What does a good N64 game look like?

Spurred on by Analogue’s announcement of an upcoming FPGA replacement, I bring you The NINTENDO64 Thread.

People ask this question frequently when the console comes up and it’s a good one: what is there to play on the N64, besides the obvious first party titles—and do you really need three handles on your controller to play this thing?? (Yes, down with the Xboxification of gamepads.)

People ask this question frequently when the console comes up and it's a good one: what is there to play on the N64, besides the obvious first party titles—and do you really need three handles on your controller to play this thing?? (Yes, down with the Xboxification of gamepads.)

Compared to the monstrous library of the PSX and the Saturn‘s inescapable aptitude for 2D, what does a late entry to console 3D with one cartridge-shaped foot in the past have to offer? This might be especially useful to answer for folks who didn’t live in North America at the time—where the 64 was strongest—but I’m always curious what of its 388-ish unique games will be shouted out with the most fervour. I was a big Nintendo baby at the time who ate up all that first and second party slop. You all played that Majora’s Mask???

Hit us with your recs. Haters are encouraged to get cjOD4mm or out․

My favorite game of all time is Mystical Ninja on N64. I like it more than Ocarina of Time. It‘s weird, it’s beautiful, it has four distinct characters that play great, and it has a big interconnected world.


Oh ya and multiple musical numbers.


I've played almost every other Goemon game and they're all just a bit janky or too difficult. Although Goemon's Great Adventure is pretty great as well, the final level is impossibly difficult. But it gets points for being a 2 player 3D platformer on N64.

I also proselytize about Quest 64 whenever possible. It's not a bad game, it's just misunderstood. Everyone shat on it upon release for the sole crime of not being Final Fantasy VII. It's basically the A Short Hike of JRPGS. It's short, it's simple, it's easy on the eyes, and the narrative is almost nonexistent. But if you just wanna chill and hang out in a little low poly fantasy world where instead of shops townspeople just give you items, this is the game for you.




@“Andy B”#p136751 Oh ya and multiple musical numbers.

You have sold me on Mystical Ninja like nobody else before has been able to.



The first puzzle game on the N64, and it used 3D to great effect. You have to dig into the core of giant spheres in a glossy techno world. [Just check out that soundtrack!](https://youtu.be/IS2Sx2O-kc0?si=ndb5Qco7CobH39lS) There are so many game modes, and it's full of robot friends!

[URL=https://i.imgur.com/c8E3bVz.png][IMG height=100 width=100]https://i.imgur.com/c8E3bVz.png[/IMG][/URL][URL=https://i.imgur.com/0ChjLMB.png][IMG height=100 width=100]https://i.imgur.com/0ChjLMB.png[/IMG][/URL][URL=https://i.imgur.com/iiwyB4D.png][IMG height=100 width=100]https://i.imgur.com/iiwyB4D.png[/IMG][/URL][URL=https://i.imgur.com/KSZkuqv.png][IMG height=100 width=100]https://i.imgur.com/KSZkuqv.png[/IMG][/URL][URL=https://i.imgur.com/M2o1z2x.png][IMG height=100 width=100]https://i.imgur.com/M2o1z2x.png[/IMG][/URL][URL=https://i.imgur.com/EqCDhr4.png][IMG height=100 width=100]https://i.imgur.com/EqCDhr4.png[/IMG][/URL][URL=https://i.imgur.com/LwM8z3o.png][IMG height=100 width=100]https://i.imgur.com/LwM8z3o.png[/IMG][/URL]

N64 is defined pretty firmly by its small texture size. People also mention the low draw distance/fog - some folks found ways around that toward the end but it was also definitely something. And it's not visual, but the cartridge meant less CG, often more compressed music, more samples, etc.

I would say that the N64 is the console - after the 8-bits - that relied most on being on a CRT to really shine. While 8-bit games use it to fill in detail, N64 used it to make their textures look fuller, less muddy and stretched, and it worked pretty well.

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@“exodus”#p136756 N64 is defined pretty firmly by its small texture size.

This is true but also funny to me because I don't notice it on the N64 as much as I notice it on the XBox 360 now. The N64 games look how I remember them. The 360's low amount of VRAM compared to what I remembered my first HD console games looking like or a contemporary game is startling.


This game really blew my mind as a youngin


Hilariously, these both were developed by DMA Designs, released in 1998, and laid the ground work for what would become GTA3.
I actually had no idea they were both DMA (Rockstar North) until I grabbed the box art for this post, but I'm not surprised at all.

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I always go back to Blast Corp - I remember it coming out and really enjoying how at its core it was just a pipe mania type game with at the time very cool graphics and a one armed robot!

I played it not too long ago and it's not aged as well I'd hoped it would, but I still rate it as a great N64 game.

@“antillese”#p136758 also, I missed that you threw the word “good” in there!!! My answer is probably something goofy like hybrid heaven :3

was just wondering if anyone else got a email promising “64 Bits of Pleasure”

A “Good N64 game” uses all four control ports. The primary use case for the N64 is to trash talk at your friends while playing Mario Kart 64 or to complain about the weird collision detection in Golden Eye. It can also play Mario 64, but you can play that on your Wii Virtual Console or in myriad other ways.

Bomberman Hero is one of my favorite 3rd party N64 games.

A 3D mascot stage-platformer translated from 2D origins just feels so representative of that era of gaming. Lots of collecting and wonky, floaty movement. Bumping soundtrack and the blurriest of terrain.

Seeing those polygonal bomb explosions as the framerate tanks scratches a very specific nostalga-itch in my brain everytime I see them. I love his little jumping pose too.


