First released on June 23, 1996 in Japan, the Nintendo 64 turns 21 today. It’s typically a milestone age for anyone; an age where someone can finally hit up casinos, rent a car, order drinks along the lines of the Noble Pursuit, and vote. But there’s no need for the Nintendo 64 to vote in the console debates. In the years prior, many gamers have already voted for the N64 as their favourite ever console. Twenty-one years on and the console is still fondly remembered and iconic for Nintendo.

The Nintendo 64 may have only had just over 300 games in total, but there were some true classics in that lineup. Math Manent’s fantastic Nintendo 64 Anthology details each game available for the console (and some that started development but didn’t make it). It also reviews each of these games while also providing some insightful and interesting background for the system. This awesome anthology is just one example of the allure and excitement which the N64 still attracts.

Zelda came to life on the Nintendo 64 like never before. Ocarina of Time created a fully 3D world for Link to explore, and created an epic journey like none other. Ocarina of Time is still one of the highest rated games of all time, and it’s hard to imagine that this would have been achievable without the power the N64 provided. Eiji Aonuma recently revealed the pressure he felt for Majora’s Mask, mainly because it had to follow the widely celebrated Ocarina of Time. But despite the short turn around, and the pressure the development team felt, Majora’s Mask continued the legacy which Ocarina of Time began.

There are so many reasons to celebrate the success of the Nintendo 64. Perhaps there is no better reason than the two incredible Zelda games which it gave us. The N64 was a true masterpiece in design and will always be remembered for the iconic moments it provided for all gamers. Hopefully the Switch’s Virtual Console will include some classic N64 games so that we can relive these games all over again.

From everyone here at Zelda Universe — Happy birthday to the Nintendo 64!