For all the nostalgic wonders it holds, the Nintendo 64 was chock-full of terrible games, many of which could show up on the N64 Classic, the next logical step in Nintendo’s walk down memory lane. Most of us associate the beloved Mario-makers with quality game output, but the mid-1990s were a hit-or-miss time for Nintendo. For every Mario Tennis, there was a Dr. Mario 64. Although Nintendo has loads of beautiful titles to resurrect on its next throwback console, there are quite a few bad apples that could show up to spoil the bunch.
Even the worst video games have their fans, and the 15 terrible titles on this list are no exception. If you see one of your childhood favorites here, don’t take it personally. We’ve all bought — and enjoyed — at least one craptastic game in the past. I, for one, bought two copies of Evergrace, a game whose name I just had to look up, so I’m certainly not here to judge your questionable taste in video games.
Regardless of what you did or didn’t enjoy during the N64 heyday, I think we can all agree that some games just don’t need to ever see the light of day again. While it would be interesting to see just how many people would purchase an N64 Classic pre-loaded with some of the worst games ever made, I’m not hoping to see any of the 15 games below make the cut. Nintendo’s mid-Nineties console has more than enough fun to be had without scraping the bottom of the proverbial games barrel.
15 Earthworm Jim 3D
I’m one of those people who would truly love to see a new Earthworm Jim game hit consoles. I also understand just how slim our chances are, and all because Earthworm Jim 3D ruined it for everyone. After changing ownership, spending a few years in development hell, and ultimately bearing witness to the forced departure of its original creative team, Earthworm Jim 3D hit the N64 in 1999 to mixed reviews.
Although the game captured the offbeat humor of previous series installments, Earthworm Jim 3D suffered as the first title in the franchise to be rendered in three dimensions. Even the most seasoned players were forced to wrestle with the game’s camera, often to no avail, and that alone managed to completely sour what would have otherwise been a solid, enjoyable addition to the series.
14 Bomberman 64
Like Yoshi’s Story, Bomberman 64 proved to be a step in the wrong direction for an existing IP. This franchise’s 3D upgrade was a success, but the restructuring of its multiplayer mode was a problem for many fans of the Super NES installments. Bomberman 64 sacrificed the strategic bomb placement of earlier multiplayer modes in favor of assault-friendly gameplay, and the crassness of the new, more brutal play-tactics soured the experience for many.
As terrible games go, Nintendo could do worse than Bomberman 64 for the N64 Classic. Both Bomberman Hero and Bomberman 64: The Second Attack were more poorly received than this 1997 title, but Bomberman 64 will be the explosive adventure that makes its way onto Nintendo’s next mini-emulator, if any of them do.
13 Hey You, Pikachu!
Much like Pokémon Yellow, this Pokémon-themed kids’ game capitalized on the success of the Pokémon anime and its hero’s close kinship with his Pokéball-free Pikachu. In Hey You, Pikachu!, players used a Voice Recognition Unit to give commands to their on-screen companion. The peripheral was not required to play the overwhelming majority of N64 games, so working a voice-command option into the N64 Classic design will likely be deemed cost-prohibitive.
In spite of the Voice Recognition Unit’s lack of compatible software, voice command was a novel idea in the 1990s, and this N64 title is one that many of us remember fondly. But including Hey You, Pikachu! on the N64 Classic would mean filling a slot that could go to a better Pokémon title, such as Pokémon Stadium or Pokémon Snap, so it's better to leave it out of the mix.
12 Pilotwings 64
I can understand a lot of questionable decisions that video-game designers and publishers make, but wasting valuable console space on a frustrating flight simulator isn’t one of them. Pilotwings 64 might have been a launch title, but that isn’t a good enough reason to include it in the N64 Classic’s lineup, especially not when you consider the fact that Pilotwings 64 effectively led to the death of one of Nintendo’s most challenging and graphically advanced franchises.
Pilotwings didn’t receive a third installment for 15 years after Pilotwings 64 debuted, and even then it was relegated to the Nintendo 3DS, where it earned positive reviews as a Mii-friendly handheld title. But all the positive reviews in the world probably won’t be enough to save Nintendo’s face after Pilotwings 64, and reviving it on the N64 Classic won’t help matters.
