Okay, so there are some pretty cool video games out there nowadays, but let’s be real: the true zenith of gaming was in the 1990’s, when people were gathering in living rooms and basements across the world, utilizing the awesome 4-player games Nintendo 64 had to offer.
The Nintendo 64, known to cool people as N64, sure was great. Here are 11 games that everyone used to play.
1. Super Smash Bros
Spurring vigorous play and a multitude of tournaments, the first Super Smash Bros (debut in 1999) will surely be remembered by true gamers as one of the best games ever made. Sure, the updated versions (first for GameCube, then for Wii) are sweet, but are they better than this first one? This game also had a nice variety of stages and characters–I was partial to Fox, Kirby, Pikachu, and Ness. Of course the game’s single-person mode was not very good, but the multi-player mode more than made up for it.
2. GoldenEye 007
Although it’s tempting to remember the N64 primarily for Mario games, this extremely popular iteration of James Bond was arguably the best N64 game. Games could be played for seemingly unlimited amounts of time, and competition was fierce. Everyone only played in normal mode, because the other ones were dumb, apart from the occasional Golden Gun match. With a healthy variety of arenas and weapons—including the popular bombs set to detonate—GoldenEye was a solid game. One of the few annoying aspects was trying to get that friend to not choose Odd Job, because he was so short and hard to shoot.
3. Super Mario 64
Easily the best one-player game ever made for the system, Super Mario 64 had an intriguing presentation of a world unlike our own that tied in with both Mario Kart and Mario Party. There was plenty to do to keep busy in the game, and the vast worlds enabled many a gamer to spend months playing the game. One notable feature was the way you could control the camera and swing it around for different angles. The only first-person games that come even close are the Legend of Zelda ones. But this was still better.
4. Mario Party 3
Far superior to the first two versions, Mario Party 3 added the mischievous (and at some points, blustering) Waluigi and Princess Daisy for a nice round-out of eight available characters. Another important addition was more than one save slot, so you could save more than one game at the same time. Mario Party in general was an interesting game that could be played by 2, 3, or 4 people, although depending on the duration it did require a bit of commitment. (Remember when you’d save a game in the middle somewhere and couldn’t get the people who were playing with you back together to continue it?). The mini-games were engaging and the stages had a lot of variety, including the mirage star in the Spiny Desert and the Whomp in the Creepy Cavern.
5. Perfect Dark
Considered by some the follow-up to GoldenEye (both were made by developer Rare), Perfect Dark had a strong single-player mode in addition to multi-player action. The best addition was having the single-player mode able to be played with two players, with a split screen. There was an option for three players in this version, but it was too split for my taste (one player would have a bigger screen than the other two). I believe that another feature that debuted in Perfect Dark was having computer controlled characters, up to eight in a match. The appearance and level of these players could be chosen individually. A range of awards would be given out after each match, such as “Mostly Harmless” for people who didn’t play well.
6. Mario Kart
Modern gamers are familiar with this one, as well as Super Smash, and it does beg mention that this version (an update of Super Mario Kart for the Super Nintendo) is definitely inferior to the later GameCube version, with its drifts and the second-character on the back of the cars. This version was tons of fun, though, with 16 tracks and also the Battle Mode where its a stage instead of a race, and you look to destroy the other characters with a variety of weapons. The best was the red shell, which was close to a honing missile. What was even more fun was dodging the red shell. An interesting feature was you could include computer controlled characters in races if you chose to.
7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Look, people will be mad that this is so far down on the list. I’m aware of how great of a game this and Majora’s Mask were (though not better than Super Mario), but I just didn’t really get into either of them that much, and distinctly remember getting stuck on this one to the point where I gave up. So there.
8: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mark
Same thing for this, pretty much. And let’s remember the Zelda games didn’t have a multi-player mode!
9. Diddy Kong Racing
Though not as good as Mario Kart, this game was good for at least several hundred hours of game-time. Personally, I recall playing a lot after I purposefully contracted the chicken pox (remember that?). The one-player version is OK, but this is another multi-player game.
10. Mario Tennis
Good for two to four players, Mario Tennis wasn’t as good as the games above but could serve as a way to pass some time. There was the different methods of hitting, such as the power shot, the drop shot, and the charge hit, and the cool replays of hits. There were also different tournament options.
11. Star Fox 64
A good game to alternate with the ones above, Star Fox was the first game to include the Rumble Pak, a cool feature. I didn’t really play the single-person mode, but the multi-player mode is pretty good because it is a lot different then the other games listed above, with users controlling spaceships and launching missiles.