Ultra 64-bit Classics

Ultra 64-bit Classics

So Nintendo hasn't confirmed it is working on an N64 Classic yet. But we've seen the trademark filings, the leaked images that may or may not be fakes and besides — it just makes too much sense not to do. So that got us thinking: what are the 20 games we'd want most on an N64 Classic? While most of our PlayStation wishes unfortunately didn't come true, Nintendo's stronger first-party output on its 64-bit console means that we should see more of these make it to a potential retro revival. And who knows? Maybe Nintendo will toss another unreleased relic into the roster, like it did with Star Fox 2 on the SNES Classic.

Credit: Nintendo

GoldenEye 007

GoldenEye 007

I can't tell you how many hours I spent in college handing out smackdowns in GoldenEye 007. Back in the day, this blocky movie tie-in set the stage for the rise of first-person shooters as a viable genre. Sure, the single-player campaign was fun, infuriating bugs and all (Damn you Natalya! Don't walk in front my gun!). But, what made GoldenEye 007 so popular was the four-person competitive mode, which let you and three friends shoot it out in split screen as some of the Bond franchise's most colorful characters. But if you happen to see your screen go red, just know it was me, in the Stacks with the proximity mines.

— Sherri L. Smith

Credit: Nintendo

Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros.

As it turned out, making a game where Mario, Link, Donkey Kong and Pikachu can all beat the absolute snot out of each other was a brilliant idea. Super Smash Bros. is easily one of the N64’s best games, allowing you and up to three friends to battle it out as one of 12 iconic Nintendo mascots with all manner of crazy items and power-ups. Smash went on to become one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises, but the accessible-yet-nuanced fighting of the original still holds up well today (and even has an active competitive scene). And what better way for Nintendo to celebrate the launch of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate then by letting players see where it all began? — Mike Andronico

Credit: Nintendo

Wave Race 64

Wave Race 64

Add this to the list of fantastic sports titles and racing games that Nintendo has criminally ignored over the last two decades. Originally designed with transforming speedboats in mind — think Hydro Thunder — Wave Race 64 was repurposed mid-development to feature jet skis instead. This was a genius design decision, as the tandem of rider and watercraft made Wave Race feel and behave differently than any other racing game at the time. There’s a fluidity to the physics that still feels perfect all these years later, and the game bears the rare distinction of being one of the few N64 titles that aged surprisingly well. It’s reckoned the game consumed 80 percent of the console’s power due to the complexity of its water physics, and you can tell — Wave Race is a technical tour de force among Nintendo’s early 3D output. — Adam Ismail

Credit: Nintendo

NFL Blitz

NFL Blitz

Sports games may be the hardest to re-produce and bring to Classic consoles — so many teams and players with so many likeness rights — but that shouldn't stop Nintendo. Blitz is one of the premiere cases of an arcade-style sports game providing more fun than you can shake a pigskin at. Not only was its gameplay simple enough for anyone to pick up, but there's enough depth to keep groups of friends battling for years upon years. How do I know? It's how I spent many a college evening, chuckling at its cartoonish, hyper masculine style that almost served as parody of the NFL, complete with post-play attacks that came with no penalties. — Henry T. Casey

Credit: Warner Bros.

Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64

The unrelenting, brutal passage of time has shown us that Mario Kart 64 wasn’t quite as perfect as our rose-colored glasses made it out to be. Sure, it brought what would end up being one of Nintendo’s most profitable franchises into the polygonal era and did so with four-player multiplayer (and Battle Mode). However, Mario Kart got exponentially better with almost every passing iteration, and Diddy Kong Racing arguably took the framework it established to new heights. And yet, at the same time, none of that really matters. Because there’s no N64 — and certainly no N64 Classic — without Mario Kart.— Adam Ismail

Credit: Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

A hero displaced by time gave birth to the modern, epic Zeldas we've come to know and love. With its massive, breathtaking landscapes, iconic music and compelling story, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is lauded as one of the best games in the series. A tale of time travel, loss and triumph, Ocarina of Time holds up to the test of time with its compelling gameplay. It's a must-play no matter what console it's on. Sherri L. Smith

Credit: Nintendo

1080° Snowboarding

1080° Snowboarding

The extreme sports fire burned so brightly in the '90s that not even Nintendo could ignore it, which explains how we got one of the N64’s most beloved exclusives. But in a world before SSX, 1080° took a much more realistic approach toward snowboarding. Tricks were hard to execute and even harder to land, and falling or making contact with objects and riders would run up your damage meter, which would promptly end your session if you suffered too much abuse. 1080° was indeed a very hard game, but it was the kind of hard game that made you want to continually return and improve — both because it was a blast, and because it had a killer soundtrack. I have no idea what the lyrics are to Vacant Lives and likely never will, but there’s no other song I’d rather tear down the mountain to. — Adam Ismail

