If you have been following my favorite games journey so far, you know that I did not play a Nintendo 64 console until well into it’s life cycle. I loved the Nintendo 64, but I only played it for a year or two before the GameCube was released. I did not have many games for the console, and most of my time was spent playing Mario Party 2 at friends’ houses. That game is not one of my favorite games because I can still remember ripping the skin off of my hand trying to win some mini-games. I currently own less than 10 games for the N64, some of which I’ve bought recently through retro game stores. Nevertheless, the N64 contained some of my all time favorite games.
Super Mario 64 (1996)
As one of the first three dimensional open world games, Super Mario 64 holds a special place in my heart. After playing in flat two dimensional worlds for most of my gaming career, this game opened my eyes towards what was possible in gaming. Portraits on the wall transported you to countless unique and varied worlds all filled with challenges and puzzles that rewarded the player for exploring. In Super Mario 64 gameplay is king, and the way Mario is able to combine double and triple jumps in order to move fluidly throughout the levels creates an art form that is as satisfying to watch as it is to play. I still enjoy playing Super Mario 64, and I enjoyed replaying the game on Virtual Consoles and the Nintendo DS remake.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
This game will forever remain one of my all time favorite games. Mainly because the mechanic of the titular Ocarina of Time is so much fun and has never been replicated within any other video game yet. Having an item that allows you to collect and play melodies in order to interact with the world combines music and gameplay in a way that few games have ever done. If you have ever played this game, I am willing to bet that you can hum Zelda’s Lullaby and Epona’s Song from memory. The music was so integral to the game play and that created a more memorable experience. The dungeon puzzles aren’t the best in the series, but the level designs are fun and the boss battles are especially memorable. Finding all of the heart pieces also remains a truly challenging but enjoyable feat.
Pokemon Snap (1999)
Photography has never been a hobby of mine. I disliked taking pictures in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and most other games with an in game camera, but Pokemon Snap had me snapping pictures for hours and hours. The gameplay was so much fun throughout this game. Instead of catching them all in Pokeballs, you were trying to catch all of the Pokemon on film. Professor Oak would rate all of your shots and score you for each level. This led to tons of replayability as you tried to catch your favorite Pokemon in the perfect pose. You could also throw apples and rocks to make the creatures perform different actions, leading to lots of interactions between the player and the characters. The game initially seems like a simple on rails shooter, but the hidden secrets and extra Pokemon made this game something that kept you coming back for more.
Which N64 game was your favorite? Were you busy playing the PlayStation at this point?
Check back tomorrow for my list of favorite Game Boy games!
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks