In celebration of this mighty 64-bit console’s 25th anniversary (in North America, following the Japanese anniversary back in June), we’re republishing this reader-ranked list of the top 50 Nintendo 64 games ever. As with all our Top 50 library lists, this ranking is is based on User Ratings in the Nintendo Life games database and is subject to fluctuation, even after publication!
So, if you haven’t rated your favourite N64 games, feel free to exert your influence and potentially switch up the order of the games below. You can also now check out our reader-ranked list of all the N64 games coming to Nintendo Switch Online in October, too. Enjoy!
The Nintendo 64 is a console which tends to divide gamers. Launching back in 1996 (or 1997 in PAL regions) as the gaming industry’s bread-and-butter switched from sprites to polygons, the console represents — from a certain perspective — the first time Nintendo really dropped the ball. Tired of the platform holder’s licencing terms, many developers jumped ship to Sony’s PlayStation, attracted by fairer deals and cheaper disc-based media. In the meantime, Nintendo doubled down on an esoteric piece of hardware with confusing, kiddy-coloured controllers that were arguably out of step with gaming’s maturing audience.
On the other hand, for many gamers the N64 evokes some of our very warmest, strongest gaming memories. It was while brandishing this console’s three-pronged pad that many of us took our first steps into a three-dimensional Mushroom Kingdom or Hyrule, and the unrivalled excitement of 4-player split-screen Mario Kart or GoldenEye sticks in our mind like few other multiplayer experiences.
Thanks to the User Ratings submitted by readers, we present to you the top 50 N64 games ever. There’s no doubt that we’ve got a fine selection of 64-bit lovelies below, but remember, this list is not set in stone. The ranking will continue to evolve automatically according to user scores submitted to the Nintendo Life game database, so don’t worry if you missed out on ‘voting’ — you can still do so by simply scrolling down and rating them now!
And should the fancy take you, you can do the same for each of Nintendo’s consoles with our top 50 best games lists, including NES, SNES, Game Boy, GBC, GBA, Nintendo DS, 3DS, GameCube, Wii, Wii U and more.
If there’s a game bubbling under the top 50 that you’d like to rate, feel free to find it using the search tool below and give it a score out of 10. Otherwise, plug in your Rumble / Controller / Transfer / Expansion Paks and get ready for the best N64 games of all time…
Note. In order for games to become eligible, they need a minimum of 50 User Ratings in total.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo Software Technology
As a quintessential PlayStation franchise, seeing Ridge Racer on N64 gave us a similar sensation as playing WipeOut on Nintendo’s console — it was very welcome, but it still felt weird. While Ridge Racer 64 features tracks from previous games in Namco’s racer series, it was actually developed by Nintendo Software Entertainment and later ported to DS as — wait for it — Ridge Racer DS. You’re better off sticking with the 64-bit original, though.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: HAL Laboratory
In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, HAL Laboratory managed to keep the core structure many knew and loved about the Kirby series while glossing it up with a shiny coat of polygonal paint for the new console generation.
Kirby’s 64-bit foray into the third dimension stands out as one of the more unique entries into the series, feeling somewhat fresh in comparison to the many, many 2D Kirby platformers and pleasurable to play to this day.
Publisher: Atlus / Developer: Racdym
A follow-up to Racdym’s cult classic, Snowboard Kids 2 predictably picks up where the previous Mario-Kart-esque downhill cartoon racer left off. With loveable characters, plenty of colour and the kind of multiplayer fun that struck a chord with those who played it, this really should have got more mainstream attention.
Not that fans in the EU had much choice — Australia was the only PAL region where the sequel saw a release. Consequently, SBK 2 is one of the most expensive PAL N64 games on the retro market these days.
Publisher: Activision / Developer: Edge of Reality
In August 2002, this became the final game released for the Nintendo 64 in North America. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 also received a port on GameCube, and although the version on the older console was never going to fare brilliantly in a direct comparison, it’s still a fine game. Largely overshadowed by its flashier disc-based brethren, Edge of Reality sent the console out on a high with this final entry in the N64’s Birdman trilogy.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rare
Blast Corps involves clearing a path for a slow-moving truck carrying a malfunctioning nuclear missile to a safe detonation zone – a zone which is blocked by buildings and other structures ripe for destruction. As with many 64-bit titles, its early polygonal visuals are arguably looking a little dogged these days, but don’t let its looks put you off. This incredibly silly concept makes for one of most fun games on the N64.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rare
An underrated entry in the Rareware library, Jet Force Gemini coupled cute design with chunky, gungy third-person blasting in a world-hopping quest to defeat insectoid overlord Mizar. Juno, Vela and trusty good boy Lupus’ adventure is not without flaws, but JFG is a surprising deep and satisfying one that’s worth investigating if you’re a Rare fan looking for gems that passed you by around the turn of the millennium.
Publisher: Acclaim / Developer: Iguana
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil was a technical showcase for the system which took the baton from the immensely popular first game and upped the ante in every possible way. Highlights include the Expansion Pak-powered 640×480 resolution visuals and the iconic Cerebral Bore, a gun that fired a brain-drilling bullet once you locked on to an enemy’s melon. Acclaim’s game is now available on Switch in remastered form courtesy of Night Dive Studios, although that version doesn’t come on a kickass black cartridge.
Publisher: LucasArts / Developer: LucasArts
Though this couldn’t rival F-Zero X in pure performance terms, it was still a very impressive racer which had a progression system with purchasable pod enhancements. Based on the best bit of The Phantom Menace (apart from the Darth Maul bits and all the soundtrack), it had a special two-pad mode similar to GoldenEye which enabled some twin-stick precision that more-closely mirrored the controls of the onscreen pods. Watto’s banter and post-race rendition of the Cantina theme is also excellent. It’s now available on Switch, too.
Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: Paradigm Entertainment
Most people who played Beetle Adventure Racing! back in the day probably went in with low expectations, but coming from Paradigm Entertainment — a studio that worked with Nintendo on Pilotwings 64 and also made the excellent F-1 World Grand Prix games on the system — it’s a fun, beautifully constructed little racer that’s well worth revisiting.
Publisher: THQ / Developer: Aki
The first game released following THQ’s takeover of licence holder duties from Acclaim, WCW’s loss was very much WWF’s gain. WWF Wrestlemania 2000 expanded on AKI’s WCW/nWo Revenge from the previous year while bringing in the signature stable of World Wrestling Federation stars and setting the stage for the brilliant No Mercy.