News Article

Talking Point: The Role of the N64 on the 3DS

Posted by Mark Reece

Classic games for a new audience

It's no secret that Nintendo has been having something of a tough time of it in regards to the 3DS. Since its launch in late March of this year, Nintendo's newest handheld has battled through a significant price drop, a shaky start as far as its online functionality is concerned, complaints about poor battery life and relatively low sales, that can arguably be attributed to a distinct lack of top-tier games to play on it. This has no doubt come as a major shock to Nintendo, a company that has traditionally dominated the handheld console market since the Game Boy launched in 1989.

Of course, Nintendo is fully aware of the problems it's been facing with the 3DS. There has been acknowledgment that maybe the 3DS was launched too early, with an over-reliance on third party support to drive hardware sales in the launch period, when said support just wasn't sufficient. Nintendo is, after all, well known for its first party franchises and it probably wouldn't be too big a stretch to say that the majority of those who buy Nintendo's consoles - be that home or portable - do so because of the constant and dependable stream of quality first party titles. Nintendo currently has Tetris Axis, Super Mario 3D Land, Pokémon Rumble Blast and Mario Kart 7 all lined up for 3DS owners before the end of 2011. After that, 2012 will see Kid Icarus: Uprising and Luigi’s Mansion 2 hit store shelves, with new instalments in the Mario Tennis, Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing and Paper Mario franchises also on the way.

But is that enough? You could argue that there's plenty there to keep 3DS players who're particularly avid Nintendo fans thoroughly entertained for quite some time, but what if there was a way to garner even more sales with minimal costs, while guaranteeing that gamers would be throwing their money at genuinely brilliant titles?

We are, perhaps controversially, referring to remakes, which have already been a mainstay in the 3DS software library up to this point, whether they be third party titles such as Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D and Rayman 3D that garnered mixed responses, or Nintendo's own The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Star Fox 64 3D, which earned more praise. But why should Nintendo stop there when it has a plethora of classic games in its back catalogue and a developer worthy of updating these games to meet current handheld standards?

That developer is Grezzo, the company responsible for Ocarina of Time 3D. They spruced it up visually, streamlined its menus and user interface, added new modes and even altered certain aspects of the gameplay and in-game items to take advantage of the 3DS' unique capabilities. The result was a game that, remarkably, is even better than the already nigh-on flawless title it was back in its glory days on the N64. Grezzo also developed The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition, proving further that it is trusted to bring Nintendo titles to the 3DS platform. It could be a shrewd move on Nintendo's part to seize the opportunity presenting itself, take Grezzo under its wing and put them to work on updating more of its older titles for the 3DS.

It could be a shrewd move on Nintendo's part to seize the opportunity presenting itself, take Grezzo under its wing and put them to work on updating more of its older titles for the 3DS.

But what console should Grezzo look to when deciding on which games to remaster? What immediately springs to mind is the N64, during the lifespan of which many of Nintendo's properties embarked into uncharted territory. The console saw Mario, Zelda and many other franchises transcend their humble 2D beginnings and make the leap into fully-realised 3D worlds, brimming with opportunities not only for exploration on the part of the player, but also for the developers themselves to evolve tried and tested gameplay mechanics and even create brand new ones. There's an obvious comparison to be made, therefore, between the N64 and 3DS, as that same ideal holds true with Nintendo's current handheld. True 3D visuals are giving developers the ability to again further push the boundaries of what we, as gamers, experience. Star Fox 64 3D, for example, has benefited exponentially - both graphically and in terms of actual gameplay - from the added sense of depth that comes from appearing in 3D.

So what better way is there to pay homage to those N64 classics than to give players the chance to experience them all over again, or perhaps for the first time, but see them in the same light as we saw them over a decade ago? Many of you will fondly remember being floored by expansive 3D worlds for the first time on N64, whether that be skimming across choppy seas in Wave Race 64 or tempting those more elusive Pokémon out of hiding before lining up a perfect shot in Pokémon Snap. What if Nintendo and Grezzo could transport you back to the mid-Nineties and let you experience titles like these, but this time in true 3D?

