Both have incredible games, but which one is superior? personally, I think the N64 is better because you had the best of both worlds in SP & MP.
SNES or N64?
I'm actually genuinely surprised that people consider N64 even close to being on par with the SNES. The first things that spring to mind when I think 'N64' are the myriad games with rudimentary 3D graphics and the clumsy controller apparently designed for people with three hands...
I was born in 1996, so I grew up with a Snes and Nintendo 64. I didnt choose what games I had on those systems, my dad did. Luckily he chose some awesome games. My favorite SNES games were Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario World. My favorite Nintendo64 games were LoZ Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64, 007 Goldeneye, and Mario Party 3. I had a bunch of other SNES and N64 games. I missed a plethora of great games on both systems, like Earthbound and Super Mario 64. So overall I'd choose the N64 for back when I was a child, but I wish my dad hadn't sold our SNES, for it is the superior system to this day.
SNES. Seriously. While the N64 looks better in retrospect than the massive disappointment it seemed at the time, its signature features are still muddy textures and fog. Yes the N64 has some classic games, and a few great hidden gems (Space Station Silicon Valley HD, where you be?) but it also featured the widespread abandonment of the platform by third parties and has big library gaps. The SNES, on the other hand, has a much bigger library loaded with classics. It's no contest. And I owned both systems.
SNES. I could give many reasons, but the SPC-007 sound chip is reason enough. It was well ahead of its time and helped produced some of gamings greatest soundtracks. The sound and music downgrade with the N64 despite being technically superior on paper is quite amazing. N64 has a handful of classic games, while the SNES has dozens if not hundreds of quality and classic games.
I didn't start playing games until 3D was a thing, so N64.
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N64 ushered in the era of multiplayer gaming that some of us have burning nostalgia for today. I've experienced everything from the SNES that I wanted to at that time and have no interest in a Star Fox, Mortal Kombat, FZero, or Street Fighter remasters from that era. I'm not a JRPG guy and i expect any site with a URL to skew heavily towards those games. Would I like to see most of the N64 better titles in today's context? Absolutely. The knock on N64 graphics is such a cheap shot. Square is overdoing the SNES but better look but diorama style to death now. If you like SNES better maybe read a book?
N64 is one of the worst major consoles (don't get mad, someone's gotta be at the bottom of the top 10) while SNES is one of the best. N64 had great ideas way ahead of their execution, almost across the board, emblematic of making the jump to 3D too soon while the SNES IS the best of 16-bit, and some of the worst but that's a matter of volume. Platformers, RPGs (a genre almost entirely absent quality entries on the N64), even sim games and weird experimental mergings like Act Raiser.
N64 has some great hits for sure, but it's a very limited library. I'll say it absolutely trounces the SNES on things like racing games and flight games, along with having two more excellent shooters than the SNES could handle. Hell, I'll even say they have better fighting games, but neither console is great on that. N64's are bad in more interesting ways, though.
I had an N64 so it is close to my heart, but the amount of classics that came out during the SNES era is insanely tough to beat ( PS2 would be close). The fact that the traditional sprite work of the SNES just holds up better and is easier to go back to than the early 3D polygons of N64 and PS1 makes it an easier choice as well.
That said I did just buy an aftermarket N64 controller to replace my original Atomic Purple because of a limp stick. Need to replay Ogre Battle 64 and finally get some other endings.
Voted N64. SNES had a bigger library of good games, but N64 had 10 or so amazing games that defined 3D gaming for the next 20+ years. Playing Elden Ring now and I can't help but notice how similar the lock-on is to Ocarina of Time's z-targeting.
Visually, SNES games might hold up better at times, since the pixel-art is very clear and artful compared to the muddy textures you get on N64, and since we're more likely to compare it to today's HD games. But N64 games can be quite pretty to my eyes and hold up better than many PS1 games with their signature jankiness.
I never owned either one growing up (I went from NES to Genesis to PlayStation), but played plenty of both at friends' houses. I could never get used to the N64 controller and that seriously impacted my enjoyment of the N64 games. I recognize that N64 has some widely accepted classic games, but none of them particularly stand out to me. On the other hand, I can still pick up an SNES controller today and play any number of SNES games that hold up well. For me, SNES wins in a landslide.
SNES by a mile. Though I have to admit I was surprised to learn that its effective life cycle was basically just 4 years (1991 to 1995, release of Playstation) given how many legendary games appeared on it.
N64 is a garbage system in my opinion that nevertheless landed some 2-4 greatest games of all time. I suppose it was more popular in America as opposed to Europe, I'm surprised to see so many people talk so highly of it.
SNES. I think that a lot of the N64 games were really hampered by the hardware, especially the cartridge size, even more so as the generation went on. Combine that with Nintendo alienating a lot of long-time developers during the SNES era made a lot of develops not make games for the N64 either.
I like the N64 for what it was, generally a success, and had a lot of iconic games, but there were definitely some short comings where Sony was able to launch the PS1 (1 year earlier than the N64), and it definitely propelled Sony's success through the PS2 era.
I respect the N64 for its innovations and technological leaps, mainly those by Nintendo and Rare, but SNES was peak 2D Nintendo with a more diverse and larger library where 100+ of the games still hold up well today. It also had a better controller.
In a partial defense of the N64 still using cartridges, many later games do still having great sounding music. Others had compressed mono conversions of PS1 redbook music, but it was doable.
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