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20 Games We Should See on a N64 Classic

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With Sony’s recent announcement of the PlayStation classic, the lack of a Nintendo miniature console this fall is all the more noticeable. The next expected retro console would be a return to the N64, Nintendo’s first fully 3D and 4-player console. It was a strange time for Nintendo, however, as many of its third-party supporters jumped ship to PlayStation and left the N64 with fewer games than its predecessors. Those who did stick around, like Rare, have since moved on, leaving many games in an unfortunate legal limbo. This was also about the time when Nintendo solidified its reputation as a proponent of 4-player party games and many of it’s headlining games are appropriate for that role. With all that said, what games could we expect to fill a hypothetical N64 Classic?

N64 Classic Mini Roster

The Usual Suspects

Super Mario 64 N64 Super Mario 64 – The launch game of the system, Mario’s first foray into a 3D environment, and one of the most beloved games of all time. An iconic game that shows up in plenty of best games lists that’s still enjoyed to this day. Yes, SM64 will be in the N64 Classic. What a dark horse.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Link’s first foray into 3D as well, and what a foray it was. It established a classic formula in a franchise that already had a classic formula, and with it much of the style that would accompany Zelda games for the next 2 decades. It took a 10/10 game of the year for Nintendo to stop doing what Ocarina told them to.

Star Fox 64 – This is the best Star Fox that’s ever existed. It’s probably the best Star Fox that will ever exist. Do a barrel roll.

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards – While this game isn’t usually in the running for best Kirby game, it’s the only one that uses such an expanded system of combining powers. It’s a unique spin on the series and never gets as much credit as it deserves.

Mario Kart 64 – After adding true 3D and 4-player compatibility, Mario Kart really came into it’s own. Though modern Mario Karts have more to offer in terms of customization and variety, this is a simplified version of what still works today. And it’s worth noting that almost every course in this game has reappeared in the later ones. Even Choco Mountain.

There is no plausible N64 collection that doesn’t include all five of these games. Each one is an iconic iteration in one of Nintendo’s longest and most beloved franchises. An argument can be made for each of these as being the best game in their respective series, and one of them as the best game of all time. To exclude any of these classics would be an incomprehensible move, even for a company as often incomprehensible as the Big N. If an N64 Classic gets released, expect to see these five without a doubt.

Safe Bets

Paper Mario N64

Paper Mario – While it had platformers, racers, and action-adventure games in huge numbers, the lack of a main series Pokemon and the void left by Square Enix meant the N64 didn’t have as many RPGs as fans were used to. To then include a beloved RPG starring its famous plumber with a new and lasting art style is a given.

Super Smash Brothers – The N64 set up Nintendo as the go-to console manufacturer for party games, due in part to its new fighting game that pit video game all-stars against each other. While this version of the game will go on to be upgraded and outclassed by its successors, the first entry is more than enough to stand today. Just ask the competitive Smash64 scene, who would probably appreciate a faithful way to play the game without lugging CRTs around.

F-Zero X – The SNES Classic had both Super Mario Kart and F-Zero because these two racing games have very different intended demographics. F-Zero X is another great installment in the hardcore racing franchise that tends to punish its players a little more.

Mario Golf and Mario Tennis – N64 was the start of Mario sports games for good consoles, so it would make sense to include these classics. While the formulas for these games have reappeared numerous times in the years, the originals remain simple-yet-fun ways to entertain groups of gamers.

Substantial Sequels

Majora's Mask N64

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – Equally as beloved as it’s older brother, Majora’s Mask is also a much weirder game. It’s unique among both it’s series and the larger gaming landscape as a whole. It’s not such a landmark game and Nintendo could get away with omitting it, but there’s no reason to think they would. They included Super Mario Bros. 2 on the NES Classic, after all.

Mario Party 2 – Like Legend of Zelda games, there’s a fair argument for each Mario Party game to be the best. Different maps, different minigames, and different items make each one unique and the best one is simply the one that most fits the player’s taste. Still, it’s clear that Nintendo has the fondest opinion of this one, given it’s the only one to be re-released on Virtual console. They even used this one in the Nintendo World Championship a few years back. They must include one Mario Party game, and it’ll probably be this one.

Pokemon Stadium 2 – As the closest thing to a Pokemon RPG on the console, Pokemon Stadium 2 is likely to make an appearance on the N64 Classic. It’s an improved version of the original Pokemon Stadium with more Pokemon, more challenges, more minigames, and more to do. The ability to pick from 250 competitive(ish) Pokemon without needing to search and train made this the most accessible Pokemon game to date, and great for playing Pokemon casually.