Credit: Nintendo

Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64

Just as Super Mario Bros. defined the 2D platformer as we know it, Super Mario 64 set the template for 3D ones. This 1996 classic reinvented Nintendo’s flagship series, allowing Mario to freely run and jump around expansive 3D worlds packed with memorable bosses and no shortage of hidden collectibles. But as much as Super Mario 64 pushed the genre forward, it also stayed true to what makes Mario games great: airtight platforming, high replayability and an undeniable sense of pure Nintendo charm. — Mike Andronico

Credit: Nintendo

Beetle Adventure Racing

Beetle Adventure Racing

The N64 never got a single Need For Speed title for some strange reason, though it did get Beetle Adventure Racing — a title developed by now-defunct Paradigm Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts, who used a version of its NFS III engine to power this funky, madcap runabout of a one-make racer. That surely explains why Beetle Adventure Racing drives so much like NFS, though this game is far more ambitious than EA’s core racing franchise ever was. Beetle Adventure Racing sports gigantic circuits with multiple pathways that change dynamically from lap to lap, and each one is packed with mesmerizing moments and secrets to discover. There’s a Battle Mode here too that rivals Mario Kart’s in terms of excitement, and although it’s easy to forget now, there was once a time where Volkswagen’s New Beetle was a wicked cool car — though, weirdly, if you lived in Australia, you experienced this game through the context of a much different manufacturer. — Adam Ismail

Credit: Electronic Arts

Diddy Kong Racing

Diddy Kong Racing

Mario Kart 64 tends to get all the love, but real fans know that Diddy Kong Racing is the N64’s best kart racer. Whereas Mario and pals were content to race on the ground, Diddy’s racer allowed you to speed around in your choice of car, hovercraft or aeroplane. The game also featured an ambitious single-player adventure mode, a wealth of fun multiplayer options and some truly excellent music (this is a Rare title, after all). Diddy Kong Racing sorely deserves a modern sequel, but I’d settle for a revival of the original on a Nintendo retro box. — Mike Andronico

Credit: Nintendo

WWF No Mercy

WWF No Mercy

If WWF No Mercy, a game from the year 2000, were updated for modern wrestlers, every single WWE Network subscriber would run out and buy it, faster than you can say "IT WAS ME, AUSTIN!" While WWE 2K19 gave grapple fans a decent experience, the gameplay of No Mercy is still seen as the peak of the genre. Not only was it easy to pick up and get the hang of, there was a charm to its goofy, low-res aesthetic, including the errant yells of “dig, diggity, dig, diggity dogg.” No Mercy is so beloved, in fact, that modders have brought it back from the dead, and show off their creations online.  — Henry T. Casey

Credit: THQ

Star Fox 64

Star Fox 64

Do a barrel roll! Yes, Star Fox 64's dialogue could be overbearing, but the sheer amount of voice samples included in the game was groundbreaking at the time. And when it launched in 1997, the 3D scrolling shooter was the first game with force feedback via the Rumble Pack, which brought another level of immersion to the home gaming experience. In Star Fox, players suited up as Fox McCloud piloting an Arwing alongside his sidekicks Peppy Hare, Falco and Slippy Toad. While it doesn’t take long to take down the evil Andross, multiple level paths add tons of replay factor. There is also a multiplayer mode, and players could take control of vehicles in the air, on land, or at sea, adding variation to the gameplay. With its breakneck pace, precise controls and gorgeous environments, Star Fox deserves a place among the best shooting games of all time. — Phillip Tracy

Credit: Nintendo

Mario Party 2

Mario Party 2

The first Mario Party game that didn’t rip the skin off of your palm, Mario Party 2 added several new types of minigames (65 in total), including one-one-one duels, battle games that give everyone a chance to win a share of a pot and item games that let you win valuable told to use on the game board.  The characters dressed in accordance to the board they were on, which was a nice touch, and you could practice mini-games for the first time in the series. Andrew E. Freedman

Credit: Nintendo

Extreme-G

Extreme-G

On a platform with both F-Zero X and Wipeout, Extreme-G had to be pretty special to stand out in the company of those futuristic racers. But stand out it did, with a blistering sense of speed, head-spinning track design and a killer drum and bass soundtrack that suited the mood perfectly. As a relatively early N64 effort, there is that “fog of war” that compromises the draw distance and can at times make it difficult to see what corner is coming up next, but the sheer pace of everything and the ability to bounce off walls without losing much speed ensures that the action never, ever stops. We wish the series hadn’t, either. — Adam Ismail

