The Nintendo 64 was a beast of a console, pure and simple. The 90s weren’t anywhere nearly prepared enough for it when it hit western markets back in 1997, and it proceeded to blow our tiny little minds right up until 2003. Those years brought with them some of the greatest video games ever made. Here, in no particular order, are some of the best Nintendo 64 games ever made.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Although Conker’s Bad Fur Day looked pretty child-friendly on the surface, it was choc-full of alcohol abuse, sexual references and some pretty foul language. Naturally, this made it a smash hit for kids who couldn’t get enough of Conker’s shenanigans. Outside of the toilet humour, Conker’s Bad Fur Day was easily one of the best platformers on the console.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
Remember when you first watched Star Wars and nearly achieved euphoria during the space battle sequences? Well, Rogue Squadron put you in those battles, and it was fucking awesome. Taking control of your own starfighter was a hell of a power-trip back in the day and feeling like an active participant in the downfall of the Empire was something else. The only thing better than Rogue Squadron, was its sequel Rogue Squadron II.
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say this is the greatest adventure-platformer based on a bird-bear buddy combo ever made. Ever. Banjo-Kazooie was basically about Banjo the Bear being neglectful as shit and letting his little sister play outside alone and talk to strangers, when there are motherfucking Witches in the joint who want to kidnap her to steal her beauty. The fuck is wrong with you Banjo? We can let him off though, because Banjo-Kazooie created some of the most memorable and fun moments on the Nintendo 64. Plus the music was the absolute bomb.
Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire
Often overlooked in Star Wars games round-ups, Shadow of the Empire was, in fact, fucking amazing. Playing as Dash Rendar, you swaggered around the Galaxy pulling the Empire’s trousers down and generally getting into mischief. Running parallel to the events of the original trilogy, Shadow of the Empire basically put you straight into unique set-pieces in familiar Star Wars surroundings, and that, was pretty fucking great.
Super Mario 64
This one was the absolute grandaddy, and showed its supremacy by being the best selling game on the console at over 11.89 million units shifted. Super Mario 64 was the first time we saw Mario rocking those sweet 3D textures that completely blew kids’ minds apart when it released in 1996, and stands as one of the most revolutionary launch titles in console history. Plus there was that whole opening screen where you could stretch the shit out of Mario’s face. That was mini-game perfection right there.
It wouldn’t have been the 90s if Pokemon weren’t flying at you left, right and centre, but luckily, the games were pretty great on the whole. Pokemon Stadium pitted your team of chosen pocket monsters against a friend – or some random AI opponents if you didn’t have any friends – in a battle to the bitter end. Pokemon Stadium 2 was also pretty sweet, but there’s no beating the original. The added bonus of being able to upload the Pokemon from your Game Boy was just the icing on the cake.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Chances are if you ever owned a Nintendo 64 you played a copy of this bad boy at some point. No matter how many times you re-play this game, you’ll never forget the first time you played “Saria’s Song” on the titular Ocarina, or getting so frustrated at the Water Temple you damn near broke the unweildy controller in a sugar-induced rage. While there had been Zelda games before, and there were Zelda games after, none gave you quite as many feels as Ocarina, making it, quite simply, one of the greatest games ever made.
This game ruined friendships quicker than you could select Oddjob, but god damn it if we didn’t love it intensely. Though it wasn’t the first multipayer FPS shooter in the world, it did bring the genre to the main-stream, making sitting in a room your friends and shooting the shit out of them cool. For that, I salute you. Also slaps only was clearly the best gamemode ever.
Mario Kart 64
Much like Goldeneye 007, Mario Kart 64 was basically an excuse to fall out with anybody who had pissed you off but who you couldn’t find a real reason to stop talking to. The best thing about playing Mario Kart 64 nowadays, is that it’s still a legitimately good time, especially if you’re drinking along. University was pretty much built around drinking along to this game instead of studying. Zero regrets.
Star Fox 64
Fun fact: Star Fox 64 was the first game to utilize the Rumble Pack, which made getting Fox McCloud shot to shit that much more realistic. Star Fox on the SNES is one of my earliest gaming memories, and playing the sequel on the N64 was just phenomenal. Almost as cool as Fox, were his anthropomorphic wingmen Slippy, Peppy and the bad-ass man/bird Falco Lombardi. It also made ‘doing a barrel roll’ socially acceptable. So there’s that..
Mark is the Gaming Editor for UNILAD. Having grown up a gaming addict, he’s been deeply entrenched in culture and spends time away from work playing as much as possible. Mark studied music at University and found a love for journalism through going to local gigs and writing about them for local and national publications.