Harvest Moon 64Harvest Moon games aren’t for everybody, but the people who like them really love them. This one might be tricky to acquire, as Harvest Moon has had a bit of a legal and branding issue the past few years, but it would be a welcome and relaxing addition to a miniature console full of grand exploration and competitive fun.

Rayman 2: The Great Escape – The N64 had a plethora of great 3D platformers back in the day, but many haven’t aged so well. Many more are locked behind legal squabbles and rights issues. But Nintendo and Ubisoft have been pretty chummy lately, and Rayman 2 still holds up all these years later. It’s not a for sure conclusion, but it would be nice to play it without that weird save data expansion thing.

The Final Five

Donkey Kong 64 N64

Donkey Kong 64 – While it’s received a fair share of well-deserved ire and criticism since its release, DK64 is still a decent collect-a-thon and installment in an iconic character’s series. It won’t be the best 3D platformer in the collection, but it deserves to be there all the same. Plus it will probably be the only Rare game to make it in.

Pokemon Snap – People are still mad that this game never got a sequel, even on a console tailor-made for this kind of game like the Wii U was. There’s nothing else like it and little else on the N64 that can represent the gaming goliath that is Pokemon (sorry, Hey You, Pikachu!). It would be a surprise to see this one omitted, but there must be a good reason they haven’t made a new one. Right? RIGHT?!

Pilot Wings 64 – As the other launch title for the console, Pilot Wings deserves to be in the collection. It didn’t have the massive success and franchise adoration as Super Mario 64, but it’s a good game that adds to the variety of the miniature console’s repertoire.

1080 Snowboarding – It’s rare to see Nintendo make a sports game, and even rarer for it to not include Mario. It adds a little variety to the collection and not every game can be a long-running Nintendo IP.

Bomberman 64Bomberman 64 (The 1997 version, because apparently there are two N64 games with that exact title) is a decently fun game whose inclusion would ensure that not every game in the N64 Classic is a first-party Nintendo property. It’s a game that can last surprisingly long at parties and has a single-player campaign that’s worth checking out too. Konami liked how Super Bomberman R did on the Switch when it released, so it’s likely they’d license one of the N64 Bomberman games for an N64 reunion, and they’ll probably choose the one with the best multiplayer.

What you WON’T See

Rare ReplayAnything else by Rare – The biggest elephant in the room, Rare. A huge chunk of what made the N64 amazing – Banjo-Kazooie, Goldeneye, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and more – was made by a company that works for the competition now. Microsoft and Nintendo are far from bitter enemies, but it’s a stretch to imagine Microsoft would let Nintendo sell their games when they can do it themselves on the Xbox Store. And there are already enough racing games on this list to make Diddy Kong Racing not a priority. Nothing is impossible, of course, but considering Rare released its own collection in the form of Rare Replay, it’s a dream best left forgotten.

Star Wars Games – As beloved as the N64 Star Wars games are, there’s nothing to suggest in either the NES Classic nor the SNES Classic that Nintendo would include licensed games in it’s retro console. It would be hard to get licensing back to re-release games from other studios and it would be far harder to get Disney and Lucasfilm to budge. There’s also that EA deal to consider, which would only make it harder.

Sports Games – The same as Star Wars games, the prior collections didn’t offer too much for realistic and slightly-less-realistic sports games. Especially when it has so many Nintendo owned series to push, a certain plumber’s new interest in competitive sports, and their own sports game already on this list, it’s not probable that they’ll make room for much else. Sports games are also far more likely to have a soundtrack featuring famous musicians, which would only make the legality of such games too much to bear. It must be tragic for all of you desperate to return to Ken Griffey Jr.’s Slugfest.

These are the likely games we would find in an N64 Classic collection. The SNES collection had a lot more first-party Nintendo games because there were more of them, and the N64 only continues that trend. It’s especially true in the wake of Sony’s PlayStation taking many of the games and franchises for itself at the time, otherwise, we might have seen FFVII in this list. There’s no telling what Nintendo is really planning, of course (Please keep Gex as far away as possible), but this list represents the best guesses as to what a collection of N64 games would hold.

Notice any glaring omissions and injustices that must be corrected? Leave a comment below with why this article is nonsense and why Superman 64 is the only game that matters.

Paul spends a lot of time playing games, but spends even more time trying to convince other people to play games. He's always looking to try something new, and is ready to play Mario Party 2 at any time.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Helimer

    November 13, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    The N64 version of Rayman 2 is the worst version. It would be nice if they used a port of the 3DS version, it’s based on the Dreamcast version.

