Yesterday, Nintendo announced that later this year we will be receiving the SNES Classic Edition mini-console — a follow-up to last year’s highly sought-after NES Classic Edition. The slick new system contains 21 great games from Nintendo’s nostalgic console that some of us are looking forward to playing for the first time, while others of us will be playing for the tenth.
While the prospect of the SNES Classic coming to fruition has us excited, we here at DualShockers are already looking into the future and are pulling out our crystal balls to predict what we would love to see on Nintendo’s next potential mini-console — the Nintendo 64 Classic Edition. With that said, here are 24 games — and one bonus title — that we would love to see if and when the N64 Classic arrives.
Super Mario 64
What would an Nintendo 64 Classic Edition be without Super Mario 64? While the game has had better iterations since then (such as Super Mario 64 DS), the classic title is Nintendo’s pièce de résistance — a game that literally shook the foundation of what video games were and could be. Omitting Super Mario 64 from a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition would be like leaving “Hey Jude” off of a Greatest Hits collection for The Beatles.
Rare was known for a lot of great games in the Nintendo 64 era, but arguably none of them were better than the wacky platformer Banjo-Kazooie. With an amazing soundtrack, memorable characters, and unique worlds, Banjo-Kazooie has a legitimate claim to being the best platformer on the N64. While it may run into licensing issues due to Rare currently being owned by Microsoft, the N64 Classic wouldn’t be the same without the quirky bird and bear combo. Guh-huh!
Mario Kart 64
It isn’t the first in the series, but Mario Kart 64 is still the groundwork for every great kart racer. An inspiration to later mascot-racing games, Mario Kart 64 transitioned the series into a 3D space that is still played in many a dorm room to this day.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
It’s not truly a classic Nintendo device without a Zelda game in the mix and Ocarina of Time is arguably the best title in the beloved franchise. While OoT has seen its fair share of ports and remasters on both the GameCube and 3DS, the N64 Classic wouldn’t be complete without one of gaming’s most revolutionary titles.
Star Fox 64
The original Star Fox on SNES was proof that Nintendo could do a polygonal space opera, but it wasn’t until the game was remade on the Nintendo 64 that the series became truly great. The 3D adventure was perfectly suited for the system, as each stage flew by as a fully-realized world unlike anything we’d seen before. With a concept any Star Wars fan could get behind, Star Fox 64 had Fox McCloud and friends hop in their Arwings and blast away thousands of ships across the galaxy. It may not be the longest game, but we dare you to play any of the stages only once.
Diddy Kong Racing
While Mario Kart 64 got all the attention back in the days of the N64, Diddy Kong Racing deserved just as much of the spotlight with its own take on the competitive kart racer. Featuring a colorful and eclectic cast of characters, Diddy Kong Racing took things a step further from the average racer by including karts, boats, and planes, and deserves another chance for gamers to experience on the N64 Classic.
Pokémon Snap had a very simple concept that truly became a phenomenon. It was little more than an on-rails game about taking pictures of pocket monsters, but when it came to getting Professor Oak’s highest score for pissing off a horde of hungry Charmander, we were hopelessly addicted. We still remember waiting in line at the video rental store to play at the same damn demo kiosk just to show everyone else we knew how to lure Scyther out of the grass.
It was very interesting for Nintendo to go in such a different direction with its next Mario RPG after Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, opting to use a never-before-seen papercraft style and turning famous enemies like the Koopa and Goomba into helpful allies. Fortunately, these risks paid off, as Paper Mario turned out to be one of the best RPGs on the Nintendo 64, earning it a spot on the N64 Classic.
Super Smash Bros.
Another staple to the industry, Super Smash Bros. found its origin on the Nintendo 64 and must have a space in the lineup. Fueling a competitive scene and three sequels, Super Smash Bros. is arguably one of the best crossover games that has ever graced the fighting scene, let alone gaming proper. More importantly, younger audiences would benefit from an understanding of the series’ origins.
Wave Race 64
Wave Race 64 became a watersport racing classic in the N64-era due to its tight controls and better water effects than any 3D console game before it. While the Wave Race series never became as popular as some of Nintendo’s other series, people sunk (heh, water pun) tons of hours into this Nintendo 64 gem, so it deserves a spot on an N64 Classic.
The Bomberman franchise, which was dormant until earlier this year with Super Bomberman R, gained a massive following from its first N64 outing by Hudson Soft, aptly named Bomberman 64. This charming 3D platformer is well designed and very fun to play in both single-player and multiplayer. Couple this with the fact that Konami has supported both the NES Classic and SNES Classic with some of its popular games, and it makes sense that they would work with Nintendo to put this great Hudson Soft title on the N64 Classic.
As far as classics go, Goldeneye 007 is synonymous with the Nintendo 64 and absolutely deserves a spot in the system’s lineup. Long before Halo, Call of Duty, and Battlefield dominated the multiplayer space, Goldeneye very much defined the idea of multiplayer first-person shooters for years to come. While antiquated by today’s standards, having the ability to play Goldeneye (almost) anywhere would be a thrilling experience on an N64 Classic.
