30 Games I'd Put On The N64 Classic, Which Will Never Exist

Like this, but smaller and more hypothetical.

SNES Classic wishlists? So two thousand and late: I'm gonna scoop everybody and write the 30 games I want to see on the Nintendo 64 Classic, which not only doesn't exist, it isn't even rumoured to, and probably won't. Check and mate.

The release of Nintendo 64 in 1996 was the culmination of an orgy of hype and anticipation that the gaming world had never before experienced prior to the launch of a new console. The honeymoon was over as soon as the thing came out, with expectations paling in the shadow of reality and sales slumping accordingly. PlayStation ruled the roost, but Sony's CD-ROM media and adult-oriented game library made N64 a better choice for kids, and so there's still a lot of nostalgia there.

One would think that the tepid reaction of software makers to the N64 would make our job here pretty easy: "Does N64 even have 30 games?" you may be snarkily, if correctly, asking. There are only 21 N64 games on the Wii U Virtual Console, so an N64 Classic is going to require some new licence wrangling on Nintendo's part.

The other obvious question is: What about Rare? Now a Microsoft subsidiary, this developer was responsible for a great deal of Nintendo's catalogue on this machine. Insofar as Microsoft is currently selling Rare's N64 games on Xbox One, I'm going to go ahead and assume that Rare would largely not be included, and that Nintendo probably wouldn't try to re-secure the 007 licence for Goldeneye.

This is all assuming that an N64 Classic would even make sense at a conceptual level, and I think it could be persuasively argued that it would not. The controllers are massive, unwieldy, and would probably be hellishly expensive to manufacture. Because Nintendo 64 had four controller ports built in, many games had 4-player modes, and so buyers would need four controllers to fully enjoy the system.

You don't really want to do this again, do you?

You know, folks, the more I think about it, the more I think an N64 Classic just wouldn't work as a product. The complexity of the controllers would make the profit margins even slimmer, said controllers are kind of shitty anyway, and there are barely enough good games to fill the list. And all of that on top of the fact that this is one of Nintendo's least-appreciated old consoles to begin with? I don't think it's happening.

But since we've gotten this far, here's the game list anyway, starting with the first-party games.

1. Paper Mario

The original and best. Playing this back in the day was what first woke me up to the great work that Nintendo's Treehouse was doing with localisation. Hilarious script and actual RPG gameplay, not the weird stuff they're doing today. (I'd really just like to see this on Switch.)

Let's give a whole new generation of kids nightmares.

2. The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time

3. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

If they really wanted to go nuts, they could even include Ocarina's Master Quest version, which previously surfaced on the GameCube.

4. Mario Tennis

5. Mario Golf

I think anybody who likes golf games is probably wrong, but even I have to admit that Camelot's sports titles were pretty high-quality for this era. Plus, having some genre diversification on this box would be nice.

6. Super Smash Bros.

For the right group of friends, the N64 Classic would pretty much just be a Smash Bros. machine.

7. Donkey Kong 64

Since this is actually available on Wii U's Virtual Console, I'm thinking this is the only Rare N64 game with a shot at appearing on an N64 Classic, which does not exist and probably never will.

*enters room, backs out slowly*

8. Pokemon Snap

I still can't believe they didn't make a sequel to this on Wii U.

9. Yoshi's Story 10. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

These cutesy platformers have not exactly aged well, but if Nintendo put me in charge of assembling an N64 Classic game library I'd probably get fired if I didn't include them.

11. Sin and Punishment

Ordinarily I'd stay away from import games, but since it appears in English on both the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console services, I think we're all clear to feature this Japan-only Treasure shooter.

12. Wave Race 64

12. Mario Kart 64

14. F-Zero X

I lived through the N64 post-launch drought. I remember the dark times after I finished Super Mario 64 and thought, "what's next?" Wave Race was there for me until the split-second that Mario Kart 64 came out, when I dropped it like a hot potato.

15. 1080 Snowboarding

16. Excitebike 64

17. Star Fox 64

These three Extreme Sports games are accurate simulations of snowboarding, BMX, and having to drive a tank when you'd rather be flying.

18. Pokemon Puzzle League

Since Tetris Attack probably won't be on the SNES Classic.

19. Mario Party 2

Since the first Mario Party, with its controller-destroying, hand-destroying "spin the analogue stick" mini-games, will never ever be re-released ever. I got blisters.

Damn it lady, just give me the star.

20. Super Mario 64

Oh, right.


Well, here's a point in the N64 Classic's favour, as regards its feasibility: Since gamer nostalgia for this device is almost entirely tied up in first-party games, Nintendo could possibly get away with just having the preceding 20 games on such a device. No legal wrangling, no payments to third-party licensors, just pure profit.

