CULTURE

The 12 Greatest Nintendo 64 Games Ever Made

As we celebrate the console's 25th anniversary, here are the best games that we spent countless hours playing as children

Nintendo 64

25 years ago today, the Nintendo 64 was released and took over the gaming world.

From 1996 to 2005, the console would go on to sell over 32 million copies and was so widespread that even if you didn't have one as a kid, you definitely knew someone who did. The console birthed a long list of classics that are still widely played today, but there were a handful of games that truly stood out above the rest. Here are the 12 best N64 games ever made.

GoldenEye 007

GoldenEye

GoldenEye

GoldenEye was a special game, playing both solo and with friends. Its brilliant multiplayer layouts made for some insane late-night showdowns, and the single-player experience was unmatched at the time, thanks to satisfying unlocks and the use of Bond's signature gadgets.

Sure, the visuals and stiff mechanics have aged terribly, but to revisit this classic game is to bask in nostalgia. If you grew up with this game, then those tense showdowns of "License to Kill" deathmatches were some of your happiest days.

Super Smash Bros. 64

Super Smash Bros

Super Smash Bros

Nintendo's frisky group brawler was both so competitive and immersive that the end of a contentious match would usually end in someone screaming and smashing the controller on the ground. Each character had different tactics to master, and everyone relied on a vastly different person. Speaking during a match was not customary; more often than not the only thing that could be heard would be the click-clack of buttons being smashed as fast as possible, and we loved every second of it.

WWF No Mercy

WWF No Mercy

WWF No Mercy

Offering a wide range of brawlers to choose and customize, along with a slew of different game modes, No Mercy was the go-to fighting game for wrestling fans and newbies alike. Its combat was relentless, with each wrestler's combo attacks completely vicious in their own right. With so much amazing chaos happening on screen, it made players feel like they're really in the ring, and that was a thrill unlike anything else.

Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64

In general, the N64 was the best console of its time for four-player games, and few four-player modes were as fun as Mario Kart 64. Where Super Smash Bros.'s competitiveness at times would be tense and infuriating, Mario Kart 64 was just non-stop joyful fun.

The game's 8 choosable characters were all vastly different from each other, and each colorful map contained different hidden routes, which kept each match feeling fresh. Mario Kart 64 made for some exciting group sleepovers and remains the perfect game to throw on with your roommate when you run out of things to talk about.

F-Zero X

F-Zero

F-Zero

The one area where the N64 was never lacking was in arcade racers, but to travel at lightning speed across F-Zero's futuristic tracks was a genuine thrill. The high frame rate made the game incredibly fast, and the great AI made it so that almost every race was a nail-biter that would leave your heart pounding. It was a blast to rip around each weaving course, hoping to get at least one more power up to inch you past your competitors.

Mario Party 2

Mario Party 2

Mario Party 2

Nintendo's Mario Party sequel remains one of the best entries in the franchise to this day, and that's partially because of its flawless spread of mini-games. With 60+ at your disposal, the Mario Party sequel had the best version of Bumper Balls – the game where you and three other rivals ride bright balls around a small map-like bumper cars to try and knock each other off – with new stages and unexpected moments littered throughout that made for some tense but hilarious experiences.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

It isn't just one of the greatest sports games ever made; it's literally among the highest rated games of all time. The impossible tricks are daring and thrilling to pull off, and don't even get me started on the game's iconic soundtrack. You jump off of skyscrapers, crash through glass pane windows, and shatter bones — only to get back up and do it all over again.

While the Skate series prided itself on offering a more authentic skating experience than Pro Skater, it's the lack of boundaries that keep this game fresh, and all these years later it still makes it a great time.

Star Fox 64

Crafted as Nintendo's lighthearted ode to Star Wars, Star Fox 64 still remains one of the best Star Fox games ever made. Fox McCloud and his anthropomorphic crew take to the stars in their legendary Arwing airship and blast through enemies and meteors in the hopes of defeating Star Wolf and his menacing mercenary gang. Full of addictive dog fights, colorful characters and surprisingly fleshed-out levels, it was impossible to not gobble up Star Fox 64's rail-shooting action.

Rayman 2: The Great Escape

Rayman 2

Rayman 2

Originally planned as a 2D side platformer, developers panned that idea as the 3D polygonal platformer took over gaming, and they took more time to transform Rayman 2: The Great Escape into a bustling 3D open world. The risks that came with changing course paid off, as Rayman 2 was a significantly better game than its predecessor. With gorgeous graphics, intuitive controls, great sound design, and a fully realized world, this adventure game was a transporting experience to play.

Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64

The 64's launch game redefined platformers and what was possible in 3D games everywhere. Nintendo seamlessly integrated all of Mario's signature characters and mechanics into a vibrant polygonal world full of satisfying combat and versatile gameplay.

One moment you'd be rescuing a lost penguin, the next you'd be racing a Koopa for a star. The game's unpredictable playthrough kept things fresh and impossible to put down as a result. Even to this day, there remain very few games as important as Super Mario 64.

Perfect Dark

Perfect Dark

Perfect Dark

Activision really brought all the heat on the next FPS to follow in GoldenEye's footsteps. Sure, the plot sucks, but the action is cranked up so high it didn't matter. With endless amounts of weapons, tons of levels, and fast-paced, extremely addictive action, Perfect Dark's multiplayer ties it all together. Frankly, it gave GoldenEye a run for its money, thanks to the inclusion of AI bots and ludicrous levels of customization. It's still a thrill to run through this today.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

When Ocarina of Time arrived, millennials got lost in it in a way never before experienced. Countless hours were spent finding secret loot and soaking in Hyrule's fully realized 3D world.

There are few adventure games over the course of history that are as groundbreaking as Ocarina of Time. It set the benchmark standard for the open-world games of today, exposing players to Hyrule's lush forests, sprawling open fields, and cutesy villages. Not to mention you could time travel, and the intuitive combat mechanics made facing down enemies a joy. It was probably the closest any game has come to being perfect.

Music Features

Underrated Video Game Soundtracks That Deserve More Love

While the sounds of "Zelda" and "Halo" remain iconic, these scores never truly got the love they deserved

From its clunky arcade origins to the expansive orchestral arrangements that now characterize your favorite games, video game music has evolved into its own genre.

Sure, the 8-bit click-clack of Super Mario Bros. brings back pangs of nostalgia, but the terrible MIDI muck of Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood and the lethargic horns of PSone's Resident Evil show the tragedy that transpires when the process is rushed. It takes a lot of effort and patience to curate a meaningful score.

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CULTURE

On This Day: "Quake" Reinvented Video Games Forever

The original Quake revolutionized gaming on this day in 1996

Quake

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After it garnered more hype than any other unreleased game in history, Quake — released 25 years ago today — forever changed what was possible in video games.

id Software had already shaken up PC gaming with the success of Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, but Quake was advertised as a total transfiguration of the first-person genre. Characters would be able to explore a fully realized 3D map, a feat that had never been accomplished in video games before.

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Culture Feature

The Craziest E3 Press Conferences Ever

Let's re-acquaint ourselves with some of the strangest press moments from E3 over the years.

E3

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In a normal year, the E3 Expo usually has a good amount of awkward moments.

The hiccups usually come in the form of press conferences, which are both the biggest crowd-pleasing spectacles of the weekend and the feats that require the most coordination. But considering E3 was entirely online this year, the press conferences mostly went off without a hitch. With that said, the weekend still featured some awkward moments, such as when Microsoft announced that they're building an actual Xbox mini-fridge. Still, we miss the good ol' days of technical mishaps and cringey public speakers. Let's re-acquaint ourselves with some of the strangest press moments from E3 over the years.

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CULTURE

The Biggest Games Announced at E3 2021

The game announcements are always the bread and butter of the event, and many of the reveals this year were exciting.

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The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which has remained one of gaming's most important events, kicked off this weekend, bringing together some of the world's biggest game publishers to give fans a taste of what's in the works for the holiday season and beyond.

While once again all online this year, E3 has still had some truly odd moments so far. For example, Microsoft, who has had a good sense of humor around the whole "it looks like a fridge" frenzy surrounding the Xbox Series X, took the joke too far and announced that they're now making an actual fridge. Advertised as "The World's Most Powerful Mini Fridge," it will indeed be shaped like an Xbox Series X and will feature "Xbox Velocity Cooling Architecture," a play on the Series X "Velocity Architecture."

But regardless of the bizarre antics that usually make up E3, the game announcements are always the bread and butter of the event, and many of the reveals this year were exciting. Here are some of the biggest games announced at E3 this year.

Elden Ring

The hype for Elden Ring has been at a near boiling point since its E3 announcement back in 2019. Helmed by George R.R. Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki (Dark Souls, Bloodborne), details surrounding the game have been nonexistent since its reveal.

