The 20 greatest Nintendo 64 games

With rumours that a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition could be coming later in the year, our minds have been cast back to the glory days of '90s gaming.

One of the best consoles to ever fall into the hands of gamers, the Nintendo 64 first released in Japan on June 23 1996, and enjoyed a fruitful seven years before it was discontinued in 2003.

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To honour one of the best platforms ever, we've set about deciding on the 20 best games released for the system, games we'd love to see included on an N64 Classic.

Star Wars: Episode I Battle for Naboo

The N64 has a surprisingly robust line-up of Star Wars games, and this 'spiritual successor' to the amazing Rogue Squadron provided fresh vehicular combat for fans looking for their next fix of the galaxy far, far away.

F-Zero X

Something else that the N64 was good at providing was an amazing racing game, and the futuristic F-Zero X hurtled hovering race cars around the track at over 600mph.

There was even a random course generator mode to make sure no two races were the same.

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

(Image: LucasArts)

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The best Star Wars game to grace the N64, Rogue Squadron was graphically impressive (making use of the console's optional Expansion Pak memory upgrade), and its arcade fighting went on to inspire two Gamecube sequels that are equally as worthy.

Lylat Wars

Or Star Fox 64, depending on where you were when it came out.

It's NOT another Star Wars game, although you might not think it to look at, with Nintendo's own space-faring action title referencing the space saga and aping famous scenes liberally.

What might appear a linear game at first is actually littered with secrets and alternate routes for you to find on later playthroughs.

Diddy Kong Racing

(Image: Rare)

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Not many games could take on Mario Kart and avoid embarrassing themselves, but Diddy Kong Racing managed to back in 1997.

Developed by Rare, it was an admirable and enjoyable Kart alternative, the only downside being there's not been a sequel in nearly 20 years.

Excitebike 64

Coming towards the end of the N64's console cycle, this graphically pleasing dirt bike racer from Nintendo was praised for being a cut above other efforts at the time.

It used some pretty hefty tech for the time to give the whole thing a realistic feel, and was a must for motocross fans.

WWF No Mercy

(Image: THQ)

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Even if you're not an avid fan of professional wrestling, WWF No Mercy was held in high regard as one of the best fighting games out there, and it's certainly considered a pinnacle of virtual bodyslams.

Fans still engage in tournaments to this day, and the blocky graphics only add to the charm.

Blast Corps

Blast Corps is also an oft-forgotten title from pioneering developers Rare, which charged the player with clearing a path for a runaway nuclear missile carrier by destroying the buildings in front of it.

Beetle Adventure Racing

Many anticipated Beetle Adventure Racing to be just a Iwonky tie-in to promote the New Volkswagen Beetle, released the previous year.

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But this hi-octane road experience from EA actually turned out to be one of the best racers on the console.

Donkey Kong 64

(Image: Nintendo)

Rare games seem to make up a sizeable portion of our list, and with good reason - they were all great.

Donkey Kong 64 was a fine example of the company's platforming prowess, and deftly showcased the sense of humour that ran through all of their titles.


This sequel to the amazing Banjo-Kazooie continued the tight platforming of the first game, pitting the player against colourful enemies in even more colourful words.

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The gameplay was bested only by Super Mario 64, and the innovative game design continues to impress some 20 years on.

Wave Race 64

(Photo: Nintendo 64)

When was the last time you played a jet ski racing game, let alone a good one?

It was probably Wave Race 64, back when Nintendo were in the business of turning out amazingly quirky games, which also introduced revolutionary water graphics.


Banjo-Kazooie's innovative dual-character platforming is still inspiring spiritual successors today (see the recent Yooka-Laylee from its former developers), and going back to the game nearly two decades later still feels like a fresh experience.

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Paper Mario

What could be cuter than the already cute world of Super Mario? A flat (in the 2D sense), paper version.

Paper Mario brought RPG elements to the Mario universe and bundled it all up in a cute, hand-crafted art style.

Conker's Bad Fur Day

(Image: THQ)

While Rare's other titles may have been cutesy, family-friendly affairs, for Conker's Bad Fur Day they upped the ante and made an adult themed game that was decidedly foul mouthed and outrageous.

Toilet humour, bad language and unsubtle innuendo were just three of the things that make this platformer a unique experience.

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Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 essentially invented and perfected the 3D platformer all at the same time, and countless gamers will remember the first time they explored the grounds of Princess Peach's castle. Brilliant.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

The Majora's Mask or Ocarina of Time debate will rage for years to come.

This sequel to Link's first N64 adventure is about as close to perfect gaming as you can get though.

GoldenEye 007

(Image: Nintendo)

Where Super Mario 64 invented the 3D platformer, GoldenEye 007 practically reinvented the 3D shooter for consoles, and the game still feels like a Year Zero for modern shooters.

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Brilliant multiplayer, and a surprisingly entertaining campaign to boot.

Perfect Dark

The spiritual successor to GoldenEye actually usurped the Bond-romp, presenting a futuristic sci-fi shooter featuring lasers, aliens and conspiracy.

Joanna Dark remains one of the most overlooked gaming heroines going.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Ocarina of Time still stands as one of the most perfectly crafted games of all time, and taking a stroll through the game's opening Kakariko Village area is enough to reduce grown men to nostalgic tears.

[Main image: Shutterstock]

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