Credit: Throwback Entertainment

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

While LucasArts’ X-Wing series on PC catered to folks who wanted a realistic Star Wars flight sim, Rogue Squadron relished in the arcadey joy of soaring around and shooting down TIE Fighters. This beloved dogfighting game was an excellent showpiece of the N64’s power (and one of the first major titles to utilize the console’s Expansion Pak), and earned big praise for its tight aerial combat. Rogue Squadron’s story mostly filled in some (now-retconned) gaps between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, allowing you to play as Wedge Antilles and Luke Skywalker while meeting some new faces around the galaxy. While the series hadn’t reached its pinnacle yet (that honor goes to the 2002 GameCube classic Rogue Leader), Rogue Squadron was an absolute must-have on the N64, and spawned one of Star Wars’ best video game franchises. — Mike Andronico

Credit: Nintendo

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask

While Majora’s Mask wasn’t the first Zelda classic on the N64, it certainly was the best (fight me). It’s also one of the few main titles that broke away from the traditional formula of the series and gave us a villian other than Ganon. The most memorable and fun part of the game was the ability to turn back time at will and using that ability to figure out how to get all of the masks in the game. All of Termina is like a huge puzzle for you to solve, and you get a piece of that puzzle everytime you collect a mask. Each mask lets you embody the power of the face it portrays, so you can have the same abilities as a Deku Scrub, Goron or even a Zora. There are even optional masks like the Bunny Hood, which lets you run faster and jump farther (a must-have). Between its variety of abilities and Groundhog Day-like scenarios, there isn’t another Zelda experience like it. — Rami Tabari

Credit: Nintendo

Donkey Kong 64

Donkey Kong 64

Epic in scale, Donkey Kong 64 received universal acclaim for its massive campaign and beautiful 3D presentation. Grinding for hours to collect items isn't for everyone, but the abundance of game modes in DK64 will satisfy any gamer. Multiplayer battle modes, tons of minigames, multiple characters to choose from, and endless hidden secrets gave this sprawling platformer excellent replay value. Oft compared to Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64 had some of the best gameplay mechanics of its time, rewarding players with new skills and moves as they progressed through the story.  DK64 undoubtedly deserves a spot as one of the best Nintendo 64 games — DK Rap and all.— Phillip Tracy

Credit: Nintendo

Paper Mario

Paper Mario

While it may not have lived up to the brilliance of Super Mario 64, Paper Mario moved Nintendo's iconic franchise forward in its own way. The RPG combined a charming love story with unique paper-themed 2D graphics to create a truly memorable game. Players took on the role of Mario as he navigated the Mushroom Kingdom in search of imprisoned Star Spirits that would help our favorite plumber save Princess Peach from the evil Bowser. Along with a lovely quest of friendship and courage, Paper Mario featured excellent turn-based fighting mechanics, beautiful environments and a rewarding point system. It's no wonder the Paper Mario series is still going strong. — Phillip Tracy

Credit: Nintendo

San Francisco Rush 2049

San Francisco Rush 2049

Originally built for the arcade, the Rush series was first ported to consoles by Midway Games in 1997 and quickly spawned multiple sequels. The best of which is San Francisco Rush 2049, an arcade-style racer set in a future where cars have wings, allowing them to gain lateral mobility. The fast-paced gameplay and ludicrous shortcuts keep the racing fresh, but the real fun was picking up weapons and blasting away your friends in Battle Mode (think Mario Kart) or flipping through the air to gain points in Stunt Mode. With gorgeous graphics, bizarre tracks and responsive controls, San Francisco Rush is one of the most underrated racing games on N64 — or any console for that matter. — Phillip Tracy

Credit: Warner Bros.

Perfect Dark

Perfect Dark

Strong female protagonist? Check. Crazy alien conspiracy? Check. Fun first-person stealth and action? Check and double check. Perfect Dark is considered by many to be the spiritual successor to Rare’s classic, GoldenEye 007. In Perfect Dark, you play as Joanna Dark, a agent of the Carrington Institute tasked with stopping rival research company dataDyne from setting about a world-ending cataclysm. Perfect Dark is widely acclaimed as surpassing its predecessor in everything from gameplay to graphics — it even offers several different versions of multiplayer. If thwarting alien-human conspiracies with a nice mix of stealth and run and gun is your idea of good time, be sure to check out Perfect Dark. — Sherri L. Smith

Credit: Nintendo