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No One Can Stop Mr. Talking Time's Top 50 32 & 64-Bit Video Games!


MGS is on my list but I put it pretty far down. Near the bottom. Not that its not great. I certainly thought it was at the time and I do feel its the best that Kojima has done. Superstardom hasn't done that man any favors I feel. I just had a lot of other games I was hoping would squeeze into this list over MGS, which I knew would regardless if it was on my list or not.


Now I'm hungry.



Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
The most of-the-time memory I have of playing Metal Gear Solid was at our cabin out in the woods, in its adjoined storage building mostly housing firewood and associated surplus of living, but also an alright enough interior space on its second floor in the summer, when the elements allowed it. The place had no electricity of its own, so we hooked giant extension cables suspended on the surrounding trees through the window, and thus there was a small TV, and a PlayStation, and Metal Gear Solid. I was like nine and needed that kind of private retreat sometimes, so there I was, having my own secluded break from everything else, listening to Liquid Snake monologue and posture while bats nested above in the rafters. The affection I have for the game connects to the romanticized ways in which I experienced it in those days--not really nostalgia, but an acknowledgement that the melancholies of its mood were bolstered by the exterior circumstances in the way I understood and interpreted it then. You'd wish every video game had something that lingering to anchor itself to.



Eetsa me, Mario!

Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Nintendo 64
Release Dates: June 23, 1996 (JP), September 29, 1996 (NA), March 1, 1997 (EU)
433 Points, 16 Votes, Highest Vote: #1 (4-So)


It can be easy to forget how revolutionary Super Mario 64 truly was, spoiled for choice as we are in this day and age, but in 1996 it was a bombshell to the entire industry, in ways both good and bad.

I remember when I was 7 or 8 at my cousins' house for Thanksgiving and they had an NES. That was the first time I ever saw Super Mario Bros., and it blew my mind. Before that I had seen arcade games at Chuck E. Cheese and had watched my dad play Missile Command and some first person version of Spacewar, the name of which has eluded me for decades, on his ATARI 800 computer. That was all I knew of games. But this beautiful, mysterious thing in front of me that holiday was something different. I knew it even then. That was a seminal moment for young Issun, and I'm sure a lot of us have stories of the first time we saw Super Mario Bros. It was just that big.

Yet Mario 64 may have been even bigger. I was less than a month away from turning 18 when it came out, so naturally childlike wonder was much harder to coax from me at that time, yet I was still amazed at what the game could do. In fact, for three generations in a row a Nintendo system launched with a top-tier Mario experience that reminded me of the magic of video games and changed how I thought about them, and 64 was unlike anything else I had played. Even had I had access to a Playstation in 1996 and played Resident Evil and Crash Bandicoot first, Mario 64 still would have amazed me. The absolute freedom of movement in massive spaces was unheard of, and we have Mario 64 (as well as another Nintendo 64 title that may or may not show up on this list) for showing everyone how to move in 3D space.

The downside was that, with 3D games made popular and accessible, there was no going back. Sure, 2D games are still around, and thanks to the indie scene have had a renaissance in the last decade. But polygons are where it's at now, and that's just how it is. Truly I don't mean to dump on 3D gaming. Without it, games would never have become the phenomenon they have, and it allowed for richer, more immersive experiences. Yet still, one can be wistful about the days when 2D sprites were king, and still appreciate the wonderful world that Super Mario 64 opened up for us all.

Selected Track:


Summon for hire
I feel obligated to post this

It says a lot about MGS that I spent most of that video being not 100% sure it wasn't really in the game. (Also it's really well-made though.)

watched my dad play Missile Command and some first person version of Spacewar, the name of which has eluded me for decades, on his ATARI 800 computer.
Having just done a Retronauts episode on the 800s, this was probably Star Raiders.

Meanwhile, even though I never owned a Nintendo 64, I got all 120 stars in Mario 64. I was a bit skeptical of Mario in 3 dimensions at first, and I was already preparing to jump ship from Nintendo to follow Squaresoft to the PS1, but a suite-mate in my college dorm got a 64 and of course Mario and damn if it wasn't fun as hell. Even if we wouldn't call it that now, it was basically the open-world adventure game of the time.