It is common for remade games to often ride in tandem with an inevitable onslaught of abuse from naysayers, to whom remakes are considered blatant attempts at lazy money-grabbing. While many people might well moan at a deluge of 3DS titles that are merely old games with a fresh coat of paint, a simple approach to side-stepping the controversy would be for Nintendo to package them as their own budget-priced range of games. After all, when any company re-releases one of its past titles, the main concern raised is more often than not the price of the product. Is it worth forking over the RRP of a brand new 3DS game for something we already played and paid for 15 years ago? Were Nintendo to clearly distinguish 3DS remakes from brand new releases with range-specific packaging, a reduction on the RRP and market them as an accompaniment to standard 3DS games rather than full priced products in their own right, they could very well be onto a winner.  

There's no doubt that the 3DS still has a few hurdles to overcome if it's to match the commercial and critical success of its DS and Game Boy predecessors, and Nintendo has gone some way to correct the mistakes made this year. There is, however, another lifeline just waiting to be taken advantage of in the form of Nintendo's own fantastic back catalogue, along with Grezzo, who has already proved itself a dab hand at substantially rejuvenating an already highly revered game.

What say you, though? No doubt many of you have played Ocarina of Time 3D and Star Fox 64 3D already, but would you begrudge Nintendo releasing more N64 remakes on 3DS if it were for the greater good? Would you be happy to throw a lower retail price in Nintendo's direction for re-mastered versions of titles such as Pokémon Snap, Wave Race 64 or The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, if it meant that Nintendo had more funding for new releases further down the line? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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User Comments (70)



CanisWolfred said:

You know, Nintendo used to be good with remakes, but lately, I dunno, they haven't been putting in as much effort as before. Seriously, none of these 3DS remakes really have anything new to them, so I can't really justify buying any of them. If Nintendo continues like this, they won't be getting any of my money for a long time.



bboy2970 said:

I'd definitely be in favor of remaking a bunch of N64 classics. I think the idea of marketing them as their own separate line is a great idea too. I'd love to see Pokemon Snap, Paper Mario, Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Yoshi's Story, Kirby 64, and Majora's Mask amongst others. Actually scratch Pokemon Snap, I want a sequel to that one dammit!!!



StephenYap3 said:

Ocarina 3D was great, though not sure if I'll get Star Fox 3D. I do love remakes, but only the ones that do not add or change too much to throw off the nostalgia.



C7_ said:

IMO, remakes shouldn't happen if they're just graphical updates. Remakes should be the opportunity to take what you wanted to do but couldn't finish last time due to time or technical constraints. If there wasn't that much that fits that bill, then add more stuff. I know SM64DS wasn't exactly a remake, but it added 30 stars, 3 more characters, unique minigames, and a local multiplayer that I really had fun with. Does it have to be that drastic of a change? No, but that was a very decent amount of content along with a bit of a graphical update. I'm not going to lie, OoT3D was just OoT + 3D, and if you were up to it a hard mode. That's it. Most games do that anyway, why not add some new dungeons or post-game nonsense? If they do that again for Majora's Mask or other big titles like Kirby 64, Pokemon Snap, or even Waverace 64 without adding more than 3D + difficulty if you want then I'm not going to pay for it.



NintendoLee said:

I think it's great for a new era of fans, it's been 15 years to the day since the NA release of the console and most of the games are looking dated. Remaking them for the 3DS will A) open it to a new era of fans and B) allow people to replay the games without terrible graphics/cameras.



Luffymcduck said:

If you don´t add anything new to your remake Nintendo, then don´t sell it for full prize! Super Mario 64 DS was one of my favourite remakes, new levels, characters and minigames, that´s what a call a good remake. Or Link to a Past with Four Swords.

There´s still one remake I´d like to see, bonus stuff or not, and that´s Majora´s Mask in 3D.



AbuJaffer said:

Instead of writing a long response (like I usually do), I'll just make it quick and simple; I had a Genesis, PS1, and PS2 instead of an SNES, N64, and GameCube, respectively . I never played those "classics", and therefore would greatly appreciate remade/remastered N64 games, or SNES/GameCube games.