Well, it seems the game is indeed happening, as Bandai Namco debuted a new gameplay trailer for the work this weekend and set a release date of January 21, 2022. The game, which sports a gothic world and ghoulish enemies, seems relatively similar to Miyazaki's other prized works, but Bandai Namco elaborated a bit and said the game will include a "vast and seamless landscape" with different weather and a full 24-hour time-of-day progression.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

An unexpected premiere from Ubisoft came in the form of an Avatar game that looks sprawling and promising. Developed by studio Massive Entertainment, the studio behind Tom Clancy's The Division 2, the game was described as a first-person action-adventure game, and from the looks of its reveal, it seems the entirety of Pandora might be at the player's disposal. The game will exclusively hit next-gen consoles and PC, and players will assume the role as Na'vi as he explores never-before-seen areas of the famous planet.

Guardians of the Galaxy

That's right, players will finally take control of the Star Lord himself, as Square Enix revealed they're making a Guardians of the Galaxy game, and no, Star Lord is not Chris Pratt. Teased as a fresh interpretation of the series, the game's debut trailer showed that it will be a sprawling third-person action-adventure game, as players will get to explore different areas of the galaxy.

Starfield

Bethesda Game Studios, behind captivating RPG epics like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, is heading to space, and if past works are any indication, it's sure to be an experience unlike any other. Starfield will put players in the role of a fully customizable character of their choosing and allow them to explore space with an unprecedented amount of freedom. "It's an epic about hope, our shared humanity, and answering our greatest mystery," Bethesda's Todd Howard told E3.

Redfall

What happens when you combine cool looking vampires and a bunch of guns? Apparently Redfall. When a cult of super vampires invade the Massachusetts town of Redfall, you and three of your buddies need to strap up and investigate. Judging from the reveal trailer, the action seems chaotic and colorful, with superpowered vamps flying around doing damage as you and your friends try to fend them off. The game is being developed by the teams behind Prey and Dishonored, which for sure means that the action will be wild and unpredictable. Redfall is expected to release next summer.

Halo Infinite

The latest Halo entry had originally been teased alongside the announcement of the Xbox Series X and S back in November. The plan was for the release of Halo Infinite to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the original Halo, but Microsoft and 343 Industries soon postponed the game, crushing players' hopes that they would get both a new console and a new Master Chief adventure simultaneously.

But at E3 this year, the game developers confirmed that Halo Infinite will finally arrive this holiday season. A multiplayer trailer was also revealed, giving players a look at new vehicles, new weapons, and a few of the new maps they can expect. The game's multiplayer will also be entirely free. As for the story, still little is known past the cinematic trailer, where Master Chief stumbled upon a new AI companion amongst a slew of wreckage.

CULTURE

The 9 Most Addictive Video Games Ever Made

Here are the games that have nearly ruined lives.

Fortnite

Video game addiction is a real thing.

I personally can only tolerate the blaring sound of gunfire in Call of Duty for so long, but some people are so deeply invested in the gaming world that they've gone to insane lengths to conquer a match of "Warzone." In Brazil, an eSports gamer murdered his rival competitor in a Call of Duty match-up and then shared a graphic video of her dead corpse through WhatsApp. Just recently, chicken nuggets shaped as characters from the video game Among Us sold on eBay for almost $100,000.

That's not to say that video game addiction leads to murderous rampages or impulsive spending, but it is to say that there comes a time when people need to put down the controller and go outside and sniff a tree. Here are the world's most addictive video games that have nearly ruined lives.

League of Legends

League of Legends

League of Legends

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Ah, League of Legends. It's one of the only games that has warranted its own guide on how to quit because of how addicting it is. It's free to play and can run on pretty much any computer, making it incredibly accessible to a diverse number of PC gamers. In this team-based strategy game, there are 146 different "champions" to choose from as you and your friends compete in long and grueling 5v5 battles to take over your enemies' base.

Complex and satisfying gameplay aside, League of Legends' diverse community can also be incredibly toxic. The game encourages cross-team interaction, but with everyone having access to a microphone, communications have often led to bullying and harassment.

It's become such a widespread issue that quelling toxic players has been the subject of multiple blogs and Reddit threads. RIOT Games has been accused multiple times of enabling this bad behavior, punishing players' stats whenever they leave a game early or refusing to ban players who rightfully deserve it.

Fortnite

Fortnite

Fortnite

Fortnite is apparently such a problem with kids that some studies have shown the game to be more addictive than heroin. In the U.K. a 9-year-old girl was sent to rehab as a result of her addiction to Fortnite, as she apparently was peeing her pants so she could keep playing. Another kid stole $200 from his parents just to spend it on Fortnite upgrades. The sad thing is that since the game is for anyone age 12 and up, kids are often the victims of addiction.