11 Killer Instinct Gold
A touched-up arcade port, Killer Instinct Gold was one of the better fighting games to show up on the N64, but its “archaic” fighting system held it back from greatness. A reliance on long combos — which make economic sense in an arcade setting, but do nothing except detract from couchside competition — made Killer Instinct Gold difficult to enjoy as a new player, and destroyed intuitive gameplay for fighting-game enthusiasts.
The whole point of Killer Instinct Gold was to string together combos out of dozens of individual strikes, incapacitating your opponent until they were either knocked out or managed to achieve a C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER, which would allow them to render the same kind of beatdown on your poor, unfortunate soul. This tug-of-war feel made arcade play exciting, but took some of the shine off of the N64 version.
10 Doom 64
Like many terrible games, Doom 64 began with the best of intentions. Midway Games struggled to adhere to the classic stylings of the earlier titles in the franchise while updating it for the advanced technology of Nintendo’s 64-bit console, and ultimately delivered an underwhelming continuation of the Doom franchise. Although the fully realized, 3D levels were a welcome addition, Doom 64’s lack of innovation in controls and animations left players with more than a handful of unfulfilled expectations. At the time, GameSpot criticized Midway’s failure to add “new features like jumping or the ability to look up and down,” and IGN questioned the decision to forgo a multiplayer mode, which other shooters, such as GoldenEye 007 and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, would later include.
9 Carmageddon 64
When reviews call you “unbearable,” you know you’ve messed up. Oddly enough, Carmageddon 64 was the unfortunate spawn of Superman 64-developer Titus Software, but the racing game reared its ugly head after Supes got his shot at N64 glory. Which just begs the question: Why on Earth did anyone give them a second chance? Titus saw how bad Superman 64 was, said “Hold my beer,” and proceeded to make one of the worst video games in history.
This splatterpunk PC port put couch-potato drivers behind the wheels of various spike- and saw-encrusted vehicles, with the goal of destroying their fellow racers and mowing down pedestrians and zombies in the meantime. Even at a time when controversial games were sure to be top-sellers, Carmageddon 64 was just too bad to stay afloat.
8 Mario Party 2
I can already hear you yelling in outrage, but I promise I have a very good reason for calling Mario Party 2 a terrible game and hoping that it doesn’t wind up anywhere near the N64 Classic. Mario Party 3 is much closer than either of its older siblings to a modern-day entry in the series, so it’s a shoo-in for inclusion, but Nintendo will not be able to get away with leaving out the original Mario Party when it releases the N64 Classic. Three titles from one series is too much, even when that series happens to be a beloved Mario spin-off, and so one of them has to go. The only logical decision is to ditch Mario Party 2 — which folded a wider variety of classic Mario items into gameplay — and keep the first and third installments.
7 Yoshi's Story
Just a few short years after Yoshi’s Island made waves on the Super NES, Nintendo returned to the saccharine world of Mario’s dinosaur friends with Yoshi’s Story. But where Yoshi’s Island provided gamers with a fun and challenging take on the world of Mario, Yoshi’s Story was overly simplified, pared down to less than half the size of its predecessor, and “so easy some toddlers … could probably beat it in a single sitting.”
Although you’d expect Nintendo to stuff Yoshi’s Story under the staircase with the rest of its redheaded stepchildren, the N64 flop got a Virtual Console port back in 2011, a move that suggests the gaming giant isn’t ready to forget Yoshi’s Story yet. Let’s just hope they’ve let this one go by the time the N64 Classic hits stores.
6 ClayFighter 63 1/3
Make way for the game IGN deemed “so terrible [that] it sets the standards for bad.” ClayFighter 63 1/3 was so awful that it may have crafted the very shape of things to come for one beloved character: Earthworm Jim. Two years before wonky camera angles condemned him to the Where Are They Now? file, Jim appeared in ClayFighter 63 1/3 as a new, playable character.