Cr0ssbows said:

I'm fine with it, as long as the make a super smash bros. 64 remake with more playable characters and online multiplayer support



OldBoy said:

I would buy 1080 3D and Wave Race 3D in a heartbeat.I do not have a problem with remakes unless they are cheap cash in's (see the recent Resident Evil HD re-releases as example of how not to do things!!)
OoT 3D was a great example of a perfect updating of a game imo.
Majoras Mask next please.



TheGreenSpiny said:

This is a great idea if they lower the price of these remakes. I would love to see Wave Race 64 with a graphical overhaul. Unfortunatly most of the games I'd like to see from the N64 era are from Rare and most likely would not be made.



Shock_Tart said:

pokemon snap would be nice to see, especially if it incorporated the gyro system in it to use to look around if one wished to do so. if not they could also have an option to take that off as well in the games controll settings. gameplay wise snap would be a good choice for the 3ds



Traxx said:

The 3DS might have more in common with the N64 in general: medium, somehow disapointing sales but great games with a more mature feel to them compared to GCN and Wii.

About the remakes: N64's just easier to remake regarding visual enhancements. You cannot improve a GC or Wii game, e.g. WindWaker, if it runs on a 3DS with 3D effects on.

Can't wait for Wave Race 3D



Doma said:

Comment 1 & 5 explain my feelings well. Starfox and OoT 3D's new features are basically pointless/tacked-on functions (3D, gyro etc.), they add nothing of real value. I'm not interested in any future remakes of the same sort. Using the gimmicks in order to try and justify full-price is making nintendo look a bit pathetic.



grovertheblue said:

Personally I loved playing through Ocarina of Time and I am also currently enjoying Starfox on the 3DS. These two games are classics in my mind and even though I have played them over and over I still find them engaging and a treat to play. The graphical updates they have both undergone very effectively transition these two games into 2011. I absoutely loved playing through these games again in 3D and enhanced visuals. They both feel like they could have been developed this year in my mind. I agree that a lower price point would make future N64 remakes much more enticing to the masses though.

I say bring the remakes on! I love the ability to play these types of games on a handheld and the added 3D content reinvigorates the titles for me. Beyond the visual enhancements and the use of the second screen for menu and some gameplay/item improvements I don't see any benefit in the gyro inclusions however.

I spent a lot of my childhood/teenage years playing through these titles and I don't think that I am alone as a Nintendo fan in saying that Nostalgia is a HUGE part of the allure for my gaming appetite. And these types of remakes are chalk full of nostalgia.

And even though it will never happen, this game alone would sell systems like crazy if it was remade similarly to OoT all I will say is......GOLDENEYE



Expa0 said:

The remakes need to stop. If only they added some new extra content like in the Devil Survivor remake then they would be at least worth something.



JohnDoe123 said:

I think a lower price point would be a great way to encourage owners of the original to buy a remake, or at least accept it.



mazz said:

I would love it if Nintendo released a 3D Pokemon Snap, but i want to see all of the original 150 pokemon in the game and not just half of them like in the original.



nothankyou said:

The only remake I want on the 3DS is Majora's Mask. Other than that, if they don't and any extra features to other remakes, I won't be buying any.



CanisWolfred said:

^Then why not just get the original Majora's Mask for $10? It's not like it wasn't fine on its own...



KittyKatMeow said:

Thank you for pointing out that the remakes provide Nintendo with the financial capability to keep making new games. It's completely true, so if you like Nintendo's games, then don't fuss at them for making money. They need money to stay afloat in today's economy.

I haven't played many of the games on the N64, I definitely want Majora's Mask 3D because I loved Majora's Mask, and I would probably buy other remakes too since many of them I've not played.



sonik said:

Wave race 64 is a underestimate N64 title that deserve a 3DS remake, the sequel blue storm (GC) was much worse then the original wave race 64.



NX01Trekkie1992 said:

I personally say the top three for me would be a pokemon snap remake or sequel (or BOTH), that was the first game I EVER got for ANY system, and it would be the greatest wave of nostalgia EVER to have a remake. I also want to see Majora's Mask remade, I actually prefer it to OoT. And last but CERTAINLY not least would be Wind Waker, if any of you saw those 3D screenshots of it that some guy emulated and posted online shortly after the 3DS launched, you've seen how gorgeous that cel-shading looks in eye-popping 3D, that's actually the game I want for my 3DS more than any other these days.



