Top Ten Nintendo 64 Games

by Stephen Kelley, posted on 14 March 2011 / 23,229 Views

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Background:

Last year VGChartz ran a series of articles that ranked the top ten games for a number of modern systems including the 360, Wii, and PS3. The voting was handled by the staff and a small “reader’s choice” section was added with the reader’s opinions. A year has come and gone, and tastes change, so we decided to see what kind of games you guys wanted listed in a top ten this time, except we are handling things differently this time. Not only will the list be compiled entirely by you, the fans, but we will go through a large number of game systems all the way back to the 1970’s with the Atari 2600 to modern day. We hope to do these over a few months, so stay tuned for your favorite systems! Since our readers are a diverse group, be prepared for some surprises!

Method:

Our voting was carried out on the forums, where we asked patrons to list their top five Nintendo 64 games in order, and numerical values were placed on the rankings. After compiling all the totals, this is the list that we came up with.

 

History Lesson:

When all other companies were content with 32 bit processors in their gaming systems, Nintendo had the balls to try to up the ante and release the first “true” 64-bit gaming console.  Using high capacity cartridges and better graphics, some Nintendo 64 games made their Playstation counterparts look pretty rough.  The system did have its problems, like many do, but was able to keep a huge loyal fan base in pretty much all territories.  Sadly, the use of cartridges over disk media was one factor that led to Nintendo losing a lot of third party support, a sad trend that continues to this very day. 

 

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-10-

After the second Star Fox game was aborted fairly near completion, Nintendo went back to the drawing board with the second game following everybody’s favorite anthropomorphized talking fox. Using the 64 bit medium we get not only a great looking game that still holds up, but multiplayer and a heavily branching storyline sweeten the deal.

 

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-9-

Sadly, the Nintendo 64 sort of missed the boat with all of the RPG hype during this generation.  The games that they did have were usually of good quality and made the fans VERY happy. With its in depth strategy and huge cast of characters, one can definitely see why this game made the list.    

 

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-8-

Before it was commonplace to have all sorts of crossovers in games, Super Smash Brothers did the unthinkable and brought a huge amount of Nintendo mainstays under one roof to duke it out.  Who would have thought that shooting Pikachu with Samus’s arm cannon would be so satisfying?

 

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-7-

With a zany concept like having a bear working in tandem with a bird, not many people thought this game would be that “big” big based on concept.  But man, did Rare deliver with one of the best platformers of the system, if not the generation. 

 

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-6-

Rare’s follow up to the massively successful Goldeneye 007 game brings a whole new cast of characters and locations, thus losing the Bond franchise entirely.  Good news is that this game surpassed its predecessor in many ways. 

 

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-5-

While the first Mario Kart gave players an illusion of 3D using 2D sprites, it took the advent of polygons to really make the series stand out.  With more tracks, more multiplayer, and more characters, anyone looking for a fun racing game couldn’t really go wrong here. 

 

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-4-

Nintendo took a HUGE risk taking Mario out of his 2D roots and entering the third dimension, but it really paid off.  This game was seen as a milestone for 3D platformers and set the bar for just about all games of the same type at the time.  Even the whole “collect X number of Y’s within one big stage” idea was borrowed by many other games. 

 

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-3-

A longtime staple of college dorm room after-class gaming sessions, Goldeneye 007 proves once and for all that under the right supervision licensed games can be good.  This game really put Rare on the nap after their previous successes with the Donkey Kong franchise, and moved them to the next level.    

 

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-2-

With The Legend of Zelda : Majora’s Mask, Nintendo took the series in a whole new direction, implementing certain doom and a Groundhog Day-like motif to the mix.  Not only did they give the game replayability, but allowed players to really see the consequences of their actions, or lack thereof.    

 

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-1-

This list was quickly a dead heat between Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time, but only one had the votes to take the number one spot.  Seen as a milestone in “cinematic gaming”, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time still seems to be the “best Zelda” by many gamers, even if Skyward Sword is half as popular in Zelda fandom, it’ll still be a huge success. 

