When it comes to Nintendo consoles these days, it's all about the Switch and its plethora of diverse software. But back in the mid-'90s, during a simpler, more polygonal era, their N64 was the console of choice for many looking to play games with then-cutting edge graphics, especially those with feverishly fun local multiplayer.
As technology has accelerated at a rapid rate, this now-archaic 3D machine has largely been relegated to obscurity, even by many Nintendo fans. Occasional Smash Bros or Goldeneye parties aside, most have seemingly moved on. Yet, there are a number of criminally overlooked, forgotten, and otherwise obscure IPs for the console that even developers have seemingly forgotten about. Many of these games would make a terrific fit for Switch, and some for Sony/Microsoft's home consoles.
With that said, let's take a journey down memory lane as we look at 10 N64 franchises that could really use a comeback.
10 Quest 64
When it comes to the role-playing genre, Nintendo seems to be more than covered nowadays, especially on the JRPG front. With that said - the cult classic Quest 64 isn't beloved by N64 fans merely for being one of the few RPGs to grace the platform (although it probably doesn't hurt). No, Imagineer's charming, colorful 3D adventure actually still shines as a fun game on its own merit - even if it does look a bit archaic today.
A sleeker, flashier sequel on the Switch that is fleshed out with more detail would certainly be a long time coming. Despite the abundance of RPGs on the console, it could really carve its own niche with its unique turn-based battle system in a 3D arena, and fun elemental-based spells.
9 Mischief Makers
While developer Treasure has essentially dwindled to but a small shell of their former selves, it would definitely be cool to see them crank out a sequel to this hidden N64 gem - or perhaps collaborate with a larger studio to do so.
Mischief Makers is one of the few N64 titles to really capture that retro action-shooter vibe from the 16-bit era. These traits would make it a perfect candidate for a Switch game, considering this action-laced old-school style has seen a renaissance of late. Yet, it would also fit the pick-up-and-play nature of Switch, with its no-nonsense pummeling of thrilling action that resides in a fun realm between shooter and platformer.
8 Mario Golf
There's certainly an argument to be made that the whole "Mario sports" thing has been beaten to death, even given Nintendo dialing back its output of these games recently. Still, one specific variant of the sports genre featuring our favorite Italian plumber is his foray into golf. Indeed, the Mario Golf series itself has only seen a small handful of releases, with the most recent effort, 3DS's World Tour, coming well over 5 years ago.
It would really be cool to see a return of this series with the (relatively) sleek graphic capabilities of Switch, which could make for some pretty environmental backdrops. Nintendo could also utilize functions like Joy-Con motion sensing and touchscreen abilities to enhance the controls of aiming and swinging your club. And how cool would it be to use online functionality to face-off with strangers, take part in events/tournaments, and compare scores on leaderboards?
7 Blast Corps
Given the explosive, action-packed nature of this enjoyable romp, which emphasizes destruction and high scores, Rare's little known Blast Corps would prove a great fit for a library rife with similar games. The game smoothly blends satisfying action with a side of strategy, as you are tasked with clearing a safe path for a missile carrier while causing as much carnage as possible.
The relatively quick runtime of each mission screams "handheld gameplay," and the crumbling, exploding wreckage around you could truly be enhanced by the HD rumble of the Joy-Cons.
6 Pokémon Snap
One of the simpler and lesser-known but still amusing Pokémon games, Pokémon Snap, could make for a neat little compliment to the upcoming Sword/Shield. Much like Mario Golf, the style of the gameplay - which emphasizes aiming through camera movement - wold fit the Switch hardware like a glove. Since the gameplay is on-rails, you could perhaps sit back and use the Switch screen as a controller itself and move the screen around in real-time, providing a cool, immersive virtual photography session.
A more robust sequel could feature a ton of new environments and Pokémon from the several games that have been released since Snap's release in 2000.
5 Sin And Punishment
This thrilling on-rails shooter is barely known outside of Japan, even after its sequel, Star Successor, got a Western release for Wii.
Given the 3D motion capabilities of the Joy-Cons and console unit itself, the "aim-and-shoot" action of Sin and Punishment could offer a super fun experience on the Switch. The potential for some cool, glitzy aesthetics is monstrous on Switch, with the game's neat futuristic dystopian settings. While the Wii got a healthy dose of on-rails and action-based shooters to complement the pointer functionality of its controller, Switch is still somewhat lacking on this front. Fans of games like Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta would surely find some crossover appeal to this exciting game.
4 Diddy Kong Racing
This underrated racer was like Mario Kart on steroids with its platforming-style campaign, multiple vehicles, and majestic environments.
One might object to a Diddy Kong Racing sequel by pointing to the pretty healthy lineup of arcade-style "kart racers" that already populate the Switch library. Yet, most of these are either smaller, more humble indie projects or ports/remakes of older titles, like Mario Kart 8: Deluxe and Crash Team Racing. How about a brand new, fleshed-out sequel to this charming Rare racer? Just imagine how this game could look and play; gazing upon the epic atmosphere of Star City or the firey epic cavern of Hot Top Volcano.
Special online events or tournaments featuring tons of players riding different vehicles could make this one of the most epic and addictive multiplayer games on the Switch.
3 Donkey Kong 64
Sure, Switch might have an abundance of platformers, but it can surely use some more of the open-world 3D variety. And what better way to reintroduce this genre than a sequel to one of the most robust and memorable efforts on the N64, Donkey Kong 64? Obviously, there is the issue of Rare now being partially owned by Microsoft, but how neat would it be to see the lavish DK Isle in all it's sleek, 4k glory on Xbox One or the upcoming Scarlett?
Or, Retro could take the reigns as they did with the 2D Donkey Kong platformers and create an ape-tastic 3D epic on Switch that even Mario himself would be jealous of.
2 1080 Snowboarding
The extreme sports genre seems to be more of a trend that's largely gone the way of shoot-em-ups and plastic guitar music games. Yet, this is all the more reason to help ring in a renaissance for this style - and the awesome and iconic snowboarding romp, 1080 just might be the way to do so.
GameCube's underrated Avalanche proved that an evolutionary sequel can be entertaining and exciting, so why not an even more modern rendition of this franchise? If executed well enough in terms of its graphics, soundtrack, and mechanics, we could possibly see another Tony Hawk-level phenomenon that's just waiting to break out and coast its way to success.
1 Perfect Dark
Now that we've seen Rare revisiting one of its all-time 2D hits in Battletoads, how about a revamp or outright sequel of one of its flagship 3D titles, Perfect Dark? Yes, we've already had the somewhat lukewarm sequel which launched with the Xbox 360. But given the massive leap in gaming tech and the improvement of online functionality, surely another shooting adventure with Joanna Dark has to make for a cool FPS, right?
If the British developer isn't up to the task, how about allocating the project to a seasoned modern-day FPS vet such as Infinity Ward, Avalanche, or Id Software? A new game in this cool sci-fi realm with the cinematic flair of modern consoles would be epic, indeed.
Just as long as we see a return of those badass weapons like the Laptop Gun!