@“exodus”#p136756 After seeing Yoshi's Story on HD displays for most of my life, popping an original cart into a CRT was magical. It looks like real fabric, the stitched backgrounds look so soft and authentic! Emulators do a horrible job of simply spitting out the hard-edge aliased textures which makes the whole game look frankly pretty disgusting. On a CRT it‘s one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever seen. Absolutely agree with your assessment of the N64 “relying” on CRTs.

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@“safety_lite”#p136769 this just in: Bomberman's a cutie.

@"KingTubb"#p136759 in the year 3000 there are no petting zoos—talk about bleak!!

The big two that I can think of are Bangaioh and Mischief Makers, two very 2D games on a very 3D system! I think both (and almost all N64 games) will forever only look acceptable on a CRT screen. Unlike with pixel art games, where they were designed to be seen on a CRT but look… not bad on modern displays, I'm not even really sure how you correct for how N64 games look on modern displays!

Anyway, I think the Dreamcast version of Bangaioh ultimately provides the best version, but I've always liked the N64 version too! And Mischief Makers is a game that for years I didn't care for, but that I've come to really enjoy.

There are a lot of really 'looks great by way of looking not very great' games for the N64! I'm looking forward to seeing a bunch of ones I'm unfamiliar with in this thread!

More N64 discusison eh?? Well I said a lot on discord this morning…. I don‘t feel like arguing or anything… and I listed a lot of N64 games. It’s a shame that some people don't like it.

here are some really remarkable ones I have played for a long time through my whole life:
F-Zero X
1080 snowboarding
Goemon’s Great Daibouken
Doubutsu no mori
Doubutsu Banchou
Paper Mario

if you wanna be a gigahipster then you have WINBACK and HYBRID HEAVEN

It is really weird to me how much hate there is for the console nowadays... It is what it is man. One of the weirdest and generations for nintendo... 64DD was like a SEGA moment

Not sure where the idea of hate for N64 is coming from, it‘s like the ultimate Nostalgia system of the current era and there are videos singing its praises all over the net and you can’t keep N64 games in the retro shops. It seems pretty extremely beloved to me!

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@“exodus”#p136788 same here, the closest I see to hate is the kind of ‘lol it’s so ugly, I love it’ snarky appreciation I’ve also seen for stuff like CD era FMV games. But mostly I see folks remembering it fondly!

Speaking for myself, I don’t have a ton of nostalgia for it because I was all in on the Saturn at the time it was out, but it’s been really interesting to finally play some of the games for it.

N64 is one of my favorite consoles and the more complicated games paired well with my pre-teen years. Playing Mario 64 and Zelda OoT at launch are some of my most important gaming memories. Been playing the MiSTer core on my CRT and, while I still have my original console, seeing it again as it was meant to be with modern hardware gets me choked up.

While fighting games, RPGs and brawlers fell by the wayside with the 64, racing, flying, sports, action adventure, and FPS games really stood out and felt like a huge step beyond the 2D era since there was a legit physical sense of large spaces, objects, speed and movement. People don't think of how there were barely any 3D games when the 64 came out and how important the control stick was to making the games feel truly unique. To a 10 year old in 1996 it was transformative.

While the cracks show in 3D PS1 and Saturn games, the N64 increased the scale while applying a liberal dose of blur and fog to cover up the more ambitious games.

My recommendations are:

  • - Super Mario 64
  • - Zelda Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask
  • - Star Fox 64
  • - Pilotwings 64
  • - F-Zero X
  • - Waverace 64
  • - 1080 Snowboarding
  • - Paper Mario
  • - Mario Kart 64
  • - Super Smash Bros.
  • - Goldeneye 007
  • - Banjo Kazooie
  • - Rayman 2
  • - Perfect Dark
  • - Blast Corps
  • - Jet Force Gemini
  • - Diddy Kong Racing
  • - Sin and Punishment
  • - Tetrisphere
  • - Pokemon Puzzle League
  • - Turok games
  • - DOOM 64
  • - Quake 1 and 2
  • - Star Wars games (all of them)
  • - Rocket - Robot on Wheels
  • - Beetle Adventure Racing
  • - Body Harvest
  • - SpaceStation Silicon Valley
  • - Extreme-G 1 and 2
  • - Hybrid Heaven
  • - Shadow Man
  • - Snowboard Kids
  • - StarCraft 64
  • - Command and Conquer
  • - Ogre Battle 64
  • - Chameleon Twist 1 and 2
  • - Mystical Ninja starring Goemon
  • - Bomberman games
  • - WinBack
  • - Wayne Gretsky's 3D Hockey
  • - Mario Tennis
  • - Mario Golf
  • - Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness (I like the 1st one too, but 2nd was a big improvement)
  • - International Superstar Soccer 64
  • - NFL Blitz
  • - NBA Hangtime
  • - Major League Baseball featuring Ken Griffey Jr.
  • - Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside
  • - CyberTiger
  • - Vigilante 8
  • - Buck Bumble ([see later post](https://forums.insertcredit.com/d/2867-what-does-a-good-n64-game-look-like/72))
  • - Hydro Thunder
  • - San Francisco Rush
  • - California Speed
  • - AKI wrestling games
  • - Mickey's Speedway USA
  • I think it can be a divisive console, seems to me like either love it or hate it.

    but like all things, it's a matter of perspective, it may just be my mood, haha.

    N64 was the first home console that was mine. Pokemon Stadium, transferring pokemon from the game boy cartridges, that sort of thing has always been my favorite. Like VMUs and Pocket Station, connecting portables to consoles has always been the coolest thing.