Top N64 Classic Mini games, according to top games lists

I have to admit, I have several ways of getting my news about the N64 to get ideas about what to write about on this blog. However, the past month or two I have been seeing an explosion of the same type of content day in and day out. Back in June this year, Nintendo announced the SNES Classic Mini to be released, and later in July they registered a patent for an N64 Mini. This meant that every blogger and their mum had to do a “Top X games we want for the N64”, just like they did with the SNES when the NES classic came out. So now that the buzz about it has died down, I decided to take a somewhat random sample of them and make a simple tally of the top N64 Classic Mini games as chosen by fans.

top N64 Classic Mini games

Full list
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 21
Super Mario 64 21
Mario Kart 64 20
Super Smash Brothers 20
Star Fox 64 18
GoldenEye 16
F-Zero X 15
Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 15
Paper Mario 15
Pokemon Snap 15
Banjo Kazooie 11
Donkey Kong 64 11
Kirby 64 11
Wave Race 64 11
1080 Snowboarding 10
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 8
Mario Party 7
Sin and Punishment 7
Yoshi’s Story 7
Bomberman 64 6
Mario Golf 6
Mario Party 2 6
Mario Tennis 6
Perfect Dark 6
Pilot Wings 64 6
Castlevania 5
Diddy Kong Racing 5
Pokemon Puzzle League 5
Pokemon Stadium 5
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter 5
Conker’s Bad Fur Day 4
Harvest Moon 64 4
Mystical Ninja 4
Ogre Battle 64 4
Mario Party 3 3
Rayman 2: The Great Escape 3
Banjo Tooie 2
Blast Corps 2
Excitebike 64 2
Jet Force Gemini 2
Mega Man 64 2
Mischief Makers 2
Star Wars Episode 1 Racer 2
WWF No Mercy 2
Body Harvest 1
Castlevania: LoD 1
Doom 64 1
Goemon’s Great adventure 1
Killer Instinct Gold 1
Resident Evil 2 1
San Francisco Rush 2049 1
Snowboard Kids 1
Star wars: Shadows of the empire 1
Starcraft 64 1
Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1
WWF Wrestlemania 2000 1
International Superstar Soccer 64 1

Analysis of the top N64 Classic Mini games

I suppose it’s safe to say that this is what we expected, to an extent. The games that appeared on every single list are Super Mario 64 and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. These are landmark games in that they defined 3D gaming in their genres forever since.

Next you have Mario Kart 64 and Super Smash Bros that got all but one. While SSB isn’t necessarily the best in the series, it does have it’s place as the start of it. Mario Kart is a great game, possibly the one with the most strangely balanced simplicity and strategy of the series.

Star Fox 64 (Lylat Wars) also got fairly popular because it’s often considered to be the best in the series because of its focus on the rail shooting sections, rather than secondary genres like most of the ones that followed.

007 Goldeneye is up there with SM64 and OOT as a game that not just defined the system but a genre as a whole. It just seems to have lost several votes because people thought that it would be impossible to re-acquire all the rights in order to release it, much like all of the Rare games.

F-Zero X is a great game since it brought the SNES launch title into 3D, and while not as revolutionary as the games above, it still stands up to its newer rival on the Gamecube according to bloggers. Majora’s Mask is arguably on par with OOT for completely different reasons, but a lot of people decided to exclude it because of limited space or not being as historically important as the former. Paper Mario was on many people’s list since it’s one of the few RPGs released in the west, and it’s a pretty good one at that. Many thought that Pokemon Snap was a good choice as a representation of Pokemon games since it has its own world and feel, while the rest didn’t.

I’m surprised that Banjo Kazooie got this low on the list, in many ways it’s better than SM64. But combining the reality that Microsoft owns it and that it didn’t redefine the genre, it’s unlikely to get into the top N64 Classic Mini games. What’s even more surprising is that BK tied with Donkey Kong 64; Banjo is easily a better platformer, but I think people were more likely to include it because it’s a Nintendo IP. Wave Race was one of the earliest releases for the Nintendo 64, and therefore one of the first 3D racers that people got to play. Add on to that a unique physics system with the waves and you have a winner. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is another great little 2.5D platformer that’s lots of fun to play, but it’s not really the iconic powerhouse of the full-3D platform games on the system.

Conclusion

There’s some errors that can be considered from the stats – notably that people usually limit their choices, so they can’t include anything to crazy. Also, there a lot of Rare games were excluded because there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that Microsoft would give Nintendo the rights to publish those games when they are selling it on the live arcade.

Besides that, I think that the list is fairly accurate. I’d be happy if they released a N64 Classic Mini with the top 20 games mentioned, plus a few of the ones that got 5 votes or less, to give a few curve balls.

Also the inclusion of Starfox 2 on the SNES Classic Mini had a lot of people speculating for unreleased games to hit the system, particularly those on the N64DD like the F-Zero Expansion Kit, Earthbound 64 or even Cabbage. Wrap your mind around that.

There are also rumors that the games that will be released are just going to be from the Virtual Console catalogue, so there’s that.

Top 20 N64 Classic Mini games, according to top games lists
Top 20 N64 Classic Mini games, according to top games lists
I compiled some stats from an analysis of some 'top N64 Classic Mini games' from about the web. Which ones are really the most popular?
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