 

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41 Comments

IceHedge (on 16 March 2011)

I agree with the list! I love every single game mentioned- though Majora's Mask, as often as I go back to play it, just seemed a little too off-putting for me. There were many situations in the game that would expect you to know who to talk to on a specific day during a specific time DURING that day- it was impossibly frustrating without a strategy guide. Ocarina of Time's puzzles were more subtle- you see a hole surrounded by dirt, you plant a seed, go forwards in time, boom, floating platform somehow. Well.. it made sense in the gaming world anyway.. P.S. I love the fact the Wave Race isn't on the list. I may be hated for it, but I thought the water in that game looked horrendous EVEN back then, and having to look at it while racing just wasn't a fun experience. Diddy Kong Racing's hovercrafts blew it out of the water, but again, just my opinion.


NightDragon83 (on 15 March 2011)

Surprised to see Ogre Battle and even StarFox on the list... I know we have a pretty big RPG community on this site but I would have expected Paper Mario (the N64's swan song along with Conker) on the list instead. Still, can't really argue with this list. And this may surprise some people, but as a long time Nintendo fanboy going all the way back to the NES, StarFox 64 really didn't do much for me. Sure, I had been anticipating a SF sequel for years, and being that the N64's library was pretty thin in the first 9 months since its launch I rented it for a weekend, had a little fun with it, but didn't care much to go back to it. And once games like Goldeneye and later Banjo, Rogue Squadron and Zelda started hitting the system, they made me forget all about it.


oniyide (on 14 March 2011)

@oni-link castlevania 64 sucked, especially compared to SOTN. there are way better games on N64 than that. I thought NO mercy was better than Wrestlemania and RE2 was a late port of of PS1 game. these are just my opinions though


Chevinator123 (on 14 March 2011)

wheres DK 64!??!?!?!!?


skeezer (on 14 March 2011)

Needs more Conker


MO-MO-KILLA (on 14 March 2011)

Great list, I loved every single game on that list except ogre, never played it because I only got into RPGs after I got a PSX and, but who can argue with OoT being number 1. It is the one and only reason why I kept my N64, absolutely mind blowing game. ZMM never really captured me like OoT did, maybe because OoT came first and blew my mind. Not saying it was a bad game, it was great, but OoT will always be on top for me.


oni-link (on 14 March 2011)

my list goes like this (I don't have GE/PD cuz the 64 version made me puke): 10. Resident Evil 2 9. Wrestlemania 2000 8. Castlevania 64 7. StarCraft 64 6. Paper Mario 5. Majora's Mask 4. Ogrebattle 64 3. Super Mario 64 2. Super Smash Bros. 1. Ocarina of time Hard to argue with this list huh?


cory.ok (on 14 March 2011)

i see why i played playstation more than n64, i thought a lot of these games were mediocre, fun, but nothing spectacular. they were something to pass the time, not really play


kain_kusanagi (on 14 March 2011)

Finally a list I can't argue about. Sure I have favorites missing, but at least it's not a Japanese import filled Sega Saturn list or a 90% JRPG Playstation list.


gvangoeverden (on 14 March 2011)

10 years later and 127 hours in and i still play perfect dark to this day. Love that games. Also conkers bad fur day should be on this list


Arfen (on 14 March 2011)

i shit. i forget Conker's bad furs day!!!!


V-r0cK (on 14 March 2011)

No WWF No Mercy or Resident Evil 2 =(


Carpevi (on 14 March 2011)

A list with: Super Mario 64 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Mario Kart 64 Perfect Dark GoldenEye 007 is an epic win. (N64 also had the best F1 game in years, F1 World Grand Prix II)


Jumpin (on 14 March 2011)

Great list! Some of the commenters have bad taste though to say that any of these games don't deserve to be on the list.


MetalGear_94 (on 14 March 2011)

Where is Paper maro!?!?!?!?!?!????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!