Some of the reasons for the addictiveness of the game are broken down by Celia Hodent, the director of UX for Epic Games, who noted that most of the in-game features are pasted across the main screen and the HUD. This minimizes the player's need to use their recall memory, so the controls become almost instinctual and allow players to remain enveloped in the game for longer stretches.

The game also spawned the international success of "Battle Royale" gameplay, which games like "Warzone" and Apex Legends have continued to chase. With that said, Fortnite's constant updates and seasonal specials (like being able to play as Batman and explore Gotham, or putting on a Travis Scott concert) keep giving young players a reason to return to the game even when they don't want to.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

Over 15 years of constant updates and expansion packs have maintained WoW's status as one of the most popular MMORPGs of all time. From the game's vast and constantly changing range of characters, the universe's alluring lore, the endless upgrades, endless missions, and endless ways to interact with your fellow gamer, WoW brought the MMORPG genre back into mainstream fame and hasn't let up ever since.

At one point it was one of the most addictive games ever created, a fact that became so widely known it spawned South Park parodies and legitimate news pieces. Vice profiled a gamer named "Drew" who lost two jobs and spent 20 hours a day chasing the meaningless notoriety of World of Warcraft trophies. "I only left the house for extremely brief intervals to make quick trips to the grocery store and to buy cigarettes," he said. "I ordered pizza delivery every day and only left my room to use the bathroom and very occasionally shower."

DOTA 2

DOTA 2

DOTA 2

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With hundreds of heroes to choose from, hundreds of unique abilities to learn and grow, and some of the best patches in RPG gaming, DOTA 2 has many addictive qualities to it. The game was so addictive for players that Valve installed an in-game launch option that monitors your playtime and lets you know when you have a serious issue. While we're not sure what happens when someone plays a problematic amount of hours, it's an interesting feature nonetheless.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim Cosplay

Skyrim Cosplay

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Another RPG that has caused sleepless nights for fantasy gaming fans, The Elder Scroll series has a long lineage of expansive universes, multifaceted characters, and some of the best fantasy moments in RPG gaming. Skyrim, in particular, has taken on a life of its own. You can design your character to be just about anything, and Bethesda pretty much took everything great about its past entries and added dragons, a larger map, more side quests, and twice as much fascinating lore to get lost in.

When the game was released back in 2011, gaming nerds in particular had a really hard time returning to the dreary, dragon-less, magic-less realm of reality. One Skyrim player actually lost his mind and massacred every character and creature in the game including peasants, guards, animals, elves, orks, women and children. "I am alone," wrote gamer jaeinskyrim. "'2201 people/NPCs, plus over 2400 various creatures. All gone. I am alone in Skyrim."

Path of Exile

Path of Exile

Path of Exile

Game Informer

Another free-to-play online RPG that has ruined lives, Path of Exile had so many addictive features that it caused a gambling addict to relapse. The user, named Candace, actually started playing the game to help quell her addiction. It was working until lockboxes (which contain loot) showed up and tempted her to purchase support packs to quickly obtain the gear inside.

Designed around a massive online economy, the game prioritizes purchases and accruing good loot. Throw in unique and seemingly endless character customization options, and you have a recipe for disaster. Luckily, Candace was able to have the lockbox function disabled after writing to the game's support team.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

It's hard to believe that this game came out in 2012 and still has such a die-hard fanbase. Similar to Call of Duty, this first-person shooter has consumed eSports players for years, to the point where a cheating scandal back in 2020 nearly ruined the game and its community.

Players were banned, 25,000 matches had to be reviewed, and even the FBI showed up to investigate how widespread the cheating was. It's crazy that achieving victory in a video game can come at such a disturbing expense. Addiction is an ugly thing, kids.

Minecraft

Minecraft

Minecraft

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To this day, Minecraft is insanely popular with children. Minecraft gives players a blank slate and lets them design their own world from scratch alongside their friends. A vast array of customization options have led to some truly innovative universe creations, but to build those universes takes a lot of time and effort, as resources need to be mined in order to be utilized.

"One of the greatest costs to a player is time," wrote Family Zone, who condemned the game for its addictive nature. "For the average player, there is no quick solution to this." Throw in an online world bustling with millions of players every day, and kids never leave their room.

Overwatch

Overwatch

Overwatch

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An online competitive FPS shooter that takes a surprising amount of teamwork and coordination in order to achieve victory, Overwatch has a fascinating cast of characters to choose from, each packed with an array of unique skills and a whole lot of background lore. The game also has a coinciding comic book series, giving players even more opportunities to get lost in the game's world. That's not to mention the game is always growing and changing, and pulling off a victory after some great teamwork is a satisfaction unlike any other. A musician even went viral after singing about his addiction to the game.