Friday, February 25, 2011

Top 10 N64 games

One of the most important symbols of my formative years

As my readers know, I love to compile top 10 lists. But so far all of my top 10s have been football related. Well my adoring fans, that's about to change. I've stepped out of the box and put together a list of my top 10 favorite classic N64 games! Any male from my generation should identify with this list. Prepare to have your faces melted!

*Disclaimer: Before you crap yourselves and berate me for not having Goldeneye or Perfect Dark (which I believe is WAY over-rated) on this list, let me just say I understand how important they were to the developement of the FPS genre (which I love) and games in general. However, I never owned either game and after playing them several times, I have never fallen in love with either. Remember, this is MY top 10 favorites. Not top 10 best-sellers or anything else.

10. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater:
This game is on my list not only because of what it was, but what it turned into. This was the first of a long ling of incredibly awesome Tony Hawk skating games, my all time favorite of which was Tony Hawk's Underground for Gamecube. Pretty much every guy my age remembers that first Warehouse level, collecting "S-K-A-T-E", and busting tricks on the halfpipe. A true classic.

9. Yoshi's Story:
This is a vastly under-rated and fun game in my opinion. You can play it over and over and never get bored with it because there are so many ways to play through the story. It follows a band of young yoshis who's Tree of Happiness was stolen from them by none other than Baby Bowser. Players go through many levels of a storybook as Yoshis eating various fruits and growing happier en route to being reunited with their beloved tree. It's worth a try if you've never played it.

8. Super Smash Bros.:
Although it pales to its sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee, in comparison, the original Smash Bros. was an innovative concept and a blast to play. Melee is probably one of my all time favorite games and so its predecessor deserves a place on this list for that reason if nothing else. For the first time, all of your favorite Nintendo characters across many genres were on one game with one purpose: to beat the living crap out of each other. I've also always loved how the worlds of these characters were incorporated in the game as well.

7. Super Mario 64:
Mario 64 was the first ever 3-D adventure players could take on as the beloved italian plumber and it didn't disappoint. The plot was the same as it always is. Bowser has taken Peach hostage, and in this case her entire castle too, and it's up to Mario to save the day. There are so many missions, levels, and challenges in this game it's almost overwhelming. But every bit of it is fun and rewarding.

6. Donkey Kong 64:
What an awesome game. It was essentially DK's version of Mario 64 with some humor. King K. Rool replaced the role of Bowser and rather than collecting stars, DK and his primate pals strove to recover DK's beloved golden bananas. This was also an extremely deep game full of extra challenges and features like weapons and instruments for each character. And who can forget the DK rap that opens the game? All I have to say is: "Walnuts, peanuts, pineapple smells, grapes, melons, oranges, and coconut shells."

5. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron:
As an enormous Star Wars fan and nerd, this game has to be high on my list. Of the many fantastic games across many platforms that focus on the Star Wars galaxy, this was the first one that was REALLY good. Shadows of the Empire had its moments, but just wasn't quite up to snuff. Rogue Squadron centers around the many flight missions undertaken by Luke and the rebels between Episodes IV and V, which is even better if your a nerd like me. The way to get the most out of this game is through cheat codes. Only through them can you unlock secret missions and ships like a tie interceptor, the Millennium Falcon, and even a flying Buick (go figure). It's also worth noting that Rogue Squadron featured some of the best graphics available on N64.

4. Mario Kart 64:
I have never met a single person who played N64 and did not LOVE this game. After saving the world from Bowser, Mario and his pals had a lot of free time on their hands (as evident in multiple N64 titles). There was time for golfing, tennis, and even a life-sized board game. But the most awesome of all these excursions was none other than Go-Kart racing. I could still play this game for hours with friends and never get bored. No other character driven racing game even comes close. Mario Kart is far and away the King. Suck it Crash Bandicoot.

3. Paper Mario:
I LOVE this game! I've never figured out why it gets a bad rap. I've beaten the game multiple times and always had fun doing it. The story is engaging (although it is at its root the same as every Mario adventure: rescue Peach from Bowser) and full of humor. There's plenty of side missions to keep you busy and you get the help of party members on your quest. The battles are turn-based (different than any other Mario title) which gives the game a whole-nother dimension which I really enjoy. Plus the paper characters on 3D backgrounds make the graphics pretty timeless. I strongly recommend this game if you've never played it.

2. Star Fox 64:
Wow. I'll try to do this game justice in just a few sentences. Probably in my top 5 or 6 favorite games of all time on any console. Most N64 fans including myself can quote half of the game. There's just so many different ways to beat the game and I never get tired of trying them all. The concept of flying straight (for most of the game) and shooting various enemies is simple, but so much stinking fun. Plus there's the option of using other vehicles like tanks and subs on certain levels. And there's always the wisdom of Peppy Hare, which transcends the video game world. DO A BARREL-ROLL!

1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
This game also cracks my list of top 5 games of all time. Without a doubt the best N64 game ever. This game is beyond deep. In fact, to this day I have never completely beaten it (I've actually just recently begun this undertaking again and am determined to finish the job this time). Besides the long main story, which is very... well just awesome, there's no end to the side missions, mini-games, and bonus objectives to be completed. The land of Hyrule is as vast and alive as any could possibly be on the N64. Plus, I believe this is the only game in which you can play as Link both as a child and an Adult (other than Super Smash Bros.). This is the very best of an absolutely superb series that is the Zelda series. And let's not forget, you can ride a horse as an adult in this game! An awesome feature that, in my opinion, was not done well again in a game until just recently in Red Dead Redemption (thank God for the ressurection of the Western genre). This game is just great. If you haven't played it, you've probably been living under a rock for 20 years or are just a girl. Regardless of these restrictions, you should try it if you haven't. It is original, it's a blast, and it's nothing less than a true gaming classic! Forget Link, this game is the true Hero of Time!


  1. There is one MAJOR failure of this list. I can forgive Majora's Mask not being on there, since you don't want a Zelda to take up two spots, so you could just put them together there on the list, but DK 64 and Yoshi's story do not deserve to be on this list.

    DK 64 was just a copy paste job from mario 64 to Banjo Kazooie to DK 64. Rare's N64 masterpiece was really Conker's Bad Fur Day, which has the same great gameplay, but in a totally different light from any other game I've played, including the xbox remake. Also it's a bit criminal to not include Goldeneye/Perfect Dark, this coming from someone who personally didn't love the games. The multiplayer is only bested by Super Smash Bros. and Mario Party.

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