The Possible Realities Of A Nintendo 64 Classic

I feel like we’re partially responsible for this, willing it into an early existence, having talked about the possibility of a Nintendo 64 Classic on the latest podcast. If you haven’t heard, Nintendo filed a trademark for the Nintendo 64 controller image.

Iconic and terrible

 

It seems more an inevitability than a “what if”, so I started thinking a little harder about the Nintendo 64 library after the podcast. What exactly would be on there? What COULD be on there. Let’s remember that Microsoft purchased Rare back in 2002. While Rare has held onto some of their original IP, Microsoft does own some of them now. With that in mind, the Rare games we can eliminate based on that are Banjo-KazooieBanjo-Tooie, Blast Corps, Conker’s Bad Fur DayJet Force Gemini, Killer Instinct, and Perfect Dark. And while Goldeneye 007 isn’t owned by Microsoft, the licensing hell that game is probably stuck in would more than likely keep it off the console. Odds are Mickey’s Speedway USA would be tougher to get on there (and probably compare poorly to other kart racers on the system). Those are, no matter what my opinion on most of those games are, major releases that likely wouldn’t make it. We’re left with Donkey Kong 64 and Diddy Kong Racing as titles likely to make it that come from Rare.

Probably for the best this isn’t coming back.

 

Licensed sports games might be out too, eliminating a fair amount of big titles. I’m not sure how the WWE licensing works, but there’s a possibility that WWF No Mercy wouldn’t make the cut. NFL Blitz might also be out because of contracts with both the NFL and the NFL Players Association, eliminating one of the few sports games that would be a good fit for the console and wouldn’t feel terribly dated. There are also two Ken Griffey Jr. games on the Nintendo 64 that I wasn’t aware existed, but I can’t imagine they’ve aged too well, never mind the licensing issues.

What we’re left with is a lot of Nintendo properties with a dab of third party games that are both realistic to put on the mini-console and also worth going back to (gee, that almost sounds like every Nintendo console since then). Would Castlevania 64 or Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness make it? Neither one is very good and the latter is basically the complete version of the former with added content (some would say this was the finished version of the game and I’d be inclined to agree with them). Star Wars: Rogue Squadron is a solid choice that shouldn’t have the licensing issues that some other games might.

Until a few months ago, I’d say that Harvest Moon 64 would be off the table due to emulation issues, but those kinks seem to have been worked out since it was put on the Wii U Virtual Console back in February. Another one that might be, let’s say, niche is Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber. These two might be a bit more self-indulgent, if I’m being honest. I think this (along with the PS1’s Harvest Moon: Back to Nature) is the best in the Harvest Moon series. Ogre Battle 64 is the best, if not the most accessible, RPG on the console. It’s also one of like five RPG’s on it, so that might seem like I’m more damning with faint praise, but it’s a legitimately solid title.

Other titles I think could make the cut are one of the Turok games (there’s a lot of weird fondness for the first one from people), Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer, Sin and Punishment (even though it was a Japan-only release, it’s been put on the Wii Virtual Console since it’s almost completely in English), one of the Ready 2 Rumble games, one of the Cruis’n games, and one of the Rush racing games. Oh yeah, another oddity from Konami, Hyrbrid Heaven, which plays like a 3D adventure game but the combat is an odd mix of RPG and fighting mechanics. Worth at least considering.

Now, for Nintendo’s stuff. Super Mario 64,  Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask seem like no brainers, but some others that might not immediately come to mind are Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Puzzle League, Pilotwings 64,  Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards,  Super Smash Bros., Yoshi’s Story, Paper Mario, Mario Tennis, one of the Mario Party games, and Wave Race 64.

Now that we’ve boiled that down, my personal list of the games that might not require some miracle to get on here would look something like this:

  • Super Mario 64
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
  • Paper Mario
  • Mario Kart 64
  • Pilotwings 64
  • Pokémon Snap
  • Pokémon Puzzle League
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
  • Mario Tennis
  • Hybrid Heaven
  • Sin and Punishment
  • Harvest Moon 64
  • Star Fox 64
  • Super Smash Bros.
  • Diddy Kong Racing
  • Wave Race 64
  • Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber
I want this exposed to more people, but I don’t see it happening.

 

Realistically, I think it would look more like this:

  • Super Mario 64
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
  • Paper Mario
  • Mario Kart 64
  • Pilotwings 64
  • Pokémon Snap
  • Pokémon Puzzle League
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
  • Mario Tennis
  • Harvest Moon 64
  • Star Fox 64
  • Super Smash Bros.
  • Diddy Kong Racing
  • Wave Race 64
  • Mario Party
  • Turok
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
  • Yoshi’s Story
  • Ready 2 Rumble
  • Donkey Kong 64
  • Cruis’n USA
  • San Francisco Rush

In the end, who the hell knows what Nintendo is going to pull out of their ass? No one was expecting Star Fox 2 to get released in 2017, but it’s coming out. I think the Super Nintendo could get away with another iteration of the Classic series, but the Nintendo 64’s library is smaller and less iconic, so you could probably slap 30 games on it since there would be little worry over leaving big titles for a second run. I only put 18 on my personal list. You could probably squeeze in a couple of sequels to the second list I put together to add more titles to it or even add a few of the ones I’d like to see that I omitted. The library isn’t as barren as we initially thought, but, even with nearly a week to think about it, I still feel like I’m scrounging a bit more than I would if I had to put a second list of SNES games together.

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