Grab your friends: the best of the Nintendo 64 multiplayer games

Get your buddies together and have a ball with these classics.

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For years, multiplayer games have been a huge draw, especially when it comes to online connectivity. There was a time, however, that multiplayer games were limited to getting friends together in the living room, rather than putting on a headset and waiting for them to log in. And you know what? Those were damn great times.

The Nintendo 64 was at the forefront for these games, offering up a number of classics that offered same-screen or split-screen experiences. Now it's just a matter of divvying up which games were the best for the system, because, well, there were just so many.

So after much deliberating, I've come up with a list of the ultimate Nintendo 64 multiplayer experiences. These aren't ranked, by any means, because, well, most of you would probably say Goldeneye 64 rules overall, anyway. So they speak on their own terms, thus the reasoning for a general list.

Without further ado, here are ten multiplayer experiences you should check out with the system. Even by today's terms, they're a lot of fun.

Goldeneye 64 (Nintendo)

Yep, it rules, so we'll go ahead and get it out of the way. Goldeneye managed to push forward the first-person shooter market on consoles, allowing up to four people to partake in proximity mine-laying, paintball-shooting, screen-watching (even when they refused to admit it) madness, with a variety of characters and weapons. Ever want to plug Oddjob with a few shots from the Klobb? Or maybe even grasp the Golden Gun and put a few villains in their place? Here's your chance. Perfect Dark 64 takes a good second place, although don't forget you need the Expansion Pak.

Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo)

If you want a premiere racing experience for the Nintendo 64, and one you can easily enjoy with your friends, Mario Kart 64 is a must-play. Sure, Mario Kart 8 has us spoiled nowadays, but MK 64 jettisoned the series to new heights with four-player compatibility, allowing you and your friends to go at it across a number of creatively designed tracks. It's still worth taking a spin with today. And, if you need more racing fun, be sure to track down Ridge Racer 64, F-Zero X and Hydro Thunder 64. Good stuff.

StarFox 64 (Nintendo)

StarFox may not be the first franchise you think of when it comes to competitive multiplayer, especially given the strength of its single player story. Nevertheless, Nintendo surprised us by including it as an extra in the package, allowing four players to compete in the air with Arwings, on the ground on tanks, and even on foot for some "friendly" multiplayer skirmishes. Sure, Slippy Toad might have been the most susceptible target (and for good reason), but StarFox 64 demonstrated that you can make a multiplayer mode on its own terms that works.

Mario Golf 64 (Nintendo)

Even though it isn't quite "at the same time" multiplayer, Mario Golf 64 remains one of those irresistible romps that you can play with friends. Even if it isn't your term to grasp the club, you can still get a lot done, as the game provides the opportunity to taunt whoever's at the tee. And you'll hear some hilarious taunts here, including Wario's infamous "WAN TWO THREE FOURRRRRR!" as the player tries to time his or her swing just right. It's still a sports favorite to this very day. Mario Tennis 64 is a romp, too, even without the taunts.

Gauntlet Legends (Midway)

Gauntlet may have grown up quite a bit since the Legends era, but there's no question that the arcade hit-turned-Nintendo 64 release got at least one thing right on Nintendo's console. That's right, it supported four players. You and your friends can choose your warrior (wisely) and then set out to clean up on  hundreds of enemies, while collecting foods and other goods across a number of levels. Just don't shoot the food, because we hate it when you shoot the food. Jerk.    

The New Tetris (Nintendo)

While both EA and Ubisoft are looking to perfect the art of multiplayer Tetris with its current-gen releases (EA's on the PS3, Ubisoft's with Ultimate on PS4 and Xbox One), Nintendo got it right years before with The New Tetris. Featuring a number of modes and the kind of competitive play that demands you place your pieces right or get left in the dust, it has a sheer addiction that's still a favorite across many households, especially when you start dropping rogue pieces and cleaning house. Now, if we can just get a worthwhile 3DS edition…

WCW/NWO World Tour and WWF: No Mercy (THQ)

Wrestling games may have changed over the past few years, with more realistic wrestlers and a variety of modes. In the mid-to-late 90's, however, all we needed was our favorite wrestlers, worthwhile controls, and three other players to bash around the ring. Both WCW/NWO World Tour and WWF: No Mercy (as well as WWF Wrestlemania 2000 and WCW/NWO Revenge) got this play style just right, and offered a number of superstars to knock around the ring. Despite the growing excitement for the forthcoming WWE 2K15, these four titles are well worth turning back to, especially if you just want a quick grapple.

Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo)

Duh. Like we'd leave out what would essentially become one of the best multiplayer fighting series ever. Super Smash Bros. found its humble beginnings on the N64, complete with a number of characters to choose from (Samus! Link! Fox McCloud!) and plenty of exciting stages to beat them up on. Obviously, the game has grown to immense heights since then, but there's a simplistic charm about the original that still makes it fun to play today. Unless you get knocked out of the ring, though. Ouch.

What are your favorite N64 multiplayer games?

