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It is hard to believe that in September, Nintendo’s iconic game console, the N64, will celebrate its 21st birthday in North America.
Throughout its seven years in the retail market, 32.93 million units of the video game console were sold worldwide. What made the N64 stand out in the video game market was its excellent games that transported its players to impeccable fantasy lands such as Princess Peach’s Castle, the Hyrule Kingdom, Saffron City, and A Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Nintendo and its numerous production companies created over 388 video games that players tackled over the N64’s life span. Gamers salutes the elite titles that made an impact not only on Nintendo fans but also to pop culture.
"Super Mario 64" (1996)
If you ask active video game lovers to name an N64 game, the first game that will come to any Nintendo fans’ mind would be Super Mario 64. For the first time in Mario’s lengthy career, players could control his destiny. Like all Mario games, the world’s favorite plumber must save Princess Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser and his forces. As players raced to save the Princess, players would have to gather the 120 stars necessary to defeat the evil Koopa and receive a special surprise at the game’s climax. Super Mario 64 remains the N64’s best-selling game with over 11 million copies sold.
Mario Kart 64 (1996)
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Mario Kart 64 allowed up to four players compete against each other as some of the Mario franchise’s greatest characters such as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Bowser in grand rounds of go-kart racing. Mario Kart 64 also marked the first time that both of Mario’s longtime rivals: Wario and Donkey King joined the franchise as playable drivers. While the game sold nearly 10 million copies worldwide, Mario Kart 64 lead to three more console games for the GameCube, Wii, and Wii U systems, plus an arcade game machine.
"GoldenEye 007" (1997)
GoldenEye 007 changed spy video games forever when it was released in August 1997. It was the very first James Bond first-shooter for the N64 and changed the game as it allowed for both single and multiplayer games. With over eight million units sold, many millennials have fond memories challenging their friends and siblings through this evasive game.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
Gamers and critics alike may also put this game on the same (or higher) pedestal as Super Mario 64. Just like Mario, players were control of Link, one of the Hyrule Kingdom’s greatest warriors. Link had to travel across his homeland to save its ruler, the lovely Princess Zelda from the evil Ganondorf. To get to Zelda and confront the King of Evil, players must put their problem-solving skills to the test as they must get Link safely across the obstacles that Ganondorf placed along their journey. With over 7.6 million copies of the game sold worldwide, two places in the Guinness World Records, and multiple remakes, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time remains one of the greatest video games of all-time!
"Super Smash Bros." (1999)
Near the end of the 20th century, Nintendo changed the rules of the fighting genre. It united eight of its iconic characters together for the first time. Super Smash Bros. Players could play as either Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Kirby, Link, Samus, Fox, and Pikachu while fighting in numerous arenas across the Nintendo universe such as Peach’s Castle, Saffron City, and Sector Z. Helping or hindering the player were various items such as mushrooms, detonators, and Poke balls that would hold the key to their victory or defeat. Once players beat the game’s antagonist, Master Hand, players could have the chance to unlock new areas and add Luigi, Jigglypuff, Ness, and Captain Falcon to the party. After selling over 5 million units, the game spawned three more titles for the GameCube, Wii, and Wii U and introduced more iconic characters and locations to the franchise.
Pokemon Snap (1999)
18 years before Snapchat, Instagram, and Pokemon Go conquered smart phones, Pokemon Snap helped players perfect their photography skills by capturing images of the first 151 Pokemon species. Throughout seven different levels, Pokemon such as Pikachu, Charizard, Butterfree, Diglett, Snorlax, and Lapras roamed free in the wild. Each photo earned the photographer points, and if they were successful, players were able to attempt to capture Articuno, Moltres, Zapados, and Mewtwo in the final level.
What were your favorite N64 games?