Five Childhood-Defining Nintendo 64 Games (Unless Your Little Brother Died of a Terminal Illness)


1. Super Smash Bros.
By the time they released their third home console, Nintendo had built up a veritable treasure trove of iconic characters. From Mario to Link to Pikachu, their mascots were known to everyone, even non-gamers. They finally took full advantage of this when Super Smash Bros. was released for the N64 in 1999, letting players face off against each other as their favourite Nintendo characters. It was a great way of bringing friends and family together, unless your little brother died of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in 1997. Then you were just stuck fighting Master Hand over and over again.

2. Mario Kart 64
There’s a lot to like about Mario Kart 64. The basic driving mechanics feel nice and smooth, the items are fun to use, the maps are well designed, and the art style is charming and colourful. One thing it doesn’t have going for it, however, is good AI for bot matches, something that would be really detrimental to your enjoyment if your little brother finally succumbed to their four year battle with leukemia before the game was released.

3. Mario Party 2
The Mario Party series is notorious for destroying friendships. Its mechanics demand that players deceive and betray those close to them, lulling them into a false sense of security by letting them accumulate coins and stars, only to pull the rug out from under them at the last minute. However, this can be a growing experience for a child, a way of introducing them to the idea that people aren’t perfect, of preparing them to deal with the pain interpersonal relationships can cause. Unless their little brother died of a terminal illness. Then, the experience is just having meaningless suffering enacted upon you by an unfeeling and uncaring Japanese AI.

4. Pokémon Stadium
Unlike the main series of Pokémon games on portable systems, Pokémon Stadium focuses on multiplayer battles rather than a singleplayer quest, which is great as long as your little brother didn’t go the way of Gengar and evolve into a Ghost-type. If he did, then sadly you were stuck playing matches against yourself using both controllers. At least it was a turn based game.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Time is without a doubt the best game released for the nintendo 64, and arguably the best game released to date. Unlike every other game on this list, it’s entirely single player. However, if you’re unlucky enough to hear a death rattle for the first time in your life just as you’re defeating Ganon, the experience is pretty much ruined.

Patrick O’Reilly (In loving memory of Jacques O’Reilly)