10 Games that made the N64 Great
In the mid to late 90’s the gaming market was hit with a volley of strong and competitive gaming software vying for the place in a child’s living room. Companies such as Sony, Atari, Nintendo, and Sega all battled for control of the industry to the delight of gamers everywhere. Up until the early 90’s, arcade games were the dominate force within the video game market but console gaming started to kick the trend and take its rightful throne. Leading the pack through this revolution was the N64. Unlike any prior system, the N64 was the first ground-breaking console that truly introduced a multi-player experience. While the concept had been present ever since the Pong days, the potential of multi-player still was not unlocked. Whether it is the refusal to conform to CD format gaming or its sleek but mysterious controller design, the N64 will always have a warm place in my heart. In the familiar list of ten format we all know and love, I have created a list honoring the great games that dwell in the Nintendo hall of fame.
1. GoldenEye 007
What kid doesn’t want to be a spy when they grow up? As if that isn’t appealing enough how about throwing in one of the greatest FPS experiences you’ll ever have. Layered with the latest graphics and a slick, catchy soundtrack you’ll be humming for days, GoldenEye 007 is a game for the ages.
2. Blitz 2000
Ever had the desire to hit the player on the other team after he scores a touchdown? I know I have, and Blitz 2000 is one of the rare games that lets you do that among other things. A sports game like no other, Blitz capitalizes on larger-than-life imagery and a short, tough, in-your-face game structure that proves to have a high replay value. Plus who can resist those cheerleaders on the loading screens? They can keep me waiting all day! 😉
3. Super Mario 64
Starting off our slew of memorable Mario games is Super Mario 64. Navigating through a beautiful, humongous, 3-D world is everyone’s favorite plumber. He is on a quest yet again to save his precious Princess Peach from the evil clutches of Bowser. Using portals, mazes, and more, Mario must defeat the evil dragon and claim the cake promised for him by Peach. SM 64 has been hailed time and time again by critics and fans as the greatest Mario adventure since the very original. It’s hard to argue such claims considering the excellently craft settings and battles along with an easy and well designed camera angle to follow the action. Don’t you remember giant Mario’s head following your movements at the start menu? Classic.
4. Rayman 2: The Great Escape
While not a Nintendo exclusive game by any account, Rayman 2 was still best experienced through the N64. This is a highly underrated and overlooked video game that deserves more credit than it is getting. I used to love playing the Rayman games, heck I loved watching my brothers play the Rayman games because it was a really awe-inspiring game. The central character is one like you’ve never seen before, heck his arms and legs aren’t even attached to his body! What really compliments the game though is its attention to detail and story. The dark picturesque landscape always brought a feeling of danger and excitement to me and really helped toward the franchise’s quiet success.
5. Mortal Kombat Trilogy
Yet again, not a game exclusively for the N64 not even one that is best played on this system (I prefer the PlayStation controls better) but nonetheless a jewel in itself. This game transcends the console because it is so addictive and fun that you’ll forget you are playing it on the N64 anyway. My personal favorite in the MK series, Trilogy combines all the warm comfortable retro style and feel of the originals together into a tasty, blood soaked, fatality sandwich. With a selection of over 30 characters, there is nothing not to like here. Sure the controls aren’t the best but once you are in-game you just focus on beating the other guy into a pulp.
6. Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart 64 brought multi-player racing games to a whole new level. The significance here really lies in the doors opened by Mario Kart 64 than the game itself. Not to take away from the game’s fun and invigorating gameplay but the most important factor is the direction it took video games. Racing games have grown into a huge sect within the video game market and one of the catalysts that really started the trend was Mario Kart. Memorable characters, interesting tracks, and an easy and recognizable name all made up the great product that is Mario Kart 64.
7. Mario Party 1-3 & 8. Super Smash Brothers
After blabbering over games with multi-player for the past forever it is time to showcase the games that really made a difference in the category. Even though they are distinctly different titles, I have decided to group these games together because their principles are the same: Having fun with a bunch of buddies. There come maybe once or twice in a lifetime something that brings a state of togetherness among friends unlike any other. These games are that something(not sure about collective noun use). Alright gay Hallmark descriptions aside, these truly are the greatest games ever thought of inside a room full of Japanese nerds. That is saying something considering Shigeru Miyamoto is one of the greatest and most successful game designers in the history of mankind. Everyone knows these games for the reason being that they are extremely fun and are worth hundreds of hours of your time. These are the types of games that will never die, they will stick around until even our grandchildren can no longer pick up a joystick.
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Let’s be honest, no Nintendo list would be complete without Ocarina of Time. Possibly the single greatest adventure game of all time, Ocarina stands alone on the N64 platform as the champion of all single player games. Players are immersed into the game with its fine-tuned graphics and assortment of memorable characters. It seems like that without this game we would be missing a part of history. It had huge influence over how well-crafted games are made and continues to act as a predecessor to new titles even to this day. It plays like an epically long movie with its layers of depth and detail. I have heard of kids beating this game more than twenty times it is so enjoyable. The Zelda franchise’s greatest contribution has made a fine mark into the testaments of video game history.
10. Conker’s Bad Fur Day.
Ok, ok I know that most of you are booing at this point. I hear your digital cries of anguish but please hear me out. I have taken you on a long and arduous journey through an assortment of amazingly made N64 games that all of you know and love. But this is my blog and this is where I want my last stop. Thinking long and hard(*Insert “that’s what she said” joke here) about what video game I love the most out of all the ones I’ve ever played was not an easy process. I am lucky enough to have been exposed to a number of truly great games that I don’t regret for one moment that I wasted my life over. In the end, there has to be a favorite plain and simple. Conker’s Bad Fur Day is my favorite game. Period. “What is this guy smoking?” may be what some of you are responding to this with but I do not care. It is really the best game I have ever played and I am proud to say it. I never saw the N64 as anything until I played this game. I never owned it but I played it over my best friend’s house so many times that it was more mine than it was his. Every aspect of it was flawless: the mini games, the single-player, multi-player, graphics, characters, settings, what have you. Even the voice acting was amazing. No game in my memory rings as distinctly as Conker’s. It is a true piece of beer soaking, blood splattering, obscenity filled art. I realize that not many people will agree with me here but that is part of what this blog is all about: throwing out your opinion and letting your ideas be heard.
I thank you all for joining me through this journey in video game history. It was not easy but we made it through ten awesome N64 titles. Please leave comments below about your favorite games that I didn’t list or opinions on the article.