Also, fun fact: we booted up the N64 with Mario for the first time and immediately recognized the menu system (the big beveled rectangles that flip around) from our computer science department's Silicon Graphics workstations. Obviously not a coincidence because SGI collaborated on the development of the N64 and provided its MIPS CPU and co-processor chips - as referenced by a certain rabbit in the castle basement in Mario.


I was mesmerized by the demo for Mario 64. I would bike over to the local Target to just mess around with it. It's not my favorite game, but man did it make a big impression when it came out.


definitely not a robot
(He/Him + RT/artee)
One of my favorite stories regarding Mario 64 is when the developers of Bubsy 3D first saw a playable build of it at CES:

I saw Mario [64], and I said, “That’s it. Back to the drawing board.” I went back and told my partner to go look at Mario and come back and talk to me about it, and he did. And I said, “We can’t ship this. We just can’t.” He said, “Accolade paid us a lot of money to develop it; what are we going to do?” I said, “We’re going to go back and we’re going to do the best that we can to make it as good a product as we can with the limits that we have." And that’s what we did, but it was definitely a rude awakening when I saw Mario 64.

Poor guys. I feel bad for them.



Mysterious Ghost World
(he / his / him)
Super Mario 64, to me, was heaven. It was a pioneering piece of software that replicated the glory I had felt with the 2D Mario platformers on the NES, but managed to exceed them handily. It was beyond my wildest dreams. As I first manipulated Mario through the new N64 controller, I was mesmerized. He was incredibly responsive, and acted exactly the way I would expect Mario to in the 2D realm. His new actions made sense, and although he was saddled with some moves he did not need (the multitude of attacks, mainly), Nintendo made each one fun to perform. Punching Goombas was novel, as Mario never had the ability to before, for example. Figuring out all of Mario’s maneuvers was part of the joy I took in this game.

The rest of it came from the clever worlds Mario had to explore. I love exploring, and this game kept up the tradition earlier Mario titles prided themselves on with secrets. 120 stars were packed into the 15 levels and Peach’s castle, and I poured over every nook and cranny trying to uncover them all. I loved the stages in Mario 64, so much so that I feel that they are among the best in the Mario canon. They were creative takes on some standard level stereotypes, or were imaginative concepts never before touched upon by Mario’s earlier quests. Bowser’s levels pushed the game’s engine to extraordinary heights, causing me to use all of the lessons and tricks I had thought I mastered earlier.

I must mention Koji Kondo’s music as being phenomenal, too. His new takes on Mario themes were perfect for this new world Mario was a part of, matching up to each stage beautifully. Mario’s voice made its first proper appearance here, too (Charles Martinet did provide Mario’s voice for an edutainment title called Mario’s FUN-damentals, but Mario 64 is the game that made it famous!), adding in more depth to his character without becoming obnoxious.

All and all, Super Mario 64 was the ideal Mario package. It hit every checkpoint I had for it, and then some. It's been supplanted by Odyssey, but it's still my third favorite title in the franchise all these years later.


lofi posts to relax/study to
While none would argue games have certainly taken a long journey since, for me (and I suspect a lot of kids at the time as well) Mario 64 is the largest single step I've ever seen them take. I still vividly remember getting a go at a newly installed retail N64 kiosk, some months before the system itself launched, and running in euphoric circles outside the castle. Perhaps only my first time in a VR headset comes close to being as memorable.

All that said, the game for me is practically synonymous with the launch of the N64. I expect it was planned to be received that way, but I wonder does it do a disservice to the software to focus so much on the hardware capabilities, even as intertwined as they always seemed to be?


