The Nintendo 64 launched after the Super Nintendo in 1996 and was Nintendo’s first console with fully 3D 64-bit graphics. It’s one of the most famous and well-recognized systems in videogame history, largely because of it’s game library but also for it’s very unique design, bizarre controller layout and color options.

I played a ton of N64 games back when I was a kid and these are the top 10 games you need to check out if you somehow missed out on this excellent console.


Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 is the original 3D platformer that went on to define the entire genre. Pretty much every single 3D platformer that came out afterwards built upon concepts that were first defined in Mario 64.

The game has you exploring a castle hub world that links to tons of other variously themed worlds you enter by jumping through paintings or finding secrets.

Your goal is to collect Power Stars which are used to unlock doors in the castle and open up more worlds. At the top of the castle Bowser is waiting for you and you need a certain number of Power Stars to open the door and enter the final boss fight.

It’s surprisingly non-linear too. Each world has 7 Power Stars to collect and there are secret ones in the hub world as well. If you’re having trouble with one world you can just leave and play another one then come back later. It’s a fantastic game and it still holds up today.


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

This game blew my mind as a kid and to date is still my favorite game in the entire Zelda series. It’s the first time the series went full 3D and it went on to define the entire series going forward. Concepts like the Temple of Time, different weapons and items, locations and other things from future Zelda games originated here.

The unique gimmick here is a magic ocarina that has different effects depending on different songs you play with the buttons on the N64 controller.

You start off as a child, play through a few dungeons and then travel to the future where you play several more dungeons as an adult. The time travel mechanic ends up being a big part of the game and is used in some unique ways.

The gameplay is absolutely solid as well. Combat is fantastic, the dungeon design is awesome and the whole world is a joy to explore full of all kinds of different secrets to find.

The best way to play this game now is the 3DS version.


The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Majora’s Mask is a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time and easily the most bizarre game in the whole Zelda series. It’s got a dark creepy vibe and finds Link falling into another world called Termina, 3 days before the moon crashes into the planet and the world ends.

You have 3 days to stop that from happening and you can rewind time at any time taking you back to the beginning of the 3 days.

Your progress mostly gets erased when you rewind back (minus some important stuff, you do bring some stuff back with you) so you have to plan out your approach and how you’re going to spend your time.

There’s a ton of NPCs all with their own unique schedules that they follow and a lot of side quests that involve them, including one of the best side quests ever to show up in a videogame period. You get a special notebook to track everything and in addition to the dungeons and regular Zelda-style gameplay these side quests are a large part of the game.

Like Ocarina of Time this was also remade for the 3DS and that’s the best version of the game to play today.


Rogue Squadron 64

To this day Rogue Squadron 64 is still the greatest Star Wars flying game and to date no other Star Wars games have captured the same magic as this one.

You play as a member of the elite Rebel fighter team called Rogue Squadron and pilot X-Wings, A-Wings, Y-Wings and other iconic Star Wars craft on a variety of different missions. The missions vary from destroy the Empire’s base type missions, to escort missions, to rescue missions and even some of the battles from the movies are in here.

It’s lots of fantastic Star Wars dog fighting action. If you’re at all interested in that sort of thing this is still the greatest game for that there is.

There is a PC version of the game but it’s almost impossible to get it working on modern computers so playing the original N64 version is pretty much your only option if you can manage to track it down.



Goldeneye had the best multiplayer gameplay from the time period and arguably ever. Playing the multiplayer with 3 other friends was such a huge part of so many different people’s childhoods, teen years or university life.

It’s a first person shooter game, one of the original 3D first person shooters (aside from old PC games like Doom). The single player campaign has a ton of missions following the events of the Goldeneye movie. The missions are quite varied with lots of different objectives and different difficulty levels where you have more or less objectives depending on what difficulty you’re playing on.

There’s a great collection of weapons to use and the whole campaign is a lot of fun.

The multiplayer is where things really shine though and puts you in a 4 person death match in sections of the single player levels. You have a lot of different options for customizing matches and it’s by far the most fun I’ve ever had with a multiplayer videogame.

The controls haven’t held up super well when compared to first person shooters today but aside from that you should still definitely give this a play.


Star Fox 64

Star Fox 64 is still the greatest game in the Star Fox series and we still have no idea why they haven’t made a proper sequel. It’s a very arcadey flight game, not unlike Rogue Squadron but most of the levels are sort of on rails and have you flying forward while you shoot things and fly around obstacles.

There are several different missions you play through and depending on various choices or objectives you complete in the missions the path you take to the final mission is different as well as a few aspects of that final mission.

There’s not a huge amount to the story, you’re basically just trying to stop the bad guy but there’s a great cast of characters along with you and the gameplay is still tons of fun.

Star Fox 64 also got a remake for the 3DS and that’s the best way to play the game right now.


Super Smash Bros.

When Super Smash Bros. first came out no one had ever seen anything quite like it. It was the first ever sort of “Mascot Brawler”. There were other fighting games but this was the first fighting game with Nintendo’s flagship characters and the first time you could see something like Pikachu fighting Samus Aran.

The series then went on to become one of the most popular fighting game franchises of all time.

In this first entry to the series you have all your major Nintendo characters, Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Star Fox and more and you battle it out in stages from various Nintendo games.

Instead of depleting your opponent’s health you build up their damage meter and the higher the meter the further they fly why you hit them. The goal is basically just to knock them off the stage and it’s a ton of fun, both playing the single player or playing 4-person multiplayer.


Mario Kart 64

This was the first properly 3D Mario Kart games and it’s still one of the best with some super iconic tracks and music. The game features Mario characters racing go-carts but it’s not just about being the fastest. There are tons of random items you can get to cause trouble for the other players like Koopa shells that you can throw at opponents to slow them down, banana peels that cause them to wipe out or mushrooms that give you a speed boost.

There’s a good amount of single player content here and stuff to unlock but where the game truly shines is with the multiplayer. Playing this game’s 4-person multiplayer with a group of your friends is always a ton of fun. Plus the game makes a great date game since it’s super friendly to new players as well.

There’s been a lot of other similar kart games but this is the original and still one of the bests.



Banjo-Kazooie was a great 3D platformer from Rare that came out somewhat early in the N64’s life. The sequel, Banjo-Tooie took everything that made the first game great and gave you so much more.

It’s a fantastic 3D platformer with some incredibly creative worlds, great gameplay, tons of collectables and secrets and an excellent cast of characters.

Surprisingly enough there’s also a fantastic multiplayer mode with several different minigames you can play.

The 3D platforming genre kind of died and Banjo-Tooie was really the last great one. To date no one has really managed to capture the magic of this genre quite like Banjo-Tooie did.


Paper Mario

Paper Mario is kind of the unofficial sequel to Super Mario RPG, one of the greatest SNES games ever made. Like Mario RPG it’s a turn-based RPG set in the Mario universe but what makes this game unique is that all the characters are 2D paper cut-outs set in a 3D sort of diorama world.

It’s a very unique look and so far no one has really tried to copy the same style.

The gameplay is really great, especially the turn-based combat which has lots of timed hits and fun things to keep it engaging. The story is fun and heartwarming with a fantastic cast of side characters to help Mario along on his journey.

The series definitely lost it’s magic after the Thousand Year door on the Gamecube which is too bad but I’d still argue that this is the best game in that entire series and if you like turn-based RPGs or liked Mario RPG you definitely need to play this.