Nintendo 64 games are kind of like clothes. They were in style at one point, went out of style when something better looking came out, and then came back in style again when everyone who owned one grew up, making us feel nostalgic. And nothing can evoke nostalgia quite like an old N64 game that you used to play as a kid; when there wasn’t a worry in the world except whether to pick Mario or Luigi.
Times have changed however. The stresses of real life wear you down, making you forget what it was like to be young. New gaming technology is being announced seemingly every day, making life that much more complicated.
That’s why I decided to simplify things and make this list of the top 5 N64 games you should bring back out and play with your friends. It’s time to make you remember why 64 bits was enough.
5. Mario Tennis
Mario Tennis actually made tennis fun to play as a video game. Something I thought was impossible. One thing that makes this game memorable for me is that the AI was actually hard to beat. Especially when you crank the difficulty up to Intense and really let the balls fly. This game is fun whether it’s just you vs. one of your friends, you and a friend going doubles vs. a computer team, or you and three friends having an epic battle to the death (or match point, whatever). Not to mention the awesome feeling of superiority you’ll feel when you hit a high lofting trick shot right over your opponents head, winning the match (or the shame you’ll feel when it happens to you). The versatility of Mario Tennis is what puts it on this list, and you should have fun for a long time while playing it. Now if I can just get Mario’s serve down…
4. Mario Party
The name says it all. This game is a party. But it’s not just a party, no; this game is much, much more. It’s a freakin’ marathon. The ONLY true way to play Mario Party is on the “50 turns” option. You’re not a real gamer until you spend 3 hours running around a little game-board collecting coins and stars, and stealing them from your so-called friends, until finally one of you emerges from the bloodbath as the champion. The only bad part about this game is the “bonus stars” portion at the very end, where extra stars are awarded to players. Nothing hurts worse than seeing a sure victory snatched from your hands as one of your friends somehow sweeps the bonus portion. But at the same time, nothing feels more rewarding than knowing you’re the champion of the gauntlet called Mario Party. And that is something to brag about.
3. GoldenEye 007
GoldenEye basically invented the multiplayer first-person shooter genre. It was Halo before Halo was Halo. So many things can be said about this game that it’s hard to know where to start. The variety of options that you can use in multiplayer is just awesome. Feel like using guns is just too easy? Try slappers only. Bullets too boring for you? Go with Rockets. There’s something for everybody. It also cemented its legacy even further because of the now infamous character Oddjob. Almost impossible to hit, and just incredibly annoying, Oddjob is the very definition of an unfair character. Every gamer knows to yell out “No Oddjob!” before playing this game or it’s over before it even started. That four foot tall hat-throwing henchman still haunts my dreams.
2. Super Smash Bros.
There are no other games out there like Super Smash Bros. (besides of course, its sequels). Honestly one of the most original games I’ve ever played, Smash Bros. was made for multiplayer. When I told my friend I had beaten the game on very hard, he responded by saying: “There’s a single player mode?” That should tell you a lot. Smash Bros. is full of Nintendo’s most awesome characters beating the crap out of each other. But this isn’t your dad’s fighting game. Instead of a health meter, players have a damage percentage that goes up with the hits you take, making you fly farther each time you are hit. It’s a novel concept that makes for longer, more epic fights. You can also play on certain characters’ maps from their own games. The feeling I get smashing my friend’s character’s face in playing on Hyrule Castle while the Legend of Zelda theme plays in the background is unrivaled in anything else I’ve ever done.
1. Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart grabs the number 1 spot on this list, mainly because of all the crazy moments it provides and the amount of strategy that is involved. You might be thinking, “Strategy? It’s a racing game.” But beware, this game is diabolical. That’s really the only way to describe it. The farther behind 1st place you are the better weapons you get. I’ve seen kids go from last to first in one lap, and first to last quicker than they can say “Wha-?” So the question becomes, do you go for broke right away and try to stay in first place the whole race? Or is that futile when you can make comebacks so easily? Maybe you should stay in the back, save a really good item and then make a charge at the last minute? I bet you’re starting to see the amount of strategy that is actually involved. And nothing says friendship like throwing your controller across the room after your “buddy” sends you from a sure winner to certain defeat by nailing you with that blue spiked-shell he was saving, and claiming all the glory for himself. Jerk.