I mean, who's gonna miss…

21. Mischief Makers

Well, maybe this one I'd be bummed about. Released by Nintendo in the West but actually an Enix joint, this wonderful 2-D side-scroller from Treasure deserves another day in the sun.

22. Castlevania

23. Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness

Say what you will about Konami these days; at least it supported Nintendo when the chips were down. Sure, these Castlevania games were weird and janky and nowhere near as good as Symphony of the Night, but… wait, what was the question? I think I'd just appreciate an excuse to mess around with their strangeness again.

Complete this sentence.

24. Harvest Moon 64

25. Ogre Battle 64

Whaddya mean, N64 had no RPGs? It had, like, three. Bonus: Both of these are available on Virtual Console already.

26. Rayman 2

This isn't out on Virtual Console, but actually just this week, Ubisoft stealth-released a couple of Game Boy Advance Rayman games on Wii U. So there's hope that this early masterpiece of the 3-D platforming genre might be born again, too.

27. Mega Man 64

N64 owners' reaction to Capcom, back in the day, was a big ol' "thanks for [almost] nothing." But throwing this iffy port of Mega Man Legends onto an N64 Classic wouldn't be a terrible idea. (I realise there was also a Resident Evil 2 port, but no way is Nintendo going to include M-rated games on this nonexistent product!)

28. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon

29. Goemon's Great Adventure

Everybody gave me shit about not including Mystical Ninja on my SNES list, so here, have two.

30. Bomberman 64 or Bomberman 64: The Second Attack

Pretend I said whichever one you think is better.

Now, since I'm not crazy and thus didn't buy a whole lot of Nintendo 64 games back in the day, I'm curious: What's your favourite weird Nintendo 64 game that you don't think has a shot in hell of being re-released? Were you big into Tonic Trouble? Play a lot of Blues Brothers 2000? I can only imagine that if all you owned in the late 90s was an N64, you'd get a lot of weird games as presents that you'd just have to suffer through.


Comments

    Even if it was possible, it's not happening without Rare.
    No Goldeneye = no sale
    Never mind the fact that Banjo Kazooie/Tooie, Perfect Dark and Conkers aren't included.
    Shame on you Chris, bad mouthing Waverace, that was a phenomenal title that I would buy again in a heartbeat!

    Not Chris Kohler's fault, but it's an incomplete list without Rare. Not that it's a bad list but Rare and Nintendo were intertwined then.

    1. Diddy Kong Racing
    2. Banjo Kazooie
    3. Banjo Tooie
    4. Conker's Bad Fur Day
    5. Perfect Dark
    6. Goldeneye 007
    7. Jet Force Gemini
    8. Blast Corps
    9. Donkey Kong 64 (yes, already included)

    What if Microsoft (jointly with Nintendo?) released the Really Awesome Rare Archives console with just Rare Nintendo 64 games?

      It would definitely have to be the Really Awesome Rare Experience console ;)

      There was a move back in the early days of the 360 to release Goldeneye on the Xbox 360. Infact, a full, working version was allegedly made and only a couple months from release, but Nintendo and Microsoft couldn't come to an agreement on how to release it, royalty splits etc. Rare wanted to go ahead, but shitfighting between the two companies, meant it'd never see the light of day. Oh the thing that could've been...

        I totally agree. As far as games that have gotten cancelled, the XBLA version of Goldeneye was the single biggest disappointment for me by far. XBLA Perfect Dark was an amazing example of how to take an N64 game, change almost nothing about it aside from resolution and frame rate, and deliver it on a then current generation of console. It would have been nothing short of amazing. From all that I've read it was Nintendo's fault, and I truly hate them for it!

    Blast Corps

      Blast Corps and you announce the P?

      Or Plast Corbs when my memory pak got corrupted, haha.

      That's a Rare title that's now available on the Xbox, so can't imagine you'll see it on a Nintendo system. On the plus side, that means it's already available today.

    It’s funny, the N64 is still my favourite console of all time and as someone with limited cash flow (I was in early high-school) I still feel the urge to get all defensive when people say that the Playstation was better.

    Make no mistake- the PS1 was better if you had cash to burn, were a games reviewer or something like that… but I’ll argue till the day I die that the best 10 games on the N64 were better than the best 10 on the PS1.
    Mario 64, OOT ect are AAA classics. I mean if you take that list and add Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie ect then any PS1 list won’t stack up IMO.

    That said, this list still reminds me of some pretty quiet periods- particularly at the start and finish of the generation.

    I don’t think we need a mini-N64, but I don’t want the other mini-consoles either.
    Just put these games on the Switch (all of them) and release a controller that can accommodate them all (GC titles too).

    Sell them at a reasonable price ($5 at MOST for a N64 title). They might be able to sell them for more than that but it would make the Switch a must-buy for me.
    I know, that’s way too much to ask of Nintendo.

