I love going back to play the games of my childhood, and for me, my very first system was a Nintendo 64. However, everyone has rose-colored glasses when it comes to their first games console, and going back to play some of my favorite games really proved that. Yes, in my head, those blocky polygons still look as crisp as any PlayStation 5 game you could pick.
The nineties were a simpler time, and sometimes, we just accepted weird things in video games without ever thinking too hard about them. Be careful about going back to play the classics because you may have a few of the same bewildering realizations I had.
10 Super Mario 64 – The Whole Thing Started Because Of Cake
When most people think about the plot of Super Mario 64, they probably just think about saving Princess Peach from Bowser. You’d be exactly right if that’s what you thought, but the little thing that I had completely forgotten about is that the entire adventure begins because of cake.
Mario only shows up to the castle because Peach promised him some delicious cake. Aside from that being mildly hilarious when you think of modern slang, that entire painting-hopping adventure is really all thanks to Mario’s love for sweets.
9 Ocarina Of Time – The Ocarina Really Isn’t That Special
When a Zelda game puts an item in the title, you’d expect that the item is essential. The thing is, I’m having an issue figuring out what separates the Ocarina Of Time from the Fairy Ocarina.
They can both do the exact same thing in theory. Even the time-based Sun Song can be played on your first ocarina. Sure, the Ocarina Of Time opens the door of time, but it’s the song, not the instrument. We’ve all been lied to. No one minds because the game is awesome, but still.
8 Donkey Kong 64 – The Multiplayer Is Better
Hot take incoming, Donkey Kong 64’s multiplayer is a lot more fun than the main game. I’m sorry, but you REALLY need to like collecting things to prefer Donkey Kong 64 when playing it in the modern day.
On the flip side, the little Battle Arena and the Monkey Smash modes are fantastic. Grabbing a couple of friends for the absolute primate-slamming mayhem that is DK 64’s multiplayer adds a ton to the game, and it’s even better when those friends have no idea what a Chunky or a Lanky is.
7 Gauntlet Legends – There Aren’t More Of This Gem
If you play games, it’s probably safe to assume you have at least one dungeon crawler that speaks to you. For me, that’s the Gauntlet series. It’s a simple, fun, and classic dungeon crawler that lets you play through various fantasy settings with some friends. What could be better?
Then I realized just how few of these games there are. The series has had some serious missteps, especially when they tried to give it a bit of a modern facelift, but a series like this could be so much more these days. Maybe I’m a bit biased because of how many times I’ve died in Diablo, but I just like to think I really love the Gauntlet series.
6 Kirby 64 – The World Ended
There’s a lot to love about the simple little adventure that is Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. It’s got that classic side-scrolling Kirby action, and a ton of wicked powers to try out, including an honest-to-gosh lightsaber.
I noticed something a bit darker the last time I picked up the title, though. Shiver Star is a frozen-over version of our Earth. There’s no mistaking it. Kirby joyfully runs around and bops enemies on what I’m left to assume are the frozen remains of humanity. I don’t even know if that’s just dark or hilarious.
5 Majora’s Mask – Aliens Exist In Zelda
Am I the only person who completely forgot about the Romani Ranch sidequest in Majora’s Mask? Somehow, whether due to the sheer confusion or just the plain horror of the sequence, I forgot that aliens invade Romani Ranch.
You have to take matters into your own hands and treat a species of aliens like they’re some kind of target practice until they eventually give up. Link isn’t just the hero of time, the boy is practically right up there with Commander Shepard in terms of saving humanity from alien threats.
4 Mario Kart 64 – Mushroom Kingdom Infrastructure
Throughout the Mario series, there are tons of funny little worlds to explore across the wider Mushroom Kingdom. One thing that I’d bet no one ever thinks about is the fact that the kingdom has quite the impressive infrastructure.
Remember Toad’s Turnpike from Mario Kart 64? That entire map was a fun little drive around the kingdom, and don’t even get me started on the fact that the other cars on the road were almost certainly driven by Toads. How they manage to reach the pedals is one question we may never get the answer to.
3 Pokemon Snap – Professor Oak Is Evil
I haven’t played the newest Pokemon Snap game, but the classic is filled with a bit of… well… Pokemon abuse – there’s really no way to sugar-coat it. The entire thing is played for fun and laughs in the game, but I’d guess a Pikachu wouldn’t enjoy anyone chucking an apple at its head.
Then there’s the question of pester balls, something you toss at a pokemon to then release a gas that will knock it out. I’m not saying Professor Oak and his photographer are up there with Dr. Wily and Dr. Eggman, but I am saying the classic professor has a dark secret lurking beneath the surface.
2 WCW/nWo Revenge – Sometimes Simple Is Better
The WWE brand of wrestling games has seemingly gone the way of the yearly sports releases, something that is a bit divisive for fans. The games feature tons of complex systems now, something that some people just can’t grasp. Sometimes less is more.
When you go back to WCW/nWo Revenge, just throw on a Battle Royal with your friends and let the mayhem commence. You don’t need to know a single control, you’ll all figure it out in the moment, and it’ll be the most fun you’ll have with any wrestling game.
1 Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil – More Games Need Dinosaurs
We really need to have an open conversation with game developers about their severe lack of dinosaurs and dinosaur-like enemies in video games these days. Honestly, Turok 2's got it all. Alien plot, terrifying dinosaur creatures, and some of the coolest guns in any game.
Let’s just start putting that in all our modern shooters. We don’t always need an alien plot, but some imaginative weapons outside of “basic gray assault rifle number 4” would be good, and pretty much any game could be enhanced by a few dinosaur jumpscares.
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