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The following games didn’t need a goofy accent or earnest delivery – they were the cream of the crop, the top titles for Nintendo’s star system. We grabbed their videos for completion’s sake, just so we can all witness what Nintendo thought about its own products. Hyperbole alert!
GoldenEye 007: Catapulted Rare into superstardom, changed console shooters for good and sold more copies than Ocarina of Time.
Donkey Kong 64: An arguably unworthy follow-up to the DKC trilogy, with too much emphasis on collecting. Still sold like crazy though.
Jet Force Gemini: Much-hyped shooter that played like a mix of Contra, Mega Man and Starship Troopers. Not sure why Rare has left this one alone for so long (same with goddamn Blast Corps!).
Banjo Kazooie: Rare’s blatant ripoff of Mario 64 that recently saw new life on XBLA.
Banjo Tooie: Sequel to Rare’s blatant ripoff, which suffered from the same collecting binge as DK64.
Super Mario 64: One of the greatest games of all time, period. It was the first game released for the system and by far its best selling title.
Paper Mario: Nintendo ditches Squaresoft and makes its own Mario RPG, this time in an even sillier, paper-thin universe. As much as we love Paper Mario, this voiceover makes it seem like the most boring, sleep-inducing game on the planet.
Super Smash Bros: Though there are only three entries in this franchise, it’s quickly become Nintendo’s heaviest hitter. The latest, 2008’s Brawl, has already sold more than Melee and this N64 original.
Yoshi’s Story: Storybook-themed platformer that paled next to its SNES cousin, but was still a damn decent jumper in its day.
Kirby 64: Not exactly the best game in the Kirby series, this one felt more like “well, guess we should make a Kirby game” than a thought-out sequel.
Harvest Moon 64: Today we kinda poke fun and ignore this ruthlessly boring life-sim, but back in the day it was a major draw, and this was a strong version to own.
Perfect Dark: Rare’s impossibly anticipated follow-up to GoldenEye succeeded in some areas (multiplayer, graphics) but fell short in others (horrid framerate). The 360 sequel didn’t make much of a splash, but we’re keenly interested in the XBLA remake. (Update: See them compared here)
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater: The original, released way back in 1999 and found the limelight in early 2000. Bizarre fact: the THPS games are known for their alt-rock, hip hop soundtracks, but this clip has the music turned off, probably to avoid paying any strange royalty fees. How would you even classify this kind of use?
Wrapping it up is a montage of everything else Nintendo was pushing at the time. Mario Kart 64, NBA Courtside, Diddy Kong Racing and so on. Voice actor bonus: Cam Clarke (Leonardo, Liquid Snake) narrates the Wave Race 64 footage.
Ah, this is more like it. Two people clearly not meant for onscreen delivery forced to hawk the new Nintendo website in stilted, unsure dialog. Entire phrases are hilariously outdated (we’re cyberjocks!), they’re looking at each other for cues, the music is ultra-generic synth junk… it’s the perfect misguided, tragically unhip promo. We love it!
Next page: A graveyard of long-forgotten games that may trigger sudden memories of your lost youth
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