    Also if you want to talk games that I’d love that would be a marketing nightmare- WWF No Mercy would be no.1 on my list.
    I loved that game but plenty of the people in it are dead (seriously) and the company isn’t even called the WWF anymore!

    Also San Fransisco Rush was a great N64 game that I’d love to play again.

      I reckon the PS1 would hold its own pretty comfortably.

      Stuff like Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Gran Turismo, Ridge Racer, Tekken, Wipeout, Vagrant Story, Suikoden etc etc. The PS1's best would easily stack up against anything else around at the time.

      I guess the interesting comparison to today is how few of the games on both lists were cross platform. Although that's probably due to so many of the N64 ones being first party, while lack of CD storage might have prevented a lot of the third party PS1 games making it across to N64.

        Hehe, while I said I’d argue (and I will)- I’ve learnt enough over the last 20 years to know better than to try to prosecute for-and-against arguments for individual titles!
        I could have topped my grade in year 8 with the time I wasted arguing with a couple of idiots who seriously thought Coolboarders 2 was better than 1080! WTF is wrong with people?!?

        At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference. I’d definitely concede a few slots in the top-10 game of that generation to the PS1. MSG, Gran Turismo and FFVII all belong on the list. I’d have Tony Hawk on there somewhere too. (I’m not a huge fighting game person, but I’d have Soul Blade over Tekken BTW).

        I still don’t think there was anything better than OOT, Mario 64 or Goldeneye on the PS1. That top tier to me is the difference between the two.

        Like I said- if you had the top 20 games on each the PS1 would win easily, but noting that the N64 had the better game-playing hardware and native-analogue sticks- the best N64 games were better then and are still better now…. in my opinion.

      but I’ll argue till the day I die that the best 10 games on the N64 were better than the best 10 on the PS1.

      Your opinion of course. I actually didn't personally own either of these systems so I have no real bias towards one or the other. Let's take a look at the top 10 best reviewed games on each system though (info taken from Gamerankings):

      N64:

      The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, 1080: TenEighty Snowboarding, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Excitebike 64, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, Paper Mario

      PS1:

      Tekken 3, Gran Turismo, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 2, Final Fantasy IX, Gran Turismo 2, Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Cross

      I really don't think you can make a definitive call when you compare those, honestly.

      Interestingly bit of trivia: Diddy Kong racing is ranked 11th and Mario Kart 64 is ranked 12th on N64 while Crash Team Racing is ranked 12th on PS1.

        I’d argue that the top 6 N64 games are better than they top 6 PS1 games, but that the overall top 10 is a draw just because N64 quality fell off a cliff pretty quickly.
        If you go top-15 is PS1 ahead and the further back you go the greater the disparity.

        Better hardware (for gameplay), better studios (Big N and prime Rare) and native analogue made the top flight N64 games the best console games you could get at the time.

        Like I said though- as someone who got 2-3 games a year over the life of the console there was enough AAA classics that the N64 was the better for me. If I was in my mid-20’s I might disagree.

        Should the Tony Hawks and RE2 really be in the top PS1 list when they're on both platforms? And doesn't the fact they didn't make the cut for the N64 list tip things in its favour? :P

          I just took the top 10 N64 games and top 10 PS1 games with at least 20 reviews as listed by Gamerankings.

          For what it's worth, RE2 ranks in at 13th on the N64 list. Also, none of the Tony Hawk games are ranked in the top 25 N64 games.

          You *could* read into that as meaning that the overall quality of N64 games was better, but if you look at the data, it's more to do with the fact that the N64 ports don't have the minimum required number of reviews (20) to rank on the list, and even if they did, they were just not at the same standard as their PS1 counterparts.

          If I drop the requirement to a minimum of 10 review scores rather than 20, the lists start looking quite different:

          N64:

          The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Banjo-Kazooie, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Banjo-Tooie, Wave Race 64, NFL Blitz

          PS1:

          Tekken 3, Gran Turismo, Wipeout XL, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 2, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Final Fantasy IX, Gran Turismo 2 (FFVII ranks in at 11th)

            Can’t really read much into the positioning of RE2 and THPS on the N64 list because they were both inferior ports.

            If I remember correctly RE2 had “N64 blur” which took away some of the contrast needed for a horror game and FMV was nerfed to fit on a cartridge. Never underestimate the ability of a 90s PS1 owner to fap over an FMV!
            THPS had the same great gameplay but the soundtrack was tragically nerfed (again due to the cartridge).

            Also both titles launched well after the PS1 versions.

            Truth be told, the N64 was terrible outside of the Nintendo/ Rare combo. It still got a few good games…. but very few.

    Conkers, Perfect Dark, Jet Force Gemini?

      Acknowledges as Rare games that will never make it.