Mario 64 wasn't just revolutionary. It was evolutionary. And, for me, the last time I can remember being truly wowed by a game. It was the last game that filled me with wonder, the last time this hobby felt like a magic trick. It felt like something truly new had been introduced to the world, something important, something magical, and I've ever since chased the feeling I had playing that demo unit in the local Walmart back in '96. There are certainly more prolific and more refined games from this era - including another one from Nintendo we all know is coming up - but none of them are as important or special as this one.


hardcore retro gamin'
I... actually didn't vote for Super Mario 64. But that doesn't mean I don't think it's great - it absolutely is! And I agree with all the takes here that note how Nintendo effectively rewrote the rules for how 3D platformers could and should work. That they managed to absolutely nail it on their first go is nothing short of astonishing. Super Mario World was certainly impressive, but in the end was an iteration on what they'd already done before. Super Mario 64 was a megaton bomb like the original Super Mario Bros.

Interestingly, while I had an N64 (primarily to play Zelda), I actually didn't own SM64 for a long, long time. In fact, I didn't actually play through it until I got a Nintendo DS with the port there. Which, by the way, was a really good port, even if the alternative control schemes left much to be desired. I'm probably due to make another run through the game, probably via one of the myriad source ports out there.

(And yes, I do have it for N64 now. I'm not a complete madman, just mostly.)
I feel Super Mario 64 is still the best 3D Mario has been. When people point out flaws, it's usually something that very specifically gets in the way of mastering this or that challenge. At the very least, you don't get a lot of takes that SM64 is bloated, unfocused, or just 'meh'. It's all personal preference of course.

SM64 also feels like an aesthetic statement about optimism for the future of 3D technology, which is a weird feeling to try and describe so it may or may mean anything to anyone.


Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Mario 64, I think, felt like the future to me in a way I'm not sure any other game ever did.

Also, I think it's aged a lot better than some folks seem to think.
Most people's context for liking Mario 64 is that WOW factor of playing their first game in 3D, combined with their affection for the enduring gaming icon. I experienced neither feelings. I came to Mario 64 a few years late, so by then I'd been playing all kinds of 3D games that were much more complicated and interesting, especially on PC. I also *looks around nervously and whispers* never liked Mario. Sorry! I really wanted to for a long time, but Mario is both just terminally dull, and I also just really really don't get along well with 2D platformers. I actually hate them. So much of their core conceit is based around twitch reflexes, and painful trial and error. Especially in the 8 and 16 bit eras. That's a bad mix for me.

Mario 64 is a really solid game, one whose mechanics are still enjoyable and accessible to this day. And I know and appreciate what it means to others. And to its credit, it was the first Mario game that didn't completely repel me and I actually managed to beat it. 3D platformers are a lot more my jam than 2D. But still, it's just such a basic experience, and one that wasn't remotely formative to me, that I just don't love it that way or think it merited being on my list. I also think its revolutionary nature is also largely overstated. Controlling a character with an analog stick in a 3D space with a 3rd person camera was not exactly an original idea when Mario did it, it was just an extremely competent and early example that others could easily emulate. Some dev team somewhere would have come up with something similar eventually. Especially given how experimental and eclectic the 32bit era tended to be.

But! That's just my perspective on things. I still think it's a really good Mario game. Maybe even my favorite? I just don't love it like that. It was a really solid experience, just not console/generation defining to me. I personally would have sooner put Banjo Kazooie or Goemon 64 on my list to represent N64 3D platformers.

Edit: I just remembered that Goemon 64 exists and that is legit the first time in this whole exercise where I've felt real, palpable regret for leaving something off my personal list.


hardcore retro gamin'
I still haven't finished The Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, but I did finally beat Goemon's Great Adventure. Pretty solid game overall, but the camera could be really finicky at times despite being a 2D game.

