Games, at their roots, are a social hub. From board games to arcades to home consoles: there has always been a social aspect. Unfortunately the social aspect of video games is, for the majority, met by a microphone strapped to your head. While the ability to play with friends from around the globe is great, some couch multiplayer is still wonderful. Unfortunately as video games become more and more popular with consoles in more homes every day, local multiplayer is beginning to slip. While I do not think the transition to online social links is at all bad, I still love local multiplayer. One of the prime examples of a system designed for social gaming is the Nintendo 64.
Tangled mess = Good night
The Nintendo 64 may not be the best Nintendo console (the worst in my personal opinion), but the gems it did have are truly gems. I am going to pick the top 5 multiplayer experiences I had on the system. I did not play, nor do I have any intention of playing, every game on the system so this is far from a definitive list. With that disclaimer let’s start:
#5 Mario Party 3
This game is a staple for the system. I chose this entry before Mario Party 1 and 2 for one reason: more mini games. Since this series is made by the mini-games this only makes sense. I hate to include a Mario Party game on the list because it is the “Monopoly of videogames” in that it is a very realistic possibility to lose friends to the sheer level backstabbing that forms the foundation of this game series. Boo may as well be the grim reaper.
The “lost friend” count is only rivaled by the “dead friend” count.
That aside: it is a blast. Whether it is you and one friend or a room full. The constant zany actions of characters and the mini games is enough to entertain you for hours. Assuming the fun is not interrupted up by the need for first aid attention.
#4 007: The World is Not Enough
I know that 007: Goldeneye is generally regarded as the best fps of the N64, and maybe of all-time, rivaled only by Perfect Dark on the system. If anyone were to ask me? The superior fps is Goldeneye’s younger brother: it did everything Goldeneye did and more. Granted in its own right Goldeneye was iconic and it has inspired many creators The World is Not Enough aged much better than Goldeneye and it is far more tolerable in terms of gameplay and graphics. Controls are just as awful thanks to the inbred octopus of a controller that the N64 has. Also worth noting is that none of your friends can play as Odd Job now, so now everyone wins. Except for the one that picks Odd Job, now everyone knows how bad they are. Sorry.
You can’t help anyone who mains Odd Job.
#3 Mortal Kombat 4
Mortal Kombat is an influential series for me. It is the game that made me a fan of fighting games and real virtual competition, and maybe a little spine ripping out of the body action. This was a saving grace for the Nintendo 64. The N64 had a weak market of fighting tolerable fighting games composed mainly of Mortal Kombat: Trilogy, Killer Instinct Gold, and Clayfighter 63 1/3. Mortal Kombat 4 was a game I did not originally own on the system, but one that I picked up after I began collecting older games from my youth. That being said this is a game that I am glad I picked up. It keeps the Mortal Kombat charm and is entirely suitable for a few rounds of fun. It is by no means as defining as a fighting game that is soon to be mentioned. It was nice to find that the game had a nice character roster too. That is always nice to be able to swap in between fights to a better color ninja.
Ah yes I love yellow ninja way more than blue ninja.
#2 F-Zero X
As far as racing games for the Nintendo 64 went: a lot of good ones existed. The Crusin’ series, Mario Kart, and Diddy Kong are a few prime examples. This game is another that I didn’t own in my youth. Upon playing it more recently I feel I can say without wearing nostalgia goggles that it is the pinnacle of racing for the system. The game is entirely based on speed. No lucky items, just pure racing skill and a mix of irrational and nonsensical speed. Along with 29 competitors. Yes 30 racers in a single race going faster than one reasonably should, even in a race. Games are all about nonsense like that. I love that nonsense.
757 km/h is almost as fast as a falcon punch.
The game is really content heavy as well, look at this select screen for the vehicles alone.
What goes great with all those vehicles? How about a samurai to drive them? No? A dinosaur maybe? That’s right you can’t say no to a dinosaur. If you somehow are not into totally rad sentient dinosaurs you can choose the always punching Captain Falcon. Or a multitude of other character, but who cares because dinosaurs driving fast cars.
This is not a godly evolution line.
With so much pure awesome packed into so much cartridge, how could you go wrong? Other than some sharp turns. It is sure to be a great use of a few nights to fly through this game with some friends.
#1 Super Smash Bros
I’m sure this surprises literally no one. Super Smash Bros is the series that makes the N64. It may have some other great games, but this is it. If all else fails you can always return to this. I could babble about this game for pages, but you already know. Everyone knows.
Where arguments are really settled. If for some reason you don’t know, just know this: some of the best Nintendo characters on one screen fighting it out for supremacy. Controlled by you and 3 friends. If you lose you want to prove yourself, if you win you want to stay on top. It’s a never ending cycle of always coming back to this game.