This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Nintendo 64. It is famous for being the console that revolutionized 3D graphics in gaming and proved that you could do 1st person shooters on a home console. Many consider it one of Nintendo’s best consoles due to the groundbreaking move to 3D and the amazing catalog of games that came with it.
We felt we couldn’t let this anniversary go by without a celebration, so we gathered the entire Mega Dads team to rank their 25 favorite games for the N64. We then gave a point value to each position on the list and averaged them out to create the definitive ranking! From Mario and Zelda to Pilotwings and Turok, the N64 had it all! Here are the 25 greatest Nintendo 64 games!
Paper Mario is, perhaps, the Nintendo series that has changed the most over time. Paper Mario on the Nintendo 64 is a wildly different experience compared to the newest title, The Origami King. The original Paper Mario was born from a desire to make another Mario RPG following the success of Super Mario RPG, but licensing issues with Square required a new IP, hence Mario’s flattening.
Paper Mario keeps the traditional JRPG turn-based battle system and timed button presses to defend/attack from its predecessor, but brings plenty of new features to the table. For one, Mario’s party isn’t rounded out by the likes of Peach and Bowser, but slightly modified versions of regular enemies like Goombario (a goomba) and Bombette (a bob-omb) that have personalities all their own. The various party members can help Mario navigate using special skills outside of battle, too. None of this may sound particularly new or exciting now, but those features helped Paper Mario stand out and gain a following that would keep Mario RPGs coming for years to come. Both the Paper Mario games of today and the Mario & Luigi series owe a lot to the original Paper Mario, and I think the game is still worth a revisit today. -Will
In Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Rare took its proven formula of creating truly memorable characters and turned it on its head, crafting a unique experience that was intended for adults only with a raunchy brand of toilet humor, colorful 4-lettered language and adult themes like alcohol and violence. Rare rolled this up into a delightful doobie with just as much humor as devastation. This unique 3D platformer has you in control of Conker, a red squirrel, who is battling his way to get back home to his girlfriend, Berri, after a night of drinking. From there, things rupture into violent hilarity. –Brandon
Star Fox 64 was in many ways a remake of the original Star Fox with better graphics, story, gameplay elements and characters. Being fully voiced, it gave more personality to characters introduced in the previous game (Screw You, Falco! I was only trying to help!). It introduced an element of gaming that we take for granted now in controller vibration. At the time, a module called a Rumble Pak had to be plugged into the controller for it to vibrate. One of these Rumble Paks was included with the game. Finally, Star Fox 64 gave birth to the infamous “Do A Barrel Roll” meme. I feel like the only mis-step with the game was the multi-player. There just weren’t that many maps or different modes to play. However, the single-player game more than made up for this shortcoming.
I consider Star Fox 64 to be the best game in the franchise. It expanded greatly on its SNES predecessor and brought a charm that hasn’t been replicated since. It holds up very well even still and is a fun and challenging experience that I look forward to one day being on the Switch. –Jason
When the N64 launched it did so with two games from Nintendo, Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64. The latter of which is one of my absolute favorite N64 games. With a variety of play/vehicle styles across wide open and vast play spaces, Pilotwings 64 at the time delivered an unbelievable sense of exploration.
Perhaps my favorite thing to do in Pilotwings was to take to the skies with the bird man suit in free roam mode and expose “Little States”, a small replica of the United States of America complete with landmarks. I spent countless hours flying through cities, farmlands, glaciers and even behind waterfalls. I simply love this game. -Adam
The Mario Kart series has had so many memorable entries, from the underrated Mario Kart: Double Dash to Mario Kart 8 which is overflowing with great tracks and racers. But Mario Kart 64 was the entry that truly made me fall in love with the series. It was loaded with some of my favorite tracks of the entire series like Royal Raceway, Wario Stadium, and Kalimari Desert. And while the visuals don’t necessarily hold up that well by today’s standards and there could be loads of slowdown, at the time it felt revolutionary. Mario Kart has always been a favorite around my household, with even my mother who is in her 70’s known to jump in and throw some red shells. It’s a common occurrence for a few rounds to break out at family gatherings like Thanksgiving or the 4th of July, and more often than not it’s Mario Kart 64 that we’re playing. -John