The Nintendo 64 (N64) came out in June 1996 in Japan, September 1996 in North America, and March 1997 in Europe and Australia. Time named it the best game machine of the year in 1996. The N64 went on to sell 32.93 million units before it was shut down in 2002. It was the last major home console to use cartridges as its main storage format until the Nintendo Switch brought the format back in 2017.  Because the Nintendo 64 didn’t have nearly as many games as some of its console rivals did (Sony’s Playstation had more than 1100 games and SEGA’s Saturn had more than 600), Nintendo focused on the quality of the games it released rather than the number of games it had. It worked because three of the top five best-selling games in the U.S. in 1996 were Nintendo 64 games, which were made by Nintendo (both of the remaining two were Super NES games).
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How many of these did you own?
1. Super Mario 64
Just like with the NES and SNES, the most popular game on the console is the Mario game that came with it. From the start, Super Mario 64 was available on the Nintendo 64. It was also included with the N64 for a short time during its production. It has open-world playability, degrees of freedom on all three axes in space, and large areas that are mostly made up of true 3D polygons instead of the 2D sprites used in the previous Mario games. Nintendo’s most popular game took a big step forward in technology, and the game sold 11.91 million copies.
2. Mario Kart 64
A lot of the games that were made for the Nintendo 64 had the number 64 at the end of their names. This happened a lot. Many games also took advantage of the N64’s 4-player option, and Mario Kart 64 wasn’t an exception to this, as many games did. When the game came out in December 1996, some critics were not happy with it. They thought the SNES version was better. Gamers didn’t like it because it sold 9.87 million copies – a million more than Super Mario Kart did.
3. GoldenEye 007
Rare’s Goldeneye 007 was released in August 1997, two years after Pierce Brosnan’s first Bond movie came out in theatres. I think it’s the best multi-player game of all time. The 8.09 million people who bought the book didn’t seem to mind the long wait. They were just in love with the atmospheric single-player missions, the stealth elements, and the very clever multiplayer deathmatch mode.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
It was the best-selling video game in the United States in 1998 because it had more pre-orders than any other game at the time. Even though the movie was only on TV for five weeks that year, it did well. Finally, Ocarina sold 7.6 million copies around the world, and it won six awards at the 2nd Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, including “Game of the Year,” “Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Design,” “Outstanding Achievement in Software Engineering” and a nomination for “Outstanding Achievement in Character or Story Development.” It also got a nomination for “Outstanding Achievement in Character or Story Development.”
5. Super Smash Bros
Nintendo games from different series came together in the first Super Smash Bros. game. This was a first for the game. The game was made by a third-party company called HAL Laboratory, Inc. (HALKEN), which is a Nintendo second-party developer. It had characters from Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Metroid, F-Zero, Mother, Kirby, and Pokémon. To find out which in-game character won, fight each other. It was done by 5.55 million owners of the N64, too.
6. Pokémon Stadium
The first Pokemon game that was available on a console outside of Japan was the first one that everyone else could play. GameBoy owners could move their Pokemon over to the N64 to see, organise, store, trade, and battle! Even though the game was not well received when it came out in April 1999, 5.46 million copies of Pokemon Stadium were sold.
7. Donkey Kong 64
Another classic game from Rare. It was the first game in the Donkey Kong series to be played in 3D. Donkey Kong 64 was the top-selling N64 game of 1999, which it did in just five weeks of sales. It also won the E3 Game Critics award for Best Platform Game, as well as many other awards and nominations from games magazines, and was in the collection of 5.27 million gamers.
8. Diddy Kong Racing
During the 1997 holiday season, Diddy Kong Racing was the big N64 game. It sold a lot of copies, and the game itself was fun to play as well. When the game came out, Rare had another big hit on their hands. They became the third-party developer of choice for Nintendo’s powerful 64-bit console.
9. Banjo-Kazooie – 3.5 Million Copies Sold
Banjo-Kazooie was one of the best platform games for the Nintendo 64. The game was made by Rare, the same company that made Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye 007, and Diddy Kong Racing.
We saw Banjo and Kazooie work together to save Banjo’s sister, who was taken by the witch, Gruntilda, after she was taken by her.
Rare had a lot of hits, and Banjo-Kazooie wasn’t the only one. The game would go on to sell 3.5 million copies, which is a lot. With more sequels and spin-offs, the game would also become a big business. The last Banjo-Kazooie game came out in 2008.
However, the characters would also show up in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as DLC characters, along with music from the series, and a stage based on the series as well, as part of the game’s DLC.
10. Pokemon Snap – 3.6 Million Copies Sold
One of the best games that Pokemon has ever made was a game about taking pictures. Pokemon Snap, which came out in 1999, let players drive a car while they took pictures of different Pokemon for Professor Oak. When you play this game, timing is everything because Pokemon can run away before you get the perfect picture. You have to be quick with your camera.
Pokemon Snap would again be a big hit for the Pokemon games, with 3.6 million copies sold. When the game came out, it also led to a follow-up called New Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo Switch.
On the Nintendo 64, Hey You, Pikachu! and Pokemon Puzzle League would also be released. Pokemon Snap would not be the only Pokemon game on the Nintendo 64, though.
11. Star Fox 64 – 4 Million Copies Sold
Everyone’s favourite pilot, Fox McCloud, would be back in a Nintendo game again. StarFox 64 came out for the Nintendo 64 in 1997.
This is what the game is about: It’s about Fox and the Star Fox team as they try to get rid of the person who killed Fox’s father. The player controls the Arwing spaceship as they fight off enemies as they try to find Andross and get back to him.
If you own a Nintendo 64, you’d love Star Fox 64, which was sold 4 million copies. There would be an updated version of the game Star Fox 64, called Star Fox 64 3. This version would be for the Nintendo 3DS years later.
For the Super NES Classic Edition in 2017, Star Fox 2 came out, 21 years after it was done. Who knows what the future holds for Fox, but we can’t wait to see what comes next.