In just a few short months, the Nintendo 64 will be turning twenty-three years old. Despite the famously awkward controllers and a host of bizarre, half-baked gaming peripherals, this console had an amazing lineup of timeless and unforgettable gaming classics, such as Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64.
But for every Nintendo 64 game that has permanently carved a niche into the hearts of gamers the world over, there are at least two equally fantastic cartridge classics running the risk of fading into obscurity. To demonstrate, here are ten of the best games to have ever come out on that platform that, while popular during their time, are largely forgotten by gamers today.
10 Shadow Man
Shadow Man was a pretty solid departure from the lengthy catalog of kid-friendly titles on the Nintendo 64, being fairly geared towards a more mature audience with a dark plot and gritty aesthetics.
Following the story of cabbie-turned-voodoo-assassin Mike in his mission to stop the forces of Deadside, Shadow Man got a noteworthy critical reception but wouldn't remain popular for very long.
9 Mace: The Dark Age
The Nintendo 64 definitely wasn't known for exceptional fighting games, but Mace could be comfortably raised as an exception to that rule. Think of it as Mortal Kombat's awesome long lost cousin that maybe showed up to a birthday party once but mostly keeps to himself.
It was an altogether good weapon fighter set against a medieval backdrop, its roster stocked with knights, ninjas, vikings and the like. Despite being a relatively unique title among its peers, it's a largely forgotten game with little more than an incredibly niche following today.
8 Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber
RPGs were pretty scarce on the Nintendo 64, but that isn't to say that there weren't any good ones to be found. Ogre Battle 64 is one such example, bringing a deeply tactical turn-based RPG experience to the console in fine fashion. Chances are that any RPG fans in possession of a Nintendo 64 during its heyday at least rented this title.
As anyone familiar with the Ogre Battle series would expect, the game's plot is incredibly deep and lore rich. And it holds up remarkably well today, with complex gameplay mechanics that'll keep even the most hardcore RPG fans glued.
7 Harvest Moon 64
With the nearly ridiculous deluge of farming simulators that have hit the scene over the past few years, it's really easy to forget that most of them owe their success to the original series of casual farming experiences.
Harvest Moon 64 is probably one of the finest and most fondly remembered titles in the franchise, for those that remember it, at least. Modern farming simulation phenomenons such as Stardew Valley may carry its legacy, but the entire series has been steadily slipping into the backseat of most gamers' memories.
6 Pilotwings 64
As a series, Pilotwings has a storied legacy as a launch title for several Nintendo consoles, not least among them being the Nintendo 64. It was well received and widely played alongside Super Mario 64 upon the console's North American release.
That said, the series as a whole is definitely exponentially less recognized than it once was, having not seen a release in eight years. So it should go without saying that Pilotwings 64 rarely enters discussion between gamers these days.
Glover was a charmingly unique little platformer in which players control a sentient glove tasked with saving the Crystal Kingdom, since its ruling wizard has had a little potion-making accident that resulted in the creation of another, decidedly evil glove hellbent on keeping everyone from having nice things.
A sequel was actually planned for Glover, but it ended up canceled due to some unfortunate internal strife during its development. The franchise has been entirely stagnant since.
4 Doom 64
Doom 64 is the odd duck of the DOOM franchise, having reached a decent audience and actually packing a pretty good single player campaign, but coming up short in the replayability department owing to its surprising lack of a multiplayer component.
Midway Games had justified the move to neglect multiplayer functionality owing to the idea that it would have to be split screen, though the legendary status of Goldeneye 007 proves what a woeful mistake that was. Even then, this cartridge ended up collecting dust after players had seen what it had to offer, and it would eventually wind up practically ignored in the context of the franchise.
3 Body Harvest
Body Harvest was most certainly a game ahead of its time. Best described as a sort of early, science fiction oriented version of Grand Theft Auto 3, Body Harvest is a non-linear, free-roaming action game in which the player must travel from town to town in order to prevent Earth's population from being harvested by insect aliens.
Vehicular combat was a central element, and there was a surprisingly decent spread of options in that department. The game was altogether impressive, especially considering the Nintendo 64's hardware limitations, but wouldn't prove to have much staying power.
2 Battlezone: Rise Of The Black Dogs
Battlezone 64 was a heavily modified port of the original PC title, which was groundbreaking at the time for hybridizing real-time strategy elements with those of first person shooters and tank simulators.
It suffered from mixed critical reception that was lukewarm in the very best of circumstances, but even that was a rare sentiment. Though sales didn't reach initial goals, it found its way into a fair number of homes in the years following its release.
1 Perfect Dark
At the time, and even for many years following its release, Perfect Dark would be widely hailed as one of the very best games to have been released on the Nintendo 64. A vibrant and engaging first person shooter with a killer multiplayer mode, the praise that it garnered was far from undue.
However, attempts to install a successful sequel would continuously fail to meet the high expectations set by the original release, and the original itself is usually overshadowed by Goldeneye 007 when discussing the Nintendo 64's best shooters and multiplayer experiences.