Even Jim’s comedic charm wasn’t enough to save this game. In fact, like Earthworm Jim 3D, ClayFighter 63 1/3 killed its franchise. This fighter was marred by bad camera mechanics, subpar animations, and lagging controls, so much so that the only sequel it ever warranted was a rental-only re-release titled ClayFighter 63 1/3: Sculptor’s Cut for — you guessed it — the N64.
Essentially the Elder Scrolls to Doom’s Fallout, Hexen was a dark-fantasy video game made by Id Software and Ravensoft. A gorgeous work of pixel art when it was first released on PC in 1995, Hexen took a serious downgrading in its port to the N64 two years later. Without any considerable updates to its look and feel, this dungeon crawler drew unfavorable comparisons to Doom 64, in spite of the fact that, unlike that Midway title, it actually had a multiplayer mode.
The N64 languished under a dearth of RPG titles, so it’s easy to see how some fans might want to include this terrible game in the N64 Classic’s lineup. There’s no reason to throw Hexen into a mix that will inevitably include both Zelda titles, however.
4 Dr. Mario 64
While we were all learning to Just Say No, Mario was plotting to extol the virtues of playing with medicine. Dr. Mario hit the NES in 1990, then came to the Super NES in 1994 with Tetris & Dr. Mario. Being a remake of a remake isn’t Dr. Mario 64’s downfall, but it certainly doesn’t help.
The plumber-slash-doctor paid a house visit to the N64 toward the end of the console’s lifespan, in 2001. Little was done to upgrade the doc’s own aging graphics to fit in with the rest of the N64’s twilight-days lineup. Next to Aidyn Chronicles and Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Dr. Mario 64 looked terrible, and even the addition of new game modes and 4-player gameplay couldn’t make it anything but a cash-grab.
3 California Speed
Garnering many comparisons to Cruis’n World, but lacking that game’s overall charm, California Speed had a lot to offer its young demographic, including real-world vehicles and customization options. But the Midway arcade port was less impressive than the N64’s older, child-friendly hits — Mario Kart 64 and Diddy Kong Racing — by almost every metric imaginable, including audio, visuals, and handling. The guitar-heavy, klaxon-like soundtrack could trigger a migraine before you finished your first race, and if that didn’t do it, the colorful, fuzzy graphics would. California Speed was by no means as terrible as later racing-game monstrosities, such as Big Rigs and Carmageddon 64, but sheer mediocrity made this racer impossible to enjoy, even ironically. This obnoxious and un-fun racing game should be an obvious pass for the N64 Classic.
2 Quest 64
Delving into the N64’s lack of RPGs requires rehashing the Nintendo-Sony rift, so we won’t get into that here. Suffice it to say that fans who spent hours playing Final Fantasy III and EarthBound on their Super NES consoles were horribly disappointed by the N64’s role-playing offerings, and were desperate for anything resembling a fun RPG.
Enter Quest 64. Stripped of all but the most basic RPG elements, this THQ title made full use of the N64’s graphics capabilities, and even managed to implement a fun magic system that combined elements to create spells. Unfortunately, the saga of Brian the Spirit Tamer and his kidnapped father failed to enthrall anyone with previous RPG experience. Better to stick with the N64’s Zelda titles and leave this one in the bin.
You knew it was coming. We can’t talk about terrible N64 games without addressing the console’s most infamous title: Superman 64. Much like Earthworm Jim 3D, Titus Software’s 1999 comic-book game emerged from development hell to poor reviews and near-universal rejection. In 2006, it was dubbed the worst video game of all time by GameTrailers, beating out E.T., A.K.A. The Game That Almost Sunk the Video Game Industry.
So just what made Superman 64 so terrible? Basically…everything. Titus attempted to explain away Superman 64’s graphical failures with the excuse that the game took place in a virtual recreation of Metropolis. If that weren’t enough, the game is riddled with wall-busting glitches, clunky controls, a generally laggy framerate, and unhelpful camera angles, all of which combine to make it nearly unplayable. Literally any other N64 game would be a better addition to the N64 Classic than this monstrosity.