Johnny Unusual

Mario 64 felt like a both a continuation of the series in spirit. Secret stuff, novel fun mechanics, interesting level designs. But beyond that, it felt closer to what would become the sandbox game. The levels weren't a straight line. They were an explorable space. In Mario World you could go back and find new paths but now you could find cool nooks and crannies. And it was crazy fun. The whole thing was fun. There are a lot of great innovations in this era. In story telling, in mechanics. But Nintendo always seemed to have the edge in remember that a video game could be a toy. Toys within toys. And I like Nintendo's toys. I love the work out toys of WiiFit and RingFit. I got a lot of play out of WiiSports (I like the Wii but I feel it had a hard time with its central mechanic outside of a few games). I feel like they there are few companies that do fun so well.


does the Underpants Dance
I also think its revolutionary nature is also largely overstated. Controlling a character with an analog stick in a 3D space with a 3rd person camera was not exactly an original idea when Mario did it, it was just an extremely competent and early example that others could easily emulate.


definitely not a robot
(He/Him + RT/artee)
While other 3D platformers that generations like the Banjos or the Spyros or whatever might work better as adventure games (or might not, idk), as far as pure third-person 3D-platforming is concerned Mario 64 handily surpasses every other game of its generation (and arguably the next) in terms of expressiveness and finesse and feel --- and it's barely even a contest.

Tomm Guycot

Frankly I'm shocked Hybrid Heaven ranked this high but so be it.

The only question is if it's higher or lower than the PS1 finalist



Hey! Listen!

Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 64
Release Dates: November 21, 1998 (JP), November 23, 1998 (NA), December 11, 1998 (EU), December 18, 1998 (AU)
455 Points, 16 Votes, Highest Vote: #1 (balder the brave, FelixSH)


From the moment it hit store shelves almost 23 years ago, no game has been more integral to what video games are. ICO, GTA, Dark Souls, and on and on. They all owe a debt to how Ocarina of Time optimized movement in 3D space, how it created a world to traverse, one that, at the time, seemed absolutely massive. There is no way to truly quantify all of its contributions, to 3D and 2D games. It took what Mario 64 started and ran with it. There are certainly parts that have not aged well, but that's any game, and as a whole it's still incredible to revisit.

I still remember my first experience with it. Obviously I had no idea exactly how influential it would be, but I could tell it was special. The third dimension allowed for puzzles that spanned multiple rooms, locations that felt more real than anything I'd yet experienced in a game, combat deeper than I'd ever seen. It truly was a sign of all the wonderful things to come in games.

Is it the greatest game of all time? It's certainly topped many lists of that ilk. One could make a compelling argument for it, and many have. Thankfully, there is no definitive "greatest" game, but Ocarina of Time is so beloved, so influential, and looms so large in gaming's collective memory, that it is certainly one of the most important games ever.

WisteriaHysteria said: The foundations for the modern Zelda franchise. Single handedly made it worth the purchase of an N64.​

Selected Track:


Mysterious Ghost World
(he / his / him)
I got a Nintendo 64 for Christmas in 1996. Alongside it came a Nintendo Power subscription for my birthday the following month, which gave me all of the hype Nintendo was attempting to surround the console with. In reality, Nintendo had made some perhaps foolish and isolating decisions with the system, alienating third parties in the process and making anyone who did program for the system have to work with some pretty tight constraints in terms of texturing, memory and sound quality. For teenage me, I didn’t necessarily pay attention to this — I just had access to Super Mario 64 and …uh…Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire? And the impending flood of great games coming down the road! So while Capcom, Square, Enix, Namco and many other companies deserted Nintendo for the greener Sony Playstation pastures, Nintendo and Rare picked up a lot of the slack as best they could. One of the earliest titles Nintendo themselves was readying was Zelda 64, which looked incredibly early when first shown off but still tantalized regardless of those simple polygonal models and sparse environments.


As 1997 rolled through and Goldeneye 007 surprised the shit out of everyone, Zelda 64 began to become Zelda: Ocarina of Time. And with each screenshot and preview article in NP and Next Generation I became increasingly excited. And that was likely due to an increasing frustration with the titles that were available that I bought and eventually regretted the $80-90 investment on. Dark Rift? FIFA Road to World Cup 98? Extreme-G? Ugh. But I knew that Zelda would be worth it. When the local Toys R Us put pre-order slips out, I grabbed it as soon as I knew and eagerly waited for November to roll around. Thankfully, the wait wasn’t as bad in 1998 as it was in 1997, as Body Harvest, Banjo-Kazooie, and International Superstar Soccer 98 overshadowed the poorer decisions I made in Mission: Impossible, NBA Courtside, and Mario Party.