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Game Reviews

‘Coffee Talk’ Review: The Best Brew in Town

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

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It’s 9:00pm. The rain just started coming down softly a few minutes ago, and the street outside is reflecting the lights above it. Neon signs shine brightly in the distance, although it’s hard to make out the words. You unlock the doors to the coffee shop and wipe down the counters in order to get them clean for the customers. The rain makes a soft sound as it hits the glass and passerby speed up their walking pace to avoid it. The bells chime as a tall, green orc walks in and sits down at your table in silence. You wonder what their story is…

I wanted to set the tone for this review because of how important atmosphere and audio/visual design is in the world of Coffee Talk. While it’s easy to boil the game down as a visual novel-type experience, it’s honestly so much more than that. A unique cast of characters, incredible user interface, and a mysterious protagonist combine to form the most enjoyable experience I’ve had this year on Switch.

Coffee Talk
Some of the subject matter can be pretty serious in nature…

Coffee Talk is beautiful because of how simple it is. The entire game takes place within a single coffee shop. As the barista, you’re tasked with making drinks for the patrons of the shop as well as making conversations with them. The twist is that earth is populated with creatures like orcs, werewolves, and succubi. The relationship between the various races is handled very well throughout the story, and some interesting parallels are made to the real world.

Making drinks is as simple as putting together a combination of three ingredients and hitting the ‘Serve’ button. If a unique drink is made, it will be added to a recipe list that can be referenced on the barista’s cell phone. This is where the awesome user interface comes in, as the phone has a series of apps that can be accessed at any moment in the game. One app houses your recipe list, another acts as a facebook for the characters in the game, one allows you to switch between songs, and the other houses a series of short stories that one of the characters in the game writes as it progresses. It’s one of the coolest parts of the whole experience and helps it stand out from other games in the genre.

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

Coffee Talk cycles between talking with customers and making drinks for them. In the beginning, they will ask for basic beverages that can be brewed on the fly. Later on however, they may ask for a specific type of drink that has a unique title. These drinks often have certain descriptive features that hint at other possibilities in terms of unique dialogue. If the wrong drink is made, you’ll have five chances to trash it and make a new one. If the wrong drink is made, don’t expect the customer to be pleased about it.

The gameplay really is not the focus here though; it’s the characters and their stories that take center stage. An elf with relationship issues, a writer that can’t seem to pin down her next story, and an alien whose sole goal is to mate with an earthling are just a few of the examples of the characters you’ll meet during the story. There are tons of memorable moments throughout Coffee Talk, with every character bringing something unique to the table. The barista develops an interesting relationship with many of these characters as well.

Coffee Talk
Appearances can often be deceiving in this game.

Even though serving the wrong drinks can change some of the dialogue, don’t expect any sort of options or branching paths in terms of the story. It’s not that kind of experience; the story should simply be enjoyed for what it is. I found myself glued to the screen at the end of each of the in-game days, waiting to see what would happen in the morning. The first playthrough also doesn’t answer all of the game’s questions, as the second one is filled with all kinds of surprises that I won’t spoil here.


Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone who loves video games, not just visual novel fans. There are characters in the game that I’ll certainly be thinking about for a long time, especially when the setting brings out the best in them. Don’t pass this one up.

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The Magic of Nintendo: How Mario and Zelda Connect us to Our Inner Child

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Magic of Nintendo

Nintendo is special. Many excellent developers depend upon story or progression systems to entice engagement, but not Nintendo. Nintendo games captivate because of their immediate charm. There is no need for a payoff. The games, themselves, are enough: they elicit feelings, hard to find in adulthood. Through intrepid discovery, playful presentation, and unfiltered whimsy, the best of Nintendo connects gamers to their childlike selves.

The heart of any great Nintendo game is discovery and no encounter encapsulates this better than Breath of the Wild’s Eventide Island. First, finding the island requires genuine gumption. Found far from Hyrule’s shore, the island is only clearly visible from other islands, and even then, it’s only a speck in the distance. Reaching the island requires players to brave the open ocean and head towards something … that could be nothing. Then, upon arriving on the beach, a spirit takes all the player’s gear, including clothes and food. Link, literally, is left in his underwear. From there, players must make clever use of Link’s base skills in order to steal enemy weapons and make traps. The scenario creates a marvelous sense of self-sufficiency brought on by one’s own desire to discover. The player comes to the island purely of their own choosing, tackles the sea, and then overcomes obstacles without the aid of their strongest tools. The game turns players into plucky children who are discovering they can take care of themselves.

The intrepidity of Breath of the Wild and other Nintendo greats mirrors the feelings Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of many Nintendo franchises, experienced as a child. “I can still recall the kind of sensation I had when I was in a small river, and I was searching with my hands beneath a rock, and something hit my finger, and I noticed it was a fish,” Miyamoto told the New Yorker. “That’s something that I just can’t express in words. It’s such an unusual situation.” In sequences like Eventide Island, players don’t just understand what Miyamoto describes, they feel it: Apprehension gives way to exhilaration as the unknown becomes a place of play.

