#10 Beetle Adventure Racing
It feels weird including a product placement game in this list, but Beetle Adventure Racing deserves it.
It’s one of the rare racing titles to deliver an amazing experience while keeping it very simple.
Smashing all the points boxes was addicting, as they often led to secret shortcuts. in fact, this racing game is all about finding zones off the beaten path.
#9 Star Fox 64
Do a barrel roll!
Star Fox 64 graced us with one of the coolest space shooters back then. The technology leap from SNES to N64 was impressive, delivering a fresh experience against Dr. Andross.
Control the airwing, landmaster and blue marine was exciting. It just felt like the right combination of aerial, ground and underwater action – something no other game did in 1997.
What’s not to like about a talkative, grumpy bird and a merry bear? Banjo-Kazooie reminds us of a time when Rare was at its prime.
It’s 3D platforming at its best, despite the fact it leans a bit on the collectathon side of things (something Banjo-Tooie is guilty of as well).
Grant Kirkhope’s score in this game is phenomenal. The narrative is full of tongue-in-cheek humor. There’s a great sense of discovery, with a big overworld to explore and fun levels to 100% for all jigsaw pieces, notes, etc.
#7 Mario Party
Either you love Mario Party, or you hate it to death. There’s really no middle ground with that one.
From breaking controllers playing the Tug O’ War minigame to stealing your friends’ stars with Boo, Mario Party is a mix of fun and cruel experiences.
Having said that, it remains one of the defining games of the N64 era and spawned lots of sequels which introduced several new spaces, characters, items, etc.
#6 Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Remember we said Rare was so good during the N64 lifespan? Conker’s Bad Fur Day was a risky bet full of crude humor, sex and violence.
In the end, the risk was quite worth it: Conker built a cult following as the real N64’s swan song. Not too surprising with the amount of greatness inside, including the Great Mighty Poo battle. Or the Matrix parody. And Aliens. The list goes on.
It’s amazing how much audio was crammed on that cartridge. Plus, there’s multiplayer modes (up to four players in split-screen!) that easily beat what we see in modern games.
#5 Perfect Dark
Wait, no Goldeneye on this list? Yup, that’s right. Because Perfect Dark took everything from Goldeneye and cranked it up a notch.
Maybe that’s not a popular opinion, but Perfect Dark feels like the ultimate first-person shooter. The artificial intelligence was funny, there’s lots of difficulty levels all opening up new paths, challenges were fun and the music, god the music was something else.
Perfect Dark set the bar very high for other FPSes. Too bad the sequel forgot everything that made this series special in the first place.
#4 Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart 64 is the kind of game that aged perfectly. It’s an arcade racer at heart and even though getting hit by a blue shell right before the finish line feels cheap, you’re never unhappy to race again with your friends.
The first title in what became a huge series featured an exciting Battle Mode on top of regular races. Years later, they’re still some of the best maps.
#3 Super Smash Bros. 64
Pitting the most popular Nintendo characters against each other seemed like a dream come true back in the N64 days. And to an extent, it still does.
Super Smash Bros. 64 was Hal Laboratory’s ambitious take on the fighting genre. Featuring familiar faces like Kirby, Link, Samus and Yoshi meant the game was instantly recognizable for both old and new players alike.
Smash was one of the most fun experiences on the console. Instead of depleting your opponents’ life, your goal was to send them off the screen. The more damage, the easier it was to smash them to their doom!
#2 Super Mario 64
The world’s favorite plumber first got his 3D treatment as a launch title for the Nintendo 64.
Super Mario 64 was a brilliant and memorable adventure. Seeing Princess Peach’s castle for the first time is still something that will be hard to beat in terms of sheer enjoyment.
An incredible soundtrack and great game mechanics really elevated Super Mario 64.
#1 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Shigeru Miyamoto’s crowning achievement after the original Mario Bros.
There’s like a million reasons why The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is considered not only the best Nintendo 64 game, but the best game ever.
The series’ transition from 2D to 3D was a huge feat at the time, with one of the most epic journeys that sees Link travel through time to fight Ganondorf.
Unforgettable, huge, masterful, the game’s only flaw might be that it comes to an end. It’s truly fantastic from start to finish,