Nintendo has honestly dropped the ball with N64 representation on Wii U. Where Wii Virtual Console featured quite a few 64-bit games, those same works have failed to make their way to the next console in decent numbers. Still, the ones that have appeared have almost entirely been worthwhile, so at least there's that.
Page 1: Intro & NES Essentials
Page 2: NES Worth Playing and Save Your Cash
Page 3: Super NES
Page 4: Nintendo 64
Page 5: Game Boy Advance
Page 6: Nintendo DS
The Mario RPG franchise has lived a rather checkered existence of late, with releases like Sticker Star, Paper Jam, and Dream Team eliciting mixed reviews at best. The original Paper Mario, however, still holds up beautifully. Cleverly turning the workings of Mario into a simple RPG, and offering witty dialogue around every corner, this adventure's still a classic.
Sin and Punishment
Treasure's N64 magnum opus never came to the U.S. back in the day, but sometimes cosmic injustices can be righted after the fact. A stunning forward-scrolling shooter in the tradition of 16-bit arcade classics like Devastators, this import is an essential no matter where you live.
Super Mario 64
Action games from the PlayStation and N64 era tend not to hold up very well thanks to their clunky controls and awful graphics. Super Mario 64, however, breaks that rule. Yeah, the camera's a bit wobbly, but everything else about this breakthrough 3D platformer remains solid 20 years later. Even the graphics look pretty decent!
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Ignore the "greatest game ever" hyperbole that still clings to this game like the stench of stale cigarette smoke and you have... a really and truly excellent action RPG featuring an engrossing world and brilliant dungeons, bosses, and central play mechanics. The 3DS remake is a little better, but you can't go wrong with this classic.
It's simplistic, sure, but what do you want from a game about snowboarding? 1080º did a great job of playing to the N64's strengths with clean graphics and a brisk pace, and it's still fun today.
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
Any Kirby game is worth playing, but this one falls a bit short of true greatness. It fails to take full advantage of its most unique feature — the ability to combine two enemy powers at once — and the fuzzy visuals of the N64 leave the whole thing feeling just slightly "off." It's fun, but not essential.
Building on the standard Golf template with a variety of extra modes (including one specifically designated to unlock extra characters), Mario Golf on N64 was a lot of fun... but for our money, not as fun as its Game Boy Color counterpart, which featured an RPG-like story mode.
The same rule applies to Mario Tennis as did with Mario Golf: This version is fun, but it strangely enough lacks the depth of its portable companion game.
Donkey Kong 64
Rare developed some pretty good Donkey Kong games; this one doesn't make the cut. Its focus on hunting endlessly for collectibles as an essential part of the game structure undermines any good you might find here with sheer, crushing tedium. About the only thing this Kong sequel has going for it is the fact that it contains the original arcade game as a bonus — the only way you can legally play the true version of Donkey Kong without owning a 35-year-old arcade cabinet.
After the brilliant Yoshi's Island, this saccharine romp through a toothless, world came as a huge letdown. Its crafty art style still looks nice, but the action (such as it is) mostly involves sniffing around for color-coordinated fruit. Simple and boring.