Arfen (on 14 March 2011)

@AngelosL yeah you're right.. i know this game was not as goos as the others.. it was a nostalgin choice maybe hehe, i was a kid and thought it was one of my first games.. i'd like it a lot, but yes, in a serius lineup it would be not appear... sorry :p


archbrix (on 14 March 2011)

Definitely agree with 1 and 2 and where they're at, the others I personally would have rearranged a bit, and traded Ogre Battle and Smash Bros for Wave Race and Blast Corps. Would've tried to squeeze in Beetle Adventure Racing as well.


AngelosL (on 14 March 2011)

@Arfen Mace the dark age? Lol that game was awful :P Each fighter had like 5 moves max !


Ghutto (on 14 March 2011)

WoW!!! Majora and Ocarina!!


Arfen (on 14 March 2011)

Good list! maybe dissaponting in some positions but nice job! Ogre BAttle was great!! PErsonally mario kart 64 is one of the less goods of the series for me honorable mentions: Paper Mario Mischief Makers Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon Diddy Kong Racing Donkey Kong 64 Turok 2 Jet Force Gemini Forsaken Shadowman (I want a new game of this serie!!!) Wave Race 64 Mace the dark age Dinasty warriors...


pacman91 (on 14 March 2011)

Nothing surprising here...I would have put DK64 pretty high on this list though


tripleb2k (on 14 March 2011)

WWE No Mercy would be 1 on my list. I know wrestling games don't normally make these lists but it was solid. I wish I could have kept track on how many hours I spent playing that game. Never touched a Zelda game in my life. All this talk about how great they are still don't interest me. Not saying their bad, clearly can't because I've never played one. They just don't interest me. Go Goldeneye though. The king of FPS!!


pariz (on 14 March 2011)

Uhhh, Rogue Squadron too...!


pariz (on 14 March 2011)

Wave Race should have been on that list.


RolStoppable (on 14 March 2011)

Scratch Ogre Battle 64, Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye 007 and Ocarina of Time off the list and add Paper Mario, F-Zero X, Wave Race 64, Ridge Racer 64 and Sin & Punishment. Once again the VGC community proved to have terrible taste. Ogre Battle 64, what the hell?!


AdventWolf (on 14 March 2011)

Good list but I would have liked to see Donkey Kong 64.


RaptorGTA (on 14 March 2011)

@BoneArk great game. one of my favorites on the N64.


Kaufer (on 14 March 2011)

Im okay with this.


Immortal (on 14 March 2011)

No Paper Mario? It's the only N64 game that I like (or have played, for that matter).


Attoyou (on 14 March 2011)

I would take MM over OOT anyday.


SecondWar (on 14 March 2011)

Would compile my own top ten, but as I was under 10 during the N64 era, my list would mostly comply of what I now would class as shovelware. The only two I think would deserve a mention are Goldeneye and Pokemon Stadium.


BoneArk (on 14 March 2011)

At least they got #1 right. BTW: WWF No Mercy should have been on the list.


Soleron (on 14 March 2011)

No Paper Mario? It was better than Ogre Battle...


blunty51 (on 14 March 2011)

Had all 'cept Ogre Battle. This list is full of awesome.


*Sound Of Rain (on 14 March 2011)

I never knew we were voting to make lists? I would have voted!


homer (on 14 March 2011)

If anyone missed these classics, 7 of them are already on the Wii VC.


Mr Puggsly (on 14 March 2011)

No AKI wrestling games? This list is all wrong!


Ninpanda (on 14 March 2011)

I would've put MM as #1, but I'm just glad it made it to the top 2.


Thulak (on 14 March 2011)

Got all except Ogre Battle, never played Ogre Battle :S


Hephaestos (on 14 March 2011)

It's true the N64 and GC list wasn't that large.... though I would definitely have added Rogue Squadron ^^ Never had banjo and I don't think Ogre came out in EU? besides that I had to buy majora used 7 years ago when I came back to EU and PD I only managed to get it now on 360 (traveling sucks with region lock ^^)


Faxanadu (on 14 March 2011)

Except for Smash Bros. I owned them all. So proud. On the other hand, bsides those 9, I owned max. 5 games more that were worth playing.