 Nintendo’s intrepid gameplay is often amplified by playful presentation with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island being the quintessential example. The game’s visuals, defined by pastel colors and simple hand-drawings, appear crayoned by a child while the celestial chimes that punctuate the jubilant soundtrack evoke shooting stars. The overall effect cannot be understated. It takes the surreal and turns it real, allowing players to interact, tangibly, with imagination.

Super Mario Odyssey Wooden Kingdom

Even if one removes the presentation and gameplay from Nintendo’s masterpieces, an unabashed creativity remains that bucks norm and convention. The arbiter is fun; reason and logic have no say. For instance, Super Mario Odyssey’s Wooded Kingdom, takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting akin to Nier Automata. Players explore the metal remnants of a civilization that has become a lush home to robotic beings. However, unlike Nier, the dark undertones of the past have no bearing on the game or those who inhabit its universe. The post-apocalyptic setting is just a fun backdrop. It’s as though a bunch of children got together, began playing with toys, and one of the kids brought along his sibling’s adult action figures. There is no attention paid to the context, only unfiltered imagination.

When they’re at their best the creators at Nintendo invite gamers to come and play, like a parent arranging a play date. Pulled along by joyful gameplay that expands in unforeseen ways, players desire to play for the sake of play. It’s a halcyon state of being: No messy thoughts or contradiction, just joy.

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‘Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind’: An Utterly Shameless Cash Grab

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some other trash.

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Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

In the 15 year long history of DLC, we have seen some really shameless displays. The notorious horse armor incident of 2006 and a notable day one DLC for the ending game of a trilogy notwithstanding, few companies have had the utter audacity to offer so little content for such a high price point. Enter Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind.

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some social media nonsense for people who really hate themselves. That’s really it, that’s what you get. Honestly, Square-Enix should be utterly embarrassed by this DLC.

It’s been one year: 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes, or 31556952 seconds, since the release of Kingdom Hearts III. Let that sink in as you begin the meat of Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind. Think of it as the extended version of a movie you really like… you know, the kind where they add 4 minutes to the 120 minute runtime.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind, really is that cynical. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the game literally starts with an exact cut scene from the base game, and a cut scene that happens to be available from the theater mode of the main game that you’ve already bought if you’re playing this DLC. Yes, the introduction to this new content is… content you’ve already seen.

In fact, that’s kind of the sticking point here: most of what you get for your hard-earned cash is footage you’ve already seen, and battles you’ve already fought, and story you’ve already experienced, just with slight alterations for context. Remember back in the 2000s, when we were super obsessed with prequels? This is like that, except even more egregious.

Generally I’m not so unforgiving as to call a company out for a forthright cash grab, but that’s absolutely what Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is. There’s just no other way to put it. You might find someone in the marketing department for Square-Enix who would disagree, but being a company that has faced just these sort of allegations for their last two major releases, Square-Enix either doesn’t read the news, or doesn’t care what people think of their products.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Square-Enix was roundly accused of shipping unfinished products in the case of both Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III — their two most high profile releases of the last decade. I personally gave mostly positive reviews of both games for this very website but if you want ammo to suggest that this company is deliberately trading on the nostalgia and passion of its fan base in order to make financial headway, there are few examples you could draw from that are as obvious as this DLC.

Look, maybe you’re a really big Kingdom Hearts fan. Maybe you just really wanted to know what the context was for that cliffhanger ending in Kingdom Hearts III. Maybe you just don’t do much research before you buy something. Or maybe… you just really trust this company for some reason.

Hey, I’m not judging… hell, I bought this DLC for $40 same as anyone else. I oughta be honest that I’m not reviewing Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind as some holier than thou critic, talking down to you from my position of privilege. No, I’m an angry consumer in this particular case. I’m a person who spent enough to replace a flat tire on my car, or buy my family dinner, on a game that is clearly playing off of my love for a franchise, and using it to bilk me out of money in a method that is so clear, and so concise, that those involved in the entire endeavor should be totally embarrassed for their part in the creation, marketing, pricing, and distribution of this expansion.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, fans had their complaints about Kingdom Hearts III. “Where are the hardcore boss battles? Where are the Final Fantasy characters? Where are the secret areas? Where are the hidden plot developments?” Still, to address these particular complaints by hammering a few minutes or seconds here and there into already existing content is truly like spitting in the faces of the people who have built the house you’re living in.

I haven’t sat in the board rooms at Square-Enix and I haven’t been in email chains about the planning of projects at their company but what I can say is that there is something rotten in Denmark if this is what passes for a satisfying piece of content for the wildly devoted fans of a hugely popular franchise in 2020. Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is literally, truthfully, and succinctly, the worst piece of DLC I’ve ever purchased.

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