From The Chatty

  • reply
    July 17, 2014 8:00 PM

    Robert Workman posted a new article, Grab your friends: the best of the Nintendo 64 multiplayer games.

    Get your buddies together and have a ball with these classics.

    • reply
      July 17, 2014 8:07 PM

      Snowboard Kids 1 (not 2). It's better than Mario Kart 64.

    • reply
      July 17, 2014 8:10 PM

      Jet Force Gemini

    • reply
      July 17, 2014 8:12 PM

      Glad to see some wrestling love on here. Those games were so good.

    • reply
      July 17, 2014 10:39 PM

      Perfect dark , turok 2 (or was it 3 with the drill bore?)

    • reply
      July 17, 2014 11:08 PM

      List is missing Dr. Mario 64 and Conker's Bad Fur Day. Thumbs down.

      The first time I ever got drunk with a Shacker (kniggit was when we played Dr. Mario 64 with two friends, a bottle of Burnett's vodka and a bottle of Jim Bean.

      Here is a photo of the results (neither I nor kniggit are in the photo: http://grumbeld.com/pix/dr-mario.jpg

    • reply
      July 17, 2014 11:10 PM

      I brought my N64 and Perfect Dark to my dorm in college and two dorm mates of mine borrowed it and played that game non-stop for weeks. One of them ended up having to drop/withdraw two of his classes because he wasn't finishing his assignments and bombed the midterms.

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        July 18, 2014 7:47 AM

        So basically you sent him into a downward spiral that he never recovered from and his life is a waking nightmare now?

    • reply
      July 18, 2014 3:40 AM

      BattleTanx or gtfo

    • reply
      July 18, 2014 3:50 AM

      It always chapped my ass that Blast Corps didn't have multiplayer.

    • reply
      July 18, 2014 4:00 AM

      Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
      Beetle Adventure Racing
      Shadows of the Empire
      Rogue Squadron

      to name a few others.

    • reply
      July 18, 2014 4:07 AM

      Mario Tennis!

    • reply
      July 18, 2014 4:38 AM

      Two wrestling games were included. I confirm the validity of this list.

      • reply
        July 18, 2014 4:40 AM

        The N64 had the best wrestling games except for Saint's Row 3

        • reply
          July 18, 2014 5:14 AM

          that's funny, there wasn't a Fire Pro game for N64

          • reply
            July 18, 2014 5:47 AM

            I wonder if there's any new ones coming down the pike? Those were truly the best wrestling games ever. The original creator of them, Masato Masuda, did die recently though :( Fun fact, he also designed Pro Wrestling on NES.

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          July 18, 2014 5:23 AM

          It's funny how perfectly I felt like that captured the feel of the some of those 64 WWF/WCW games haha.

          Hearing Remo talk about being a kid and saving up every dime he could as a kid to go to a store and buy a game reminded me so much of when the ECW game came out and I basically did the same thing. I was doing ANY chores I could just to scrounge up enough to buy that game.

          • reply
            July 18, 2014 5:31 AM

            Yeah, some of those games were really expensive, too. Man, I remember being -so- stoked about having enough money for Zelda: OoT

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              July 18, 2014 5:46 AM

              Yea totally. Those were the days where I would split the cost with a friend or something and we would either play the whole game together or trade it on and off haha.

              I literally paid a kid like $20 or something to borrow (ie RENT) for a weekend his 64 at the time just so I could play some of the games that were out because I could not afford a system or the games yet.

          • reply
            July 18, 2014 5:36 AM

            You chose..........poorly

            • reply
              July 18, 2014 5:51 AM

              Thinking back now I am pretty sure it was actually WWF Attitude that I bought that time, but at some point I did pick up Hardcore Revolution and yea, it was pretty bad.

    • reply
      July 18, 2014 5:23 AM

      Oh man, Star Fox 64. Good times.

    • reply
      July 18, 2014 6:11 AM

      Good list. Only thing I'd add is Bomberman 64.

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      July 18, 2014 7:04 AM

      Never really enjoyed the multiplayer in Starfox that much, personally.

      My top games for this list would probably be Goldeneye/Perfect Dark, Smash Brothers, Mario Kart, and WWF No Mercy/Wrestlemania 2000

      Honorable mention goes to Turok 2 because CEREBRAL BORE

      So many hours spent playing those games with friends/family.

      • reply
        July 18, 2014 7:52 AM

        Oh how could I forget Wayne Gretzkey's 3D Hockey and NFL Blitz 2000, I also played the hell out of those!

    • reply
      July 18, 2014 7:20 AM

      I thought I remembered 1080 snowboarding multiplayer being fun

      but it's been so long, maybe I'm wrong

      • reply
        July 18, 2014 8:39 AM

        I remember playing the a ton of Hexen 64, also. It may have just been a crappy port, but man was Hexen fun.

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      July 18, 2014 7:38 AM

      NFL Blitz!!!!
      Duke Nukem 64 was great, had local dukematch and co-op.
      Diddy Kong Racing.
      Extreme G.

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      July 18, 2014 8:43 AM

      Oh my god, my childhood is flashing before me. Especially the wrestling games... soo many good memories.