Several rumors from gaming insiders indicate that an N64 emulator is likely coming to Nintendo Switch. Who knows, maybe it will be announced during tomorrow's Nintendo Direct. Many N64 classics heavily influenced the budding 3D gaming space and shaped the state of modern game design as we know it. Plus, they were an absolute treat to play in our youth. So, we on the iMore gaming team would love nothing more than for this to be true.
We've already gotten Super Mario 64 on Switch thanks to Super Mario 3D All-Stars, but we're craving more. It's said the rumored N64 emulator will be locked behind a subscription, and, honestly, it might be worth it if it contains some of our favorites or ones that we can play for the first time. We've rounded up some games we hope make it into the rumored N64 emulator.
Lylat Wars / StarFox 64
Most of you reading this probably know Lylat Wars as StarFox 64, but some weird copyright ruling in the U.K. meant that Nintendo couldn't use the StarFox name. As such, the nostalgia rests on Lylat Wars for me.
This game calls back to a time when Nintendo gave a crap about the StarFox IP, in all of its blocky pixelated space-warfare goodness. Lylat Wars was all about guiding anthropormophized pilots through intergalactic gauntlets, complete with satisfying combat, spectacular visuals (for its time), and epic boss battles. It also inspired an entire generation of furries,
While Nintendo may have forgotten that StarFox exists, its fans certainly haven't. Adding Lylat Wars to the Nintendo Switch would at least be a morsel of space combat goodness, while we wait in vain for Nintendo to revive the classic IP from the scrapheap. - Jez Corden
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
I had no idea just how much finding the Ocarina of Time cartridge at my friend's house was going to impact my life when I was 11 years old. She let me borrow it, saying it was a boring game and I could have it as long as I wanted (she clearly had bad taste). I popped it into my N64 the second I got a chance and it blew my Hyrule-loving mind.
In no time, I was running into Zoras, Gorons, and the huge cast of quirky characters from the Zelda universe. The game is filled with so many iconic moments like stealing Epona from Lon Lon Ranch, sneaking past Gerudo guards, and playing those magically catchy tunes on the titular musical instrument. It then lead me into a life-long love with other Zelda games.
Ocarina of Time was not only one of the first games to truly take advantage of the 3D space, but it also introduced a perfected lock-on mechanic that changed gaming as we knew it, provided a huge world to explore, and offered varied gameplay. In fact, most games today have Zelda to thank for their basic mechanics and exploratory style. If we don't get Ocarina of Time on Switch for new and old fans to enjoy, it will be a damn shame. - Rebecca Spear
The days of four-player split-screen are over; I'm sorry but it's true. With four Switches though, we can get really close, and no game on the N64 does multiplayer quite like GoldenEye. When it first released in 1997, it was an instant hit with its smooth graphics," fast-paced gameplay, and multiplayer game modes, something that was unheard of at the time. Playing Golden Gun with four friends online, or in person, on a Switch Lite would be amazing and start this N64 emulator off with a bang.
Of course, we all know that isn't going to happen. As much as GoldenEye deserves a place on the emulator, licenses don't last in perpetuity and the Bond license is a big one. The cost to bring the game back is likely too much for Nintendo to contemplate but we can dream, right? After all, this article is about what we want to see, not what we know we will see. - James Bricknell
We've seen a lot of changes in the Pokémon franchise since it debuted in the 1990s. Of course we had the cards and the Game Boy games, but the most excited I had ever been about a Pokémon game was when Pokémon Stadium came out on the Nintendo 64.
My favorite part of Pokémon games has always been the battles. I could take or leave the exploration, but to hand-pick your team and just focus on their abilities and the battle were some of the best parts, and Stadium highlighted that focus. This was also the first time Pokémon in the game looked like the characters in the show since it was a 3D game. When an attack is made, you see the Pokémon make the move instead of just giving a little shake. It was like bringing the show into your hands.
Many Pokémon games have been remastered and brought back into our lives, but they are usually remastered and released as a new game. It would be amazing to see this get ported to the Switch in its Nintendo 64 form so Pokémon fans can play it just as they remember it. - Alex Huebner
If Nintendo finally decided to add an N64 emulator to Nintendo Switch Online, they should definitely include a classic: Paper Mario. Words cannot describe how much I love this game. It's cute, quirky, and fun. I love the storytelling, the unique characters, and how much it reminds me of Super Mario RPG. It's a game I will actually dig out my N64 for at least once a year. But, if it's on the Switch, I can play it way more often and on-the-go!
Paper Mario took a 2D art style and turned it into a family-friendly and downright hilarious adventure to save Princess Peach. The dialogue is snappy, the puns are aplenty, and all the characters are charming. With classic RPG mechanics mixed with action commands, it's a simple RPG that anyone can get into. Have I mentioned how awesome the characters are? Mario is still the star of the show, but all the sidekicks that join him on his quest are unique, useful, and wonderful additions to the canon.
It is the perfect game to port over. And if they can do that, maybe they can do a GameCube emulator and bring along the sequel, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, as well. - Sara Gitkos
I'll never forget the first time I saw F-Zero X. It was the Summer of sixth grade and I walked into Toys R Us only to behold Nintendo's glorious 60 FPS racer before my eyes. It was finally enough to sway me to trade in my aging Sega Saturn — even after spending months playing Panzer Dragoon Saga — and I couldn't have made a better decision.
Hours later, I had the glorious gray Nintendo wonder box under my TV and the sweet guitar riffs of F-Zero pumping through my ears. There was no racing game like it at the time, and it rivaled Sega's best arcade racers in its design. This wasn't just a massive upgrade from the SNES game I knew and loved from a few years earlier but also a significantly more mature and difficult entry in the series.
It put everything to shame — even Sony's popular competition, Wipeout — because of its tight controls, blistering frame rate, and four-player split-screen. I really hope Nintendo considers adding this classic to the Switch since we haven't had a new entry in the series in nearly 20 years. - Nicholas Sutrich
So many classic games released on the N64 back in the day and many of them had long-reaching effects. If Nintendo ever actually does release the rumored N64 emulator on Nintendo Switch, it won't be complete without these titles.