November finally arrived. And while the game came out on the 21st, I wasn’t able to pick it up right away, being that the game was on reserve an hour away and my parents didn’t have to go to that city right away. So I went to my friend Chris’ house, who had gotten his copy and waited a bit so we could experience it together. He too was a N64 kid and had been pretty obsessed with waiting for Zelda as well, so his courtesy was much appreciated. We started a file and sat slack jawed over the entire weekend. I even brought a blank VHS tape over to record it — yes, I was that much of a nerd. :p So I watched Chris play the game up to the first few temples, and then the weekend ended and it was time to return home. Arguably the first thing out of my lips to my mother was “can we go pick up Zelda?” She kindly said no, as she couldn’t justify the gas just to get a game. I understood, but deep down I was disappointed.

The next day, I’m sitting in the living room of my house. Nothing excites me save the tape I made of Chris and I playing the game. My mom walks in and sees my choice of activity, and after a few minutes tells me we’re going to get Zelda. Best trip down to that city in my life up to that point. The yellow fields, the wooden posts scattered throughout sprinkled with barbed wire — a monotonous sight that existed nine months of the year — seemed so much more dynamic under the thrills of happiness. I walked into the store, handed over my slip and paid my $70 or whatever it was, and then the ride home was the most agonizingly long trip I sat through up to that point in my life. Funny how that works.

The cartridge was slid into my N64 the instant I burst back into my home, and the rest of my Thanksgiving vacation was making up lost time. You see, I was envious of Chris and his extra time with the game, and that turned into an unannounced competition. I wanted to beat him in seeing the game to the end of the line. So I dedicated my life towards marching through the portion of the game that I knew, and then tackling all of the segments I did not have previous knowledge on. I was enraptured. Few games had caught my whimsy the way Ocarina had — it was a special, one-of-a-kind delight that I still consider a precious memory, even though mechanically and visually the game has not aged super well.

After I felled Ganon and the credits rolled, I called Chris. I told him I beat it.

He was just beginning the fight against Ganon.

I had won my silly little contest.

It — for whatever reason — remains a goofy joyous bit of high school remembrance. One of the few I treasure. I don’t know if Chris ever knew I was racing him. But that’s irrelevant, really. Because we both had achieved something amazing thanks to Ocarina of Time: a strengthening of our friendship due to a mutual love for an great game that changed the landscape of the medium.

Of course, OoT continued to excel during the rest of the N64 lifespan. I put in numerous hours post-game just wandering around the world and inventing my own quests for Link to go on. Majora’s Mask didn’t connect with me the same way Ocarina did — it was a great game in its own right, but it definitely went on its own journey with narrative and mechanics that restricted my own projections into Termina. Ocarina, meanwhile, was a revelation. It granted an outlet for me to express elements I felt I must otherwise confine…something that really helped push me towards exploration, discovery and scope as key factors in my game playing. While the Zelda formula has certainly evolved and refined itself from here, there’s still something special in OoT. It’s a remarkable achievement and one of the pivotal 3D games that helped define the medium moving forward.
Ocarina of Time was a hugely popular gaming touchstone, probably some of the most remembered moments in the series. Even today it is still quite satisfying play OoT and fight enemies using a flurry of yells and slashes, or boost your horse around Hyrule field.

When Ocarina of Time was new, I think it was the progression of story stakes and dungeon ideas that did such a remarkable job of keeping the player hooked. What this game and other greats from this era have in common is being able to achieve something ambitious enough to "wow" players while still having a quality play experience. The specifics of these achievements can be considered the big leaps forward in gaming. Similar leaps in straight up single player adventures have been harder to make since, and more frequently rely on increasing world scale and cinematic quality.

Aonuma & co were embarrassed that Ocarina of Time suffered multiple delays and took three years to make.