        I'm allowed to wish for whatever games I want on a theoretical console that will likely never exist lol.

          Oh for sure. I read it as you adding in essential games that the author missed.

          Jet Force Gemini does not get enough love. Was a pretty great game at the time. Was blown away by the cutscene with reflections in the spilled water at the start of level 2.

    Glad to see that Mischief Makers made the list, that game is solid.

    Some of the Turok games would feel right at home on this mythical system. Maybe throw Shadowman on there for good measure.

    Also, if they wanted me, and only me, to buy it, they'd put Hybrid Heaven and Fighter's Destiny on it, I thought those games were the bee's knees.

      How did I forget Turok!!!
      TUROK PEOPLE!!!!! TUROK!

    The perceived lack of genuine classics on the N64 could perhaps work in Nintendo's favour.

    What if they gave Microsoft the rights to any and all N64 games in return for the ability to put out the Rare titles on NIntendo branded machines?

    Pre-Switch, pre-Nintendo on mobile, we wouldn't have thought this possible, things are different now.

    I think the real reason we won't see a 'N64 Classic' in the near future isn't to do with licensing, if you remember that time in gaming history it was all about the new technology, the new perspective on game design. We've only seen iterations on those foundations, so there's no real place for a miniature console featuring games we take for granted.

    We've already seen a mini-cottage-industry built upon the retro themes of that era, because you can easily evoke early 3D graphics and motifs in modern games, but it most cases you simply wouldn't want to.

    2D games, from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras = 2D animation. 3d games = 3D animation.

    You still see 2D animated productions, but they did vanish for a considerable period. They returned, treated as curios or oddities, and then they were accepted once again.

    You can't really expect people to lap up 90s-3D cartoons even for nostalgic purposes. They are rebooting the Reboot cartoon, but they sure as hell aren't using 3D software from the 90s to do it.

    Look at Yooka-Laylee's critical reception, for one thing.

      Nintendo would never, ever do that. Even if they wanted to, it would be legally so messy that the cost to just work it all out would probably outwiegh anything either side would ever make from owning those properties.

      I don't think it lacks classics, just that without Rare a rerelease would suffer. The first 1/2 to 2/3 of this list is mostly strong first party titles, many very much worth while. It's just that without Rare a big part of the N64 story is missing.

      I doubt MS would want an N64 back log, and Nintendo would never hand over the rights. They're the video gaming industries Disney and are very protective of their IP.

      I think there's a better chance of Nintendo buying IP off MS, and thats incredibly unlikely given Nintendo's own IP roster is stronger.

      Last edited 24/04/17 11:18 pm

    1. Ocarina of Time
    2. Mario 64
    3. Mario Kart 64
    4. Goldeneye
    5. Wave Race
    6. F-Zero
    7. Majora's Mask
    8. Doom64
    9. Rogue Squadron
    10. Shadow of the Empire
    11. Star Wars Ep1 Racer
    12. Conker's Bad Fur Day

    Top 6 there would be my must have's, second 6 would be nice to have's. Anything beyond that would be a bonus.

    I'd buy it even if it were only first party games. Though I'd want either Pokemon Stadium game for sure.

    To be honest I don't think there were enough classic games on n64 to sensibly make up 30. Don't get me wrong I still play mario 64 to this day but most the games haven't aged well or are ugly as fuck.
    I didn't mind the controller but it was typical 'we must be different at the expense of practicality' which Nintendo (and apple) seems to be obsessed with.

    Not one single mention of Space Station Silicone Valley.

    That game was legendary.

    Please put the images below the list item.

    Wouldn't mind Pilotwings, Doom 64 and Star Wars Shadow of the Empire. Turok series as well.

    Might be a bit janky but I'd give Quake 2 a blast if it was there too.

    Any N64 list without Rogue Squadron has nothing.

    Zelda MM
    Zelda OOT
    Banjo Kazooie
    Mario 64
    Mario Kart
    Mario Party
    Star Fox 64
    Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
    Waverace 64
    PilotWings 64
    Goldeneye
    Ep 1 Racer
    San Francisco Rush

    I would swap out 1080 snowboarding for Snowboard Kids. Loved that game to bits.

    I would not care what games they would not put on it as long as Majora’s mask,OOT,MARIO Kart 64,and Mario 64 are on it

    Yeah the controllers are "shitty" but saying there are not enough good games is BS*! Straight up. Zelda, Mario Party, Mario Kart, Yoshi, Fzero, Star Fox, Paper Mario, Smash. bros!!!!! Fucking smash bros. The N64 ist not underappreciated you cun*. It's fucking amazing and everyone would buy it for only the first party titles alone. Even without rare on it. You know nothing about games. You seem like a douche. What is this articel where you say stuff is "shitty" and don't even describe why.

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