor.

3. Star Fox 64

Star Fox 64 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — July 1, 1997
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Nintendo EAD
  • Review Aggregate Score — 88% (Generally Favorable)

The top three entries on our list of best Nintendo 64 games are what can be considered Nintendo’s “holy trinity” of first-party titles for the system, beginning with the incredible Star Fox 64. Both a sequel to and a slight remake/reimagining of the original Star Fox on SNES, Star Fox 64 makes good on the original game’s promise to deliver one of the best arcade-style on-rails shoot ’em ups ever made and the only flight combat game on the console that can surpass Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. With branching paths and multiple alternate routes to victory, Star Fox 64 has plenty of replay value and a totally manageable campaign that can be beaten (and replayed) over and over again without feeling stale.

2. Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — September 26, 1996
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Nintendo EAD
  • Review Aggregate Score — 94% (Universal Acclaim)

The Nintendo 64’s definitive launch title and the game that would signal how different Nintendo’s approach to 5th generation hardware would be from Sega and Sony, Super Mario 64 is undoubtedly one of the most important games ever made. Aside from perfectly translating the essence of the Super Mario Bros. franchise into 3D, Super Mario 64 has some of the most iconic visuals, music, and gameplay of the 5th generation and would serve as the gold standard of 3D platforming moving forward.Super Mario 64 was leaps and bounds ahead of other 3D platformers on the PlayStation and Saturn, and that players are still discovering secrets about it decades later shows just how much thought Nintendo put into its development and release.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time box art and gameplay

©CheatCC

  • Release Date — November 23, 1998
  • Publisher/Developer — Nintendo/Nintendo EAD
  • Review Aggregate Score — 99% (Universal Acclaim)

Of course, the only game that could possibly beat Super Mario 64 on a list of the best Nintendo 64 games is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Like Mario 64, Ocarina of Time was a jaw-dropping first glimpse at the iconic Legend of Zelda franchise in a brand-new dimension, translating the adventure and imagination of the 2DLegend of Zelda games into full, stunning 3D. It makes perfect sense for Ocarina of Time to be the highest-reviewed game of all time, especially considering how groundbreaking it was at the time of its release. However, even looking back on the title in hindsight and in the context of many other 3D Zelda games, Ocarina of Time stands tall as one of the best Zelda games ever made and a turning point for the design, elements, and mechanics of 3D action-adventure games.

To top