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
Looking for lightening to strike the same place twice, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards was planned to do for Kirby what Super Mario 64 did with Mario. While Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards doesn’t carry such high acclaim, it is easily one of the best Kirby games out there on consoles. Adding Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is a perfect entry point to novice gamers to get into platforming through the Kirby series.
The F-Zero series is one of Nintendo’s most underrated, with its high-octane racing action barely being matched anywhere else. F-Zero X was the first 3D entry in the series, and is one of the most notable racing games on the N64. If we are lucky, Nintendo might even throw in the tracking building functionality that was exclusive to the Nintendo 64DD. Either way, this fast-paced, tough-as-nails racing classic definitely deserves a spot on the N64 Classic.
Mario Party 2
While sequels rarely carry the same esteem as their originals (cough BioShock cough), Mario Party 2 took everything from within the first Mario Party game and improved it. Gone was (most) of the frustration and control issues, and along with it came some of the best boards in the series’ history. With a host of local multiplayer games already on the list, nothing unites a group more than spending a night clearing boards in Mario Party 2.
While not as critically acclaimed as Yoshi’s previous SNES game, Yoshi’s Story is still a very interesting 2D platformer where one completes a stage by eating 30 pieces of fruit in a row: there is strategy in eating certain kinds of fruit in a certain order for a high score, adding some strategic depth to this simple kid friendly title. The game also has a great looking pop-up book aesthetic and pretty pre-rendered 3D graphics, so this cutesy title featuring Nintendo’s trademark dinosaur deserves a spot on an N64 Classic.
Donkey Kong 64
Sure, Rare already has strong representation on this list with Banjo-Kazooie and Diddy Kong Racing, but Donkey Kong 64 is a testament of taking a brand new genre — at the time, mascot platformers — and adapting it to established franchises: nobody does it better than Rare. While the game may seem repetitive to most, Donkey Kong 64 was the defining game of the generation to many, if only for the “DK Rap.”
With arguably the best theme song of any game ever, Buck Bumble buzzes it’s way onto our hypothetical N64 list purely because of its incredibly catchy music. If you haven’t heard the game’s theme song before, check it out in the above video. You’ll quickly find yourself saying things like, “Bum to the boom to the bum to the bass.”
While it’s no Symphony of the Night, Konami’s Castlevania on the Nintendo 64 broke new ground for the series by being its first 3D entry. The Castlevania series has appeared on every Nintendo Classic system so far, so it would make sense for this popular Konami series to once again show up on the N64 Classic, even if this isn’t the best Castlevania game from that generation of consoles.
Thanks to the Bond license going elsewhere for Die Another Day, Rare could never make an official GoldenEye sequel: so, it did the next best thing. Perfect Dark took the super-spy concept, mixed in some sci-fi elements, and retained virtually everything which made GoldenEye great. Perfect Dark also had the same irresistible FPS multiplayer gameplay from GoldenEye with all new customization and stat-tracking options unheard of for a console game at that time.
Beetle Adventure Racing!
Beetle Adventure Racing! is quite possibly the greatest racing game to have ever been populated entirely with 1997 Volkswagen New Beetles. Featuring six different colored vehicles (yes, all of the same type – it’s called Beetle Adventure Racing!, what did you think you were signing up for?), an arena mode, and a one-of-a-kind destruction animation, this title makes many of us nostalgic for our early racing days and when we all wanted Volkswagen Beetles as our first car.
Bet you didn’t think you’d see Glover on this list, did you? Well you thought wrong. In an age where games had incredibly weird premises – which we don’t often see in the AAA space anymore – Glover stands out on the N64 because of just how strange it is. I mean, what else is there to say? You play as a freaking glove. Name another game where you can do that.
Mega Man 64
While most of the games on this list are first-party titles, we have to include Mega Man 64 (known by a few of you as Mega Man Legends). While it may not have the same quality that Legends sported, Mega Man 64 is a defining game in the Mega Man series — bringing the Blue Bomber to a 3D realm. And while we can already hear everyone who hasn’t played this game groan, trust us: the game is far more compelling than you may imagine.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
The Nintendo 64 was no stranger to a run of exceptional Star Wars titles like Episode I: Racer or the cult classic Shadows of the Empire. However, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron – at the time – provided one of the most authentic Star Wars experiences imaginable with the ability for players to pilot an X-Wing, A-Wing, Y-Wing, and even the Millennium Falcon in a series of thrilling missions. Though Star Wars games have gotten bigger than ever thanks to titles like Battlefront and Visceral Games’ upcoming project, few have ever captured the thrills of the series like the original Rogue Squadron.
Bonus 25th Game: Superman 64
Superman 64 isn’t just the worst game on the N64, it might be the worst game of all time. However, if you wanted a true N64 Classic then you almost need to include this cluttered mess of a title just to appreciate all of the other games that are in the bundle. Who knows: maybe if you go back and play Superman 64 in present day, you might even be able to fly through all of those rings this time. Bottom line though: if you can’t take the N64 at its worst with Superman 64, then you don’t deserve it at its best with Ocarina of Time.
These are just a handful of the N64 games we would love to see if Nintendo does indeed continue with this mini-console trend. Be sure to let us know in the comments which games you would love to see on a potential N64 Classic, because we’re sure that we left some notable titles out.