Kevin said:

I REALLY want Majora's Mask in 3D. Too bad we'll never see Conker's Bad Fur Day in 3D. That would of been sick!



jpfan1989 said:

Right now I'm just going to say I would love to play Super Metriod on my DS. a 3DS remake of Super Metriod would gain much attention.



jpfan1989 said:

on a note of Remakes, I think there should be a rule like the original must be at least 10 years old.



NintyMan said:

Well, Majora's Mask 3D would be the obviously best remake out of the rest of the collection, but it would be even better for me because I've never played it. Also, since Ocarina of Time got a remake, then Majora's Mask shouldn't be left behind in the N64 era when some brushing up and added features would make it shine even more. If the games were a little cheaper, then that would be a plus as well.

Overall, I don't mind Nintendo releasing some remakes now and then. They know that they should be making new games too, so it's not like they would be making remakes all the time. That's why they gave that effort to the developers like Grezzo and Q-Games instead. And even though we might not be new to the games today, there's a new generation of gamers that never played the best of the series before, and so a game like Star Fox 64 3D would be like new to them. That helps bring about a new game for the series.



Raylax said:

With the N64 remakes, the Virtual Console titles, and the 3D Classics range, 3DS has already secured its categorization as a "retro console" in my head. Which is by no means a bad thing. A lot of what's coming back seems to based on the idea of reverting to old ideas (Super Mario 3D Land playing more like a 2D Mario in 3D space; the return of coins in Mario Kart 7), long-awaited sequels (Kid Icarus and to lesser effect, Luigi's Mansion 2), and the good old classic Nintendo faithfuls (such Animal Crossing).
Call me controversial, but I honestly don't think the 3DS could be any better for me right now. ...Well, maybe it could do without the current gaming drought, but still quite happy to use that to clear up some outstanding DS games and burn through my growing VC library.



IronMan28 said:

If they could do 3D remakes in packages of two games or more on one card with a few added features (such as online play, when it makes sense to do so, obviously) then Nintendo could justify a $40 price tag quite easily and it would sell fairly well. If Nintendo were to do the previously mentioned AND price the games at around $30 USD per package THEN the remakes would sell like crazy (especially if 3D effects are integrated in ways that make sense or are unobtrusive, even though I personally like 3D even though the likely minority that doesn't is much louder about not liking it than those that do would be appeased).



FonistofCruxis said:

I think the budget remake range is a good idea but I agree with some of the comments including 1 and 5 that more content should be added to these remakes.



Terrible_Majesty said:

Good article nl! I agree N should remake Waverace 64, Majoras Mask, F-Zero 64 or GX, if possible, and Mischief Makers, Blast Corps and Jet Force Gemini by Rare. Oh KILLER INSTINCT 3D!!!! Arcade version not KI GOLD



MrAntike184 said:

I Think we all know there will be a new zelda game soon, and it could be Majora's mask or Wind Waker, or maybe a new game. BUT I HOPE ITS MAJORA'S MASK!!!



carson said:


i would much rather play SNES and N64 games on my 3DS over my wii anyday.

it's way more convenient!!!



SPEtheridge said:

I wouldn't mind some more remakes, I would love to see some enhanced versions of Wave Race and 1080 think the 3D would be awesome with those and haven't had new ones of them since the GameCube, Majora's Mask is one that has to be made, and think and update to the original Sin and Punishment would be quite good, would be amazing to see that in 3D



BulbasaurusRex said:

@18, 20 You don't consider that each one having a brand new game mode and a few nicely accomodating new options, as well as a heavily revamped multiplayer mode in Starfox to be additions of value? Also, don't forget that the 3D effect improves the gameplay in Starfox.



Omenapoika said:

Imagine this: Pokemon snap with new pokemon and routes! Wouldn't be too much of a hassle to pull off. If they just take core of what N64 Snap was, throw in some hundred more of critters and about double the courses. As big as the 3DS cartridge is, it's almost be the as OoT with included master quest. The original Snap was quite a breeze that only took a few hours to complete if you knew what you're doing...

But that would be the new content that would make a Snap remake worth buying, OoT was just the first interesting first party game so it was bought a mass. I doubt Starfox 3D will be such a success, specially with old players, because of lack of new content.



