I can still remember vividly how happy I was when I got my cousin’s old Nintendo 64 one Christmas. For years after I received it, that device dominated my Saturday mornings. Here, I’ll give a little blurb to some of my personal favorite games for this timeless console.
Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA
Now this was the epitome of cool for me. Racing around the great cities of the greatest country in the world just gave me an indescribable rush between the tender ages of six and ten. Crashing into poles and not dying, racing my father on sleepy Sunday afternoons, and seeing how many times a car could flip before bursting into flames were just a few of the pleasures I garnered from this classic.
Even though the game only has ten standard tracks, it was always a struggle to decide which one to race on. All of the cars baffled me too: how could I choose out of the hundreds (really only about 20 or so) of stunning vehicles? For hours I would careen around corners and sachet around bends. When I felt particularly grown-up I would practice driving well by driving within the speed limits, stopping at signs and red lights, and obeying the other rules of the road I learned from the backseat of my parents’ cars.
This game meant a lot to me as a little kid – and I think that, subconsciously, I compare every game I play to this one. From father-son bonding time (I still don’t know why he always insisted on choosing the VW van every race) to learning the rules of the road, Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA gave me hours of time well-wasted.
If you’ve read some of my previous articles on here, you probably know that I am a major James Bond fanatic. This game could very possibly be the root of all of that. Shooting, stealth, and sniping all captivated the nine year old Max. And when I went over my friend’s house, played this, and then fell in love with it, I was floored when he said that I could take it home to borrow it! Me? Entrusted with this gem? Wow!
Borrow and play it I did. Shooting bad guys, sneaking around factories, and completing spy-ish goals enthralled me to no end. Now I could see results that I never could playing with toy guns in the woods behind me house—people actually fell down, dead! What a novel concept!
This fun did not last very long. Remember that I was only nine. My mother came in the room, saw the gun on the screen and the bullets in the bodies and that was the end of that! Oddly enough, I never played that game again. But it is still seared in my mind as one of my all-time favorites.
Another game that proved to be enormously influential in my gaming career was Gauntlet Legends. Goblins, ghosts, and magic were a recipe for enjoyment back in the day – hell, it still is! My friend saw this sitting in my games basket when he came over. Though skeptical at first, he eventually wore me down and I popped it in. I could not believe what I had missed.
Obliterating orcs amused me for months on end. In fact, this game actually turned me on to similar games like RuneScape and led me to check out Lord of the Rings. This is also the first game that I played with dozens of levels—I never finished it. But even though it remains unfinished by me, I still have the fondest memories of scavenging for potions, food, and new weapons, and coins among the ruined wasteland.
Star Fox 64
“Do a barrel roll!” filled my ears many, many times on snow days, weekends, and summer vacation. If you ever played Star Fax 64 you understand what I mean! One of my favorite space action games of all time, Star Fox 64, amazed me from the moment I plunked it into the console with its stellar graphics, cool plot, and challenging levels.
This was the first game with a linear plot that I got far in, even though I never finished the entire game. Zipping through space and blasting aliens and their ships was a great time for me at nine and I bet that this game would hold my amusement here in 2012. The voices of Slippy Toad and General Pepper and Peppy Hare still sometimes enter my head (and occasionally come out of my mouth!) when I’m playing another game.
In the end…
The Nintendo 64 console will forever be a classic of gaming. For me, like many kids born in the 1990s, it reined in the video game era that included the PlayStations, Xboxes, and the Wii. Besides that, the Nintendo 64 gave me some happy memories to look back on and exposure to some of my favorite types of games. That second hand N64 is still in my house somewhere – I think that I’ll go dig it up and plug it in.Throwback! My Favorite Nintendo 64 Games,