SNES Classic wishlists? So two thousand and late: I’m gonna scoop everybody and write the 30 games I want to see on the Nintendo 64 Classic, which not only doesn’t exist, it isn’t even rumored to, and probably won’t. Check and mate.
The release of Nintendo 64 in 1996 was the culmination of an orgy of hype and anticipation that the gaming world had never before experienced prior to the launch of a new console. The honeymoon was over as soon as the thing came out, with expectations paling in the shadow of reality and sales slumping accordingly. PlayStation ruled the roost, but Sony’s CD-ROM media and adult-oriented game library made N64 a better choice for kids, and so there’s still a lot of nostalgia there.
One would think that the tepid reaction of software makers to the N64 would make our job here pretty easy: “Does N64 even have 30 games?” you may be snarkily, if correctly, asking. There are only 21 N64 games on the Wii U Virtual Console, so an N64 Classic is going to require some new license wrangling on Nintendo’s part.
The other obvious question is: What about Rare? Now a Microsoft subsidiary, this developer was responsible for a great deal of Nintendo’s catalog on this machine. Insofar as Microsoft is currently selling Rare’s N64 games on Xbox One, I’m going to go ahead and assume that Rare would largely not be included, and that Nintendo probably wouldn’t try to re-secure the 007 license for Goldeneye.
This is all assuming that an N64 Classic would even make sense at a conceptual level, and I think it could be persuasively argued that it would not. The controllers are massive, unwieldy, and would probably be hellishly expensive to manufacture. Because Nintendo 64 had four controller ports built in, many games had 4-player modes, and so buyers would need four controllers to fully enjoy the system.
You know, folks, the more I think about it, the more I think an N64 Classic just wouldn’t work as a product. The complexity of the controllers would make the profit margins even slimmer, said controllers are kind of shitty anyway, and there are barely enough good games to fill the list. And all of that on top of the fact that this is one of Nintendo’s least-appreciated old consoles to begin with? I don’t think it’s happening.
But since we’ve gotten this far, here’s the game list anyway, starting with the first-party games.
1. Paper Mario
The original and best. Playing this back in the day was what first woke me up to the great work that Nintendo’s Treehouse was doing with localization. Hilarious script and actual RPG gameplay, not the weird stuff they’re doing today. (I’d really just like to see this on Switch.)
2. The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
3. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
If they really wanted to go nuts, they could even include Ocarina’s Master Quest version, which previously surfaced on the GameCube.
4. Mario Tennis
5. Mario Golf
I think anybody who likes golf games is probably wrong, but even I have to admit that Camelot’s sports titles were pretty high-quality for this era. Plus, having some genre diversification on this box would be nice.
6. Super Smash Bros.
For the right group of friends, the N64 Classic would pretty much just be a Smash Bros. machine.
7. Donkey Kong 64
Since this is actually available on Wii U’s Virtual Console, I’m thinking this is the only Rare N64 game with a shot at appearing on an N64 Classic, which does not exist and probably never will.
8. Pokemon Snap
I still can’t believe they didn’t make a sequel to this on Wii U.
9. Yoshi’s Story
10. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
These cutesy platformers have not exactly aged well, but if Nintendo put me in charge of assembling an N64 Classic game library I’d probably get fired if I didn’t include them.
11. Sin and Punishment
Ordinarily I’d stay away from import games, but since it appears in English on both the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console services, I think we’re all clear to feature this Japan-only Treasure shooter.
12. Wave Race 64
12. Mario Kart 64
14. F-Zero X
I lived through the N64 post-launch drought. I remember the dark times after I finished Super Mario 64 and thought, “what’s next?” Wave Race was there for me until the split-second that Mario Kart 64 came out, when I dropped it like a hot potato.
15. 1080 Snowboarding
16. Excitebike 64
17. Star Fox 64
These three Extreme Sports games are accurate simulations of snowboarding, BMX, and having to drive a tank when you’d rather be flying.
18. Pokemon Puzzle League
Since Tetris Attack probably won’t be on the SNES Classic.
19. Mario Party 2
Since the first Mario Party, with its controller-destroying, hand-destroying “spin the analog stick” mini-games, will never ever be re-released ever. I got blisters.
20. Super Mario 64
Well, here’s a point in the N64 Classic’s favor, as regards its feasibility: Since gamer nostalgia for this device is almost entirely tied up in first-party games, Nintendo could possibly get away with just having the preceding 20 games on such a device. No legal wrangling, no payments to third-party licensors, just pure profit.
I mean, who’s gonna miss…
21. Mischief Makers
Well, maybe this one I’d be bummed about. Released by Nintendo in the West but actually an Enix joint, this wonderful 2-D side-scroller from Treasure deserves another day in the sun.
23. Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness
Say what you will about Konami these days; at least it supported Nintendo when the chips were down. Sure, these Castlevania games were weird and janky and nowhere near as good as Symphony of the Night, but… wait, what was the question? I think I’d just appreciate an excuse to mess around with their strangeness again.
24. Harvest Moon 64
25. Ogre Battle 64
Whaddya mean, N64 had no RPGs? It had, like, three. Bonus: Both of these are available on Virtual Console already.
26. Rayman 2
This isn’t out on Virtual Console, but actually just this week, Ubisoft stealth-released a couple of Game Boy Advance Rayman games on Wii U. So there’s hope that this early masterpiece of the 3-D platforming genre might be born again, too.
27. Mega Man 64
N64 owners’ reaction to Capcom, back in the day, was a big ol’ “thanks for [almost] nothing.” But throwing this iffy port of Mega Man Legends onto an N64 Classic wouldn’t be a terrible idea. (I realize there was also a Resident Evil 2 port, but no way is Nintendo going to include M-rated games on this nonexistent product!)
28. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
29. Goemon’s Great Adventure
Everybody gave me shit about not including Mystical Ninja on my SNES list, so here, have two.
30. Bomberman 64 or Bomberman 64: The Second Attack
Pretend I said whichever one you think is better.
Now, since I’m not crazy and thus didn’t buy a whole lot of Nintendo 64 games back in the day, I’m curious: What’s your favorite weird Nintendo 64 game that you don’t think has a shot in hell of being re-released? Were you big into Tonic Trouble? Play a lot of Blues Brothers 2000? I can only imagine that if all you owned in the late 90s was an N64, you’d get a lot of weird games as presents that you’d just have to suffer through.