Mahe said:

N64 games suck and are best left forgotten. If Nintendo puts more N64 ports on the 3DS instead of new games, that's only going to make things worse.



JettiBlue said:

Great article! I love getting 3D remakes of titles I used to love playing.
I really enjoy OoT 3D and Star Fox 64 3D. Although I think N cud've chopped at least a tenner off the price. So a sort of budget line would be great, although I somehow doubt N would go there.
Apart from N64 though, I'd really love to see SNES titles remade in 3D too. They might be 2D games, but looking at how Twinbee appears in 3D I really want SNES games too



StuffyStuff said:

Great topic. The idea of waves being in 3D in Wave Race 64 has a certain appeal. To the money grab people, I'd say this. The older you get, the more set in your ways you become, and you want familiarity. That's why our parents bought cassettes of the records they owned, then bought CD's of the cassettes that they now have on their Ipod. Same stuff that can be played on fully functional hardware, but you get the nostalgia on a modern device. It's also good for gaming to have people, like the article stated, get into games that may have been before their time.

Since there is no Mega Man Legends 3, make at least the first one 3D. Blast Corps seems like it would be interesting too. Would every Rare games be excluded?



Wheels2050 said:

I'm not against remakes per se.

What I AM against, however, is when remakes take precedence and replace the development of new games.

Getting a separate developer to work on such remakes is a good idea, so it's more games coming out rather than the same number of games, a good fraction of which are remakes. That's the state of the industry I dread.



shinobi88 said:

remakes of N64 aren't especially interesting to me and they definitely aren't interesting to the world of non-Nintendo fanboys. That being said, I really would like to see a 3DS update of Perfect Dark. Amazing game. Same engine as Goldeneye, but better in every way aside from the license.



Thwiidscube said:

When they said under the Mario Kart 7 box, "If this doesn't sell well, we'll eat Mario's hat," It made me think of once in Luigi's Mansion, where, when I scanned something with the GB Horror, and Luigi said something about eating his hat. I'm glad that's getting a 3D remake. Anyways, one of the people at Nintendo was talking about making Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D. Who knows, it may come.



Spoony_Tech said:

Wave Race and Majora's Mask please! And for crying out loud figure out how to get us Banjo Kazooie and its sequel! !



Slapshot said:

WaveRace 64 in 3D! Oh goodness, Slappy would probably have a slap-attack and die from excitement!



Ducutzu said:

I, also, would love to see a WaveRace game for the 3DS. I have enjoyed immensely the GameCube version of that game.



Ren said:

Where did some of you get this idea that doing re-makes means that it will stop or even slow down the release of other new games? They've even farmed out the work to another company so it's really not an issue and we win either way. Why NOT do re-makes.
It also sounds like the naysayers are people who haven't actually played the new Zelda or Starfox. I reluctantly got them both and they are amazing bounds ahead of the originals and feel like an entirely fresh experience with really good new "gimmicks" well worth the price to me. THe graphical updates and multiplayer on Starfox are really amazing; it plays like a new 3DS game. Anyone who thinks these were lazy cash-ins has clearly not played them.
Sure we all lament that Nintendo used these as a hold over for the moment because they misplanned the launch but does anyone think they're using that time they bought to get a coffee break? The new games are coming en-force and if we get some more good classics at a good price I'll be plenty happy. If only we could get the N64 Rare collection in 3D.



RedYoshi999 said:

I would love it if Nintendo remade more N64 classics. I would even pay full RRP for them if they picked the ones that I really love like: Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Paper Mario, Yoshi's Story, Mario Party 1-3, Goldeneye 007 and most importantly, Majora's Mask!! Seriously they should be working on this by now. Grezzo has done an amazing job at bringing classic Zelda games to the 3DS and MM has always been my favourite Zelda game.



bahooney said:

This is a fantastic article, and brings up some interesting points. I'm really fond of repackaging the remastered games as a series, and selling them for maybe $20. I didn't even think of that possibility, which seems like it would be a great idea.

That was the main qualm many of my friends had; They couldn't justify paying $40 for Star Fox and Ocarina because they could get it for $30 less on the virtual console, and many could argue that there isn't enough value in the remasters to warrant the extra $30.

