Nintendo's online subscription service allows fans to experience their own retro catalog of acclaimed games. Initially starting with NES and Super NES games, the selection has been extended to include Nintendo 64 (or N64) and SEGA Genesis games as well.
The N64 in particular is still fondly remembered, as it was home to early 3D games.
Though many games may seem archaic by today's standards, they still retain a nostalgic charm. Note that N64 (and Genesis) games are not available via the standard subscription. Players must buy the additional Expansion Pack that grants access to the two console libraries in addition to new perks like add-ons/DLCs for some Nintendo Switch games.
For subscribers to Nintendo Switch Online: here are the 5 best Nintendo 64 games available in the catalog.
Best games part of the Nintendo 64
Microsoft's Rareware was known for its recurring hits in their heydays during the late 90s to early 2000s. One of the best projects they have worked on is Banjo-Kazooie.
Released in 1998, the 3D platformer game features an adorable duo: Banjo the bear and Kazooie, a breegull. After the evil witch Gruntilda kidnaps Banjo's sister Tooty, the pair must save her.
Throughout the journey, players will visit many different worlds and levels, each with uniquely themed and countless collectibles. The complex movement and offensive movesets, paired with the excellent level design, make this a must-play.
Banjo-Kazooie is undoubtedly one of the best platformers on Nintendo's debut 3D machine.
2) Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Gamers continue to sing the praises of this 1998 classic even today. The fate of Hyrule hangs in the balance. The protagonist, Link, must race to seek a holy artifact called the Triforce before the antagonistic Ganondorf.
The first entry in the iconic Legend of Zelda series to go 3D is made even more impressive considering the fact the amount of elements it nails and pioneers.
Ocarina of Time introduced Z-targeting - the same free-form lock-on used by countless games today, like the Dark Souls series. But even besides that, it’s a solid game that stands toe-to-toe with modern action-adventure games.
Players must explore various thematic digeons, gain new abilities and items, and face countless dangerous creatures that roam Hyrule's open worlds.
3) Super Mario 64
Another 3D platformer on this list, Super Mario 64 can be considered the Ocarina of Time for the Mario series. The collection features Mario, who is invited to Princess Peach's castle for cake, only to realize that she has once again been kidnapped by the series' villain, Bowser.
Thus, players set out to collect stars throughout the castle for a final showdown with the baddie.
The popular platformer brought fluid multi-directional movement in a 3D space and a free-form camera to the franchise. It's still renowned not just for being the first 3D entry but also for bringing new depth to the Mario formula, with grander level design, more advanced moves, new powerups and a focus on exploration.
4) Paper Mario
The Nintendo 64 isn't particularly known for RPGs because the lineup in that regard was rather weak. But the Mario and Zelda maker had that front covered too. Developed by Intelligent Systems and released in 2000, Paper Mario took the series in a direction first paved by Super Mario RPG in the SNES.
Princess Peach must once again be rescued after Bowser pulls his usual shenanigans. Additionally, the seven Star Spirits must also be freed from across the world.
What ensues is a narrative-driven journey with traditional turn-based JRPG combat as a focus. Players face many foes across the Mushroom Kingdom, each with unique attack patterns - but in a unique mechanic, they can be countered using the game's active time QTE segments.
5) F-Zero X
Released in 1998, Big N brought their SNES sci-fi racing franchise to the third dimension. F-Zero X, like all other entries in the franchise, is known for its breakneck speed of gameplay - and a brutal difficulty curve. Track memorization and energy management is key to winning at harder difficulties.
F-Zero X also proudly boasts of being one of the few 60 FPS games on the Nintendo 64. Even with 30 racers on screen, the performance doesn't buckle at all. Surely a technical showcase for the system.