Personally, I would love more remakes done by Grezzo, they've done a great job!



coolvw93 said:

the remakes help the games look better. i would buy more if they were cheaper. It would be awsome to see a couple more remakes.
A couple games i would like to see remade: Hey You Pikachu!, Pokemon Puzzle League 64, and NFL Blitz. Or maybe even Ogre Battle 64.



Sam_Loser2 said:

Cheaper remakes sound like a great idea to me. I'd like to see majora's mask, paper mario, and battle tanx (yeah..... bet no one has heard of that last one)



Henmii said:

Quite simply, I don't want to see to many old titles re-released on 3DS in retail form. We have got Oot 3D and Starfox 64 3D. And maybe (just maybe) we get Majora's mask 3D in the future. But it really should stop there! I want new stuff!!

At the moment I fear the upcoming Mario tennis is just another Mario power tennis port!



Slapshot said:

@Sam_Loser2 BattleTanx: Global Assault is really fun and I'd actually like to see it revamped more-so than just remade. It's need a few tweaks to it as well to put it in the 'must buy' game for the 3DS; instead of just giving it a new coat of polish.



pocket_arsenal said:

Too bad Rareware is basically a rotting skeleton in the desert that is Miscosoft... because I really want me a Banjo Kazooie, and Banjo Tooie 3D. Conker would have been sweet too, so long as it kept the original multiplayer.



pocket_arsenal said:

Also, I friggin love remakes, especially when they add even just a few experience enhancing features to it.

But I sort of feel like they remake good games too often, and bad games not often enough. We remake things to make them better. And a game that could have been great, really should get another chance.

Example: Gimme and ice climber remake that doesn't feel like the jumping is an uncontrollable mess so I can actually make it past the fifth mountain.

Not an N64 game, but the point stands.



JimLad said:

It's fine so long as it doesn't come to dominate the library.
That's why I wasn't such a big fan of the Game Boy Advance, so many damn re-packages. I mean 'Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3' wtf is that?...

Also: @Sam_Loser2 BattleTanx! yeaaaa



Token_Girl said:

With the VC on the Wii, I don't think it's necessary. If there was a budget line (say $25ish) I would be more likely to pick some of my favorites up. Otherwise, they'd have to add a lot of new stuff to them.



Bassman_Q said:

Unless the prices of remakes go down to say... $30 instead of $40 here in the U.S., then maybe I'll support them and buy them, as long as they're worthwhile. However, I refuse to pay full price for a game that's virtually the same and without any new content. So likewise, I don't exactly support the N64-3DS remakes. I just want something new from each of their respective franchises.



Mr_Reece said:

But if, for example, you were a huge Wave Race fan, surely you would rather have a budget-priced remastered Wave Race 64 on 3DS while you waited for a new instalment on the handheld, as opposed to having no Wave Race at all while you wait?



michiganurse said:

I haven't considered Nintendo a real gamers company for quite a few years now, unless you are really old of between five and twelve. Real gamers have learned long ago that if you want a real gaming experience to use a PC, XBOX 360 or PS3. Leave Nintendo to the nursing home warriors and the preschoolers.



JSX said:

this has been the trend for all of nintendo's handhelds
is it really that surprising the next handheld are home console remakes?



Hokori said:

@65 LOL I have so many chortles real gamers play anything that they consider good, not just Xbox or PS



ChadSurge said:

Games to reconsider a remake:
EarthBound = New Features: Attack Animations, Different modes of difficulty per play through, mini-games you can play with other people online as well as DS-to-DS connection to boost replay value
Jet Force Gemini = new features: online multi-player, more weapons, battle stages and mini-games.
Fire Emblem = (the games that didn't make it from Japan to North America and bring Shin Monshou no Nazo Hikari to Kage no Eiyuu over as well) New Features: the everyone support introduced in Radiant Dawn with a detailed A support between special characters, online shop introduced in Shadow Dragon, no gaiden chapters that require killing characters off (please), some online thing that allows you to team your units up with another person's units to play in a trial map or something like that and not just play your units against another person's.
Goemon's Great Adventure = New features: Earlier Access to Four Player Mode and allowing people online to join up in that four player mode.

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